Author Archives: M P Hoskins

Brexit: yes, it’s personal


One of the things that most struck me about the arguments made by the supporters of Brexit during the EU referendum was that they seemed, in their essence, to be based on emotion. There were many arguments put forward for Brexit that presented it as a rational economic choice, but these arguments were clearly secondary, almost an afterthought, to the ones based on British exceptionalism and distrust of anything foreign.

And yet when you pressed Brexit supporters, as I quite often did, on these points and suggested that perhaps those of us supporting the EU both in the UK and in other Member States also had an emotional attachment to the project, this was pooh-poohed out of hand.  It was implied that, whereas the UK was entitled to indulge its childish Anglo-centric sentiments, foreigners would bow to practicality and Brexit would prevail. This is the basic construct behind the “German carmakers, prosecco” argument, essentially that neither German nor Italian exporters would want to lose the trade with the UK and therefore they would put pressure on their governments to come to an agreement. Likewise, I often heard it said that Spain depended on what was called “British expats” for so much of its income that it would do nothing to upset the Brexit applecart.

Time has proven that these arguments are not only irrational and patronising but actually wrong. It is childish and limiting to recognise your own emotions without recognising them in others too.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 63 Comments

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