Download PDF

Brexit: the psycho-social picture.

So far the media focus has been on economics. And as often with catchy sound-bites, the term Brexit has become what all of us of call it. But make no mistake, this is not an ‘exit’ with all its overtones of moderation and free choice, this is a divorce!

Having been divorced myself [more than once, to my embarrassment and – yes – shame!] I know something about former partners’ reactions to rejection – for that is what this is to our European ‘spouses’. In both my separations my wives acted with outrage at my behaviour – and understandably wished to secure their futures rather than mine. This fear for themselves is nowhere more apparent than in those EU countries where their own dissatisfaction with the EU is very near the surface.

Here are the results from an IPSOS poll taken in March/April 2016, before Britain’s referendum:

Out of EU

Clearly there is a widespread wish to comment on this union among its citizens. This desire is strongest in Italy and France. The intention to vote out is also very high in these countries, two of the original members. Given French pride in the European project in many quarters, it’s hardly surprising they feel most hostile to our bid to leave, most keen on punitive measures.

[These figures present a very similar picture to the UK’s stated intentions some months before the actual vote. You can see these earlier UK figures here: ‘leave’ is very much in the high thirties to mid-forties.]

European leaders realise that strident campaigns, full of sky-high promises in their own back yards, could easily push their own people, fired by national pride and the need for personal – even local – identity into ‘leave’ majorities. The same thing happened with real divorce in the UK too, post 1960’s: over the years more and more people got divorced as it became accepted until now, nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce!

When you say you no longer want to be with someone, they are upset. Not only are they upset by rejection, they are upset too by the fact that they were probably thinking they no longer wanted to be with you, but were keeping their promises. In other words your rejection facilitates the growth of their own. We have plenty of evidence of this in European papers’ continual criticism of the negative attitude of the Brits.

And not having expressed their rejection first, your former partners determine to punish you for your faithlessness, your preference of ‘others’ [the new world-wide trade treaties trumpeted by May via Mr David Davies. Not only are you kicking them out of bed, you are planning multiple new lovers too!]

So they become vengeful, you become an object of hatred, subtly reinforced by envious spoiling (maybe you’re just having too much fun with your new freedom, so let’s push for a punishing settlement).

My point is, that even though rational and reasonable forces might work for a settlement that keeps Britain near to the EU, emotional forces will want to punish us and may prevail. Our negotiators need to be skilled at healing – using therapeutic talk – more than anything else.

I suspect most of them don’t know much about that. They can find out here:




  1. I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post.
    They are very convincing and will definitely work.
    Still, the posts are very brief for novices. May you please extend them a bit from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue about this post at this place at
    this blog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting at this place.

  3. Hello everyone, it’s my first visit at this site, and post is genuinely fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these types of articles or reviews.

  4. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided
    us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  5. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually
    something that I think I would never understand. It
    seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try
    to get the hang of it!

  6. Hi every one, here every person is sharing these know-how, thus it’s pleasant
    to read this blog, and I used to pay a quick visit this webpage every day.

  7. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to
    find out where u got this from. appreciate it

  8. Greate article. Keep posting such kind of info on your
    site. Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve performed a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest
    to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

  9. Terrific work! That is the type of info that are supposed to
    be shared across the web. Disgrace on the seek engines for no longer
    positioning this publish higher! Come on over and visit my site .
    Thank you =)

  10. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a really good article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get anything

  11. Hello, I do think your website could possibly be having internet browser compatibility problems.

    When I look at your site in Safari, it looks
    fine however, if opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.

    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Apart from that, excellent website!

  12. I do not even understand how I finished up right here, however I
    assumed this post was good. I do not understand who you are however definitely you’re
    going to a famous blogger should you aren’t already. Cheers!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here