Brexit has energized Britain: Bring on the future

June 24, 2016: The sun rises behind the Houses of Parliament in London

June 24, 2016: The sun rises behind the Houses of Parliament in London  (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

Editor's note: The following column originally appeared on

So in the end patriotism won through. In 1975 the mood of national defeatism was so strong that the British people succumbed to membership of the European Economic Community (as it was then called).

This decision has at last been reversed. The extraordinary defiance of this simple determination that we should govern ourselves has left me more proud of my country than ever before.

Heineken once advertised the claim that it “refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach”.

The referendum reached parts of the electorate that politics normally doesn’t reach.

The turnout was 72 per cent – well up on the General Election last year when 66 per cent voted. But there was more to it than those stats imply.

Within the total were hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who voted for the first time for many years.

Often they live on council estates, they felt alienated by “the system”. Those are the ones who tuned out long ago but yesterday they suddenly grasped that here was something worth participating in.

These are the people that the pundits and pollsters had missed.

Watching the faces of the BBC presenters during the results coverage was quite a sight to behold.

Nor was this just about the United Kingdom.

When I was campaigning locally I was struck by the number of times foreign radio and TV crews wanted to tag along. It became apparent that our little island was attracting wider interest during our deliberations.

There is now every prospect that Britain’s example will be followed.

The whole stinking monolith of the EU could come crashing down giving way to a prosperous and free Europe of nation states. Even before the British referendum there was an opinion poll showing most Dutch people would like to leave the EU.

To continue reading Harry Phibbs' oped on, click here.