It's a done deal: Britain has exited the EU. One hour before midnight last Friday, its half-century membership came to an end. That's a great cause for celebration, and even the BritGov Treasury joined the fun by minting a commemorative version of its 7-sided 50-pence coin (swiftly sold out.) The British Conservative writer Brendan O'Neill calls it "the most significant and stirring political achievement of the post war period."
January 31st was about three years late; the Referendum was held in mid-2016 but Parliamentarian "Remoaners" did their utmost to delay and so deny that expression of the people's will. But now the deed is done; the standing of the country is roughly what it was in the 900 years prior to 1970.
Better yet: the Minister responsible (Stephen Barclay) said the government would try to negotiate "zero tariffs, zero quotas" with the remaining EU member countries; in other words, something close to free trade will be the aim. There's no need of course for any government to be involved at all, but so long as the UK imposes none, that will suffice; residual countries will lose if they fail to follow suit. Meanwhile the key point is that Britons will once again control their own future.
Credit is due to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who risked a General Election to make it so - and more yet to Nigel Farage, who stuck firmly to the Brexit principle, energized the Referendum vote and held all the other Pols' feet to the fire. Above all others, this was his moment in history, and his farewell speech to the European Parliament was outstanding. In it he noted "we love Europe, but we hate the EU" and at the end the whole UK delegation walked out, waving a friendly good-bye with Union Jacks. The Chairperson responded by cutting off his microphone for displaying the flags, and reproving him for using the word "hate", for it's a verbum prohibitus. The grandfathers of some of those present were busy exterminating Jews, but now it seems the EU prohibits "hating" that.
Compare with the US: it's rather as if one of the biggest states had decided to leave the Union, and resume the status it held right after 1781. Here, the rump Union might do again what Lincoln did in 1861, but the EU has not yet put together a military force strong enough to prevent secession.
Others, therefore, might follow Britain's example and also secede; I hope so. All government is terrible, but the smaller, the less evil. People in several of them are dissatisfied with the EU, often because of the waves of immigrants that EU law forces them to absorb - France, one of the two key members, being a case in point. Hungarians and Danes are likewise displeased. Then there's the PIIGS group; five member states whose governments slurped up EU low-interest loans that they are unlikely ever to repay. That's controversial, but if the lenders do nothing about the defaults, the respective populations may just enjoy the money. Either way, the future will be interesting.
I wish the UK secession indicated that 55 million Brits were fed up with government per se, not just with the one in Brussels and Strasbourg; but it's not so. Despite the shocking way the Referendum of 2016 was treated by those elected to represent them, the people still suppose that it's okay to be ruled, so long as it's just from London, and no further. In the next few years that may not prove to be so for Scots in the North, nor possibly for Welshmen in the West; but the English are gruntled. They will now presumably get back to the fruitless business of arguing whether Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee should do the ruling.
In a recent article Gary Barnett visualized a world in which people choose to secede repeatedly to ever smaller units, until eventually every person became his or her own ruler, as he ought to be. It's an idea endorsed by Murray Rothbard. I believe Gary would agree that large-scale re-education is a prerequisite for any such development, and if that is achieved (using TOLFA or some equivalent) I don't myself think that sequence of events would occur. It's far simpler for re-educated people (graduates of the freedom school) just to quit their government jobs, so causing its total evaporation.
But either will do