By Helena Celestino
Celena Celestino: How do you explain the Brexit vote? What must Europe must to avoid losing more members states?
Zygmunt Bauman: Starting from the second sub-question: let’s hope that the mess that the Brexit adventure has cast and will be casting further on the (no longer…)United Kingdom may (just may) prove to be the best imaginable sobering concoction for those intoxicated enough to support the tribal “Euro-skeptics” in other member states of the EU.
But now to your first and fundamental question: for the millions of Britons left behind or fearing to be left at any moment without warning; for the victims of deregulated labour markets and financial forces, which have been let off the leash; of the reckless rising of inequality; of the fast shrinking of the ranks of the beneficiaries of the Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher inheritance and equally fast multiplication of the mass of their losers; of the on-going descent of the once self-confident middle-classes into the condition of a frightened, disabled and unsure of itself “precariat” – the British referendum was the rare, well-nigh unique chance to unload their long accumulated, blistering/festering anger against the establishment as a whole: the system notorious for failing to deliver on its promises. In normal parliamentary elections, such a chance is severely constrained: rejecting one party, one part of the establishment, only to willy-nilly admit other to the same establishment who eager to manage it but who are willing to do very little to change it. In the British referendum, however, all major parties of the establishment were on one side: the voters could manifest their indignation, disgust, resentment with and refusal to trust the whole establishment in one go: to the “order (or rather disorder) of things” as such.