The citizens of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union. A tortured scream of woe has escaped the global left. Spiteful references to nationalism and populism are flying thick. Those who voted “Leave” are being described as “those left behind by globalization”, or “older and less urban”.

The contempt that modern liberals have for “those who’ve been left behind” and those who are “older and less urban” is really quite stunning. Wasn’t the left supposed to represent these very people against the elites who have everything going their way? Who’s steering the Left today? The Globalized Elite, that’s who; people whose livelihoods and lifestyles are well insulated from the storms of global change, and who are contemptuous of the unwashed masses, unless they be immigrants or racial, sexual, or religious minorities.

In all fairness to the European experiment, the vision of a union of nations, interconnected and working collectively for the common good of all, unlikely to resort to war against each other, is a wonderful one. People undermining these goals out of a jingoistic obsession with their “own kind” are naturally seen as bearers of an outlook that is primitive and dangerous.

This is all very well as long as the experiment in collectivism goes well. But the EU has not gone well. The Global Left, wallowing in its own righteousness, has failed to respect the concerns of the grubby proletariat, and has suffered with the withdrawal the UK from the EU.

The EU’s lofty and admirable goals were always a bit of a fantasy. They could not be realistically achieved without a political union. But the French, the Germans, the Italians, or any of the others were never going to agree to the dissolution of their distinctiveness into a larger European collective. The EU, for all its high rhetoric of making nationalism obsolete, is a Frankenstein of various nationalities preserved and smashed together within a bureaucratic order, and not at all a post-national democratic union.

How was that ever going to work? How long could unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats make the system function before somebody somewhere said “This isn’t working for me, I didn’t elect you, I’m not going to accept your diktats?” For all the talk of the EU representing a post-national order, the reality is that the likes of Greece, Italy, and Spain had to acknowledge Germany as the boss and France as a first among equals. It isn’t post national at all. It’s merely an elite bureaucracy acting as Daddy.

Edward Lucas, senior editor at the prestigious newsweekly The Economist, put it succinctly: “It is easy for people like me—prosperous and cosmopolitan, the winners of all the changes of the past 25 years—to fume about this. We—the sort of people who read The Economist (or in my case, write for it)—have been running the West since the 1980s. Brexit referendum is not really about Britain’s membership in the European Union. It is a vote of confidence in the elite’s ability to manage globalization. We have come perilously close to losing it.”

The UK’s position in this bureaucratic Frankenstein was always uncomfortable. Its France and Germany that needed to learn to live together in harmony. Many of the smaller economies were attracted to the security and prosperity that the Union promised. The UK had no such need. It had won The War. It was not Britain that ought to suffer being tied down like Gulliver; it had not been the naughty one in WW2. Moreover, the UK had favored a European Free Trade Agreement rather than a Union. However, all the other European biggies wanted the Union. Eventually Britain joined up, and has ever since chafed under the unending diktats from EU headquarters in Brussels for compliance with EU laws, rules and policies, to the extent that over half of British legislation has come from Belgium, and not from legislators elected by the British People.

Well, that’s over.

A look at the results shows that Northern Ireland and Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. The Leave vote has come primarily from England and Wales, with the exception of London. The English (and Welsh) have asserted themselves pretty powerfully. It is an assertion of identity against a vast smothering bureaucratic machine that had promised all the good things of justice, security and dignity, but was increasingly costing the English their autonomy and the exercise and expression of their own values, perspectives, judgment.

The globalised liberal elite may be having the screaming meemees about English Nationalism having raised its head, but is it something that the English should be ashamed of? Those who dislike the English may think so, but there are also many who think that English values and character are a major wellspring of much that is wonderful about the modern world, and are not happy to be smothered by the homogenizing globalized liberal elite.

This could very well lead to another Scottish referendum, and perhaps one in Northern Ireland as well. One or both may secede from England and Wales, and this might be the end of the United Kingdom. Scotland would be welcomed into the EU, and England would find itself quite alone. But regardless of whether Scotland leaves or stays, Britain now has to prove the homogenizing left wrong. It has to demonstrate that it is possible for for the British people to embrace their own values and culture and character and still succeed on all the parameters of justices and prosperity and security.

If Britain manages to do that, it will be mean trouble for the globalized liberal elite, as well as for all the causes they have fostered. There are strong anti-EU sentiments in, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden and others. Marine Le Pen, French far right leader, has already called for a French referendum on staying in the Union. Britain’s success outside the union will strengthen the right and far right parties across Europe.

And it’s all because of the gross over-reach of the left, whose institution based paternalism went too far in attempting to smother the autonomy of diverse peoples and force them into complying with whatever The Big Brother in Brussels said was good for them.

It is a time of the rise of the Right, brought about by a left that became elite, disconnected, and corrupted while in the pursuit of worthy ideals. The English have said to the Global Left “This is what we are and here we stand.”