One by one the last true blue Tory diehards are caving on Brexit. Even Jacob Rees-Mogg now concedes that the time has come to give up the fight and accept that Theresa May’s glitter-dipped turd of a Withdrawal Agreement is still preferable to no Brexit at all.
So isn’t that a sign that we should all bow to the inevitable and accept that we’re beaten? It’s not our fault. We fought a good fight. But parliament has so rigged it that we cannot possibly win. Time to accept defeat with a grace that has been wholly lacking among our unscrupulous, shrill, devious adversaries, right?
When you’re winning a game of chess and your opponent decides to stop you by petulantly picking up the board and flinging all the pieces into the air, is that really the signal that you’ve lost? Of course it isn’t. It’s a sign that the gloves are off and that in this escalated conflict the rules of chess no longer apply.
This is what I don’t understand about the squishy conservative commentators I’ve been reading on Twitter cucksplaining to me that the mature and sensible thing to do is to simply to surrender to May and the Remainers because numbers and realpolitik. They’re still thinking in terms of the rules of a game that our opponents stopped playing some while ago.
Some of these ‘pragmatists’ have got so carried away with their craven pusillanimity masquerading as grand strategy that they’ve even persuaded themselves that the people really most to blame for the failure of Brexit are — no wait for it, you’re going to love this… — the European Research Group.
Well done ERG die hards! This is working out brilliantly! Genius strategy. Such wizardry.
— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) March 25, 2019
No. I did not fake that tweet. The European Research Group (ERG) are the group of MPs who have fought hardest to secure a Brexit approximating to the one 17.4 million people voted for in June 2016. How could any self-respecting political commentator — let alone one who has on occasion expressed Brexiteer sympathies — possibly wish to vent his spleen on about the only politicians who have emerged from this squalid, ugly, anti-democratic affair with their honour and principles intact?
The short answer to that question is: Brexit has made lunatics and monsters and idiots and fiends of us all. Like the Civil War it has set brother against brother, father against son, husband against wife, old mate against old mate, town against country, north against south, hard Brexiteer against even harder Brexiteer, Etonian against Etonian…
I’d do almost anything to recapture the prelapsarian innocence of those years before June 2016, when you neither knew nor cared what your neighbour’s position on Europe was — and certainly wouldn’t have hated him for it if you’d found out. Anything that is, apart from denying the British people their Brexit referendum.
That referendum wasn’t — as many Remainers, of course, insisted once they’d lost — a terrible mistake by David Cameron. It was, in fact, the only right and decent decision he made in his entire political career.
Britain needed the referendum because the chasm between the political elite and the people had grown more wide and deep than is healthy for a functioning, stable democracy. Cameron understood this and thought that the referendum would act as a pressure valve to release all that pent-up tension.
What Cameron didn’t understand — none of the liberal elite did, nor has it understood since — is that it’s not enough merely to give the proles a chance to express their discontent at the ballot box. What you then have to do is deliver what all those proles voted for, however unpalatable you and your fancy Westminster chums and mates in the big law firms and the civil service and the City and at the BBC may find their decision.
This, as we know, the Remainer elite has failed to do. It hasn’t merely failed to deliver Brexit through incompetence or indolence. Rather it has actively, shamelessly, vauntingly, and very publicly conspired in every way possible to exploit whatever cheats and loopholes it can to make damn sure that Brexit never actually happens. And for the foreseeable future, it seems likely that meaningful Brexit won’t happen, because that’s what happens when you have a government and a parliament dominated by Remainers who’ve given up on democracy because killing Brexit is the only thing that matters to them.
But far from being the end of the turmoil which has made Britain such a fraught, bitter, and divided place to live these last few years, this parliamentary destruction of Brexit is not the end of everything we Leavers have fought for but just the beginning.
Douglas Carswell puts it well in this tweet:
Ask yourself when you last heard anyone in the UK these past two years make a positive case for the EU from first principle? Me, neither. It’s only about being anti Brexiteer. This is why we win. #LongMarch
— Douglas Carswell (@DouglasCarswell) March 26, 2019
He’s right. Remainers believe in little more than propping up the crumbling status quo. When I say “in little more than” I am perhaps being overgenerous. Like Carswell, I have never yet met a Remainer capable of making a positive case for Britain’s ongoing membership — or, as now seems likely, non-membership but with most of the costs and all the drawbacks of membership — of the European Union.
They define themselves, rather, by their virtuous and high-minded loathing of Brexiteers: how ignorant and ill-educated they are; how racist; how Little Englander-ish; how xenophobic.
Brexiteers, on the other hand, have a sense of purpose and direction. They know exactly what they want and since they voted for it on June 23 2016 they haven’t budged an inch from that desire.
One way or another full Brexit is inevitable. It’s just a question of when, not if.