“This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”
- Text from the UK Cabinet Office, delivered to every household in the country, 2016.
When historians of the future look back on Britain in our time, they will surely see our row over Brexit as extraordinary. Not because people disagree and campaign: that is normal and healthy; but because an influential section of the country, and particularly of its upper classes, are refusing to accept the will of the majority as legitimate or binding. It is no exaggeration to call this a revolt..
Its unusual nature is shown by the arguments of its hardline supporters – arguments that would undermine any democratic system, and which have rarely been heard in any advanced country since the nineteenth century. For example: that most voters do not know what they are voting for; that working-class voters are too ignorant to make a choice; that people without advanced education should have their political rights reduced; that older people’s opinions have inferior legitimacy..
Up to now, it is those who voted Leave who have been scrutinised as an oddity – poor, old, stupid, ‘left behind’, and so on. But what of those who are still scrambling to keep us, in one form or another, in the EU, despite the fact that the EU is visibly in crisis, and despite the fact that by resisting the will of the majority they are risking a political and constitutional crisis?..