The Brexit referendum was engineered by and due to a split in the Conservative Party. No one expected it to win. Insanely, neither Conservatives or Labour had contingency plans for what to do if Brexit won. Now Britain is a locomotive screaming down a mountain pass, out of control, because the engineer and conductor are too busy arguing to be pay attention. Or at least that what it seems like to me in the States, where we have much the same problems, even as they aren’t nearly as pronounced (yet.)
Yes, racists voted for Brexit because they want those horrid immigrants out. Some Brexiters probably didn’t know what they were voting for. But many more almost certainly did. These would be people who are getting screwed by deliberately out-of-touch governments in cahoots with often corrupt financial interests.
Brexit is a true black swan. Nobody in the mainstream, including the Leave camp, saw it coming. Even now, based on the analysis being written, few people understand why it won. Why did it win? The cosmopolitan, financialized elites saw their incomes grow with globalization, but the deals they struck to “earn” those gains required throwing the bottom 60-70% of the country under the economic bus. In fact, nearly all of the fast rise out of poverty seen globally was achieved by economically damaging the working populations of the developed world (particularly in the US and the UK). That selfishness forged a bomb of anger that has been growing for years. A bomb that is now going off in the US and the UK. Strangely, nobody in the establishment is willing to do what is necessary to defuse this bomb. This means it will get much worse before it gets better.
Those in the establishment (and this certainly includes Trump) indeed have no clue. It may be they don’t know what to do, or are so comfy / corrupted they don’t want to do anything to upset their position and wealth. More probably, they don’t much care about the rest of us.
I think Brexit is a terrible idea. But with arrogant blowhards like Juncker doing things like banning English as an official EU language, it’s not hard to see why many are in revolt against the EU.
And yeah, it’s a black swan. The results are unforeseen, unpredictable, and will be massive.