They wouldn’t dare, would they?
As the proles fail to heed the instructions of their masters by committing to vote Remain in next week’s EU referendum, we hear the distant rumblings of an all-too-familiar Plan B being cranked into life.
Of course, our superiors have begun to mutter, this referendum is merely advisory, not legally binding. Whatever the people decide, there remains an overwhelming pro-EU majority in the House of Commons. There would be no obligation to initiate withdrawal from the EU, and any negotiations to achieve a Brexit would be extended and tortuous. What might happen at a general election before they could be concluded?
None of this should be any surprise. I have consistently, though regretfully, argued that the likeliest outcome of the poll is a Remain vote secured by a mixture of bullying, bribery and outright deception.
And, in the unlikely event of Leave emerging with the upper hand, a move either to ignore the result completely or attempt some further entirely cosmetic changes and make us vote again, with an even heavier reminder that there can only be one right answer.
This, after all, has been the consistent pattern with every previous plebiscite that temporarily threatened to derail the EU train, whether in Ireland, Denmark, France, The Netherlands or Greece.
So although I shall take care to put some Champagne on ice next Thursday evening, I view the current state of the opinion polls with some scepticism.
Along with natural delight that the poor and stupid sections of the populace (for these, we are constantly reminded, are the only ones not to appreciate the huge benefits of EU membership) seem oddly unmoved by the dire threats to their jobs, benefits, pensions, houses and environment. Not to mention the imminent end of Western political civilisation, the outbreak of World War III and – perhaps worst of all – the collapse of the treasured Northern Powerhouse.
It would surely take a heart of stone not to laugh at Mr Cameron squirming on the hook where he has wilfully impaled himself in the interests of “party management”.
After all, if it would be utterly suicidal to leave the EU, as his Remain campaign constantly implies, what sort of irresponsible halfwit would ever put it to the public as an option in the first place?
Surely a PR genius like Dave might also have foreseen that scheduling the vote shortly after our much-loved monarch’s 90th birthday celebrations might risk a surge of regrettably old-fashioned patriotic fervour skewing the polls?
Or is he counting on our inevitable footballing humiliation in the Euros to remind us of our true, insignificant place?
At any rate he now seems to have been locked away in the same cupboard as the disastrous Remain campaign leader Lord Rose, leaving the heavy lifting of mobilising the pro-EU vote to universally admired, non-partisan figures like John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
They say it was Gordon wot won it in Scotland in 2014, along with “The Vow” to give the country more devolved power and total protection for its NHS, plus perhaps that warning to “think very carefully” from The Queen.
Gordon has been deployed, “The Vow” is surely coming in the next day or two and as for Her Majesty … well, good luck with that, Dave. We may not believe everything we read in The Sun, but it is not hard to believe that a lady who heads 15 other sovereign states might take a fairly dim view of being downgraded to a mere citizen of the EU in her own home.
Overall, I have not enjoyed myself so much in years. Nothing beats having one’s long-standing and well-tested opinions reinforced by hearing the opposing arguments advanced by people who have been wrong about pretty much everything else for as long as one can remember.
Naturally I shall be prepared to admit that I was mistaken if we happen to find ourselves stewing grass together on a bomb-site in ten years’ time.
But I don’t think that is going to happen. First, because I don’t believe for a minute that Brexit would be a disaster for this country. Quite the opposite.
And secondly because I still lack confidence that enough of us will resist the threats and blandishments of the expert Establishment to secure a majority for Leave.
Today we are like prisoners who have made it out onto the roof of our gaol, and are cheerfully hurling slates at the warders in the yard below. Will we have the guts to make it over the wall or will we meekly return to our cells, tempted perhaps by the offer of a KFC takeaway and an extra half hour of TV in the evenings?
I hope my cynicism is misplaced, for once, and that we do break out. But as for me, the war is over. I voted more than a week ago, by post. And nothing has given me greater pleasure in the 41 years since I was conned into voting for continued membership of the then Common Market in 1975.
Do come and join me. It’s lovely out here, but …
They wouldn’t dare, would they?