Since the 1950s, the Eurocrat dream has been to impose a federal union onto the old, historic nations of Europe. Since the creation of the common currency in 2002, this dream has become an imperative.
Nineteen of the 28 EU members dumped their national currencies in favour of the Euro. Since then, unemployment in the southern European countries has surged. Youth unemployment rates are staggering (49% in Greece; 45% in Spain; 39% in Italy). These economies are being sacrificed to the Euro-federalist totem.
To solve the problem, the 19 Euro-zone countries must proceed rapidly to fiscal (effectively political) unification, or break apart in conflict and acrimony. But where will unification leave the 9 non-members?
Nearly all voting in the EU is now decided by a 'qualified majority' (a complex system weighted by the population size of member states). The Euro core will increasingly vote as a bloc, because as a monetary and fiscal union, it will share the same economic concerns and interests. This will deliver perpetual majorities meaning the other 9 members will always be out-voted.
Why would a country like Britain want to remain in such a system? Most of the other 9 are required to join the Euro in the future, but the Brits decided a long time ago they were not prepared to lose the pound (nor to dismantle their border posts as part of the Shengen agreement). These opt-outs meant the UK would always be a peripheral member, subject to every EU law, yet outvoted on every key issue. Britain's future was to be a province of the super-state emerging across the Channel.
Just as Australians and Americans would never put up with this, nor did the Brits. In the referendum, the government machine, all main political parties, the civil service, big business, the unions, the Bank of England, the IMF, the 'impartial' BBC and even the President of the United States were all mobilised behind the 'Remain' campaign. Yet in an exhilarating assertion of democratic self-determination, Brits faced down this propaganda barrage and voted 52-48 to leave.
The Guardian-reading middle class is livid. It's not used to losing and it's in no mood to defer to the popular will. Those who voted Leave are dismissed as 'chavs' (Pom-speak for Bogans) and 'racists'. They want the result over-turned -- pace Bertolt Brecht, they want 'the people' dissolved and another elected. Self-proclaimed 'progressives' who for years boasted of their 'tolerance' are, it turns out, only willing to tolerate those who think like them. It's all getting very nasty.
But when the dust settles, the Brits will find they have rediscovered their liberty. They may not be the only Europeans to do so.
Professor Peter Saunders is a senior fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies.