In a way that perfectly encapsulates the kind of identity crisis the british people have had since the end of the Empire. For a certain (decent sized, maybe the majority even) section of the british public we like to think (celebrate even) that we are ‘different’ from the rest of the EU zone, and that is about making us feel better about the fact we are not the world leader anymore (coming out of being a Super Power status does have a psychological effect on the people).
Deeper down it is about an inferiority complex (that is just compounded by our change in status in modern history) that you can trace back to 1066 when William the Bastard (as the french like to call him) finding himself frozen out of power at home in france decided to take the island of britian as a substitute for what he could not get claim too in france (the frence crown).
And all that emotional baggage is really the root cause of why the british feel they are different (superior even) from the rest of the european countries. The disrespect for france in particular is a cultural hang-over from Williams own difficult relationship with his mother country. And the white-van-man and ultra-right-wing upper class Tory alike carries that tradition on with aplomb to this day, without (for the majority of them) actually knowing the real background as to why they ‘hate’ europe so much.
But the reality is that we are actually europeans and without the Germans and French in particular there would be no ‘England’, no English language, no Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth etc. We owe them thanks for their input into the (fairly recent) creation of our current identities. So thanks Europe for beign there for us whenever we have need you, from that time after the last ice age when your people re-settled our island, to the last proper invasion of uk soil under William the french dude. I really wish groups like the BNP/Brexit fans would study their actual history a bit, it would save a lot of confusion and mistakes.