But I'm afraid he's lost it on Brexit (he's a little more rational here but he plays the Norway card stupidly). But I love his moxie. Nick argues that Brexiting is in fact a moral crime. He does so by insulting as many people as he can think of as if he were shit faced drunk. So, rather than fisking an hysterical drunk, I'm going to take the high road and evaluate this EU thingy that 'everyone who's anyone agrees is just the best thing ever and if we leave our economy will collapse or at least the euros will be mean to us at Gstaad and Cannes and we can't bear the thought of that. After all we've spent our whole lives trying to be the cool kids and not be dorky English and we're not going to give up being invited to French parties just because some assholes voted the wrong way" but I really shouldn't paraphrase Twisted Nicky like that.
So let's just lay out a scorecard on the EU's basics, shall we?:
Free Trade: Pretty much everybody that's anybody on any side (including Trumpikins no matter what sewer gas he's belching today) agrees two thumbs up, way up. Particularly within Europe because of its fragmentation and the good Ricardian comparative advantage matchup. Particularly the 'make shit, do shit' divide whereby people in gloomy northern places make everything and then go south to cope with the stress of making all that stuff and let the laid back southerners rob them blind to buy more shit. Oh, and lest anyone get confused: the Swiss, Norwegians and other non EU bits of Europe have this deal and so will a Brexited UK, unless the Euros decide to go for actual depression rather than just their standard Euro quality stagnation - and no, the UK is not Norway).
Monetary Union: 'Oh my fucking God what a disaster'. Even Paul Krugman says so (of course this is post hoc Paulie so who knows what his un ergoed propter hoc was). I note that there were (pace Cohen) 'thousands' of experts saying the UK was making a 'terrible' mistake and that the Euro was going to 'conquer' or 'eat' or at least do something nasty to the dollar. Those thousands of experts are such scamps!
Immigration: "The German race is the master race they go oom papa oom papa", wait, that's Spike Jones and that was old 'n nasty Der Fuehrer Germans not today's Der Frauhaus Germans. But it's as if EU immigration policy has become a way for Germany to get back at the rest of Europe for being so beastly to it for shifting the Jewish Question back to Palestine where it belongs. And the cool thing about it if you listen to the UN it's die Juden that are driving all these Muslims into Europe (and crazy, don't forget crazy). Only the smart ones don't want to be in "Europe" they want to be in "London" and tens of thousands of them cluster around the Chunnel desperate to escape beautiful France for wildly expensive and plodding London. The upshot is that England has experienced the highest rate of immigration of any European nation since the Visigoths told the Romans "we dig this place so we be hanging wit you" back in the 400s. And judging from the 1400 documented rapes of underage girls covered up by the police in the single town Rotherham (ignoring the other 'immigrant' grooming rings in all the other towns) the benefits have gone to the City boys and the downsides to the cloth capped, forelock tugging provincials that everyone is cursing. This isn't all the EU's fault but who's going to blame voters for what they see with their lying eyes?
The Socio-economic Triumph of the Administrative/Intellectual class: 60 percent of UK law is now made in the European Union. Not by elected parliament but by apparatchiks in the European Council or is it the Council of Europe - or maybe the European Commission - so many C's so little accountability. Much of this is just annoyingly pedantic - like saying that not only must you accommodate metric weights and measures (as the US has for decades) but you must ban all other forms of measuring and counting - but also lots of 'anti discrimination' legislation, social standards (some of which the UK has wriggled out of), the shape and size of bananas (a bigger deal than you would think, particularly to Germans), banning GMOs, invasive commercial regulation and other 'progressive' obsessions that intermittently sweep down from Scandinavia like blue northers. This is what is called the "Triumph of Progressivism".
Foreign Policy: One would think that the creation of the European Superstate would translate all of Europe's economic power into immense geopolitical power and that the world would quake in their wake. But the opposite has happened: a Europe that pretended that the EEC kept the peace when it was really American boots on the ground now has graduated to pretending that they're studmuffins of power just like 'merica. So they go into places like Bosnia or the Ukraine and go 'pew pew' with their fingers and the locals, not understanding that they're just playing, actually shoot back. So they scurry home loudly demanding that Americans do something. They've semi dissolved all of these nation states to the extent that they are almost completely disarmed without creating a loyalty to the dear old (pedantic, oppressive, self righteous, undemocratic) EU. As Gomer Pyle would say "surprise, surprise".
So now we have a "Europe" where the Eastern Europeans and the Finns are quaking at the thought of a wounded and dying Russia deciding to take them 'with' while the Southern Tier are just expanding their game of 'loot the stressed out northerners' to see how much more they can get until the scam ends, while the French pout, the Irish max out their "Hey America we're the only part of the EU that's rational, speaks English and won't tax your ass off so put all of your assets here" - which works for such a tiny place and then there are the Scans - Norway clipping coupons, the others living semi detached except for the terrified Finns. And there's Germany who seems to be doing swell, finally getting the sock puppet Europe they've always wanted.
And outside of England, Germany and the Scans, the thing is an economic and demographic black hole. The Euro area hasn't grown in forever and faith in the future is so low that native populations are cratering to be replaced by Shariah-ites. By contrast the offshore Anglo Saxon world is much richer and actually growing. The common English hear about it from their friends and relations there, can see so on the telly and when they vacation in Orlando or NYC. And these chaps haven't a single EU membership to their names....nothing but free trade and your bog standard global agreements. Hmm. But the experts, the thousands upon tens of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of experts who expert for the EU or its component elites say that 'the EU is swell as hell' and anybody who's anybody agrees - upon pain of losing their friends, their status, their job, their kids' admission to Oxbridge.
Indeed the only high status people who could possibly support Leave were people who had already made their break with the establishment and had nothing to lose. Which is why Nick's charming semi-ad hominem (list your enemy's sins but not your own in the hopes that people who don't know much about English politics will swallow it hook line and sinker) works so well: "But everyone who's anyone knows that Boris and Michael are such cads and bounders and just not the right sort, don't you know. To the sound of modern upper class English twits what-whatting accompanied by sitars amid a miasma of patchouli and roasting beef shawarma.
"Bloody lower orders don't know their place."
Indeed, it's only when you remember that the formation and life of the "Union" has been during the most prosperous and peaceful time in the history of the world - that it's only 24 years old and it's already in intensive care - do you realize that this bizarre pseudo-heffalump imagined and created by chaps who by and large have never done a damned thing in their lives has no chance of surviving a real, honest to gosh existential crisis. This is the League of Nations re-imagined as an apparatchik racket that is going to continue to go phhhht because it is the most fragile thing that's ever existed and no one will fight for it. Ever. So the UK is just getting out before the panicked rush.
PS: I attended school with some of these guys and worked with many of them as Partners and staff. Nice guys, but like all of us, their judgement is impaired by their appetites and their regnant snobbery which is concentrated in a small parochial environment like London.