Brexit could have been a simple divorce between the UK and Europe, but the mounting tension between the British Parliament and the European Union is about to turn this separation into a much more deeply profound event. This is because Brexit won’t just have major geopolitical ramifications in modern history. In fact, after France’s vote in 2005 against the European Constitution that was nevertheless supported on the sly and adopted surreptitiously by Nicolas Sarkozy, and after Greece’s general elections in 2015 that brought Aléxis Tsípras back to power who hastily got to work the next day on adopting measures that were diametrically opposed to the commitments made during the electoral campaign, the catastrophe of the Brexit process (whether you’re for it or against it) shows that our Western democratic system is now in a logjam.
Britain’s situation aside, this disaffection is contaminating all western democratic institutions, the media, the decision-makers: in short, this absolute defiance against those we call elites and experts is severe and will be long-lasting. Britain’s tragicomedy aside, all the traditional parties are now seen as corrupt, concerned only with their own interests, and it’s not the organisation of a second referendum on Brexit (whatever the outcome might be) that will cleanse this very pessimistic vision of the country’s leaders – of those “at the top” – that an increasing portion of their constituents are taking on. After the beginning of the end of a European democracy led mainly by two alternating parties, sparked in France by the election of Emmanuel Macron (who was simply the side effect of it), after Italy fell into the demagogic unknown, after Germany itself looked on with alarm at the demise of the traditional moderate parties, an ever-increasing majority of European citizens no longer recognise themselves, not just in the traditional parties – that’s obvious – but they no longer believe at all in the viability of the electoral system that has been stolen from them.
Confidence – this fundamental ingredient that underpins democracy, the economy, finance; coexistence, basically – has now disappeared, for good, and between European countries, but also within the borders of each country. Europe’s downward spiral is therefore complete: Britain will turn to the rest of the world, as Italy looks towards China, Poland towards the US, France more and more towards the Gulf nations, Germany towards its own commercial interests, and so on. In the end, the UK leaving the Union or staying in it (which is still possible) won’t change anything because Europe has ceased to dream. Europe no longer inspires.
There is a price to pay for forcingthe hand of generations of citizens, and the UK and EU will find very soon out what it is.