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Our Crack Snapper
On a recent television report about Brexit, I heard an MP mention the people in their constituency who voted Remain and how their views had been totally ignored during the months of debate; that the closeness of the result had never been reflected in any kind of ‘reaching out’ or consensus and how the ‘will of the people’ was turned around to mean the will of the 52% who turned out to vote. If we look at the numbers we see that 46.5m people were able to vote of whom 17.4 voted Leave and 16.1m voted Remain, which left 12.9m who didn’t vote at all. Thus, the idea that the ‘majority of the British people’ supported Leave is, and has always been, wrong. The Tory Party, however, thought it best to ignore this inconvenient truth in the hope they could ride the populist wave of Leavers and become the party of the people that UKIP were threatening to become. Unluckily for them they completely misunderstood how such a compromised and close result would reflect itself in parliament. Accordingly, Theresa May’s deal or variations thereof, a Tory Leave fait accompli if you will, just didn’t satisfy anyone on either side of the debate. Whether by the time you read this we are out, in or still in limbo the fact remains this has always been a Tory Brexit designed to keep the Tory Party from fragmenting. There was no grand idea about what Brexit was; no one presented a vision of what Britain could be outside of Europe. Mainly because none of this mattered in the least. Hence all the cliched talk of ‘taking our country back’, blue passports, bendy bananas, and less immigration. Not forgetting the lies about how the NHS would benefit from a Leave windfall of £350m a week. It didn’t help that parts of the Tory Party had also begun to believe that the kind of extremism as expressed by Donald Trump, among others, could be harnessed as a way of arguing against the perceived nanny-statism of the European project. Working time directives, the European Court of Human Rights, and EU Farming, Fishery and tax directives, among other things, just seemed like the sort of liberal thinking a growing number of libertarians in the Tory Party were beginning to baulk at. In the new nationalist world order, anything that smacked of liberal thinking had somehow been conflated with ‘fake news’ and was no longer to be trusted. In fact, it was to be confronted as violently as possible either online or, tragically, offline. The Tories have, sometimes unconsciously, played up to this nasty plague in the hope that right-wing populism was the edge that they needed either to get their version of Brexit through or to shore up their popularity in the polls. If the last few months have proven anything it’s that this unconscionable tactic has failed miserably.