Rising footballers used to tell a gag about a young man on his first date with Raquel Welch – he felt that something wonderful might happen but he was not sure how.
That is how those in Britain who want leave the EU feel. What do they do now? They don’t know. Who are they then? There are at least three strands. Boris Johnson is in it for Boris. Nigel Farage doesn’t like foreigners. Michael Gove has a Victorian notion of sovereignty, but he has participated in a campaign that was vile. He is about to learn that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
So, we have seen another rebellion – revolt if you like – against what are called the elites or the political establishment. The resemblances between Boris and Donald are nauseating. Who are the rebels? They are obviously the people who respond to politicians like Trump, Farage, and Johnson, what we call populists. In England you can do it geographically – they are mainly people who live outside London, Oxford, and Cambridge, and do so with a chip on their shoulder of Defarge proportions. They are people who are not as well off as those in the elite, who tend to be cosmopolitan. That group includes most MPs and members of the Conservative Party. They are the ones rebelled against. If you sought to apply a label to them, you would be denounced as a snob.
So, as a result of these rebellions against the elite, we now face the prospect of nations being governed by people who were elected by people who reject the system. The two most stable democracies in the world could be led by peoples’ choices like Donald and Boris. Each of those might just be the most loathed person of his time in his nation. If you want to see just how low we can seek with the people’s choice, listen to the speech of Jeremy Corbyn the other night. It was murderously inept. He may have been addressing a branch of the coal miners’ union in 1926.
Yes, the elites and pros at Brussels and Washington get up our noses, but who believes that Trump, Corbyn, or Johnson will do a better job? And the legal mire will be worse for a generation as the lawyers arrive at a decades long Christmas.
And the British, who should know better, fell for this American claptrap about voting not being compulsory. Two essential pillars of our way of life are voting in elections and serving on juries. It is downright silly to suggest that either might be voluntary. Was this step taken at the behest of 36% of the people?
Then, having annoyed Europe with tantrums and sulks for a decade, the Poms who want to leave say that they are not yet ready to come to the table for that purpose. This whole issue comes from a spat among Tories, and now Europe is told it must wait until the Tories change train drivers. And then there might have to be an election. What happens if the new government is against leaving? Why can’t Europe make an offer now that will go down with every day of the delay induced by those who want to leave but don’t know how? As it, the choice of new leader, and government, will be heavily influenced by the position of Europe. That European influence on England is as certain as the English Channel, and the English may well notice it more outside the tent than in.
Well, if people think that this is democracy in action, they have a quaint idea of proportion, and the patient may be nearer to death than we thought. And charmers like Le Pen, Wilders, and Putin cannot believe their luck.
Finally, as someone having some Scots blood, may I say that while I was against their leaving in 2014, I would now wish they left. My faith in Britain has fallen, and if they elect that jerk Boris as their leader, I will give up. Doubtless the nationalists who treasure national sovereignty will greet the departure of Scotland with palm fronds and loud hosannas – just as they are doing with the hoped for disintegration of Europe.
As the French discovered after 1789, when you have rebellion against the system that puts the people in charge, the results can be very ugly and enduring.