Monday, 6 February 2017
The “What happened to the £350million a week for the NHS?” demand is a pretty good example of the desperation of many in the EU Remain camp and is also an excellent illustration of the saying, ‘flogging a dead horse’. These desperate remainers – let’s call them drainers - accuse those of us who voted for Brexit and those who campaigned for Brexit of dishonesty. They insist that we cannot turn our backs on Europe; we never said we were going to. They say we are ‘leaving our friends’ when they are in grave trouble; we have no such intention. So they bring up the non-sequitur bus on every occasion as if that somehow clinches an argument they have not managed to frame.
We will respect the outcome of the referendum they said and then declared with some authority that those who voted to leave were too ignorant to understand what was at stake, which gives them carte-blanche to attempt to subvert or water down that outcome. When we say that we knew exactly what we voted for they tell us that a majority would now vote to remain. Not only do they know our minds, they appear to be telling us they know the future as well. Before we voted they foretold doom and disaster; we said bring it on, but we don’t think it will be that bad. Hell on earth, they repeated. Okay, we said, we’ll roll up our sleeves.
Following eight months of generally cheery news on all economic fronts, serially excused by drainers as the calm before the coming storm, now even the Bank of England has, reluctantly, improved its forecasts. Economic forecasting is of course based as much on polling as on foresight and is driven by perception more than prescience. But, as Brexiteers are cheered and optimistic and as business accepts the forward reality and starts to look for and find new opportunities the drainers find themselves huddled, lower lips jutting, around the lip of the Slough of Despond. It’s an ugly look.
Before we voted they called us racists and xenophobes and as if to prove what a threat we posed to civility they organised wailing, chanting, screeching mobs to tell us how hateful we were. Afterwards they took to the streets in their tens of thousands to bring disorder and chaos – maybe they were just demonstrating how they imagined we had behaved? Our general air of jubilation and relief was barely allowed expression as we were shouted down by those who knew better. You are a cancerous throwback, they screamed, as they did their level best to intimidate anybody with the temerity to defy the groupthink.
Over the pond the same desperate ranks of cranks are up in arms against the new reality, angry that they will no longer be pandered to as they believe is their right. And again they insist that the winners are dishonest. So let’s get back to that bus. There is no political party with power in Westminster called ‘Vote Leave’. The so-called cast-iron promise – which was always just an attractive (to some) possibility - to spend an extra £350million per week on the NHS was made by none of the parties with the potential to actually govern. Furthermore, as the drainers make clear at every economic up-tick, we haven’t even left the EU yet, a process they wish to delay as long as feasibly possible. Dishonest Brexiteers? By the standards of the drainers they are practically saints.