As the first world war approached, the British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey remarked to a friend: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Watching the British referendum results from Paris early this morning, after 35 years covering European politics, I felt that the lamps were going out all over Britain.
One after one, the solid and familiar English towns that I have known all my life voted to turn their backs on the rest of Europe. “Bolton votes leave… Stafford votes leave… Lancaster votes leave.”
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