There is still much dispute as to precisely what it was that persuaded 17.4 million Britons to vote for Brexit last year. Some may have done it to regain Britain’s sovereignty, some to curb immigration, some because they realised correctly that everyone on the Remain side of the argument from one-hit-wonder gobshite Bob Geldof to that preening renter of overpriced desert islands Richard Branson was a weapons-grade, copper-bottomed tick.
But here’s one thing of which we can be pretty sure: nobody voted Brexit – the biggest public vote in favour of anything in UK history – in order to get more of the same old, same old.
Brexit was, perhaps more than anything, a cri de coeur from the silent majority who had been ignored for too long. It sprung from the same impulse that saw Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency – what political economist (and friend to the Donald) Ted Malloch has argued is a paradigm shift in global politics.
If you had to sum up that impulse in a phrase, it would go something like “Enough of this shit, already.”
Sure we might differ on our preferred solutions, but we’re all agreed what the general problem is. For too long a remote, democratically unaccountable, smug, corrupt, self-serving liberal elite has been making all the rules and all the running, while the rest of us just feel poorer, less fairly treated and more constrained by stupid, politically correct rules, regulations, and taxes in a failing system which wastes lots of our money yet gives us little in return.
The good news is that, against the odds, we won Brexit.
The bad news is that in Britain we’ve still ended up with the same old, same old bunch of tossers at the top.
In the immediate aftermath of the extraordinary palace coup in July last year, where the losing faction of the Conservative party who’d voted Remain somehow managed to slime their way into all the key positions of government – Remainer Theresa May as Prime Minister, Remainer Philip Hammond as Chancellor, Remainer Amber Rudd as Home Secretary – I dashed off a despairing piece called “Brexit won the battle: But now we’ve lost the war.”
Later I wondered whether I’d gone slightly over the top. (Something, as you know, I’m always careful to avoid.) After all, Theresa May seemed to be making all the right noises – “Brexit means Brexit” and so on.
But after yesterday’s budget, I’m disappointed to learn that I was right all along. Britain remains under the thumb of the same old liberal elite that gave us the Tony Blair government and the Gordon Brown government and the David Cameron Coalition government and the David Cameron “Conservative” government. All governments run by the kind of people who were perfectly happy to remain within the European Union because they basically shared its communitarian socialist values and believed that the job of elites is to tax, spend, and regulate while the little people accepted with humble gratitude whatever bread and circuses were tossed their way.
Theresa May’s lot are really no different. Well, obviously not because like their predecessors, they embody all those Remainer values that the majority of Britons voted against last year in the naive belief that things might change.
And Britain really does need to change. The fact that our economy has been performing well since Brexit says more about the dire state of our neighbours’ economies than it does in the fundamentals. We are grotesquely over-indebted, our productivity levels are dismal, our government is continuing to spend far too much money it doesn’t have on entirely unnecessary projects (eg its ringfenced foreign aid budget inherited from the ludicrous Dave), the NHS is screwed, multiculturalist attitudes towards Islam have led to rape gangs and ghettos which act as breeding grounds for terrorism, the housing market and financial markets have been distorted by quantitative easing, our armed forces are undermanned and ill-equipped, our low-interest rates are propping up failures and encouraging malinvestment…
And that’s before you get on to the systematic takeover of pretty much every one of our institutions – schools, universities, law firms, corporations, the church, the NHS, local government, the civil service, and so on – by the insidious corruption of cultural Marxism.
See, for example, what has happened to that bastion of fine British tradition the House of Lords.
For every distinguished ex-parliamentarian (Lord Tebbit; Lord Lawson) or bright, engaging toff (Lord Ridley) or crusading heroine (Baroness Cox) who deserves to be there, there are at least a dozen crooks, spivs, greasy-pole-climbers, nonentities, and half-wits who were only promoted because they happened to be of the right religion, sex, or ethnic background, or because the Liberal Democrats needed to have their butthurt soothed for having lost all but ten of their MPs thanks to their dismal performance in the Coalition, or because they happened to be best friends of the person who used to do Sam Cam’s nails, or similar. What’s more, the political balance in the Lords is not remotely representative of where the country is: it’s much more aggressively liberal-left; and its dominated by Remainers.
Which is why, despite the popular vote of Brexit, we’re having to endure nonsense like this.
Brexit could have been a chance to arrest this national decline.
With her enviable popularity ratings (basically the tail-wind of Brexit euphoria) and almost complete lack of opposition, Theresa May could have seized the opportunity to demonstrate a clear point of difference with the unambitious, sclerotic, Socialism-lite tax, and spend profligacy of the old regimes.
But what did her dreary Chancellor Philip Hammond go and do with yesterday’s budget? He blew it totally. He attacked the very people – the self-employed, the strivers, the savers – who are most likely to forge Britain’s greatness as a new, liberated, free state after Brexit.
Allister Heath doesn’t pull his punches:
This was a Budget for delusional left-wing technocrats, the kind of people who are obsessed with “progressive” tax hikes and who spearheaded Project Fear, not one to prepare Britain for the radical change the Prime Minister has promised. The target audience seemed to be Blairite policy wonks, not Brexit Britain.
Then again, Hammond never understood why we voted Brexit. How could he? Hammond is a prime example of the Liberal Elite we voted to overthrow.