Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

It’s not a People’s Vote we need – it’s a People’s Revolt

If - and that's a big if - there were a parliamentary decision in favour of a fresh referendum on the EU, how should the Leave majority respond? Let's ask recalcitrant Remainers to put themselves in our shoes. What incentive would there be to vote again? What faith could Leavers have in the system, if they overcame the odds stacked against them for a second time?

Some Brexit supporters are confident that a Leave vote would be greater than before, due to discrediting of Project Fear and the haughty intransigence of EU leaders. But believe me, the establishment would do everything it could – fair or foul – to ensure a desired verdict. A massive programme of propaganda and dirty dealings would ensue, funded by George Soros and the globalist elite.Foreign interference would supplement our Remain-addled institutions, including the Civil Service and corrupt Electoral Commission.

It's not the insultingly termed 'people's vote' we need – it's a people's revolt. Democracy is being overtly defied by the political and cultural establishments, their media lackeys, and the privileged middle-class who abhor the patriotic and traditional values of the common people.And by the indoctrinated younger generations, who have learned in school and university that the EU is their future, and that Leavers have stolen it from them. You can detect the Remain archetype by their pose and posture: the recent rally in London was satirised as the longest-ever queue at Waitrose.

Pro-EU fundamentalists hate the phrase 'will of the people' - not so much the will (an undeniable 52%), but the people. They do not want to associate themselves with the ignoramuses of Brexitland. The education gap between Remain and Leave voters is highlighted, although much of this difference is confounded by age, as until recently university was the preserve of a minority. Yet listen to most Remainers and you'll find minimal understanding of the EU and its workings. 'Name the EU Commissioners', I have sometimes asked, and rarely got more than two correct answers. How are laws created? Most Remainers don't have a clue. To be fair, most Leavers don't know much of these complicated mechanisms either, but why should they? They want nothing to do with it.

The intractable divide in society won't be resolved in the near future, whatever happens with Brexit. Rational arguments may be made for leaving or staying in the EU, but the emotive group-think among Remainers is immune to reasoned debate. The EU is regarded as a paragon of virtue, associated with the progressive clichés of 'tolerance' , 'diversity', 'multiculturalism', and a bulwark against nasty nationalism. If you point out the swelling populist movements across the continent, this will simply add to the certainty of Remainers that we need more EU. Idealism obscures the reality.

Brexit exposed a schism in society, with progressive globalists on one side, and grounded, socially-conservative patriots on the other (as in David Goodhart's conceptualisation of 'Anywheres' and 'Somewheres' ). The straightforward logic of democracy seems to escape the intelligentsia, as does the value of nationhood. Immigration good, borders bad. EU good, Britain bad. These are the people who are unperturbed by the problems of mass migration, unsustainable population growth, building over the countryside and cultural regression. And this is how we are ruled.

Arguably, this is not really intelligence, but educated stupidity. Or the Ship of Fools in the new book by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, subtitled How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution. Truly, we are following the USA to a culture war (indeed, arguably we struck first, with Brexit). But unlike our American cousins, we lack a character like Donald Trump to 'drain the swamp'. We don't want a Great Dictator, but a Great Disruptor.

I am not calling for revolution, but a revolt against those who are effectively denying the rights of man and woman. How remarkable, in the much-commemorated centenary of universal suffrage, that the votes of women and working-class men are being annulled. An overdue resurgence of national spirit should be framed by Enlightenment values and the triumvirate of democracy, freedom of speech and equality before the law. A polity based more on Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill than the Frankfurt School and Foucault. We must free ourselves from the European Court of Justice, the subversive European Court of Human Rights and the petty Napoleons of the EU Commission. And we must remind politicians and the Civil Service that they serve us – not the other way round.

How to do this? Some tough choices must be made. First, habitual voting patterns must be abandoned. This has already happened in Europe, where the long-dominant social democrat and centrist parties in Sweden and Germany are in serious decline, and decimated in France and Italy. Our first-past-the-post elections favour the main parties, but as shown by the success of UKIP in forcing the EU referendum, the mainstream can be shifted. As the old political spectrum of Left and Right is fragmenting, voters should demand more of their constituency candidates, and remind those who are elected of their personal pledges. This could mean that a committed Leaver in Labour Party colours is preferable to a careerist Tory. I'm no Labourite, but I'd certainly vote for Frank Field, and would consider Caroline Flint, were they in my constituency.

What if this preposterous People's Vote were enacted? I would implore Leave voters to boycott this blatant attempt to reverse the referendum decision. It would have no legitimacy if two-thirds of the population stayed away from the polling stations. Politicians who called for this 'correction', when canvassing in future elections, should be asked: 'Why should I vote for you or your party, when you tried to overturn a democratic majority – including my vote?'Disenfranchise us, and we'll unseat you.

The 2016 vote was very close, Remainers say. But you cannot change the rules after the match was played. I would, however, suggest a concession. If Remainers could just let Britain leave, as decided by the electorate, the government could in principle offer a referendum on rejoining the EU. But that should be at least five years after we have departed, when the contrast between an independent UK and the federalist project will be interesting, to say the least. 

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Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
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