THE vote for Brexit in 2016 was partly a rejection of EU authoritarianism, but Remainers are frustrating it with further authoritarianism, while pretending they’re the moderates.

Remainers don’t want to talk about the EU’s authoritarianism, so here’s a reminder:

1. The EU’s executive is undemocratic, yet decides what’s best for everybody;

2. Its legislature is dominated by a few pro-EU blocs promoted by the EU itself, without the legitimacy of mass electoral turnout;

3. EU courts are as unaccountable as its executive, but get to re-interpret and strike down British laws.

Yet the EU has accelerated centralisation, while the Remainer majority in government, Parliament, and the mainstream media have frustrated Brexit with authoritarian tricks. They claim that Brexiteers didn’t know what they were voting for, so we should run the referendum again.

Remainers justify procrastination as opportunity for Leavers to reconsider. The government pretended that it needed time to work out its negotiating position while it waited nine months before petitioning to leave the EU, yet still emerged with no negotiating position. It then acquiesced in an unnecessary two-year countdown, which it has extended twice (now to October 31 – more than three years and four months since the referendum). Yet it doesn’t want us to participate in European elections next month because voters will surely support Brexit parties.

Remainers claim that we should accommodate the losing side by compromising – and their ‘compromises’ look like Remain.

Remainers spin their own preferences as ‘Brexit’. They spin the referendum choice (‘leaving the EU’) as ‘hard Brexit’, ‘extreme Brexit’, ‘falling off a cliff’, ‘crashing out’.

They make everything more complicated than necessary to promote confusion and fatigue, then tell us we just want to get on with it, so we should pass the ‘deal’ that looks like Remain because that would ‘deliver Brexit’.

Remainers reduce the disputes to two sides: they set up themselves as moderates, centrists, and compromisers, then condemn all dissenters as extremists.

In December, Chancellor Philip Hammond labelled opponents to Theresa May’s fake ‘deal’ as ‘extremists’. Anna Soubry claims that the Conservative Party is run by Brexit ‘extremists’, even though most of the Parliamentary party are Remainers, and an even larger proportion of Remainers dominate Theresa May’s administration. Soubry pretends that ignoring the first referendum would be more democratic because we need to change our minds. Yet, when Brexiteers denounce her as authoritarian, they’re reported as ‘far-Right’. She and two others quit the Conservative Party in February, saying that the ‘right-wing Brexiteers have won’. They joined defectors from other parties to form The Independent Group (now Change UK Party), whose only policies are to overturn the referendum and to shunt us back to the ‘centre’.

The wider elite is engaging in the same hypocrisy. The Counter-Extremism Project claims that Brexit promotes ‘nationalism and Islamophobia’, but expresses no concern about authoritarianism. For the Guardian, only Brexiteers are ‘extremists’, only ‘supporters of Nigel Farage’ make death threats, only ‘the Daily Telegraph and the European Research Group’ engage in ‘scaremongering’.

Brexit is no longer a fight against EU authoritarianism but a fight against British authoritarianism.

Parliamentarians are no longer representatives but oligarchs. They betray their promises to implement the referendum. They ignore their party manifestos. When a constituency party de-selects a representative, the Parliamentary party ignores the de-selection (Dominic Grieve), although once Parliament rejects their alternative they flounce out anyway (Nick Boles). Even jailed criminals can show up on parole to vote against Brexit (Fiona Onasanya).

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, abandons precedent so that Remainers can motion alternatives, then sticks to precedent so the government can’t re-re-present its unchanged Withdrawal Agreement at the same time. Despite ten controversial years in the post, he intends to stay until Parliament confirms Remain.

Parliament has voted down Brexit several times, using the euphemism ‘no deal Brexit’. It has approved no other alternatives, but came closest to approving a customs union, which would be the worst of all worlds. Now, Frank Field (a defector from Corbyn’s party) and Ken Clarke (a wannabe defector from May’s party) are plotting to motion an undisguised customs union as the best of both worlds.

The Conservative and Labour leaderships are in their third week of talks about a bipartisan version of Remain, which should be easy because they both want to stay in the customs union, but both are pretending the other wouldn’t deliver Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn is now blaming the failure of their talks on the government’s ‘extreme’ expectation that Britain should be able to sign free trade deals for itself. In other words, economic sovereignty is ‘extremist’.

Yet Corbyn went further: he claimed ‘a big pressure in the Tory party that actually wants to turn this country into a deregulated low-tax society which will do a deal with Trump’. Corbyn ties Brexiteers to Trump, but cries foul when he is tied to Palestinian terrorists.

Worse, Labour’s MP David Lammy keeps equating Brexiteers to Nazis, then characterises Remainers as anti-appeasers.

Perversely, in reaching into the 1930s for analogies, he revives the fake anti-authoritarianism of the 1930s, when the Left consolidated around the Soviet version of socialism as the only alternative to the fascist version of socialism. Even communists who refused Soviet domination were labelled fascists or counter-revolutionaries. Democrats were told there is no third way: you’re either with Soviet authoritarianism or fascism.

The elite sided with Soviet authoritarianism: Western journalists and democratic representatives, including the leader of the Labour Party, Clement Attlee, eulogised the Soviet-controlled ‘Popular Front’ of the Spanish Civil War as the ‘legitimate’, ‘democratic’, ‘republican’, ‘loyalist’ government. Then they parroted Soviet claims that missing opponents must have been eliminated by fascist ‘fifth columnists’ or escaped to the other side.

Like the elite in the 1930s, the elite in the 2010s bandwagoned with transnational authoritarianism as the necessary defender of liberal objectives (workers’ rights, peace, openness, toleration), denied Britain’s negotiating position (respectively: rearmament; leave without a deal), encouraged it to appease and acquiesce with authoritarianism, and betrayed and misinformed the electorate.

Brexiteers are the real anti-authoritarians and anti-appeasers, at home as well as abroad.

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Bruce Newsome is a lecturer in international relations at the University of California Berkeley and an expert on global security risks, international conflict and counterterrorism.