Monday, 21 November 2016


Mama, take these chains off-a me,” sang Bob Dylan. “Cause I don’t want them anymore.” While the argument rages on about whether Brexit really means Brexit, with the Remain side’s increasingly unhinged spokespeople claiming to know what was in the very heart of the Leavers as they cast their ballot, the truth is very simple. We want to leave. We don’t want to be like Norway or Iceland, or any other country; that is the whole point. We leave the European Union and there’s an end to it. Free trade? Fine, if it’s on offer but hey, we’re not interested in any continued membership disguised as a trade deal.

“Take the chains off?” they seem to be saying, “What on earth can they mean?” and then they go on to suggest that we should leave the chains on and just, you know, maybe lengthen them a little. Because it’s the chains that keep you safe, you see? They are good chains, they are nice chains. They are beautiful, hand-crafted, shiny, tailor-made chains... what’s not to like about the chains? Our response is simply to repeat the perfectly clear original request, but Mama ain’t listenin’.

Okay, so you say – you saaay – you don’t like the chains. But we don’t think it’s the chains that are the problem. We wear the chains ourselves and we quite like them; maybe you just need to wear them a while longer, until you forget they are there? Would a different colour help? Yes, I know you keep saying you don’t want the chains, we get that. And we know you had a referendum on it and all that but not everybody voted to lose the chains. And in any case, what do you mean by ‘take off the chains’? You don’t seem to have a plan to take them off and according to what we tell ourselves we hear, many of you have changed your mind.

What? Oh no, you can’t just take off the chains, not all by yourselves! You see, this is what happens when you campaign for forty years on a single issue. People actually believed you when you said they were voting to lose the chains; can’t you see how irresponsible that was? People actually thought that the chains were the problem and now they don’t understand why you can’t just remove them. Think again; maybe you should ask them all to vote in a second referendum; you might get a better answer. You know, to clear things up.

Still no? We can see the problem here and it is our fault, really. For the low information voters out there – the ones who voted to lose the chains - we clearly haven’t put enough effort into explaining what is good about the chains. We need to spend some money on an information campaign to explain that they aren’t real chains at all, they are only metaphorical chains. Does that feel any better? We can put it in writing if you like, maybe work up some legislation? Would that help at all?

Chains? What chains?

We have listened to your cry for help and our research tells us that it’s not the chains per se that people are objecting to but the wrong kind of chains. In fact, when we really explained it all to our focus groups they told us that, far from getting rid of the chains, what they really want is more chains. And it’s not freedom of movement that’s the worry, it’s losing the freedom of movement that all those chains actually give you. “They’re getting too damn heavy, and I’m crawling across the floor...” No wonder Dylan had to keep on knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.

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