Image: UoY UKIP Association
So, it’s been a while since I have written in the Comment section and I have a lot to potentially talk about. There’s been a lot to celebrate from what has happened over the Summer (in my camp at least). The people of the UK have retaken control of their destiny by getting away from the neocolonial, dictatorial, leviathan which is the EU. I must say I was surprised by the outcome: watching through the night I was absolutely sure that the BSE scaremongering campaign would work. Everyone I spoke to on this issue from my camp was hopeful that we would win, but almost certain that we wouldn’t vote to Leave. There were signs that certain places would be a nasty surprise for the In campaign (I was totally unsurprised by the results in the North of England and Birmingham), but the general consensus was that it was going to be close, and Remain would win. Out of the people I talk to on a regular basis, only one of my really close friends (and devout Remain supporter) thought we would vote to Leave. He’s now enjoyed the returns from the bookies as a consolation prize.
What happened next was more of a surprise though , the flood of vitriol from the Remain campaign was outstanding. It was targeted at all those “stupid poor people , old people, racists , Tory scum” etc. God help you if you were a UKIP member celebrating the result. As a young member of the party, the vast majority of my non-UKIP affiliated friends voted to Remain. Several were Europeans that had been disgustingly told by the Remain side that they would be deported if we left. It was not the Leave campaign that caused this fear but the Remain camp. I know many Leave campaigners. Not one would advocate the repatriation of EU citizens that have come here legally and who seek to contribute to our country. I had several people block and unfriend me (particularly after I called them out on their snivelling bile against Leave voters), and some Remain camp youth were revealed to be the most obnoxious little bigots that I could ever have imagined.
I must say that the majority were not so petty as to fall out over politics, and not all those I argued with fall into the category described above (believe it or not, people in different political parties for the most don’t actually hate each other) and most were willing to accept the result.
This brings me on to the idiotic proposals coming from Owen Smith, Tim Farron and Kenneth Clarke. Let me make this clear, if you try and prevent the UK from leaving the EU now, I have no problem with labelling you forever as an anti-democrat. It is one thing to campaign for re-entry if we leave (a legitimate position to take albeit one that I disagree with), it is quite another to attempt to block a decision by the British people in the first place. You can try and come up with any justification you like for your contempt of democracy, but I personally think it is revolting.
What Remain supporters should be doing is trying to make the best of how we choose to exit, rather than having a debate about if we should exit all over again. Surely there are options for a more liberal UK, or a more socialist UK (I accept not all liberals and socialists voted to remain, but they are mostly the ones calling for the vote to be ignored), rather than simply a Conservative led-exit. All this talk of ignoring the Brexit vote entirely is merely costing you the ability to have a strong narrative on how we exit.
Finally there is the issue of what UKIP does now; we have a leadership election if anyone has noticed. There is still room for UKIP in a post-Brexit UK. For one thing, the anti-democrats will continue to block Brexit, and we will have to make sure those who try (in or out of government are held to account. There are issues involving education, healthcare, monetary reform, dealing with certain regressive taxes, electoral reform, defence and security (particularly in relation to the Tory cuts), cultural cohesion and radical Islam, just to name a few of the issues for which UKIP has a distinct message to contribute to the debate. I know who I’m voting for in this leadership election, having bounced between two specific candidates (Bill Etheridge and Diane James if anyone cares to know). I’m not going to say exactly who – but I am sure that they will be able to take UKIP forward.