Darren Grimes wins his appeal against the Electoral Commission on the issue of him being fined £20,000; cue Leavers using this as massive vindication. I can understand why: Remainers had built his case up into the ultimate argument against Brexit. This was always a bad idea on the part of Remainers, as is the whole “Leave won by cheating” line of thinking. It is possible that something dodgy went on with the Leave campaign and if that is proven correct it will have huge implications for how political campaigns are run in the future. God knows, electoral law needs to be reformed in this country, so if something kick starts that effort, then great. However, Remainers have got lost in this argument when it really does not matter to whether we stay in or leave the European Union. We shouldn’t go through with Brexit, not because of some conspiracy involving the Russians or Darren Grimes ticking the wrong box on a form, but because it is a really terrible idea.
If you want to say something about the referendum, say this: it gave the government of the time a mandate to try and secure a deal along the lines dictated by the Leave campaign. That turned out not to be possible. Also, it was an advisory referendum that produced a mandate not to be ignored – in the immediate. Whether anyone likes it or not, the mandate produced by the 2016 EU referendum gets steadily weaker the more time passes, which can be said of all democratic processes. This is one of the great things about democracy, in fact – people get to change their minds. Governments and ideas are given a shot and if they don’t work out, they are replaced.
Liberals compare Brexit with Trump and now the rise of Boris Johnson all the time. What I think they mean by this most of the time is “here are three things that are right-wing flavoured that I don’t like”. Yet there is actually something tangible that links all three: they are hyper-establishment movements and characters that have been disguised and then sold as anti-establishment. Donald Trump is the son of a millionaire real estate developer who went to an Ivy League school. Boris Johnson is an Etonian who went to Oxford. Some people have an issue with people who went to posh schools being in positions of power. I do not. In other words, I don’t mind there being an establishment. It just really, really irks me when those who have been given this gift of being on the inside try and claim outsider status.
Brexit is just that insider claiming outsider status trope turned into a movement and a sacred idea. It poses as something for the little guy, for those in the left behind towns, people on the wrong end of the socio-economic ladder, when in practice it is the precise opposite. The wealthier you are, the less you will be affected if we crash out of the EU with no deal.
Beyond that, a large section of the British establishment has embraced Brexit to an amazing degree. There is a very cosy group with great influence and/or power who have kept Brexit alive as its failures have piled up, one on top of each other. It was supposed to be about giving money back to the NHS – instead, we are now talking about stockpiling medicines. This is the stuff Remainers should talk more about, leaving the Russian conspiracy theories and the minutiae of electoral law to one side for now.