Remain's hatred and vitriol following Brexit vote

Britain is fast becoming a frightening place, as the vicious prejudices of a hate-filled and anti-democratic EU Remain camp gush forth

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Jeremy Havardi
On 28 June 2016 13:11

Last week’s historic decision to exit the EU has unleashed a frightening torrent of vitriol from inside the Remain camp. The bile and irrationality on show is truly extraordinary by any standards.

Social media is currently awash with 'experts' desperate to explain why over 17 million people apparently lost leave of their senses. Leavers are being depicted as brainless 'xenophobes' and mindless 'racists' who are as ignorant as they are uneducated.

They are pictured as a boorish mob of immigrant haters who have turned their back on multiculturalism and legitimised the dark prejudices of the far right. Leavers have been likened to fascists, traitors and even lizards, while an eminent Professor of Politics for Labour Leave was even compared to the Iranian ayatollahs.

Worse, their very intelligence has been called into question. Some 17,500,000 people have been accused of naively 'swallowing' right wing propaganda. They were 'swept along' with the populist 'lies' of Nigel Farage and his 'cronies' and the propaganda of the 'right wing' press.

These people are pictured as easily manipulated, gullible, uneducated morons, unable to think for themselves or make sensible choices. These 'sheeple' are contrasted with their Remain counterparts, who are depicted as calculating, smart and politically savvy voters.

Such open contempt for half the electorate is utterly breathtaking. For leavers are not social pariahs. They are teachers, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, journalists, bus drivers, farmers and shop owners. They are our fellow citizens, our neighbours, our family and our friends.

Many chose, for a variety of reasons, to revolt against an unelected, aloof and anti-democratic elite running Brussels, as well as express their palpable sense of alienation from the political class. There is nothing racist, idiotic or xenophobic in any of this. It is the purest expression of democracy.

Yet democracy is the last thing that some of these Remain bigots really care about. Already, politicians are lining up to thwart the will of the electorate. David Lammy MP was one of the first out of the blocks, explicitly demanding that we "bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament".

He was joined by Michael Heseltine, a long term pro EU zealot, who suggested that MPs "articulate the case for Britain rethinking the result of the referendum". Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat leader, also vowed to fight the referendum result tooth and nail and promised that he would stand at the next election on a platform of staying in the EU. Clearly, his party is neither liberal nor democratic.

Make no mistake, Parliament will almost certainly not repeal our membership of the EU, given that most MPs support it. While it is not legally bound to accept the result of the referendum, political intervention to keep us in the EU would be an undignified and disgraceful assault on democracy. It would amplify the chasm between the people and the governing class and destroy any lingering trust in our political institutions.

A fit of unspeakable anti-geriatric rage has also been unleashed on the elderly. Figures show that people aged over 65 turned out disproportionately to vote Leave, while younger people were overwhelming for Remain (75 percent).

As soon as these statistics were released, there was an angry backlash. Journalist Murtaza Hussain declared: 'Older generation voted for a future the younger don't want.' CNBC correspondent Catherine Boyle tweeted: 'Future generations: Thanks, Granny.'

Older leavers stand accused of ‘stealing the future’ of young people and voting selfishly, as if longevity was now a determinant of democratic entitlement. The reality is that with a far lower voting turnout among people aged 18-24, the young effectively mugged themselves. The non voters among them have since learnt a powerful lesson about democracy. You can more effectively shape your future at the ballot box than by having a childish tantrum on Facebook.

Others have been lambasting referendums as inherently 'undemocratic'. What is the point of them, we are told, when we have general elections? But the question of whether or not to stay in a political union is a fundamental constitutional matter, not an everyday question of politics. When it comes to who governs us, it is wrong for the governors to  have the casting vote, and this is all the truer when the leadership of all three parties supports the status quo.

Under such circumstances, only the people should decide the issue. And decide it they did in one of the most significant votes in our history.

But the clearly expressed will of the British electorate is not democratic enough for some Remainers. Within the last four days, a petition has been circulating that demands a second referendum on EU membership, simply because less than 60 percent of voters supported either side and because turnout was lower than 75 percent.

The fact that there is no legal or constitutional basis for such a demand has not stopped well over three million people from signing up, though, tellingly enough, tens of thousands of signatures have been removed because they were fraudulent.

It is an act of petulance, an online stamping of feet by those not mature enough to accept the will of the people. Democracy, for these people, is only acceptable if it yields the 'correct' result. One can only imagine the outcry from the Remain camp if Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson had called for a second referendum in the event that Leave had lost. Their demand would have been treated with the contempt it deserved.

It is ironic that people who consider themselves the most progressive, who deride anti-intellectualism, populism and bigotry, are now exhibiting these traits in abundance. With their toxic discourse coursing through the veins of an angry, post Brexit nation, Britain is fast becoming a frightening place. And we are only on day 4.

Jeremy Havardi is a journalist and the author of two books, Falling to Pieces, and The Greatest Briton

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