Yesterday marks a full year’s departure from the UK referendum on membership of the European Union. Because we voted to Leave, some of us (myself included) have decided to mark June 23rd as our very own Independence Day, in recognition of the fact that we are becoming independent of the influence of the European Union.
One year later, I think we are still on the path towards the Brexit, but it seems things have been bungled in recent months. I regaled you all already with the outcome of the snap general election from just two weeks ago, but I will briefly explain again: Theresa May called the election thinking that she would snag a decisive majority in order to secure the “ultimate mandate” for Brexit even though she already had the democratic mandate to begin with, only to lose her majority through hubris, complacency and a terrible manifesto, forcing her to form a minority government with the DUP.
In the time between the Brexit vote and the snap general election, I have felt some changes in me politically, both in terms of my own political alignment and my opinion of British politics and the government. Before the EU referendum, I was constantly unimpressed with British politics to the point that I never voted in any elections or referendums until last year. In addition, when I look back, I realize that though I had a specific ideal that I wanted to uphold, I often times did not have a strong or precise ideological framework through which to pursue that ideal. That’s not a meaningless thing: freedom is an ideal and goal that is claimed by a diverse range of political movements in the modern age, what the difference between all of them is (1) what a free society looks like to them and (2) how they wish to achieve it (like with liberals vs conservatives for instance). Through my youth I’ve gone through self-styled anarchism, liberalism and libertarianism but without being all that well-read in either of them.
Because of my cynicism and lack of political knowledge, I was at one point sort of pro-Remain, even thought I didn’t like the EU at all, and there was no positive argument on my part – I only thought it would stop the Tories from enacting their more deeply authoritarian legislation. When I realized that such an argument made no sense and contravened my values, and I learned about what else the European Union actually did, I became more staunchly anti-EU, and from there an opponent of globalism in general. When I voted to Leave and found that my side had won, I felt meaningful democratic and national pride for probably the first time. We elected to kick the ass of a giant anti-democratic superpower in the making that didn’t give a damn about liberty, and we were in the process of saving the nation. But almost as quickly, the British government wasn’t having it, and with the help of progressive (and supposedly liberal) activists tried to block the democratic will of the people. They didn’t have their way, fortunately, but for the next year I would soon become reminded of everything I despise about British politics and the government.
I voted for the liberty of my nation state and its people, knowing that , only to see my government continue in the direction of authoritarianism that, let’s face it, it was probably already heading in by this point. The government seeking further control of the Internet, the police arbitrarily arresting people for “hate speech”, and in general not caring for the concept of freedom of speech very much to the point of still very much having a decidedly more European than American approach to the matter. Coupled with the fact that I’m pretty convinced that the British government doesn’t like the idea of strictly the democratic will of its people and principles of liberty, I remain thoroughly convinced that I fit more in the United States of America than in my own country.
However, in spite of all that, I’m willing enough to stand by the country on the issue of leaving, unless they compromise too much and the EU ends up taking us for a ride again. In the mean time, I am looking to form a strong ideological framework based on liberty, so that I can at the very least contribute to the battle of ideas that shapes the country, along with the West. I see pro-freedom ideas being on the decline in my country, so until the time when I live the dream and emigrate to America, I think I should try and spread those ideas in my own country. I’ll try and make time to read about politics, economics, history and related subjects (yes, in addition to my other reading plans) to build up my own framework.
This morning I received some wonderful news: we, the British people, have voted to reject the will of the European Union. Brexit has been a spectacular success. And it surprised me that this might be the case. At first, it was starting to look like we might remain in the EU after all. Nigel Farage was ready to concede defeat. But when I woke up this morning, my brother told me that Brexit had been a success. 51.9% of people voted to leave the EU, while 48.1% voted to Remain. I’m happy to say that I was one of the people who voted to Leave. Even more surprisingly, while Scotland and Northern Ireland were predominantly in favor of Remaining, the vast majority of Wales (where I live) was in favor of leaving (though the capital city, Cardiff, was pro-Remain). This vote has been an exciting one, and it was interesting to find out that my brother and I, by pure coincidence, happened to be voting the same way as my mother, my father and my grandmother. As an admittedly as first-time voter, I feel like I have stood up and been counted in a decision that will effect the British and European political landscape and possibly even the global order, and that I have grown to appreciate participating in democracy since last year. I kind of expected us to be very different people. Not long after I found out we have left the EU, our Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would resign in October, which frankly came as even better news – not only have we voted to leave the European Union, but David Cameron’s career as PM is also finished.
I’m going to be honest, I think that David Cameron took the result better than I expected him to. He has congratulated the Leave campaign for its passion and its spirit, and even though he is resigning over this vote, he respectfully admitted defeat like a man of virtue. That is something I never thought I would say about David Cameron. He handled it better than Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, that’s for damn sure. Farron accused Jeremy Corbyn of being spineless in the Remain campaign, and is now still thinking the Liberal Democrats ought to make the case for a pro-EU Britain. What a joke. He handled it better than The Guardian, which quickly burst into depression after having defended the establishment so enthusiastically while slandering ordinary people. He handled it better than Scotland, who aren’t going to take Brexit lying down – not to mention, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has condemned Brexit as “democratically unacceptable”, which is obviously just some nonsensical way of saying that she doesn’t like the way the British majority voted. And he handled it better than fucking Jerry Barnett of Sex and Censorship who remarked that Brexit was “good timing for his new book on fascism”. What a piece of scum. He insinuated that the Leave camp was nothing more than a collective outcry of hatred, xenophobia, and fascism. I personally, have met few to no Brexiters who exhibited such traits, and can find no evidence of fascism in the Leave campaign. I would have thought Jerry Barnett would have been above this. This is a man who, three days before the referendum, wrote a post condemning the identity politics that has taken over the left wing, and he himself noted that it was the horrible evil through which anyone who disagreed with a narrative was dismissed as a bigot. How is tarring Brexit voters as fascists any different, you brazen hypocrite! It’s also worth noting that Barnett claims that the EU is on the side that against censorship, when in fact this is a proven lie. In fact, if you think a giant bastion of authoritarian corporate power that we the people can never control or hold to account is our ally on the matter of censorship and freedom of speech, you are very uninformed.
Speaking of handling Brexit, it is very telling that a number of people on the Remain camp are saying that they will leave the UK because Britain left the EU. They are considering leaving the country over a result they didn’t like, after condemning Leave-voters as “quitters”! This is textbook brazen hypocrisy. What’s more, some have decided to sign a petition calling for a second EU referendum. Are you people kidding me? This is pathetic. But, ultimately, it is perfectly consistent with their support of the European Union – an antidemocratic institution that has, in the past, either ignored the will of the demos in its member states or tried to alter it. What’s even worse that they took to slandering the generations that raised them and secured their future for them simply because the majority of them decided that staying in the European Union. The young pro-Remain people are shocked, SHOCKED, that the will of the British people doesn’t necessarily revolve around them. They can’t bear to think that anyone else knows better than them, so they decide to slander their elders, perhaps even their own family members, as xenophobes, as bigots, racists, and out of touch. All because they, quite frankly, have their heads full of bullshit. They believe the EU represents inclusion, friendship, tolerance, diversity, togetherness and all that progressive stuff, but that is not the EU that I and everyone else who voted Leave understands it to be – put simply, they chosen to reduce the issue to love vs hate, and not as a matter of principle but as a matter of blind group-think. And to that end they will slander their elders and the working class, they will sign a petition, they will moan about how shameful it is to be British and to be concerned about national identity, and as I write this post they are planning on protesting the will of the demos just as the leftists did last year in order to try and get the Conservative Party out of government. As I said earlier, we have stood up and have been counted. Those who voted Leave are celebrating what it is to be British and the principle they fought for, while many of those who voted Remain are now openly rejecting the will of the demos and acting like fucking children. And the thing is, it strikes me as rich that they accuse us Leavers of being bigots and fascists and of poisoning British politics, when they are among the most hateful people in the country. They talk of Leave encouraging “divide and rule”, why they have divided the people and stirred the pot for ages!
The irony of all this is that it seems that re-electing the Conservative Party may, in the long run, have been a good idea after all. Think about it: David Cameron promised the British people an EU membership referendum last year, and now we had it and we’re going to leave the EU. If they didn’t win the general election, I don’t think we would have had that referendum at all. Believe me, out of all the other parties you may have voted for last year, only the Tories and UKIP wanted a referendum. If we voted for Labour, the Lib Dems or the Greens, we might not be at this historic point. And all you people who may have voted Remain in order to oppose the Tories? You people should be happy because, yes, while we will still have a Tory government, the PM you wanted to get rid of is now resigning his leadership of the Conservative Party! Is that not a plus side for you guys?
But out of all this, I feel like I have grown a lot from this. And even though I might feel a little more attached to America, I can honestly say I feel proud to be British, and happy to be a citizen of this country, or at least for now. And if America loses its way with no going back, I’d rather not live anywhere but here in Britain unless I had a damned good reason not to. I have gone from doubting democracy on my blog to embracing it wholeheartedly as an important cornerstone of the Western tradition of liberty, and I think I have some newfound respect for the old working class in my country. But there is more to be done. The Tories need a new leader, and there’s word that Labour might get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. All the while, both the British and the European political landscape is set to change and there is no going back. Scotland, as I said, won’t take this lying down and there’s talk of another Scottish referendum. All the while, EU referendums are being talked about for European countries like France, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and even Germany, and I have a feeling that the tensions between the European establishment and the people will continue. Not to mention, I believe the American political establishment still has their eyes on post-Brexit Britain and are looking for a stake in it. But this shift we are seeing in the political landscape of the UK, Europe and possibly all of the Western world will is palpable, the chaos that awaits it and the establishment shall be interesting to follow. All the while, I promise to be as mindful as possible and do whatever part I can. And if Brussels rejects the will of the British demos, I will make my voice heard.
But for now, I am happy take up Nigel Farage’s suggestion that June 23rd be celebrated as Britain’s Independence Day, and I would celebrate it just as I would celebrate July 4th as America’s independence day and the birth of the American ideal. Stay awesome Britannia!