LETTER: Brexit vote not ‘irrational’

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Your reader Martin Hills (July 21) accuses Brexit voters of ‘blind irrationality’. Nonsense.

The biggest reasons for their vote were two plain facts, disputed by nobody: (a) the huge recent immigration from other EU countries; and (b) our total inability to control it, while we remain EU members - as has been amply proved by the reaction to our vote from Brussels and other EU strongholds. No way are they ready to modify this basic rule of membership.

Mr Hills may think it mistaken to object to immigration at recent levels. I disagree: any society can live with a modest inflow of outsiders, but not in these proportions. But, right or wrong, the Brexiteers certainly weren’t irrational.

Mr Hills thinks the Brexit vote due, in part, to ‘a futile wish to recreate a 19th-century vision of Britain which entirely ignores the demands of 21st-century globalisation and collectivism’. I doubt that many voters in 2016 looked back to some vision of 150 years ago. But if they did, were they simply out-of-date?

I for one did not vote against immigration but for a Britain controlled by Britons and British institutions, not, in crucial matters, by bodies largely made up of foreigners. That sort of nationalism has often had terrible effects, let’s agree. But it has merits too, and - good or bad - it is not in the least outdated.

How many countries allow outside institutions to dictate to their governments, parliaments or courts? Except on very limited topics, hardly any. How many want to unite with other countries? None. Bar Brazil, almost all of Latin America (unlike the EU) even speaks the same language. So are its countries rushing to unite? Far from it.

Many countries, in contrast, have split apart. India/Pakistan/Bangladesh; Malaysia/Singapore; Czechs and Slovaks; the ex-Yugoslav republics; Russia and many ex-Soviet areas. And that’s since 1945, not ancient history. One big country has gone the other way, Germany. But why? For exactly the same nationalistic reason: Germans feel German.

Just as most of us - and I include most Remain voters - feel British. If Mr Hills prefers collectivism, so be it.

Stephen Hugh-Jones

Downcote

East Harting