Back in 2018, less than two years after the question on the UK’s membership within the European Union was “put to bed”, I posed the following question; What happens when populism fails to deliver on its far-flung promises?
By then it had become clear that many of the headline campaign pledges had been misleading at best and complete falsehoods at worse. As we noted at the time:
“There will be no “taking back control” at the end, no money for the NHS or British jobs for British people. Rather we have to face the reality that we will be worse off in all scenarios when Britain leaves the EU, hardly the land of milk and honey that was promised in the referendum.”
But what is fascinating about how events have played out is how those who drove the populist movement have reacted to it going down hill.
This weekend the Leave Alliance took an extraordinary swipe at Remainers for not allowing the government to Brexit ‘properly’.
The campaign group, which argues that Britain made a “fundamental mistake” by joining the EU in 1973, posted a thread on Twitter saying:
“These days I’m heavily sceptical of #Brexit and the mess it will surely be, but we are where we are primarily because we had to fight for it three times. Voting in good faith in a referendum wasn’t enough. Remainers own this mess as much as the Tories.”
But surely they are missing the obvious here.
As Brian Cox pointed out, the notion that Boris Johnson and co are being forced into doing something stupid by people who voted remain is just nonsensical.
I’ve seen a lot of this sort of thing and I don’t understand the logic. Johnson could simply decide to join EFTA, even now. 80 seat majority. Labour would back it. I just don’t buy the idea that he’s somehow been forced into doing something stupid by people who voted remain. https://t.co/JWJmEOBLHU— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) July 6, 2020
Our pro-Brexit administration has a huge majority in parliament and could theoretically steer this in any direction they want to – and indeed they have.
Negotiations with the EU seem to have stalled as we head towards a hard exit from the union. The chances of an extension, made necessary due to Covid implications, are also slim given that the very same administration has written out any such move in law.
This outcome is about as far away from the will of the Remainers as you could possibly get, and so blaming them on creating this outcome is absurd.
As Martin Broadhurst said: “You lot were supposed to have a plan but there never was one. Every point from Remainers was dismissed as project fear. Yet here we are, with checks on the Irish sea and no deal looming, to name two scenarios we were told wouldn’t happen.”
Claire Savage quite rightly added: “(Remainers) said it was a mistake from day one.”
This is your shit – own it.
Related: Authoritarianism, to what end?