Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Breaking Away

Jun 27, 2016

To quote the immortal words of cartoonist Aislin, "OK, everyone take a valium."

In the welter of reaction to last week's Brexit vote, what has struck me is the appalling tone-deafness of the losing side, aka "the elites." It is typical of losers to blame their defeat on the ignorance of the winners. If only "they" had known better -- if they hadn't been misled, or frightened, or just too damn stupid to see the truth -- "they" wouldn't have made the egregious mistake of voting against their own self-interest. Because "we" know better what's good for them.

For me this arrogance reached its peak with a weekend piece in the Globe and Mail by historian Margaret MacMillan, the sage of St Antony's College. Is there anything more grotesque than an Oxford don mocking her cabbie for not being smart enough to agree with her?

According to the losing side the world has shifted on its axis. Britain will break apart; the economy will nosedive; Europe will fracture. The fallout will even result in the election of Donald Trump! Time will tell, as it always does, though I suspect very little will play out as the alarmists predict. It never does.

Meantime, how self-satisfied the elites are in defeat and how quickly they tiptoe away from democracy when it does not give them the results they thought they'd orchestrated.