I spent some time yesterday googling the reasons for Brexit. The question I had asked in my post yesterday was genuine, although Leavers did not seem to think it was. The realisation that no Leaver had ever been able to explain why they wished to leave the EU on a rational basis was surprising, and true. I've been told time and again to understand Brexiteers. And I realised they had never explained themselves to me, which makes that hard.
Interestingly, my reading suggested that the reason why Remainers do not understand Leavers is that Remainers expect rational argument and there is none.
A few exceptions apart no one pretends we will be economically better off from Brexit. That is just not going to happen, so there is little point discussing it.
Lexiteers think Brexit will give rise to an overwhelming desire for a socialist state. I see no reason to think that will happen, at all. The appetite is not there, or in any way latent as far as I can tell.
Take those factors out and Brexit comes down to three things. They are a sense of sovereignty; a desire to control immigration and a wish to have control. To some extent they all amount to the same thing: a desire to ring-fence Britain.
The Brexit Party summarises this as a desire to control fishing, agriculture, law, taxes, finances, trade and defence. As far as I can see we have necessary agreements that are going to be replicated on fishing, agriculture, law, taxes, finance and trade and as far as I know defence has always been an issue where we have agreed to cooperate with NATO. So I still remain confused: none of these things are ever managed in isolation precisely because they cannot be and agreement with other nations is required.
So, and with respect to those who want to leave, I conclude this is not rational. The reality is that everything the EU does for us will have to be replicated in some way after we leave the EU, and we will have little, if any, chance of getting better terms than we have now. All we will be able to say then is that the worse terms we enjoy are our worse terms.
So the question is whether or not the Brexit Party is telling the truth - and at least it says something which is more than most - or whether there are other hidden agendas, such as the Singapore-on-Thames theme, which is all too easy to imagine from a Tory Party now dominated by those associated with Britannia Unchained, or something else?
And if there is something else is it really just an irrational desire to leave, inexplicable at any reasonable level and so not the basis for any rational policy platform once we have left, leaving the room open for all to project their wishes onto the resulting space with the prospect of more mayhem to follow?
It is this latter option I fear. I know there is so much to do now to tackle real issues in this country. The Green New Deal. Still failing services. The aftermath of austerity. Debt crises. Housing. And so much more. These are the issues we have to face. But where are any of these concerns now on the Leave agenda? And where will they be if in the aftermath of Leave, which I still think likely, we spend a decade having yet more arguments about what Leave means when no one knows, as is apparent?
These are not hypothetical concerns, They are the consequence of us living in a political sphere where the supposed benefits of Leave are wholly unknown and where it is inevitable that a fight as to the legacy of departure will begin the day that it happens.
To put it another way, I rather strongly suspect Leave is going to be the biggest political disappointment of all time because a lot of people want it and have no idea what it means. And that seems to me to be the most toxic of recipes for our future. The mess we're in now will look like a panacea compared to what might be to come. And that does not fill me with hope.