Haven’t written about Brexit for a while. Been hoping the tempest might have abated by now. Had been hoping the sheer offensiveness of some of those refusing to accept the public vote in the June 23rd 2016 EU Referendum would have eased off. But I don’t think that is the case. I thought Janet Daley’s column in today’s Sunday Telegraph was largely justified - “Remainers’ vile abuse and rage is unprecedented in modern politics”. It has certainly surprised me.
I too remember some nasty stuff of the past. The anti-Thatcher ‘snobbery’ was bad, because she was but a “Greengrocer’s daughter”. Lady T challenged the elites, and the elites, armed with their sense of entitlement didn’t like being challenged. They never forgave her for being successful. I heard just today from a schoolteacher I know that her pupils were celebrating her death with chants of “The Witch is Dead” when she died. Shocking it was. Of course, the students had no idea who Lady Thatcher was. Very unpleasant - but short lived. And I well recall the headlines about “Blair is a War Criminal”. This lasted longer and was also very unpleasant. It’s what happens when Prime Ministers are successful.
But what we are seeing now is in a different league. Last week Boris Johnson made a typically Boris speech - colourful (as is his style) but essentially loyal to the Cabinet of which he’s a member. The response of ‘the elites’ has been utterly ridiculous. Luckily Boris is made of stern stuff. There is of course an irony here. The more ridiculous the personal attacks, the less believable they are and the more they damage the Remainer’s cause. During the run-up to the referendum it was the same. I thought the Project Fear was genuinely ridiculous, and totally unbelievable, and severely damaged the ‘Remainers’ cause. Far more untruthful than the supposed ‘lie’ on the side of a red campaign bus supporting the Leave side in the referendum referring to an extra £350 million per week for the NHS. In passing, I have argued before that the Govt should consider budgeting for this, in order to reduce division in our society.
I do think Theresa May is playing her rather weak hand quite well. Let the major corporates, the EU mandarins and unelected peers make as much noise as it likes. All they are doing is making it more difficult to secure as smooth a Brexit as possible - very frustrating for those of us who want as positive a relationship with our European neighbours as we can possible agree. The Prime Minister is the voice of reason, while all around her is ill considered noise.