LONDON — A week after the historic Brexit referendum I attended what we might call its sequel. As Americans will recall, on June 23 all of Great Britain's bien-pensants ever so unctuously voted against Brexit. That is to say they voted against leaving the EU. They lost 52 percent to 48 percent. The outcome was a bit of a surprise, but they lost fair and square. Thus, a week later they flooded the streets of central London to protest the outcome of the vote and piously call for a new election. It was not that they claimed the election had been rigged. Rather, they claimed the wrong people won. They wanted a second try.
Frankly, I hope the majority who voted to leave the EU grant these sore losers a second vote. If the sore losers lose that vote I say grant them a third vote and a fourth vote. If they do finally win — say, on the 23rd or 24th vote when many of the proponents of exiting the EU have grown bored or have left for vacation — what will the victorious Remain voters do? How will they treat the roughly 50 to 52 percent who won the previous votes and presumably are still desirous of leaving the EU?
Well, if you heard how the Remain advocates were describing the Leave advocates just before the referendum you might be concerned for their civil liberties and for the rule of law in old England. The Remain advocates denounced their adversaries as the "less educated," the "rural voters," the "old people who only have a limited life expectancy," as opposed to the young, robust, highly educated, urban sophisticates who lost on June 23 and were now marching thorough central London to reverse the vote with another election.
Mobs of young, highly educated egotists (and not so educated thugs) who do not take elections seriously, but take themselves very seriously have been seen in this old world before. They often ship their opposition off to reeducation camps or put them up against the wall. The only thing that might save the Leave vote today is Leave voters' vast numbers. They beat these prigs by 1,269,501 votes. People who believe they should get a second vote do not care much for the legitimacy of their opponents, but such opponents can put up a good fight. There was a hint of this in what became Spanish Civil War. Numbered amongst the Remain crowd were thousands of latent authoritarian personalities.
As luck would have it, I was in London for the historic march on London that followed the historic vote. I enjoyed every minuet of the spectacle. I marched down Piccadilly Street with the self-righteous shouters and placard-wavers. They reminded me of demonstrators I had marched with before: those at the anti-war rallies of past decades, the ban-the-bomb rallies, the workers rallies, the rallies of vegetarians — all the lost causes of the West. Their goals had for the most part been won by the American armed forces, the CIA, politicians, such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, free market economics and Milton Friedman. Here's to you, Friedman!
The crowd was very polite, unlike some others through the years: those at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, the 1963 March on Washington and more recently the anti-Trump rallies. The families of the 30-somethings brought their children. The college-aged were pretty much sober. After all, it was midday, and they had yet to auspicate their binge drinking. There were some rude signs, and there was some lewd gesticulating, but not much. These people were on their best behavior.
Yet, as a seasoned observer of these demonstrations I sensed an ominous undercurrent. These, after all, were the morally superior of a great nation. They had publicly proclaimed that they would not be governed by the outcome of a vote. If the vote did not go their way they would bloody well thwart it, just as they thwarted other initiatives of British democracy. They would resort to the bureaucracy, to the courts, to the media, to academe. They are the bien-pensants of the left. Think of what they did to Margaret Thatcher. They are relentless. Only Donald Trump has had the perspicacity to identify them as losers.
Photo credit: Charles Hutchins