Sunday, 13 October 2019

All bets are off

Punters at the racecourse tear up their betting slips, quite possibly curse loudly and almost certainly regret their losing choices. But no matter how close the photo finish, they don’t then go to the bookies and demand to be paid out anyway. Because when they lose, as undignified as losing may be, they accept their losses and move on. Maybe they decide to stop gambling altogether. Maybe they dig into their pockets and have another go. Whatever, they lost; they accept that simple fact.

In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives millions lose something every day. Sometimes it’s the little things, like their bus pass, car keys, or that top secret defence file; sometimes it’s bigger stuff such as their battle against anxiety, obesity… cancer. But ultimately, for most of us, losing is just another facet of life itself and very few of use lose our shit the way the massed ranks of the remain mobs go about business.

Mass movements don’t spring from nowhere, there needs to be a catalyst. The current trend to bow before Saint Greta of No-Nobel arose because she inspired thousands of credulous children to believe in her imperfect understanding of climatological trends. All very innocent if a bit worrying. But Extinction Rebellion is made of sterner stuff and deliberately conflate unconnected issues to weave a narrative of societal breakdown with which to attack the very thing which allows them the lives they have; capitalism. For make no mistake, this is their true aim.

Individual people can and do concoct crackpot theories, theories which are readily dismissed by most audiences. But repeat an untruth often enough and it starts to have an impact. If ‘everybody’ is saying it, maybe there is some truth in it? Partial truths, conjecture, a dash of charisma and a heavy helping of doomsday prophecy and all of a sudden we turn into Chicken Licken. The man on the telly said there will be mass starvation… so it must be true; it was on the telly. In colour!

The massed ranks of remain didn't just spontaneously rise up to oppose Brexit. We are expected to accept that the hordes who regularly shuffle, dance and screech their way around London’s streets of a weekend have independently converged on the capital to show how their loss was the wrong loss; how their vote was somehow more important than our vote. But it’s just not true; they were 'radicalised' by a concerted effort from the establishment, the media and academia. The people who hold the strings; the people who control communication the people who write the news.

I’m not claiming any greater prescience for those of us who voted leave. I even accept the premise that the more ‘educated’ tended to vote to remain; why wouldn’t they, as many of them derive a living from the exactly the kind of non-jobs that arise from acceptance of ‘progressive’ policies and exactly the kind of overtly managed society we were at least partly voting against.

The numbers for leave were and probably still are greater than the numbers for remain. But the EU acolytes have control of the narrative and that narrative has been relentless. If you come out for Brexit you are derided as primitive, thuggish, xenophobic, racist and bordering on being, if not actually swastika-bearing, Nazis. If you voted to leave the EU, you are informed, it is you who is responsible for ‘the rise of the far right’, that fictitious bogeyman conjured up by the same men on the telly. You are sowing hatred and division.

But it’s just not true. We simpletons who voted to leave were doing nothing more than expressing a preference, as we were asked to do. Had the losing side accepted the result which, against the relentlessly negative tide of apocalyptic predictions, was remarkably emphatic (imagine if Project Fear had not dominated the airwaves?) we would not now be where we are. We would be pushing ahead, getting on with our lives and most divisions would already be resolved.

A book for Hammond and Grieve

But Dominic Grieve and Philip Hammond, among many others will not let it go. They have lost, but they still cling onto those losing betting slips, hoping against all previous experience, that this time the bookies will pay out. If they end up getting another delay, in prolonging the agony, in winding people up to boiling point with unjustified hope, in fomenting ever more extreme division in our already fractured society, then come the day we finally get to leave the EU we will know exactly who to blame for the far greater loss to us all, the loss of trust.

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