It felt as people must have done on VE Day. (Quite appropriate, really, given what the E in VE Day stands for…)
It felt how that preeminent knight of the Crusades Reynald de Chatillon must have felt on his release after years in the lightless, airless, foetid dungeons of Aleppo.
It felt like that time I chatted up a Norwegian barmaid well above my pay grade and instead of being turned down I got lucky.
It felt like lots of other things too, all of them good, and I expect it was just the same for you. Brexit Day — Independence Day, as we told ourselves we would soon come to call it — was perhaps the greatest political event of our lives because it was so momentous and so unexpected.
Momentous because — unlike general elections for parties so samey there was little to choose between them anyway — the result really would make a genuine difference.
Unexpected because — as we’d seen in the fractious, ugly campaign leading up to it — the Remainer Establishment had done everything it conceivably could have done, both by fair means and foul, to try to ensure that the people of Britain did not vote the way all their instincts urged them to vote.
The outcome, despite the Remainer Establishment’s best efforts, was:
17,410,742 for Leave
16,141,241 for Remain
Ever since, Remoaners have tried to persuade us that this 52 per cent margin was so tiny that frankly we should either ignore the result or run the Referendum over and over again until the right decision is reached.
But I suspect that that margin would have been considerably larger if the Establishment had not put so much money and muscle into trying to thwart the popular will by frightening people with Project Fear. The Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund, the Civil Service, the BBC, the universities, the City of London, the Confederation of British Industry, the President of the USA, etc — the Remain Establishment threw everything it possibly could into its battle against democracy. And still it lost.
After all that blatant cheating, you’ll forgive me for not being terribly sympathetic to the notion that we should bend over backwards to ensure that both Remainers and Leavers are kept happy by whatever happens next.
No, we shouldn’t.
Brexit was a binary decision. We voted Leave and there’s an end to it. No more can you be half in and half out of Europe than you can be half pregnant.
The idea that somewhere out there is some ingenious fudge whereby Britain gets Brexit but in such a way as to keep all the Remoaner losers on side was always one so stupid and dishonest that only a Remainer could have thought of it.
That’s because Remainers did think of it.
Every bad idea about Brexit that has emerged since the EU Referendum is essentially the product of Remainer holdouts who don’t merely disagree with the Brexit result but who actively want to overturn it.
Hard Brexit? A dishonest concept, fomented by the BBC, to conjure up the false notion that leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union is so radical, nay extreme, that the sensible course is to water it down and make it softer.
No Deal? A deliberately negative phrase — the clue is in that first word — cooked up in order to suggest, falsely, that instead of simply telling Brussels we’re leaving, like it or lump it, it’s far better to go cap in hand to Michel Barnier, Jean Claude-Juncker, and Guy Verhofstadt and beg them for permission.
The Backstop? An imaginary problem, conjured from thin air, by Remainer Civil Servants in cahoots with their mates at the EU, to derail Brexit by exaggerating border tensions between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Withdrawal Agreement? A form of Brexit betrayal, secretly put together by a Remainer prime minister and her Remainer civil servants, in the fond hope that if you dip a turd in glitter everyone will go “Ooh! Shiny! Shiny!” and completely not notice what’s lurking underneath.
When you understand this, it releases you from the state of planet-struck befuddlement in which the majority of Brexit voters have spent the last few years.
That befuddlement can be summed up in the question that all the Brexiteers I know have been asking themselves again over the last three years: “How come — given that we were given a democratic vote on Brexit, and given that we promised that our decision would be honoured — we still haven’t got Brexit?”
Well, let me tell you the answer. It’s really very simple.
Britain in 2019 is a Third World country. It’s a Banana Republic. It’s a corrupt oligarchy. It’s Albania. It’s Russia. It’s Burkina Faso. It’s Venezuela. It’s all those countries in the world that we used to point at smugly congratulating ourselves that we’re not like them because Magna Carta, because English common law, because international transparency index, because the Queen — but which we can’t any more because we are like them.
Not exactly like them, obviously. No, what we’ve done is adopted many of their worst vices — the venality, the lack of democratic accountability, the utter disregard for ordinary people, the financial corruption, and so on — but then dressed them up in a pinstripe suit and a bowler hat and a furled umbrella from Swaine Adeney Brigg in the pretence that everything is still OK.
But everything is not OK.
The Establishment in this country is as scheming and sinister and mendacious and self-serving and hateful and contemptuous and intransigent as the Establishments in all the more obviously corrupt and evil and dangerous countries in the world to which we used to feel superior. It’s just much better at masking its vileness.
Just as a brief thought experiment, ask yourself how we’d view it if China had given its people a referendum and then executed a complete reverse ferret when the people gave the wrong result. Or if Iran had behaved similarly badly. Or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We’d all condemn it (presuming that we’d been made aware of it) as just the kind of dodgy behaviour you’d expect from Communist dictatorships/Islamic republics/African sweatboxes. We’d be disgusted; appalled; aghast that the regime in question could get away with such crimes against democracy.
Yet somehow, mystifyingly, bizarrely, when our own government does it gets pretty much a free pass from our mainstream media, which for decades we’ve told ourselves is robust and fearless but which is in fact so compliant in might just as well be Soviet-era Pravda or Radio Pyongyang.
Other, less subtle countries might have nixed their own versions of Brexit with say, death squads, or disappearances in the night, or massive bribes to influential figures or tanks mowing down a few dozen student protestors. But that’s not the British way.
No, when the Remainer Establishment — our Deep State — wanted to kill Brexit, all it had to do was come up with that weasel excuse “Well you see, the thing is, it’s much, much more complicated than you think. And that’s why we can’t give you Brexit. Because procedural complexity and ‘the numbers’ and stuff you proles are simply too, erm, unsophisticated to understand…”
And our tame media, to a greater or lesser degree, and a good many parliamentarians and commentators who really should have known better, accepted this line on our behalf.
But we 17.4 million Brexiteers — and also, quite a few of those 16.1 million Remainers who have since changed sides having noticed just how appalling the EU and its supporters have been behaving these last three years — haven’t bought this fancy-pants slime ball nonsense.
We don’t watch the BBC. We’ve given up on the newspapers. We don’t trust the Westminster politicians. And quite a few of us have been lucky enough not to benefit from a university “education”.
We voted Brexit. We knew what the Brexit we voted for would look like when we got it. And so far, we definitely haven’t got it — or anything close.
It’s just as well that one or two people in Parliament seem to be waking up to what’s going on — because until they do there is never going to be peace and stability in this land.
Boris Johnson, in the likely event he becomes Prime Minister, is in the fortunate position of entering the role with no difficult choice.
Either he delivers swift, full Brexit. Or he delivers swift, full Brexit.
There really are no other options. The people decided this three years ago. The people must prevail.