THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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July 2016

Reflections on Brexit

The smug élites squirm still but I have no doubt the deed will be done. Their talk of buyer's remorse irritates. It is as untrue as everything else these congenital liars have said in the course of the campaign and has the same taint of condescension. Yet nothing can quash my delight. I have not smiled so much for so long in decades.

Even as I earnestly reassure my confused friends from the other side of the Channel that (a) this doesn't mean we hate them, (b) my fellow-citizens are not the near-Nazis the BBC and Guardian would have them believe and (c) the markets will soon confirm my confidence that Britain will be better off without the strangulation of the burgeoning bureaucratic superstate, my cheesy grin says more than my words.

I am coming to realise that Brexit has a special meaning for me. It's natural for a long term expat to have trouble reassimilating when returning home. In 20 years Britain had changed. I returned to a land far stranger to me than the exotic places I had lived and worked. This was compounded by my moving to London, where I had worked and socialised before but never lived full time. And by my socialising, inevitably, with a particularly prosperous portion of the capital's population. These were the people who had done well in the UK I had lived away from. Whatever it had become was fine and dandy with them.

Much as I have loved studying and practising my photography since I gave up full-time work, the tutors and fellow students incline to an arty-farty, lefty Luvvie-ness that excludes me. At times, I have felt like a member of a defeated tribe living politely amongst his conquerors.

So a very literal alienation then; feeling like an alien in my own nation. An alienation I made worse by giving up my blog and its supportive community of like-minded people. I had begun to hold my tongue in company on the assumption that I was so far away from the zeitgeist, so out of touch with modern Britain, that my views would amuse more than persuade. One friend delighted in assembling Guardianisti around his table and then winding me up to shock them; like some imperialist grandee amusing his guests by seating a savage amongst them.

I could only really be myself with my provincial family and visiting friends from the countries I had worked in. This made me feel older than I am and sadder than my optimistic nature inclines me to be. I had begun to think of myself as heading towards life's exit. I was not taking care of my health or diet because I was not thinking of my future.

The referendum campaign raised hopes that I was not alone. Until the very last moment however I believed Remain would win. Dining out on the night of the poll, I told my companion I was distraught at the prospect of defeat and didn't know how I would cope without the hope the campaign had brought.

And then came the result. It turns out my smug, metropolitan friends are the ones out of touch with the zeitgeist. It turns out the greatest number of voters in British history agreed with me on a key issue. It turns out this country is, after all my doubts, where I belong.

I don't know how the result touched you, gentle reader, but for me it was a welcome home.

Thank you, Nigel Farage

UKIP leader Nigel Farage stands down - BBC News.

The nation owes Nigel Farage a debt. He has endured years of abuse on behalf of the majority of British people who never wanted EU political union. We instinctively favour free trade. We recognise that only governments inhibit it. We tend to favour progress towards it, even if only incremental. That was the basis on which we were persuaded to vote for continued membership in 1975. We were offered a common European economic space without tariff or non-tariff legal barriers to trade and we accepted that offer. 

But the offer was a lie. Our leaders lied to us then and they have been lying ever since. The EU was always intended to progress by "ever closer union" to a federal superstate. Most of our establishment both knew and bought into that. To be more precise they were bought into that as the Brussels machine actively sought to make politicians like Mandelson and Kinnock rich in return for switching their loyalty. Betray your voters to us, ran the promise, lie to them and deny the ultimate goal while we move steadily towards it under cover of your disinformation, and when your political career ends in the usual failure, we will see you right. 

For the last 43 years, if you pointed out these truths, the establishment derided and defamed you. You were called a fascist, a bigot, a racist and a fool. You were "fruit cakes", "Little Englanders" and "bastards". All for saying what the British people felt in what was supposed to be a democratic nation. Farage and his people walked through great storms of establishment shit on our behalf. 

He sacrificed his business career to speak as well as he could for the unrepresented majority. He endured slanders and worse. He has made his mistakes, as an honest man in the sewers of professional politics was bound to do and as he freely admits. But he stood up for what he believed in. Without him and his party of "fruit cakes" the establishment would have denied us our voice forever. 

We owe him thanks. When the new reality is finally accepted (and politicians will soon come to realise that they deny it at their peril) I hope the government will acknowledge that on our behalf with a peerage. There is a village near where I grew up in Wales called Hope. I suggest Lord Farage of Hope would be an apt title.

Can we change the subject yet?

Once again, leaving the UK does not get me away from the topic of Brexit. My Continental friends on Facebook are still burbling away about how (a) we're doomed without them because our economy will wither and die if not tied to their withering, dying economies and (b) they're doomed because we have given stupid ideas to their proles who must at all costs be ignored for fear of the return of fascism. Which is it guys? A big happy European family that we are being rude by leaving, or a seething mob of would-be fascists that we must help repress?

My Russian friends are asking questions too. They expressed mild amusement at the way President Putin was used by Remain as a bogeyman in the referendum campaign. Unfortunately that also reinforced their long-held and utterly-misguided view that the West lives its entire life in negative relationship to Russia. They imagine we think of them like SNP voters think of England; vicious, calculating hostiles who are the cause of every problem in our lives. I spent six years here trying to convince them that we were happy that Russia had rejoined the free world and wished it well. David Cameron blew that, along with everything else in his political career.

We had some discussion over drinks as to whether Brexit opened opportunities to ease economic sanctions which are hurting them almost as much as they are hurting us. The U.K. is correctly perceived to have been a sanctions hawk within both the EU and NATO. With us already out of the EU equation when it comes to forming policy, I suppose it's possible things may ease up. On the other hand, the sanctions that hurt the Russian elite the most are those applied through the City of London and Wall Street.

Perhaps it may help Russia to have a new party to talk to. However I have encountered no celebrations of the kind Cameron so dishonestly predicted.