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A Tribe of Barbary Apes
Seven years after the country voted to leave the European Union and three years after it finally did so, a large group took over the central area at the Last Night Of The Proms and waved EU flags while others capered outside with banners - we have so many manqué performance artists these days, and so well-organised and well-funded, it would seem.
Yet we did have a vote about this.
Moreover, it was binding. Normally you might say it was advisory, but all major parties undertook to honour the result, even though Parliament then tried to wriggle out of it. How they disliked hearing audience members on ‘Question Time’ telling them that they had received their instruction! Even then we had to have another General Election to get it through their skulls.
I voted Leave, though with no realistic expectation that it would make a difference, especially after the murder of poor Jo Cox MP that I thought would be used to tar all us Leavers with the same brush. What an amazement, what a bright morning it was when I watched David Dimbleby tell us all ‘we’re out’ (we learned recently that the BBC delayed the announcement, perhaps to give time to get boxes of tissues up from the stock room.)
The thing is, I had expected to lose and that would then have been that. My country would be at an end. I might emigrate - since it had left me, one country would be as good as another. Or I might stay and passively accept whatever else the new non-UK would do to me and my fellows. Game over, as they say; but at least I should have done my duty in participating in the referendum.
Resistance and protest would have been wrong. By taking part I was also agreeing to be bound by the result.
This does not appear to be the conclusion of a vocal minority among the populace.
Nor is it implicitly the view of our governmental establishment that is doing whatever it can to vitiate our choice of sovereign self-government. See how we have undertaken not to exploit our new-found advantage in financial services; and how Rishi ‘The Apprentice’ Sunak has marketed our rejoining the EU’s Horizon science project as ‘the right deal for the UK’ and oo! we can start to apply for their grants - no doubt they’ll be falling over themselves to cooperate, as they do in so many other ways. Oh, and we didn’t vote for Rishi, awful though Sauvignon Blanc-swilling Mayfair-millionaire-pet Truss had been in her briefest of reigns.
It is as though ‘Master and Commander’ Captain Jack Aubrey had opened his instructions from the Navy Board and torn them up.
‘Nobody knows anything,’ said Dimbleby on the Morning of Liberation. I imagine that what he was referring to as everybody is that large clique of politicians, civil servants and the media that thinks it is superior to us. Well, a tribe of Barbary apes would be superior to us if it commanded the power, the resources and the legal immunities of the Establishment. And it’s busy tearing up its mission orders.
What can I do? If I take part in the next General Election I will legitimise the winners even if I voted against them and think them treacherous. If I abstain it may be taken as tacit consent.
An alternative - one I eschew - is to foment rebellion and that is in the air - not just from the likes of Neil Oliver but from Remainers like those in the Albert Hall, from Just Stop Oil-ers, from Extinction Rebellion and all other self-righteous activists who want to bypass democracy because 'Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.'
By subverting the substance and spirit of a grave national decision, the State risks forfeiting the moral right to oppose multivarious revolutionaries, since it is itself a conspirator and rebel against the people who are the source of its authority.
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