Brexit has breathed life back into history, by Brendan O’Neill.
Political quakes don’t get much more seismic than this.
Just over a week ago, Britain had a competent Prime Minister, a functioning opposition, and decent diplomatic relations with the EU and the rest of the world.
Now, after 17.5 million of us ignored the advice of virtually the entire establishment and voted to leave the EU, our PM is on his way out; the opposition has collapsed; it isn’t clear who — if anyone — is running the country; and the EU and the rest of the world thinks Britain has lost every one of its marbles.
And I love it. This is the most exciting thing that has happened to British politics in a generation. The whole Brexit fallout has been a crazy, stirring reminder of what people power really looks like.
Leftists are out in the streets singing “Power to the People”. Oh no, they’re not. Instead they are claiming the results should be ignored or the referendum held again. The English PC crew are on the side of the elite, against democracy, preferring rule by their overpaid, unaccountable, elite buddies in some other country. Comrades!
So this is what democracy feels like? It feels good.
It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of what has happened in Britain. A freaked-out political and media set, which desperately wanted us to stay in the EU, is peddling the politics of fear over Brexit. They’re telling us we’re heading towards economic catastrophe, that racism is on the rise and that Britain has become the Miss Havisham of Europe, destined to live out its remaining years in cobwebbed isolation.
Don’t believe a word of it. They’re just sore losers. In truth, Brexit opens up a whole new world of political and historic possibility. Brexit has brought politics back to life. The most striking thing it has done is expose the gaping chasm that separates the political and media elite from ordinary people. …
Make no mistake: when 17.5 million of us ticked the Leave box, we weren’t only rejecting the bureaucrats of Brussels; we were rejecting our own establishment. We were defying it.
The people left out of the economic pie by the PC elite voted against it, but the PC just make their usual cry of “racist!”.
This is my favourite fact: of the 50 parts of Britain that have the highest number of people from social classes D and E — semi-skilled or unskilled workers — 47 voted Leave. That is 47 very poor parts of Britain crying in unison: “No, we won’t give you what you want.”
And on it goes, stat after stat, revealing that if you do physical labour, don’t have a university degree and don’t earn much money, then you’re likelier to have voted Leave than people on the leafier side of the tracks.
Brendan O’Neill, the author, was (is?) a leftie but despises political correctness. Ecstatic, isn’t he?
Surveys suggest 60 per cent of working-class people are hostile to the EU, while a staggering 95 per cent of business leaders favour it. …
We have bosses, the well-educated and the broadsheet set on one side, and toilers and tabloid readers on the other. Make no bones about it: this was a revolt of the lower orders. This is what I like most about Brexit: it was a puncturing, a conscious puncturing, of an aloof, smug establishment that thinks its worldview is superior to the little people’s.
Ordinary people, sick of being patronised and nanny-stated, sick of being told they’re bad parents and too fat, that they shouldn’t smoke, shouldn’t drink, shouldn’t be so un-PC or uncouth, seized this opportunity to take the elites down a peg or two. …
The reactionary elites:
The reaction from the chattering classes has been vicious. They have spent the past week branding Leave voters as “low-information”, ignorant, racist. …
These elitist libels, these nasty slurs, are easily disproved. In a post-referendum survey, only 34 per cent of Leave voters gave immigration as their main concern (and concern with immigration isn’t necessarily racist). Most gave democracy as their key reason for voting Leave. They think political decisions should be taken in London, not Brussels. That isn’t reactionary; it’s progressive.
The post-referendum defamation of certain sections of the public sums up why such vast numbers voted Leave in the first place. Because they’re sick of this. They’re sick of being treated as stupid and maybe even subhuman. And now they’ve asserted themselves, they’ve given the political class a reminder of their power; and in the process they’ve caused glorious upset to the global order. …
Democracy reasserts itself over technocracy:
They have unfrozen politics. They have unfrozen history itself. The EU is really an attempt to suspend politics, to replace the difficult, tense business of political thought and action with managerialism and technocracy.
The EU is a lid on European history. It suppresses, without resolving, tensions within Europe. … It is about burying politics in favour of letting apolitical experts run things.
This is democracy in all its glory. British voters have pummelled their own political class, upset the European order and made it clear they don’t think the EU’s technocracy is the only game in town. … They’re being libelled now, but posterity shall judge them kindly.
hat-tip Stephen Neil