There is a scene in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour when the brilliant Gary Oldman as Churchill rides on a London tube. At the time Churchill is wondering whether to allow peace negotiations with the Nazis – between Mussolini and a team set up by Lord Halifax. Churchill asks members of the British Public whether they should enter the peace negotiations. All on the tube reply, “never”.
These days there is little point attempting to gauge the opinion of the nation on the London tube. You might as well ask the United Nations. You are as likely to come across someone French as English; someone Romanian as Scottish. Even the London Mayor is unrepresentative of the nation and has a history of supporting treachery against it. No need to ask Khan about Brexit – his Second Referendum posters are ubiquitous and, desperately, he even turned the London Eye into a homage to the EU during New Year celebrations.
The point back then in 1940 was that the People had lived in Britain for generations. Their ties to these islands were all that most knew. No way were they going to give up what they had to a bunch of Germans who’d slain their antecedents just decades before.
We are not at war and the comparison between Brexit and World War Two – especially the Darkest Hour – is like comparing jumping from the high board at a public pool to jumping from a cliff. Nonetheless there are parallels.
All we know today, as in 1940, is that whatever happens the people of Great Britain will get their way in the end. Maybe it will be democracy alone that sees the will of the people enacted. Maybe it will be a combination, like in 1940, of willpower, sheer stubborness and some violence. Maybe there will be a new leader who lights the way out of these dark days and points out to the people why sacrifice is necessary.
Churchill listened to the people – not to his advisers – back then in 1940. To the real people of these lands.
Politicians from all sides should this day go out and speak to Brexiteers – to the winners of the biggest democratic exercise these islands have seen. They should listen to their will. Then they should go back to Parliament and – whatever the Britain-hating traitors on the opposition benches call for – they should deliver Brexit, or ensure a No Deal.
We are watching.
To keep the peace, listen to the people who have spoken – and deliver Brexit. Or you are no better than the anti-democrats who the British Public refused to have Churchill negotiate with back in 1940. British freedom itself is on the line.