The Corner

National Security & Defense

Niall Ferguson: I Was Wrong About Brexit

Niall Ferguson is one of the outstanding public intellectuals of today. Professor, economic historian, researcher in the archives, biographer of Henry Kissinger, and on top of everything else a Thatcherite conservative, he has an informed perspective on the world. In my opinion, Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (Brexit for short) comes just in time to save the country from the economic and political chaos that will bring this mistaken experiment to its deserved end, and I would have expected Niall Ferguson to be on the same wavelength. But no. Up to the moment when the British voted on the issue, he supported membership of the EU, mocking us Brexiteers as “Angloonies.” It was inexplicable.

“I was wrong to argue against Brexit,” he has just now conceded in his column in the Sunday Times of London, which must reach a huge public. For the first time in his career, he was writing things about which he had doubts and he did this, he says, “to help my friends stay in power.” He concludes, “That was wrong and I am sorry I did it.” Someone who can make an honest confession like this is worthy of respect. I recall that Ferguson has a running polemic with Paul Krugman, whose columns in the New York Times are wrong and idiotically partisan about everything and anything, and has never been known to say he is sorry. Now which of the two is the better man?