So said Theresa May on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, attempting to justify why so much of her overdue Brexit plan turned out to be a timid repackaging of the status quo. It was a statement which did at least concede that committed Leavers are motivated by an innate conviction sadly lacking in her more bloodless self, for whom implementing Brexit is not a vision but a bureaucratic risk assessment.
Publication of her adulterated White Paper has, in addition to that musing by Theresa May, prompted others to re-assert what people had and had not voted for, and why. Or in the case of Labour MP Lucy Powell on the BBC’s Daily Politics on Monday, to lament that politicians had ever granted riff-raff the chance to vote on the matter, lest they risk ‘outcomes that you don’t want, that are taken over by the zeitgeist of the moment’.
“Very complex issues do not take well to referenda. You get outcomes that you don’t want, that are taken over by the zeitgeist of the moment” @LucyMPowell #secondreferendum #bbcdp pic.twitter.com/NMWRkouHQV
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) July 16, 2018
And that will never do. Left to Lucy, the 17.4million Leave voters, whose viewpoint had until June 2016 barely been recognised or represented in parliament, would still be voiceless amongst the LibLabCon.
With the referendum result again being tendentiously interpreted, it was inevitable that the Commons would hear from Anna Soubry – this time wild-eyed with rage after the government agreed on Monday to the customs amendments proposed by the European Research Group, whose members she accused of deliberately sacrificing ‘hundreds of thousands of jobs’. Gesticulating in the direction of ERG leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, finger-jabbing Soubry went full bananas Anna: ‘Nobody voted to be poorer and nobody voted Leave on the basis that somebody with a gold-plated pension and inherited wealth would take their job away from them.’
Rees-Mogg, of course, does not overtly disparage party colleagues in this way – Jacob’s unfailing civility must infuriate his critics – and it is telling that, within the parliamentary party, internecine personal insults that impugn character tend to travel in one direction only, with a disproportionate number emitting from the member for Broxtowe.
Seemingly unable to comprehend a principled difference of opinion without ascribing malign motives, Anna might learn from a recent video by spoof TV reporter Jonathan Pie. TCW previously posted a film in which this character was a gormless interviewer being schooled on the myths surrounding the alleged gender pay gap; generally, though, Pie injects his own invective, launching tirades which, as far as one can tell, are the unvarnished views of creator and co-writer Tom Walker.
Pie/Walker is no fan of conservatives; nevertheless, the alter ego also rails against the shibboleths of today’s self-righteous and intolerant Left, an example being this scathing soliloquy on the continuing vilification of Leave voters. (Before viewing the clip, be aware that it includes more effing than furious Frederick Forsyth fanatically following the frustratingly fluctuating football fortunes of Falkirk, Fulham and Forfar. If you are ok with that, you can see it here
Declaring himself someone who ‘voted Remain in the belief that we would be economically more secure’, the cursing character nevertheless displays self-awareness and humility – ‘we lost the debate, we weren’t persuasive enough’ – that Anna Soubry might adopt: ‘The number one reason why people voted Leave was because they believe that the laws which govern this country should be made in this country . . . they voted on a principle of sovereignty.’
Also refreshing to hear from a satirical character of the Left was: ‘Yes, the Tories are b*****ds, but that doesn’t mean the EU aren’t . . . these people are not our friends.’ Which is a truth Anna should have borne in mind earlier this year before she and Chuka Umunna genuflected at the court of Michel Barnier.
Much of Jonathan Pie’s language is unparliamentary and I do not promote the potty-mouthed fictitious news reporter as someone to bring the country together. Nevertheless, Pie’s colourful wish for Theresa May’s premiership to ‘finally wet-f*rt itself out of existence’ is at least one sentiment around which Leavers and Remainers can surely unite.