BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
I watched Tuesday night’s vote over a pint in The Lamb. I took along my Remainer friend Henry. We go back a long way and Henry appreciates my choice to be a Brexiteer as I understand his mistake. Henry is as fed up with the lack of strong leadership in the country as I am.
The meaningful vote result was a shock of course. Neither of us expected such a shellacking.
What was more of a shock was the talk in the pub after the vote…
We were watching proceedings on the BBC. After the vote, BBC News described the vote as “Brexit Defeat” and straight away anger was expressed in the pub. Clearly some of the locals didn’t understand – because of the BBC’s blatant dissembling (which they have been getting away with for years, so will not stop) – that only May’s vote had been thrown out, not Brexit itself.
Talk among the locals descended into angry threats of violence and vandalism. “Seriously, I’ll be down the town and set fire to XXXX Mercedes garage” said one fellow, while another reminded the politicians in Westminster how in the “good old days” they’d be hung, drawn and quartered for treachery. The local electrician asked about getting his family armed…. I’ll not repeat the answer from one farmer, but let’s just say that weapons are ubiquitous, especially in the countryside.
It took an intervention from the orange-juice-sipping landlord to point out that the default position of the nation was leaving the EU on WTO terms on March 29th and that their votes were not going to be denied.
Henry and I listened with some amazement. Neither of us are convinced the Government will deliver Brexit.
The reasons behind the Tottenham riots were understandable if hijacked. The Poll Tax riots also. But here were a bunch of hard-working locals, whose only ever brush-ups with the Law in the past were over speeding or Red Diesel. Here they were getting so livid about leaving the EU that all sensibilities were being thrown out of the window.
Then Old Vince Cable appeared on BBC News saying how Article 50 would soon be revoked and how we will not end up with Brexit at all after a People’s Vote. Cue a lot of furious shouting and cursing – the likes of which Cable has likely not heard in Twickenham. (Before #FBPE Zombies demand referring these acts of criminality to the authorities, the authorities were present all the while in the pub. In fact, one made a sound rant about how the army and his colleagues were sworn to the Queen and would never lift a finger for Traitor Corbyn or his lot).
What Westminster still doesn’t get – although Theresa May has made some reference to it – is that many of these people never bother to vote, and most really don’t care a jot for politicians. They are the kind of people who just get on and do not expect to get crossed. With the EU Referendum, every man and his dog turned out to vote. The idea of having some unelected foreigners telling them how to go about their daily business had been grating for generations.
To turn politically disinterested blokes into armed civil warriors does not take many Vince Cables. Nor a huge quantity of beer. The anger doing the rounds – you can smell it in the air in Leave-voting areas – is one that the People have not felt towards their rulers for centuries, but it is palpable; it is unquestionably there and should be ignored at our rulers’ peril.
Hopefully, that old stench of pent-up fury can filter its way over to the Houses of Westminster over coming days and weeks. The likes of Grieve, Soubry and Benn should get out and about more. Bercow should pop out of his palace.
Henry and I agreed over a second that we’d not come after each other with our shotguns. After all, I can run about as fast as Heather Mills these days (after an osteotomy), while Henry is as blind as a bat and he’d never hit me even if he tried.
So, are we approaching a civil war over something as (relatively) trivial as Brexit? Those on Gab think so but they have been predicting the end of the world for a while.
I’d like to think not. But let’s not go there. Deliver Brexit, Westminster. And stop bloody faffing around.