If you haven’t read the Independent’s hilariously bitter account of the Brexit Day celebrations you absolutely must! It captures, I think, better than any article I have ever read why it was that the Remoaners lost and why the Brexiteers (eventually) won.
There’s a big clue in the fantastically snobbish phrases that the author, Tom Peck, uses to describe the celebrations in London’s Parliament Square when Britain regained her independence. (How odd that a newspaper — well, ex-newspaper — called the Independent should be so appalled by this.)
“A knuckle dragging carnival of the irredeemably stupid.”
“Not quite midnight’s children but 11 o’clock’s toddlers.”
“Roaring its pissy breath into the night air in phoney celebration of regaining an independence it had never lost”.
This is the authentic voice of the liberal elite pouring scorn on the ordinary people it has never understood and never tried to understand.
It’s a variant on the “deplorables” speech with which Hillary Clinton effectively handed the U.S presidential election to Donald Trump.
The people didn’t vote the way they did because they have minds of their own, apparently. No, they voted the wrong way because they are stupid, ill-educated, primitive, racist, small-minded, childish, ignorant brutes. Knuckledraggers, no less.
Well, I was there among those “knuckledraggers” in Parliament Square on Brexit Day and I have to say, you couldn’t have met a nicer, friendlier, happier bunch of people.
Sure, one or two of them may not have had the benefit of an undergraduate education studying something important like Gender, Racism or Environmental Guilt at university. But they were decent, honest, cheerful, sensible people — and a lot more representative of real Britain, I suspect, than the politically correct metropolitan minority who voted Remain.
The atmosphere in Parliament Square as Nigel Farage made his victory speech and as Dominic Frisby performed his magnificent, sweary and very funny Brexit anthem 17 Million F**k Offs was joyous and celebratory but not remotely aggressive.
In his hissy-fit essay, Peck makes a great deal of how much swearing went on – and goes to great lengths not to be amused by Frisby’s song, which lists all the various members of the liberal-left Establishment who sought to prevent Brexit.
The list of people “the British told to f*** off” was long indeed.
“The IMF, the treasury, Tony Blair, John Major, Femi Weirdo, Jess Philips, George Osborne.” It went on and on and on. By the time it got to the end, the 17 million f*** offs may even have found themselves outnumbered. Whether, in fact the IMF, the Treasury, Tony Blair and absolutely everybody else will, in the end, turn out to have been right, and this lot wrong, is as close to a certainty as anything in politics can possibly be.
But first, it completely ignores the fact that Britain — real Britain — is a very sweary place where f-words and c-words are as often a sign of merriment as they are of rage.
Second, it completely ignores — as the humourless, narrative-obsessed left so often does — the tone of the occasion in general, and Frisby’s song in particular: it’s music hall, it’s folk balladry, it’s about pantomime villains who have now happily been defeated. (Which is, by the way, one of the huge differences between the left and right these days: the left seriously means its violence and yearns for more of it; on the right, it is almost exclusively braggadocio, without malice).
Third, it contrives deliberately to overlook the fact that for a time, all those villains mentioned in Frisby’s song really were a genuine threat to British democracy. They tried to pull every trick in the book to prevent the 2016 EU Referendum from being honoured. So it would seem entirely reasonable that on Brexit Day of all days the majority who voted Brexit should take the opportunity to wish them a final good riddance.
For me, the Parliament Square celebrations were the culmination of 48 hours of partying and thoroughly justified self-congratulation by some of the people who had fought for Brexit — often at considerable personal cost.
On Brexit Eve I went to a dinner thrown for some of the journalists and writers who campaigned for Brexit. All of us had had similar experiences: mocked and marginalised and dismissed as swivel-eyed loons; losing friends.
Quite a few of them you’ll see in this video I made with my colleague Kurt Zindulka.
It’s an all-star cast and, though I say it myself, I think it captures better than almost any other footage I’ve seen the spirit of the Brexit celebrations: not just the joy and excitement and relief at our regained independence — note how the word “freedom” crops up again and again — but also the wit and the sense of humour and puckishness.
Let’s be honest: given the choice who would you rather have next to you in a trench? Sir Tim Rice, Rod Liddle and Julia Hartley-Brewer? Or Tony Blair, George Osborne, and Femi Weirdo?
The left can’t meme, they say — and there’s a reason for that: the spirit of the modern left is humourless, authoritarian, disapproving, devoid of lightness, self-deprecation or wit.
And the same goes I think for those on the Remoaner side of the argument. Sure they had the Establishment on their side – everything from the Bank of England to the IMF to the City of London to BBC. But we had all the best characters, the best arguments, and the best jokes.
We Brexiteers were more honest, more authentic and frankly, more British.
That’s why we won. And why we deserved to win!
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