At some point British politicians will have to decide whether to be with the wreckers of liberal Europe – or with the resistance Good ideas tend to be copied, and by that measure Brexit is a dud. The UK experience has not inspired copycat secessions from the European Union. It is not studied as the blueprint for what Michael Gove anticipated in 2016 as a “democratic liberation of the whole continent”. There are plenty of Eurosceptics elsewhere in Europe, but they have swerved away from the British example. That is partly an accommodation to pro-European public opinion in the other 27 member states. After all, the first rule of populism is to be popular. France’s National Front (now rebranded National Rally) has jettisoned talk of “Frexit”. Matteo Salvini, Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister, no longer agitates for a return to the lira.
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