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Sorry, but Remain is here to stay


THE interesting feature of the Remain campaign is that it started on June 24, 2016. Prior to this, it was just an appeal for the status quo. This was arguably an impossible task, because it asked people to go out and vote for no change. Unlike in a General Election, the Remain campaign did not make any new offer to the British voter: there was no equivalent of the right to buy your council house or to send your child to a SureStart centre. The reason was that David Cameron came back from the EU summit in early 2016 with almost nothing he could deliver that would dispel the British people’s frustrations over EU membership. So Remain could campaign only against leaving the EU, with dire warnings of what would happen if the vote went against them. George Osborne promised a ‘punishment Budget’ after a Leave victory. His punishment for this rash threat was be asked to leave the government in a meeting that did not last two minutes.

The accusation that Leave voters did not know for what they were voting is also bogus. For this to be true, the implication is that Remain did not campaign properly. While there has been a lot of focus on the size of both sides’ campaign budgets and whether they were allowed to spend as much money as they did, there has not been the same focus on whether the money was actually spent on campaigning. For Remain to make their assertion about Leave voters’ ignorance, they should have to answer some potentially awkward questions.

Once the UK had voted to Leave the EU, Remain finally had something concrete to campaign against. In a way they are behaving like a governing party that has been thrown into opposition after a General Election. This campaign will not wither away as irrelevant or become a faint background noise, like CND’s 1980s campaign did after the cruise missiles finally arrived at RAF Greenham Common. People have committed too much time and energy for them to disappear back to their original day job, assuming they had one. The limelight appears to them, unfortunately for us, far too attractive. News broadcasters also seem averse to going back to the studio after the fresh-ish air of College Green. A symbiosis has evolved between protester and broadcaster that is tainting live television.

It is inconceivable that after all the time and effort put in that Remain will just pack up and go home after the UK leaves the EU, probably with a landslide for Boris Johnson in the subsequent General Election. Instead, the campaign will morph into Rejoin. Every adverse economic or political event will be ascribed to the UK exiting the EU, something I covered in a previous article. 

So, dear reader, this show will not end, even after the Fat Lady has sung. Those annoying people with that annoying flag will be polluting your news media experience for months and years to come. For this to come to a stop, the EU will have to experience some political or economic cataclysm that destroys the credibility of the Rejoin argument, such as Italy exiting the euro or Spain going bankrupt, from which repercussions the UK is not immune. The UK is still, after all, a European country. One of the best.

Just like Opal Fruits became Starburst, Marathon became Snickers and Bruce Jenner became Caitlin, Remain will undergo a rebranding. But unlike Jenner, Rejoin’s unappealing appendages will be enhanced rather than excised, and there will also be more Bull.

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Paul T Horgan
Paul T Horgan
Paul T Horgan worked in the IT Sector. He lives in Berkshire.

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