Thinking about it now, it’s clear that the wrong question was asked on that fateful day on June 23, 2016. Here’s what the ballot paper should have asked:
Do you wish to engage in a monumental and pointless act of self-harm that will tear the country apart, baffle the rest of the world, lead to all sorts of vile nonsense about how we won the war by ourselves and with only a handful of conkers, pave the way for the rise of Boris Johnson as prime minister, do all manner of stupid things such as leaving the single market, all because of a berk called Nigel Farage and his shadowy right-wing backers who splutter on and on about sovereignty (whatever that might be), do you want to chuck everything away to throw your lot in with a US president of questionable mental strength who nevertheless breaks Twitter by spouting off about his “great and unmatched wisdom”, do you want to watch as the Labour leader sits on the fence for three years while trying to make up his mind about Brexit, and do you want the rest of the world to throw away all notions of Britons as pragmatic and sensible people in favour of spending three years chewing each other’s heads off?
Do you wish to be sensible and just carry on as we are?
While a little over 17m people voted for Brexit, they only represented 51.7 per cent of those who voted. That in turns represents 37% of the electorate and 27% of the population. This leaves 63% of the electorate and 73% of the population who did not vote for Brexit. As a little over 16m people voted to remain – even without having seen my helpfully rephrased question – that daily splurged myth about this being “the will of the British people” should be politely corrected whenever possible; or shouted down whenever possible, but really there’s just been too much shouting. A close win never was the will of the people; and perhaps the people have willed up a new will.
Leave.EU’s has deleted its vile tweet about Angela Merkel – “We didn’t win two world wars to be pushed around by a Kraut”. Can we just sit at the sensible table and agree to stop going on about how we won the war all by ourselves? Wars are complicated and end for overlapping reasons. The notion of solitary British supremacy is just a comforting myth. Without wishing to dig too much deeper here, the clue lies in the title of “world wars”. Oh, and the second of those wars ended more than 70 years ago and the first more than 100 years ago. Try looking forwards for a change, chaps.