I’m afraid you’re going to have to cast your minds back nearly three years, to the conspiracy theory fuelled bottom-of-the-barrel of the Leave campaign, the seemingly countless Boomers spreading hysteria about the “elites” bond to the European Union being too strong for even a referendum result to overturn. You may well have laughed at them – heck, I did too. A few days before the vote, Aditya Chakrabortty of G2 fame joked on Newsnight at how some Leave voters apparently thought that even if Leave won, Britain would still be kept in the European Union, as an illustration of how insane political discourse had become. The presenter, I can’t recall which one it was, chuckled along. The day after the result, of course, Simon Schama came onto the same programme via video-link to demand that Britain stay. Then there was the best one, where people were telling others to vote in pen, so that MI5 or whatever couldn’t rub out your vote and write in a Remain one. How ridiculous! These were just pre-emptive excuses for Leave losing, we were told, and thought ourselves. All the Establishment lined up, telling us that should we vote Leave, we would have to leave. We would leave the Single Market, Cameron, Major, Ashdown, Blair, Mandelson, Cooper and every other Remainer on earth or in heaven told us. We would leave the Customs Union, too, we were warned by Osborne, Farron, and probably, again, everyone else on the Remain side. “Sounds good to us!” thought 17.4 million people, some of them, yes, bringing their own pens to the polling station. And on the morning of the 24th of June, nearly three years ago, for that brief moment in time, people accepted that that would be what happened. There would be no erasing the vote. The general election the next year saw both the Conservatives and the Labour party include in their manifestos a pledge to leave both the Single Market and the Customs Union. Remarkably, the overwhelmingly Remain-backing MPs had reached a consensus over actually leaving the EU properly. There was even a lull in the use of the term “Hard Brexit” to describe such an arrangement.
And yet, now it’s clear that these “conspiracy theories” were actually correct, more or less. There is a conspiracy to keep us in the European Union, it’s been slowly ticking away for nearly three years, and now it’s built up such power and momentum it has shamelessly breached the surface of the political process. Maybe we should’ve voted in pen. Last night, the votes of 17.4 million people were erased, not secretly by MI5, but openly, live on television, by the Establishment. They say the Revolution will not be televised, but sure as hell democracy will be violated on a YouTube livestream. The political class really are all the same, and they have their million identical hands firmly on the reins of power, and the only way to achieve Brexit now is somehow to wrest control of the chariot of state from them. Hopefully now you can see how politics actually works in this country. The Tory/Labour split has been meaningless at least since Blair, arguably since Kinnock; the emergence of the Independence Group proves that, although to the Labour party’s credit at least their leadership at the moment is actually left wing, rather than Miliband’s brand of being slightly less callous than the Coalition. The fact that some trade union leaders were sharing a stage with Michael Heseltine, one of the architects of the mine closures of the 1980s, on the Remainer march, while others shared a stage with Nigel Farage, former stockbroker turned populist MEP, on the Brexiteer march, should tell you something pretty significant. Yet the two party machines, parachuting in candidates throughout the country over the last two decades, have stacked both their parliamentary parties with instinctively Remainer, Establishment MPs, creating a Commons which is indisputably unrepresentative of the actual commoners (you and me, presumably, unless you’re like a lord or the Queen) it is meant to represent. I mean, Rory Stewart seems really nice, and he’s undoubtedly a very clever man, but what has he got to with Penrith? My MP, Kate Green, I doubt had set foot in Urmston in her life until Brown airdropped her in 2010 (well, maybe she’d gone on a day trip to the Trafford Centre, I don’t stalk her so have been unable to carry out complete due diligence for that point). This kind of thing has entrenched and inflated the Establishment’s vice-like grip on power in this country, which has manifested itself in the sheer disregard for democracy which we witnessed in parliament yesterday.
Peter Hitchens, it turns out, was right; how could we expect a referendum to see us out of the EU when parliament, judges, the Bar, the commentariat, universities, BBC panel shows and even the clergy of the Church of England are all overwhelmingly opposed to the idea? There seem to be only two routes for Brexit now: either we somehow topple the Establishment and completely overhaul the British political process, an attractive option, but a lot easier said than done; or we overhaul the Establishment, accepting that political decisions needs must pass through it in this country, by voting for pro-Brexit MPs, waging our own style of the war of attrition which Remainers have been waging these past three years, until finally the Establishment, either afraid of losing its grip on power by being so out of step with the people, or having been made to reflect the will of the people, takes us out of the European Union, Single Market, Customs Union, ECJ and all. It could be a long process, but there is always hope; ten years ago, who would’ve thought that there would be a referendum at all, let alone that we would win it? So while there may be reasons to be hopeless now, there have been many more in times gone by; we beat them once, we will beat them again.
As Tony Benn said, "Every generation must fight the same battles again and again. There's no final victory and there's no final defeat." The issue of Britain’s relationship with the continent across the sea has been hot-button since AD 43, it’s not going to go away. No matter what happens in the next few months, the Battle of Brexit will be fought on for generations to come.