BY PAUL NEWALL
When I was a child and I spat out the dummy when I lost a match, my father always repeated the same mantra: “Nobody likes a bad loser, son ”. I grew to believe that a sound British trait is taking a lesson from defeat. To try harder next time. The British ideal of fair play and sportsmanship is etched irrevocably in our national identity.
So you can only imagine my disappointment at the launch of the Liberal Democrat European manifesto titled “B@llocks to Brexit ”. What they really mean is B@llocks to democracy. Not very British at all.
We all remember that kid from our childhood who hadn’t been taught the principle of fair play – the one who scooped up their football and ran into the house when they fell 4-1 down in a game of street football. That same little snide who would recant on an arrangement at school – or throw a hissy fit because they didn’t get their own way about a night out – has now got a political party and it’s very sad indeed. I’m left thinking of that sketch in the Fast Show where the competitive father is dressed in professional tennis gear smashing aces against his 8 year old son. I don’t think that the electorate are 8-year-olds but the Lib Dems have such a low opinion of voters. They are the Vulcans to our Klingon, the cerebral to the beast and their bigotry knows no bounds.
The primary reason that we voted for Brexit was the feeling that a huge chunk of our society had been excluded for too long from the nation’s prosperity. The media called us the left behind as if we were somehow inferior. Only clever folk made the decisions and we grunts were too stupid to benefit from the opportunities that EU membership offered, whereas the knuckle-dragging public felt excluded from polite discourse because we were seen as sub-optimal entities.
The one thing that kept our society cohesive was the notion that – despite the inequalities of our society – we could always redress the balance with our votes. And now a member of the Establishment – a Sir no less – is saying B@llocks to democracy and the will of the electorate.
Since universal suffrage, the last century has seen the Establishment get a few bloody noses at the hands of angry voters. But this time the powers that be have scooped up the ball and run into the house to hide behind their mams’ petticoats. Their actions have consequences. If the people decide not to play with this new set of rules then how will our society function peacefully?
The Brexit party and UKIP offer some hope in the coming European Elections but there’s a sneaking suspicion that the legacy parties will do a deal to negate the elections and carry on with business as usual – with our country stuck in a withdrawal agreement that Quisling might have hesitated to sign in 1940. Cable, May and Corbyn are playing a game of chance where the stakes are our hard-fought freedoms and rights. Taking those freedoms and rights away will end in the same hard-fought way as they were won.