Everything but the kitchen sink has been thrown at us by the establishment and its lapdog media. We have heard it all, from World War Three to economic carnage, while the Leave campaign has been scandalously linked to the agenda of Vladimir Putin, Islamic State, and to a maniac who murdered MP Jo Cox. Our dear leader David Cameron has brazenly lied to the electorate about our ability to control our borders, while uniting in desperation with a plethora of characters who don’t really like our country.
Yet for all the pressure applied to the public, the powers of Remain are in a state of anxiety. This is no normal election, and it is difficult to predict how people will act in the polling booth. Many are wavering, and swings back and forward in the opinion polls may accurately reflect fluctuating tendencies in the hoi polloi. But with Leave jumping back into the lead with fewer than two days to go, the sweat pores are working overtime.
While polls have varied, a consistent theme is people’s distaste for the Government’s propaganda, which has resorted to apocalyptic claims, character assassinations, and cynical manipulation of the Jo Cox tragedy. Campaigning for Leave in London at the weekend, I was reassured to find people resilient in the face of the sentimentalism that the Remain camp has tried to tap over last Thursday’s outrage. Indeed, many have voted already, and it seemed to me that Leave support is holding firm. While bracing myself to be proved wrong in the early hours of tomorrow, I guess that my borough at least will be voting out.
Up the road was a Remain stall, but seeing their indiscriminately distributed stickers and leaflets strewn on the pavement, two middle-class student types decided to plant themselves among our team. We responded to this provocation by simply enjoying the passers-by telling them, ‘No, I’m leaving’. The numbers said it all. You can imagine how they would have cried out on social media if any of us had objected to their downright rudeness.
But then, we are fair game for such treatment. We can be cast as stick-in-the-muds at best, racist xenophobes at worst. On hearing that I was for Brexit, a lecturer colleague asked me today: ‘Did you really go through a university education?’ And I replied: ‘There you go again. That sums up the Remain case: Leavers are definitively thick and bigoted.’ She couldn’t see any problem with this line of thinking about her compatriots. So why did I want to leave – was it just immigration? In a word, I declared – ‘Democracy’. She had no valid answer to this.
In the final before the polls opened, the Leave case promoted a positive picture of the dream we can wake up to tomorrow. While the miserable Guardian warns that Brexit is an act of hatred (no prize for guessing the intended link), the Daily Telegraph hit the spot yesterday: this is a choice between fear and hope, and we must choose hope.
Up against all the mainstream political parties, the BBC, The Times, Evening Standard, the usual cabal of economists and FTSE-100 directors, Richard Branson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma (let them not eat cake) Thompson, university chancellors, and foreign interferers such as Barack Obama, there is a real sense of people power. The hysteria, defeatism and moral bullying is too late to change people’s minds. We are British, we are still a resilient nation.
With faith in ourselves, we can deliver the message to an establishment that is out of touch with the country it supposedly serves. For decades we have gradually lost our national identity to a lumbering Tower of Babel, but now a new Jerusalem beckons. It’s our referendum: don’t let them steal it.
(Image: Abi Begum)