Remainers can still prevent the worst outcome and I know that millions will try to do so.
First published in December 2019.
Remainers are the heroes of this election. Perhaps their superpower will save the country in this Zombie election. No one else will.
After the first round of vitriolic poison spewing between certain non-Tory parties, the true heroes of this election have emerged: ‘ordinary’ Remain voters.
Abandoned by political parties and without an established opposition to lead the fight, it now falls on Remainers everywhere to save the country.
Polling mastermind John Curtice says ‘underestimated’ Remain vote will decide election https://t.co/7ZnMjZ7hN2— The New European (@TheNewEuropean) December 3, 2019
‘Private’ citizens, some with party affiliations, many without, have taken it upon themselves to find a way of subverting the rigged British voting system and try to avert Brexit. It’s really difficult. Sophisticated prediction algorithms and expensive expert advice is needed to determine how and where to vote. These have been set up and are financed by grassroots organisations and, yes, more ‘private’ citizens.
But it is even more difficult to overcome psychological obstacles. Tactical voting to save the country from Brexit (or at least from the kind of Brexit the Tories want) means that many Remainers will have to vote for a party whose values they don’t share. For most of them, it means voting for a party that is not actually a Remain party and that has gobbled up and misrepresented their tactical votes before.
There is much talk of the ‘Lesser Evil’, nose-holding and advice on how to deal with the traumatic experience of having to contort yourself like this. But more and more, Remainers show an incredible determination to do whatever it takes.
Compared to the self-indulgent amateur dramatics from the main parties who still feel entitled to owning people’s votes, this is the kind of behaviour needed for a functioning democracy. Remainers behave like mature adults. I find this very impressive, particularly in the UK where voters have been infantilised forever.
Remainers in the UK, those who want to stay in the EU, almost half of all voters at the referendum and, if polls are correct, by now a majority of the population, have been treated very badly in the UK.
By the main political parties (except the SNP that only covers Scotland). By the media, with a viciousness and contempt that is usually reserved for much smaller minorities. And by the fact that there was no established mass organisation such as, for example, a main opposition party, to organise the Remain movement.
After the 2016 referendum, which I believe should be referred to as the Holy Referendum since it is a dogma that cannot be questioned, half the country was treated with love, empathy, understanding, and respect. Endless attempts were made to feel into and support the most nuanced hues of their thinking and emotions. Endless allowances were made, and then extended very far into the spectrum of racism and nationalism. The other half was silenced, reviled, treated with contempt and abrasive admonitions, and without the faintest shred of empathy or understanding. Remainers were called by a derogatory name for almost 2 years, while the other side was called by an exciting name suggesting freedom fighters for even longer.
This is not rational. This is not fair. It is certainly not democratic.
And it contributed hugely to the rapid right-wing shift on the Brexit side.
But Remainers are at least half the population. How strange is it that they are treated like heretics in a dogmatic church that has the power to excommunicate and then persecute them?
Only a few days ago, I was ridiculed on an influential Remainer blog for saying that supporting Remain is supporting the status quo. But – it is. The influential Remainer clearly found it necessary to distance himself from such hereticism.
Remainer-phobia has been internalised. In the mainstream discourse, it is rare to hear simple, fact-based statements about the EU. Even now, after three and a half years. The Holy Referendum is the dogma that everyone has to pay at least lip service to, although it was marred by corruption and manipulation. At a recent event held by The UK in a changing Europe, a well-known panel member spoke of Remainers having ‘halitosis’ because they didn’t respect the referendum). Everyone nodded knowingly. I was the only one who peeped up from the audience and objected. I was also publicly called an extremist for pointing out that the EU membership of the UK is the status quo.
For a while, when the three-monthly threats of Brexit hung over us, it looked as if Remain would perhaps be ‘legitimised’ by a national unity government. That would have been an absolute turning point. It would have revolutionised the old party lines and created opportunities for a new political landscape, and for a discourse that would have been much closer to reality.
It didn’t happen.
Now that we have an election (instead of a second referendum), the old party lines have been reinforced. Zombie arguments and Zombie politicians rule the waves. The close call with reality is already forgotten. But not by the Remainers, the only ones whose brains haven’t been eaten by the Zombies yet.
The LibDem party has been practically accused of devil worship for wanting to revoke Article 50 which was triggered without any preparation, with the votes of the official opposition party. The LibDems have apparently begun to recant their revocation heresy.
Remainers deserve respect and support.
And there are millions of them. Millions. Yes, millions. Many millions. They may be frightened, exhausted, disillusioned, undermined, unsupported and lonely, but they are still alive.
A very successful writer of Zombie novels, Michael John Grist, recently explained the Zombie genre to me like this: “It’s ultimately about a moral question. Can you defend humanity against the Zombies? Do you have what it takes?”
I can see now that a lot of Remainers do have what it takes and they will do what it takes. It might not be enough. But as in the Zombie novels, they will give it their all before they have their brains eaten.
Remainers are my heroes. One day, when the Zombies dissolve into dust, when sanity has come to the UK, they will be everyone’s heroes. Remainers can still prevent the worst outcome and I know that millions will try to do so.
I wish I could shake everyone’s hands. I wish I could make every one of them a cup of tea. I wish I could vote with them.🔷
Share this article now: