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September 03rd 2016 print

John O’Sullivan

Remains of the Dazed

The immediate reaction of those who fought and feared Brexit was entirely predictable: something much worse than the Seven Plagues of Egypt was about to descend. Wrong, as usual, all they succeeded in demonstrating was the habitual arrogance of the elites

brexitWhen we last spoke to each other, the struggling heroine was tied to the railway tracks, the bonds were holding firm, the locomotive was rushing towards her, and the end looked nigh. At the last minute, however, even as her obituaries were being written (“a sad end to a fine life with many great achievements to her credit”, but also “few will regret the demise of this imperious harridan” and “this is not so much a death as an absorption into a greater Oneness”), Britannia suddenly broke free from the bonds, leapt from the tracks, jumped nimbly onto the rushing locomotive, produced a small revolver hitherto secreted in her underwear, placed it against the temple of the surprised driver, and said: “Make straight for the open seas, Buster, and don’t tell me you don’t know the way.”

I refer, as you have guessed, to the decision of the British people by a 52-to-48 per cent referendum vote to leave the European Union and resume being an independent self-governing democracy. It is less than three months since the vote—and early judgments are always suspect—but the result looks today like a much bigger deal for Europe and the world as well as for Britain than even passionate Brexiteers like me guessed in advance. So far there have been three stages in reaction to it.

The first was an almost universal surprise, since it was a truism that Leavers were a tiny handful of fruitcakes. A defeat for Remain was thus unthinkable. In fact there had always been widespread opposition to the EU among voters at all social levels, even though political parties, the media, and most national institutions had treated the idea with contempt and its adherents as eccentric at best. Suddenly the referendum rules meant that Leavers were on television making the case for Brexit nightly and, contrary to their caricature, they seemed quite reasonable. They persuaded some voters to switch to Leave, and Leave voters to be more confident of their own opinions. As the campaign developed, the polls swung towards Leave and many late polls showed the two sides as neck-and-neck. A Leave victory, though by no means inevitable, should have been seen as pretty likely.

In fact the reaction that followed surprise was a set of variations on horror, outrage, indignation, anguish and a desire for revenge. That was on the Remain side; the Leave side was pleased but not extravagantly so. For a while it simply pocketed its unexpected success and watched, bemused, from the wings while Remainers rioted angrily stage-centre. They plainly wanted the referendum result annulled but they were never quite able to explain why. Obviously they couldn’t say simply that they wanted a different result. So they had to invent a series of specious reasons that in their eyes cast doubt on its validity—that the Leave campaign was xenophobic and racist, that its voters (though not Remain voters) had not understood what they were voting for, that it had “told lies” (uniquely so in political campaigns, apparently), and so on and so forth. But the argument advanced with most passion by Remainers and repeated most often in the left-wing press ran as follows: because old uneducated people supporting Leave had outvoted young people with degrees voting Remain, these miserable old geezers had “robbed the young of their future” and, well, it wasn’t right.

No, it wasn’t right—on any number of grounds. First, the argument assumes what has to be proved: if the future outside the EU turns out to be better than inside it, then those who voted Leave will have bequeathed the young a better future. You’re welcome. Second, neither young nor old people voted as blocs; large percentages of both groups deviated from their respective majorities; and because of differential turnout, more older people than younger voted to Remain! Third, the argument that young people with degrees in particular were outvoted by old uneducated ones is a piece of vulgar intellectual snobbery. Happily, it is also false because (a) it confuses education (and, by implication) intelligence with possession of a degree, and (b) it assumes that the value of a degree is stable over time. However, according to a House of Commons Library study of educational changes in Britain: “Overall participation in higher education increased from 3.4% in 1950, to 8.4% in 1970, 19.3% in 1990 and 33% in 2000.” It has hovered around the 50 per cent mark for the last few years.

So the value of a degree has been falling steadily since the mid-1960s. College never was the only avenue for talented school-leavers; before university expansion many went directly into business or the civil service. And given stable or even falling educational standards since then, it is absolutely certain that a great many over-sixties without degrees are better educated than many under-thirties with a diploma.

The excoriation of the Leavers continued for more than a month. It even included such old-fashioned discourtesies as hostesses asking Leavers to leave dinner parties when their social disgrace was revealed in conversation. Then the tide turned in a third reaction.

Its first wave was the gradual realisation that the predicted horrors of Brexit forecast by the Remainers had not in fact occurred. That was a bigger blow than it should have been. After all, Britain is still in the European Union and probably will remain there until the end of 2018. But the Remainers were seemingly so convinced of their predictions of apocalypse that they hailed the early inevitable signs of market and currency turbulence as proof that their Project Fear was proving to be Project Brexageddon.

My two favourite instances were (a) the New York Times headline “Alarmed Britons Ask Pollsters: Why Didn’t You Warn Us?” within a few days of the vote, and (b) the disapproving BBC interviewer who on D-Day+1 asked a Wall Streeter why he wasn’t taking the crisis more seriously, to which, seemingly amused, he replied that he’d been around the block a few times.

The Wall Streeter was right. Within a short time the Footsie 100 and 250 had both recovered ground lost, the Bank of England reported “no clear evidence” of a post-Brexit slowdown, the IMF predicted that UK growth over the next two years would be higher than any other G20 economy except the US and Canada, and the European Central Bank saw no sign that Brexit had had any impact on inflation. Much can go wrong in the future, of course, and there are many problems in the European and world economies. But the Remainers cannot cite any future crises as the consequences of Brexit because they have already played that card and been shown up as not just wrong but also alarmist.

With their scare-mongering discredited, the Remainers and their allies—or to be more precise, the Remain bitter-enders—have now become the focus of attention. What explains their combination of absolute certainty that they are right with their actual record of frequently being wrong? Why did they give vent to such unpleasant snobbery about Leave voters—a snobbery that is especially silly since both Leave and Remain voting blocs contain large slices of every conventional social class? Why were Remain’s hostile and largely fallacious explanations of the Brexit result taken up so uncritically by the media and officialdom of other countries around the world—so that CNN’s Christiane Amanpour could make a perfect fool of herself by asserting that an alleged upsurge in hate crimes was attributable to the Leave campaign without giving evidence of any link whatsoever. And why are claims that simply beg to be investigated—such as “Those with no formal education are twice as likely to vote Leave as those with university degree/in education”—transported uncritically onto front pages? As the statistician Gary Bennett asked and answered in a cool impartial analysis of Brexit statistics on the website Conservative Home: “What proportion of Leave voters fall within this group [that is, no formal education]? Just one per cent!”

I am not asking these questions about all Remain voters. Like all Leave voters, they cover many social categories, including “Not very interested in politics”. Yet those who are active and passionate on the Remain side around the world seem united by something deeper and more general than Brexit itself.

May I suggest two modest clues. The first is the case of the lady who was asked to leave the London dinner party for voting the socially incorrect way. (I know now of several such cases.) If it sounds like something out of Wilde or Pinero, that’s not accidental. It was an old-fashioned class loyalty and disdain in a new post-national class.

The second clue is the absolute determination of the Remainers during the campaign not to discuss Leave’s argument that Brexit was needed to preserve Britain’s sovereign democracy. Nor to acknowledge afterwards that democracy was an important reason why people voted for Brexit. Nor to wonder if their own attitudes to the Brexit vote, listed in the questions above, did not reveal a discomfort they could not respectably express with a resurgent democracy and the threat it poses to their class interests.

Christopher Caldwell, writing on a different topic in the Spectator, observed: “Western elites are hardening into something like a class. Having little contact with other social classes, they may, on certain issues, never have met someone who disagrees with them. They cannot distinguish between wishes and facts, and see no need to.”

And when they meet a people that disagrees with them, they almost explode with the frustration of not being able to say why they should prevail.

 

Comments [14]

  1. ianl says:

    Pretty close to the truth. The contempt for older people is palpable – I often wonder how these people treat their own parents, and why they think they won’t age themselves. Not that the issue is yet over in any way: the UK’s new PM has yet to pull the actual trigger on Brexit and many of her Parliamentary colleagues are demanding a Parliamentary vote before doing this. It’s quite clear why they want this. My daughter (30) is working in London as a solicitor in a large UK law firm and insouciantly informs me that this firm is championing a legal challenge to Brexit. Considering the partiality of judges to their own self-proclaimed elitism, this challenge has to be given a good chance of success, especially as a plebiscite is classified as advisory only, allowing said Court judiciary a fig leaf.

    Aus politicians, bureaucrats and MSM denizens have long drawn their politically correct conclusion from the brief, glorious Brexit episode. Never, ever ask the hoi-polloi real questions; that is the restricted reserve of the self-described elite. If this is doubted, well, just watch their faces when Brexit is raised as a topic. It’s why I am of the view that a plebiscite on SSM here will not happen. The vanity of the self-proclaimed “elite” will not permit it.

  2. Bryce M says:

    Though no doubt nearly all or all who read this will be unaware of it, or not believe it, there is another much more powerful reason that Leave prevailed, and will continue to, no matter what. There is a power which overrides any act or folly of man. It is the same being/power to whom a prayer is made at the beginning of every session of Parliament. The Lord of every Christian.

    How can this be? Consider this. Beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey there is a container, a shelf. On this shelf for every coronation sits a stone, a whitish one, with ancient iron handles on it. This coronation throne is different to all others in history. It has no jewels, no gold, and minimum embellishment. The one remarkable feature is this stone.

    Another remarkable thing is that all hereditary monarchies which existed three thousand years ago have now fallen, save one, and that is the British Monarchy/Crown. A promise was made by God to King David of Israel, that he would never lack a descendant to sit on his throne and to rule over the real Israel till Jesus came the second time to sit upon that throne and judge the nations. The present Queen Elizabeth is a descendant of David, as were her forebears and predecessors of other families. The genealogy is available from the Royal College of Heralds.

    The old rectangular slab of stone in/under the throne is a type of white sandstone which only occurs in one place in the world, in Palestine/the Holy Land. It is known variously as Jacob’s Pillow, and Lia Fail, or the Stone of Destiny. It is said to be the stone on which the patriarch Jacob laid his head when he slept and saw the vision of angels climbing and descending on a ladder to Heaven. It was the base of David’s throne in Jerusalem. No monarch of England or Britain is legally crowned unless they are sitting upon that stone, during the ceremony. Sufficient is the enormity and importance of this that no mere jewels or precious metals can possibly compare with the majesty of it, despite the Crown Jewels of Britain probably exceeding in quality and value the collection of any other kingdom in history. It came via Ireland and Scotland to England, and was brought to Northern Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah, with the daughters of the last king of Judah who was murdered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. One of those daughters, Tara, married the high king of Ireland and the royal line was continued there from Jerusalem from whence it was removed. Jeremiah was buried in Northern Ireland.

    When the Christ returns and every sign given suggests it is now imminent, we are told He will sit upon that same stone in Jerusalem and rule the world/judge the nations. The British Royal Family are keeping His seat warm for Him, as it were. The event is to take place at the point where the stupidity of most of mankind is evident to all at the brink of a catastrophe about to be unleashed which fits exactly the description of a global nuclear war, pivoting on the Holy Land and involving a Jewish colony. The initial/leading events to that moment are largely occurring now in that area.

    If Britain were to let its sovereignty be surrendered to the European Commission, the Almighty God’s promise would have been broken and He never allows this to happen. Ever. Therefore this writer was very confident before the vote for Brexit, which way it would go, despite so many so called pundits forecasting the opposite. Britain will not forfeit sovereignty, nor will the British Crown lose any power, until this great event, and nothing in the universe can change that, come what may.

    There is so much more to this narrative but there is insufficient space here. This is posted as a witness to those who read it, as a public notice as it were that these things are about to transpire. Few no doubt will heed, just now, but some may remember this posting in the future and remember it. If even one person saves themselves from what is coming as a result of it the author will be more than satisfied. Watch. The world is, we were told all those centuries and millennia ago, about to change, in a way beyond imagination. The bloodshed if IS/jihadists etc. is foreshadowed and more horror is to come before the advent of the great and the good. There is a mighty hand at work, even now, who has interfered in the events of the world many times, unbeknown to the overwhelming majority who are un-wilfully or wilfully ignorant of it.

    Many of the great and good of our western civilisation are aware of this to varying degrees, and the list is long. Elizabeth Tudor, Oliver Cromwell, William Penn, and many more. The author is not among the first but probably among the last to warn of this change coming.

    Brexit? Rely in it. Now watch Danmark, Sweden/Norway, the Netherlands, and so on. All share a common heritage and basic societal knowledge, dim though it may now have become, it is there. And the Basques, Catalans, the Breton, far northern Italians, Savognards, Swiss, Saxons of Germany, and many more. These people have visceral opposition to external and unelected rule.

    • Bryce M says:

      Reading IanL. Thank you, nice post Ian. Even though your beloved daughter is working for this law firm. it might well be unwise to ever employ them. The reason is that Britain joining the EU was illegal, constitutionally in the first place. If they are unaware of this, there are probably better lawyers around. This is no criticism of course of you good d., as work is hard to find in the legal profession. You take the best you can get, in the circumstances.

      • ianl says:

        > “If they are unaware of this, there are probably better lawyers around”

        This rather depends on who’s paying them and how much, I suspect. Good lawyers accept a brief and argue it, irrespective of the rights or wrongs (they don’t even ask that question). They just argue for whoever has the deepest pockets – I’m not critising this, it’s just how it all works. I suppose the hypocrisy of the MSM shows up here, as consultants for valuations, due diligence and other commonplace sundries are routinely smeared in the MSM as supplying opinions to suit whoever is paying them, yet the legal system actually requires this – sans MSM smear.

        As far as constitutional illegality is concerned, I have always regarded that as akin to a muted Hollywood script. Judiciary are extremely adept at finding all sorts of implied and long-lost aspects to practice and tradition, whether this is written (Aus) or not (UK). I would actually suggest that one researches the retirement pension arrangements of higher UK judiciary to ascertain whether some EC component may exist. I do not imply that in criminal or civil cases, anything but hard law prevails; when political questions are involved however, anything other than hard law may well prevail.

        I’m sure you disagree, but there it is. I label myself a realist, you may prefer cynic.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      When the Christ returns and every sign given suggests it is now imminent, we are told He will sit upon that same stone in Jerusalem and rule the world/judge the nations. The British Royal Family are keeping His seat warm for Him, as it were. The event is to take place at the point where the stupidity of most of mankind is evident to all at the brink of a catastrophe about to be unleashed which fits exactly the description of a global nuclear war, pivoting on the Holy Land and involving a Jewish colony. The initial/leading events to that moment are largely occurring now in that area.

      Far be it from me to try to dissuade you from your religious views, which are apparently very important to you.
      However, such views can be a tad dangerous.
      I distinctly remember Ronald Reagan, when he was POTUS expressing much the same opinion: except that he said if I remember rightly, that it would not surprise him if Christ were to use the occasion of a nuclear Armageddon to make his return. As many of us old enough to remember the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis will attest, eve-of-Armageddon situations are very scary: particularly so if like me, one would prefer Christ to stay put for a good while yet. It was very lucky that one of the world’s greatest-ever crisis managers, J.F. Kennedy, was POTUS at the time, and steered the world successfully through it.
      I doubt Reagan would have done nearly as well, particularly as he had appointed a Bible-thumping fundamentalist as his Secretary of the Interior: who (again as I recall) ventured the opinion that, as Jesus Christ was all set to return any day now (the signs were all there!) they should strip-mine all the national parks, and anything else that took their fancy.

    • pgang says:

      Good grief. Have you ever read the Bible?

    • Macspee says:

      I understand the Stone is now in Scotland. Things bring as they are it might be difficult to prise it away from the Csots.

  3. en passant says:

    My English cousin (from the Dark Side) is a frothing-at-the mouth Remainder. Without much conviction I bet him $20 Brexit would win. Now that it has he has pointed out it hasn’t and he does not have to pay up until 2020, if ever.
    He claims it will never happen because their will be a challenge (funded by the usual suspects, you know, our betters, scammers, rent-seekers, bankers, pollie wafflers [who could not get on the UN gravy train], etc). He claims that it is a certainty they will win on the grounds that “Only 72% of those eligible voted and only 52% of them voted to leave = 37.44%, therefore, ipso facto, M’lud only a minority wanted to leave so we must stay slaves”.
    Can’t beat that logic, but it begs the question why anyone is allowed into Parliament at all in the UK.

    • ianl says:

      > “Only 72% of those eligible voted …”

      Which means almost 30% of those eligible to vote didn’t actually care one way or the other. And still don’t.

      Can’t argue with that logic, M’Lud.

  4. LBLoveday says:

    Quote: “When the Christ returns and every sign given suggests it is now imminent”
    A workmate of mine, a Christadelphian was extremely excited on 6/10/1973, His coming was imminent, my workmate proclaimed. He either had a different understanding of “imminent” to me, or was just plain wrong, or both. As you may have and, or, be.

    • Bryce M says:

      LB thank you, :) ..a valid and pertinent comment. A number od denominations have tried to put an exact time on this and by doing so have brought the Word into disrepute :( , as they are told clearly and strongly that no man can know the day and the hour of this huge event. A price will be paid by them.

      A few of the clues of what to watch for are: A huge increase in knowledge, people rushing to and fro, individual wealth in the world the like of which has never been seen before. The actual final period looks to have commenced in 1914, about 6000 years from the new man, Adam. Jesus said this period would be introduced by religious apostasy, and major wars, later in the period, moral decline, a boom in homosexuality, decline and fall of the British Empire, a great falling away in Christian belief, (a critical sign) horrendous war in the area which was the Persian Empire, namely the area of Iraq, and Syria, perpetrated by the vilest specimens of humanity ever to exist (sound about right up to now?), the re-establishment of a Jewish population and State in the Holy land which would use the name of Israel though this ceased to apply to them nearly 3000 years ago, women would have unprecedented power over men and many children would be fatherless (due to divorce), youth would have little respect for their elders and parents, and the debt based financial system which has its origins in ancient Babylon would boom, teeter and collapse. The price of gold would explode, then collapse. The exact date, December 9,(24thof Kislev, Jewish calendar) 1917, of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks/Sword of Islam was given, ranking it as one of two future days, the other being the dates of the trial and crucifixion of Christ, which is given to the exact year and day in the books of the Old Testament.

      There is more, but have just put this in briefly to suggest there is a lot to what I refer to. Am working on a book/website listing the events their source quotations, and what to watch for. You have by commenting, prompted me to add this, but I doubt you would have the patience to check every reference.

      No doubt there will be strong forces which will still attempt to stop Brexit, and I know those fairly well, but they are up against an adversary who cannot be beaten. Man proposes, God disposes. Very bad times are coming, but they will be brought to an abrupt end.

      Few, especially the highly educated in our terms will take notice. It is expected. But when a whole planet is on the verge of foreclosure and eviction, not many will want to countenance the thought. We all naturally want to believe in the gradualness of change, but even Aristotle, a very well informed fellow for his time, stated his conviction to all that the world had always been as it was in his time, just two hundred years after the explosion of the caldera of the island on Thera, a 10 eruption, the largest in recorded history, which had buried and ended the Minoan civilisation just a few islands away, and plunged the world into a terrible period of chaos which was not often experienced, and which was one source of the weeks and months of darkness and flame in the sky of Egypt, recorded in Exodus, a time which ended the dynasties of the Middle Kingdom and plunged the once mighty kingdom Egypt into 400 years of trouble and poverty.

  5. Dallas Beaufort says:

    A side dish: The Tony Abbott government was ahead of this curve which is now apparent in Donald J Trumps ascendance. Alas, Turnbull’s taken the nation to a position behind and on the back foot.