THAT Brexit, the Uncivil War docudrama on Channel 4 was a real hoot, was it not? Watching Dominic Cummings put some prehistoric Conservative MPs in their place was very satisfying. However, we have already taken issue with the narrative – namely that the Leave voters were essentially unstable loons.
The programme suggested that the two key issues driving the campaign were immigration and job losses, which the genius Cummings managed to channel into the voting booth through the magic of Facebook, algorithms and coding.
In fact, there seemed to be a serious shortage of paper in this film. Cummings was scribbling on walls, the back of cupboard doors and the windows of his office. I kept screaming: ‘Couldn’t they afford any paper?’ It seemed at times that the whole programme was like the sequel to Good Will Hunting, namely Good Will goes Vote Hunting. And this narrative has really caught on. Here is Dominic Cummings, ‘stealing’ the Brexit vote.
Oh no, hang on, it is Matt Damon doing his times tables on a mirror. And so it goes on.
The writers would have us believe it was Cambridge Analytica that delivered this referendum result lock, stock and barrel. I’m surprised they didn’t have all the little computer nerds whacking up some code on a cupboard wall right next to Cummings’s lightbulb moment of ‘Take Back Control’. I asked myself: ‘How could they create these algorithms, who wrote the coding?’ The programme didn’t enlighten us at all on this; we are just to accept it was so.
I’m sure social media was important to the result. But whatever Cambridge Analytica did was to connect with the deep concerns that the voters already had. This referendum gave a voice to those concerns and if didn’t happen in 2016, it would have happened eventually.
As our Robert James explains: ‘The real trigger factor for the Brexit imbroglio was of course the deliberately spiteful immigration policies of Tony Blair’s ultra pro-EU New Labour governments and the failure of subsequent Tory administrations to do anything about it because it suited big business’s agenda.’ In addition, ‘The political class’s toxic mix of globalism, irresponsible capitalism and neo-Marxism angered and alienated an awful lot of people in Britain and they took their revenge in 2016. It was a slow train coming but it arrived and all the special advisers and spin doctors and money that both sides threw at it could not stop it.’ Amen to that.
The truth is you cannot screw over the British people and not expect a day of reckoning to come. The voters were not compliant, malleable children persuaded to vote against their own interests. They knew where their interests lay: in leaving the European Union. And that’s what they voted for. What came after is as big a betrayal as what came before and I doubt if the voters feel any different now.