The most heartening poll of the post-Brexit era was published by YouGov last week. It shows that 68 per cent of people want Britain to crack on with Brexit. That’s a pretty clear majority in favour of enacting the June referendum result. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Leave voters who responded to the poll said we should get on with leaving the EU, but strikingly so did around half of Remain respondents. That is, a great swathe of the people who on 23 June expressed a desire to stay with Brussels recognise that there’s something more important than their political preferences: democracy; the right of a majority within a nation to shape that nation’s political destiny.
There are many positive things about this poll. There’s its suggestion that, outside of the anti-Brexit bubble of the political class, business world and liberal media, a great chunk of people still understand that democracy is important. There’s its wiseness to the anti-democratic swindle of a second referendum: 59% said the call for a second referendum is ‘illegitimate’. There’s its scepticism about the insistence that parliament must get to pore over Brexit: 47 per cent to 36 per cent think the government should probably enact Brexit now.
But perhaps the most positive thing in the poll is what it tells us about that new political tribe ‘the 48%’, which presents itself as the voice of the 16.1million people who voted Remain. It tells us this tribe doesn’t really exist. That it’s a cynical fabrication of a small elite that merely uses the 16.1million as a cover to pursue its own self-interested agenda.
‘The 48%’ fancies itself as an edgy, rebellious movement. ‘We’re the insurgents now’, says Tony Blair. Blair, who has openly discussed the possibility of stopping Brexit, poses as the spokesman for a revolution when he says there should be ‘a new movement born from the 48%’ and it must ‘mobilise and organise’.
On social media, journalists and campaigners plaster their photos with stickers saying ‘I am the 48%’. There’s now a ‘newspaper of the 48%’, The New European, a superbly snooty affair whose first issue was adorned with a photo of two slovenly Leave voters plonked on a couch as their pet dog wonders why ‘these idiots’ voted against the EU (dogs being cleverer than plebs).