Brexit under way
• The same people who, for whatever reason, are so hostile to the restoration of the UK's independence were presumably more supportive in earlier cases of the same kind of action, such as the secession of the Baltic states from the USSR or the independence of Third World countries from the European colonial empires.
• The restoration of independence is also a return to greater democracy. The real power in the EU, which includes ever-increasing interference in the internal affairs of member states, is held by an unelected and unaccountable oligarchy (which is, as such unaccountable regimes tend to be, massively corrupt). Removing this interference will restore full legislative power to the British Parliament, which is elected by the population it governs.
• Be wary of the dishonest use of language by EU supporters in which the word "Europe" is conflated with the EU -- intensification of the oligarchy's dominance over elected national governments is described as "more Europe", Brexit is described as "leaving Europe", etc. The EU is not Europe, it is a transient grouping to which some European countries belong.
• If the US were part of an undemocratic multi-national organization which interfered in our internal affairs as extensively as the EU does in those of its member states, we would have voted ourselves out of it a long time ago.
• Even if Brexit carries some economic cost, independence and democracy are worth paying that price for.
• Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland have never been part of the EU and their economies are doing fine -- notably better than those of southern Europe, which have been devastated by EU-imposed austerity policies and the common euro currency.
• It's likely that the oligarchy will try to play hardball in the independence negotiations with the UK due to (1) spite -- these people have shown over and over that they are vicious and vindictive -- and (2) the knowledge that discontent with the EU is manifesting itself in ever-more-aggressive form in other member states, including major ones like France and Italy. If the UK "gets away with it", others will follow.
• However, the UK is in the stronger position -- as a net importer from other EU countries, it is the "customer" in the relationship. It is, for example, Germany's third-largest export market. If the EU tries to impose punitive trade barriers, the UK could find alternate suppliers for what it currently imports from the rest of the EU much more easily than the rest of the EU could find alternate markets for what it now exports to the UK. (Ever since the original referendum, several non-EU countries have been expressing interest in negotiating their own trade deals with the UK once it is free to do so.) The main consequence of punitive trade barriers would be job losses in Germany and elsewhere in the EU.
• Conversely, one of the main "exports" from the UK to the mainland is financial services, which the EU could not easily replace -- skills and experience comparable to the London financial industry do not exist on the mainland. In any case, 56% of UK exports go to non-EU countries, a share which was steadily growing even before the referendum.
• The UK is one of only two western European nations with substantial military power (the other is France). If Europe eventually needs or wants to develop a common defense capability less dependent on the US, it will need the UK much more than vice-versa. The EU itself would inhibit such an effort. Nations could work in an alliance of sovereign states (analogous to NATO), but would never hand over substantial military forces to an entity which aspires to usurp sovereignty for itself.
• Change is coming in Europe -- the question is whether the moderate political establishment will accommodate it or be swept away by it. If that establishment continues to ignore the popular will on issues like austerity, immigration, and interference with national sovereignty, eventually Europe's exasperated voters will start electing people like Nigel Farage (who, though he deserves much kudos for leading the independence movement to victory, is basically a crank otherwise), or worse, to positions of national leadership. This would pose some of the same kinds of dangers as the rise of Trump in the US. By accommodating change despite their personal misgivings, Cameron and May have greatly reduced this risk, at least in the UK. Other countries will soon face similar tests.