I guess I should get this out of the way at the very start. I am what I believe is now termed a ‘Remoaner’. Yes, I lost, suck it up, don’t get in the way of the will, stop talking it down, it’s like I don’t want it to succeed and if it doesn’t, it’ll be because I questioned the magic.
To my mind, of course, and I’m vaguely paraphrasing and appropriating from another source, I find it strange that Brexit – such a generally fabulous idea – could be derailed by simple questioning of its finer points. I mean, you’d almost think it was lacking substance, wouldn’t you.
Again, to paraphrase and appropriate, many of those who voted for Brexit, when asked about how it’s going to work, seem to fall back on ‘oh – it’ll be OK’. So there’s not a real understanding of what Brexit is, and what it’s going to look like post the negotiations in two years’ time. And there doesn’t appear to be any idea of what the impacts – economic and social – are going to be either.
But far worse than all this – because without the lies I suspect we wouldn’t be in this position in any case – of the three reasons why most voted to leave, only one still stands up. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating.
The UK parliament has always been sovereign – this was acknowledged in the government’s white paper on Brexit – there is no £350m a week to be spent on the NHS (or anywhere else) – however we might be able to assume greater control of our borders. (Xenophobic and short-sighted though that may be.)
So – there you have it – the ‘will of the people’ is based upon a desire to see less foreigners entering our country. Sorry – I am aware that putting it like that is to imply racism, and I am not doing that. Paraphrasing and appropriating again, not everyone who voted ‘leave’ (on the basis of the immigration thang) is a racist. But there is little doubt in my mind that all the racists that voted, voted ‘leave’.
And let’s get back to that ‘will of the people’ thing again. 33.5m people voted. That’s 72% of the electorate. Incidentally, Theresa May, in that same White Paper on Brexit, claims that 65m people are ‘willing (her) to make it happen’. As that’s almost 20m people more than the total number of eligible voters, I’m not quite sure how she arrived at that number, but hey, we live in Trumpian times.
The number of Leave voters was greater, by some 1.3m. Which, if my math is no more than usually cock-eyed and cack-handed, means that if 650, 000 more people, from those who cast a ballot, had voted remain, rather than leave, it would have been a tie.
Again, I’m not trying to be deliberately provocative here, but doesn’t that mean that this much vaunted ‘will of the people’ which shouldn’t be questioned and should be carried out slavishly, not to do so would be treason, suck it up, don’t question it, liberal elite etc etc etc is in fact the will of 650,000 people? 1.3% of the electorate?
And, let’s be clear, what’s being done in the name of the will of the people is permanent. There’s no cooling off period, or a chance to voice the will of the people again in four or five years time. In fact, this ‘will of the people’ thing, is a little too near the ‘voice of the people’ – the vox populi.
Of course, we all know that ‘vox populi, vox dei’. The voice of the people is the voice of God. But of course – it isn’t. That’s not what Alcuin of York, in his letter to Charlemagne, in 798, actually said. He said, and with apologies to Alcuin, I’m paraphrasing and appropriating, ‘do not listen to those who are accustomed to say that the voice of the people is the voice of God, for the tumult of the masses is often close to madness’. Seems like Alcuin was advocating against the idea of letting the people have a say.
But regardless, the people did have a say and more of them said Leave than said Stay. But, triumphant Brexiteers, this does not mean that you, in some way, ‘won’ something. It was not a first past the post. There was nothing to win. It was a yes or no – leave or remain and the majority voted to leave.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s being viewed. Apparently – and getting back to the idea that Brexit will somehow be derailed by the questioning of those who are concerned by it and how it is to be carried out – to voice doubt about Brexit is to be in denial about being a loser.
Thus we have the Remoaners – a derogatory epithet coined by those with their eyes firmly fixed on the sunlit uplands of Brexit rather than, perhaps, on the road immediately in front of them. It is dismissive and denigratory and diminishing – and as such attempts to belittle and suppress any sort of contrary point of view. It is almost as if those who see themselves as ‘winners’ now believe that, as the people have spoken and ‘vox populi, vox dei’, that any opposition should simply melt away (in the sunlight from the sunlit uplands, I suppose).
And it’s a shame. Because the most vocal proponents of the idea that Remoaners are somehow betraying the people and therefore betraying the country itself seem to be those with an apparently limited understanding of the incredibly complex process that is Brexit and the very many unpleasant and detrimental outcomes that are ranked alongside any positive outcomes as being the possible results of that process.
And the very first of those outcomes? The one that arrived the moment the results of the referendum were announced? A division within the UK itself – a division that spawned the Remoaners and the Brextremists, that set people against each other and made (makes) the UK look like some vision of a dystopian world as imagined by Suzanne Collins.