Democracy, Good and Hard

I have a lot of left wing, Brexiter friends at work. I’ve often found it odd that a person would adopt both political postures. It some ways, it is odd. In others – particularly with regard the fairly overt xenophobia many of them display – it is far from odd. One of the reasons I voted Remain, one of many reasons, is that Brexit was ultimately a far-right project and I simply wouldn’t plant my flag in their camp.

My left wing, Brexiter friends are very upset with the current government. Furious. Disgusted, even. Which has lead to some interesting, lively, chats. Because as far as I can see, they voted for Boris and co. No, no, they say. I voted Corbyn in 2019. Yes, yes, I say. You voted Brexit in 2016. And this current government, I’m sorry to say, is the direct consequence. The inevitable consequence of their desire to leave the EU.

When 52% of the population voted in favour of a far-right policy in 2016, David Cameron sensibly scarpered. It wasn’t a policy he could sign up to. Theresa May thought that she might be able to produce a compromise, but Brexit was a binary issue. In or out. And Theresa was out. So the far-right policy based on lies got what it needed to see it through – a far-right government adept at lying.

But if I’m not mistaken, the fog is starting to clear for some of them. Not all of them. There are a hard core few who are absolutely outraged that the Royal Navy aren’t machine gunning rubber boats full of immigrants in the channel. But for some of them, the reality is dawning upon them. Priti Patel, Rees-Mogg, Dorries, Frost, incompetent chancers who have spent their careers being laughed at on the fringes, suddenly found themselves in senior roles within the government. This would not, could not, have happened in a Britain that had voted Remain.

A government lead by someone who has long been known to be a liar and a thug. He’s not there by chance. Not really. It’s too late for my left wing, Brexiter friends to grumble. It’s too late to complain about the dishonesty, corruption and incompetence. They’ve been fond of calling the 2016 referendum the greatest exercise of democracy* in British history. They knew what they wanted. And now they are getting it good and hard, as the saying goes.

* Even there, they are wrong. The 1992 General Election saw more votes cast.

4 thoughts on “Democracy, Good and Hard

  1. We’ll done. About 3 years ago my wife and I shared drinks and snacks over a couple of days with a British couple in San Cristobal de Las Casas

    Too short a time to form a friendship I suppose but we seemed to share sensibilities. The husband was a retired community planner, his wife a former cog in the BBC machinery. Both were periodically active in Labour activities.

    During one of our visits over tapas and drinks Brexit came up. The husband flushed a bit, knowing what was coming. His wife was very clear as she spat out “He voted Leave.”

    “ I only wanted to teach them a lesson” was the best he could do.

    A little more conversation gave me some insight into the frustration I ver the perceived E U regulatory excess and the British sensitivity to being seen to be upstaged by foreigners. Our friend deeply regretted the outcome. May was Pm at the time, I can only imagine their reaction to Johnson.


    1. There were a significant number of protest votes cast in the referendum. Enough to have changed the outcome? I don’t know. There were also a goodly number of coin toss voters, who had no strong opinion either way but had been given a ballot and so chose to use it. But the topic that kept coming up again and again with Leave voters I spoke to was that of Johnny Foreigner. Especially the ones with darker skin colours. Who weren’t from the EU. But hey…

      I have no doubt that if the referendum were run today, Remain would win and it wouldn’t be terribly close.


  2. From 4 thousand miles away: I thought it foolish for GB to stop the flow of immigration, the best sort of citizens from my experience here in America’s midwestern Ohio . Trashing the EU’s regulations was not going to fly if the British wanted to sell their goods in the EU-spitting into the wind so to speak. Just the fact that being done with, is better than being done to, would have done it for me.

    I’ve always been left of center. Corbyn would have required a a whole lot of effort on my part to give him my vote, more effort than I have the will to muster-he was that bad. The good part, Gary, is that maybe your Labor party and your Liberal party have seen the light at just how ruthless the extreme right can be, cooperation can be the better part of valor.

    My nation is leaning fascist in its rural areas, the business community as well. The rural people know that the vast numbers of people in the cities will soon overwhelm their clout in government and the business people kind of like the China model of getting things done. Two polities, very much at odds with each other but having found common cause in the left as a worthy adversary are more than willing to chuck democracy in their efforts to defeat the looming power of a more liberal state.

    Demographics would indicate that the EU and the US are going to find that immigration is the only way to keep growth above one or two percent. The boomer generation is about spent, their children are fast entering middle age, the birth rate is not what it was even ten years ago. Replacement labor has to be found somewhere.

    We’ll be seeing a lot of change in the next decade, I pray that fascism does not prevail in our two nations. It is firmly entrenched in both Russia and China-we can do better.


  3. There is a real disconnect between reality and make believe for a significant proportion of both our populations. It’s concerning. I briefly touched on this subject with a mutual friend yesterday. Right now, Europe should be preparing to get by without Russian gas, NATO should be budgeting for the cost of stationing a million troops in Poland and the Baltics and our navies should be preparing to blockade sensitive waterways (such as the English Channel) and , if necessary, sink Russian vessels. Instead, we have a ineffective, embarrassing clown in Downing Street and QAnon is part of US mainstream media.

    Like I say, it’s concerning.

    I’ve just finished listening to these podcasts. Both were interesting and enjoyable. If podcasts are your thing…


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