WHAT exactly is this ‘peoples’ revolution’ I keep hearing about? Did I miss the explanatory memo from the People’s Revolutionary Committee or something?
Oddly, the people who go on about this are not revolutionaries; they are reactionaries. And they are not even people. They are as newspapers such as the Daily Mail, proclaiming in an editorial comment splashed across its front page,: “Damn the unpatriotic Bemoaners and their plot to subvert the will of the British people.”
So, yes, we are in Brexit-land again, but I feel no need to apologise. Those of us who voted Remain did so with as much legitimacy as those who wished to leave. And to interpret a close-call victory as “The Will of the British People” really is arrant nonsense.
Yes, the Leavers won the vote on the day, and nothing can change that. But all this talk about the will of the people is just opportunistic nonsense from newspaper editors and owners who spent so much newsprint, money and effort helping to engineer the result THEY wanted.
To remind ourselves, the vote was 52 to 48 per cent. So it was relatively close – close enough, certainly, to banish any notion that leaving the EU is what everybody wanted; leaving Europe is what a majority of those who voted opted for, and that is different.
Add to this a newish prime minister who has decided to take the Hard Brexit road and a relatively modest ‘win’ for Brexit is suddenly being inflated into The Will of All the People. This won’t end well, as the will of the people is a mixed, uncertain, ungraspable thing that has been clenched by the meaty fist of certain newspapers and flourished to within an inch of its poor, confused life.
All the while the people who didn’t want to leave are being scribbled out of the argument, and MPs who speak up for the Remainers are being hauled into the newspaper stocks; the Daily Express recently branded them “whingeing pro-Brussels MPs” whose “staggering arrogance. . . is a horror to behold”.
Well, pardon me but the “staggering arrogance” surely belongs to those who stagger around newsrooms turning a narrow win into a strutting column of bogus patriotism. And what does patriotism have to do with all this anyway? Love of one’s country doesn’t have to equate with hating all other countries, but that’s the way this argument is being dressed up.
Calling everyone who has doubts a “whinger”(even the arch-Leaver Boris Johnson, whose column of doubt failed to appear in the Daily Telegraph but has suddenly been exposed by the Sunday Times?), and laying into the BBC for not being positive enough about Brexit; this is all just nasty nonsense.
And when it comes to The Will of All the People, what about the will of those people who voted in 1975 at a Conservative prime minister’s behest to join Europe? Their will seems to have been extinguished on the whim of another now departed (Conservative) prime minister who got us into this situation.
Anyway, I have better things to do than bang on about the iniquities of Brexit. But surely we should be able to agree that nasty disparagement of everyone who disagrees with our departure from Europe is not a helpful way forward?
The nastiness heaped on the singer Lily Allen (above), filmed by the BBC weeping as she apologised to an Afghan teenager while visiting the migrant camp in Calais was typical: for that moment of compassion and humanity her image has been dragged through the inky gutter. The Daily Star called her a “sobbing luvvie”.
Well, I call her a woman who bothered to go and have a look, rather than sitting on her arse in what used to be called Fleet Street and spilling viciousness onto newsprint.