Sunday, 31 December 2017
Well, here we are again at that time of the year when we are all invited to predict the future, get it spectacularly wrong and then discover that nobody really cares after all. Like the time when I predicted a 60/40 Remain/Leave vote when the referendum was announced. It seems futurology is a game for the experts which mere mangénues should ne’er feign to follow. Seriously, nobody knows the future, so it would be most unwise to forecast events which have yet to transpire. So, here goes.
I have been bequeathed just one vision for 2018. In my deep and tranquil sleep – the happy slumber of the righteous Brexiteer, so ignorant am I of the mental harm I have done to half my fellow countrymen – the only recurrent dream is the open-mouthed face of the proto-Remainer. Like Munch’s famous painting this face looks out imploringly at me and mouths its silent scream. Silent because, having started out shrill, it has risen in pitch to become almost inaudible to the human ear. Almost.
If Twitter had sound it would be a never-ending screech of angst, of impotent rage, of despair, of loss... and it would mostly be coming from one direction. It can’t be coincidence that the apparently disparate clumps of those who espouse the most minor of rights – all flavours of them - believe that they will only be free to pursue those entitlements within the bounds of a supranational administration. Such an administration that will ignore the settled wishes of the majority and happily impose on them the duty to tolerate and bend to those they find intolerable, by force of law
So, throughout 2018 and beyond, the imaginary fight of those who sport the #FBPE hashtag will play out. Every business closure, every dip in the value of the pound, every price rise will be blamed on Brexit and the uneducated racists who voted for it. And every high profile figure who vows – without any obvious power to do so – to reverse the decision will be cheered as a conquering hero. The battlefield will echo to their cheers and groans, their apparent triumphs and their disappointments. But the noise will be coming, mostly, from one side.
What the Remain camp appears not to have realised is that nobody is fighting back. Leave won and they have left the field. Like Japanese soldiers on Pacific islands, Remainers are continuing to fight the war long after it is ended. And while they keep up the struggle inside their own heads, Brexiteers are busily getting on, negotiating the peace. The day after Brexit, when we all wake up and discover that nothing has changed, that no damage has been done, Remainers will have only two options.
It's bright, it's Brexit
Those who are mentally strong enough will be able to shrug, sniff the air, realise their fears were unfounded and begin to rebuild the bridges they burned during the Article 50 period. They will be welcomed back into the fold. But the rest will behave like doomsday cultists, seeing the absence of Armageddon as evidence that their prayers have been answered; and they will strengthen their faith as a result. We will need to be charitable to them and treat their EU delusion as the mental illness it is. We will need to be better than them.