The following article appeared in USA Today and is presented with the permission of the author.
Older Americans will remember the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St Louis in 1972. It was built in 1954 with the best of intentions and designed with the expert opinion of social scientists and architects. Despite its good intentions like many other high-rise public housing projects it gradually turned into a nest of crime, dependency and social pathologies. Its demolition stands as a spectacular image of failure in the public mind.
Yesterday the British electorate, accomplished the political equivalent of the dynamiting of Pruitt-Igoe. Yesterday, the British voters approved a referendum for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union by a modest but decisive margin. Prime Minister (and Remain leader) David Cameron, this morning announced that he will resign as prime minister within 3 months. This came as a shock to stock markets, pollsters, betting-shop operators, and the general punditocracy, who all who had predicted a Remain victory. Furthermore, this shock has come on top of a series of wrong calls on issues and public events throughout the developed world. It seems as though the general public is no longer inclined to follow the advice of their betters. Rejection of establishment parties, and establishment candidates, no matter what the ideologies involved, has become a regular feature of politics throughout the developed world. Britain has turned out to be no different.