You are here:   Features > Brexit as myth: Exodus, Reckoning, or Sacrifice?
Brexit may be a bombshell in the European landscape but the landscape had already been devastated by the policies and mindsets that betrayed its peoples. Denial is the only reason for EU leaders to hang on to the first exceptionalism story and pretend that British leavers are the only ones to feel left behind by economic growth, left out of politics, or left aghast by societal change.

Stories of reckoning tell us that this is not a tsunami coming from nowhere, or from Wall Street or Palmyra, but one of our own making, chastisement for past deeds. They tell us that the EU is being punished less for what is has done than for what it has failed to do: deal with unfair globalisation, uncontrolled migration, unfettered enrichment of the few.

With Brexit, the spectre of European disintegration has become real and institutionalised, in procedures, article numbers and summit agendas. Euroscepticism is now not only in power in some of the EU capitals but able to command the very boundaries of Europe, a core marker of our collective identity — if there is such a thing. And it is has transformed every domestic theatre, from Marine’s to Geert’s, into a local battle for the survival of Europe.

In short, Brexit as reckoning represents the triumph of Eurosceptic views of the world which have captured the public imagination across member states, the boldest expression of the new politics of anger, popular insurrection and tribal eruptions. It will not do to dismiss the prophecy as self-fulfilling. The Eurosphere will ignore it at its peril.

But stories of reckoning come in different shapes and forms. Which variant shall we heed?

For one, the uncomfortable truths that must be faced are a very elusive affair. Oedipus was always going to kill his dad, Laius, and marry his mum, Jocasta. But for what reason? Who failed to heed the prophecy? His parents who wavered at his birth, the shepherd who wavered at the river, Oedipus himself who failed to read the signs? As the paradigmatic seeker and avoider of truths, Oedipus both very deliberately solves the Sphinx’s riddle, and very accidentally fulfils the prophecy. Can Freud’s “what have I done?” ever be redeemed by acknowledging that the truth is blindingly obvious? On realising what he has brought about, Oedipus stabs out the eyes which could not see. He will be guided by his daughter to seek anew. Youth as redeemer.

What do we see? For whom does the bell toll? Some believe in indiscriminate judgment and others that it is all in the sorting out of the worthy from the sinners. In this story of popular wrath, there is little doubt that elites must be punished for the double sin of gluttony and contempt, those who happily revelled in their favourite game of casino capitalism, playing Russian roulette with the welfare and dignity of millions.

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July 11th, 2017
8:07 PM
Charles VIII? Did no one proof read?

Mark G..
July 7th, 2017
9:07 AM
A very well written article, didn't expect something that good, thank you :) From a casual perspective Brexit could mean a lot to the UK, but in fact, the EU will probably maintain friendly and cooperative relations with the UK. Time will tell... Best regards, Mark from

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