WHAT exactly is this “peoples’ revolution” I keep hearing about? Perhaps I missed that memo from the revolutionary committee or something.
Oddly, the people who go on about this are not themselves revolutionaries but reactionaries. And they are not people as such but newspapers.
Yesterday the Daily Mail splashed a bit of its editorial comment across the front page, proclaiming: “Damn the unpatriotic Bemoaners and their plot to subvert the will of the British people.”
So, yes, we are in Brexit-land again, but there is no need to apologise. For those of us who voted Remain did so with as much legitimacy as those who wished to leave. And to interpret a close-call victory as “the will of the British people” really is acrid nonsense.
Yes, the Leavers won the vote on the day, and nothing can change that. But all this talk about the will of the people is just opportunistic nonsense from newspaper editors who spent so much effort helping to engineer the result they wanted.
To remind ourselves, the vote went 52 to 48 per cent. So it was relatively close – close enough, certainly, to banish any notion that leaving the EU is what everybody wanted; leaving Europe is what a majority of those who voted opted for, and that is different.
Add to this a newish prime minister who has decided to take the Hard Brexit road and a relatively modest ‘win’ for Brexit is suddenly being inflated into the will of all the people. This won’t end well, as the will of the people is a mixed, uncertain, ungraspable thing that has been clenched by the meaty fist of certain newspapers and flourished to within an inch of its poor confused life.
All the while the people who didn’t want to leave are being scribbled out of the argument, and MPs who speak up for the Remainers are being hauled into the newspaper stocks, with the Daily Express this morning calling them “whingeing pro-Brussels MPs” and saying “the staggering arrogance of these people is a horror to behold”.
Well, pardon me but the “staggering arrogance” surely belongs to those who stagger about newsrooms as they turn a narrow win into a strutting column of bogus patriotism. And what does patriotism have to do with all this anyway? Love of one’s country doesn’t have to equate with hating all other countries, but that’s the way this argument is being dressed up.
Calling everyone who has doubts a “whinger”, and laying into the BBC for not being positive enough about Brexit; this is all just nasty nonsense. And when it comes to the will of the people, what about the will of the people who voted in 1975 to join Europe? Their will seems to have been extinguished on the whim of the now departed prime minister who got us into this situation.
Anyway other duties are calling and I don’t have time to sit on this stony ground for much longer today. But surely we should be able to agree that nasty disparagement of everyone who disagrees with Brexit is not a helpful way forward.
And while we’re about it, the nastiness has really been heaped this morning on Lily Allen. The singer was filmed by the BBC visiting the migrant camp in Calais. She burst into tears and apologised to an Afghan teenager during her visit, and has been dragged through the inky gutter – all for displaying a bit of common humanity.
The Daily Star calls her a “sobbing luvvie”. Well, I call her a woman who bothered to go and have a look, rather than sitting on her arse in what used to be called Fleet Street and spilling viciousness onto the newsprint.