In their positions of power and privilege, Remainers have always assumed that they are right, and that they will win. This is particularly so in London, where the gospel is preached daily by George Osborne’s Evening Standard. But since 29th March, when the government failed on its promise to leave the EU as stipulated by Article 50, the mood around the country has changed. Widespread exasperation and anger at politicians is an energy that could have dissipated in vague threats of civil disobedience, but has been constructively channelled into Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
Waterloo is a district of London around the eponymous railway terminus, named after the great battle of 1815, when the British redcoats under the Duke of Wellington destroyed Napoleon’s elite force. Before his shattering defeat, Napoleon had returned from exile on the island of Elba. This great military event is commemorated on murals at the Wellington pub, but on a neighbouring block on Waterloo Road is the trendy Elba Bar, with the subtitle ‘paradise in exile’ and images of Napoleon in his pomp. Harmless fun perhaps, but a message is being conveyed here.
The metropolitan elite has gentrified this once neglected area, bringing its class prejudices and distaste for patriotism. As Douglas Murray reported soon after the EU referendum, a showing of the film Napoleon at the nearby Royal Festival Hall quoted the emperor’s dream of ‘a united Europe, free of borders’. Incredibly, in the shadow of Nelson’s column, this dictatorial nemesis was cheered to the rafters.
What do you expect in London, I am often asked when complaining of Remain bias. But over 40% in the capital city voted to leave the EU. And the Brexit Party is doing almost as well here as in the country as a whole, gaining 20% on its first appearance in a recent opinion poll. Doubts that Londoners have any interest in honouring the referendum result will be dashed at Kensington on Tuesday. Farage’s successful campaign for the farcically unnecessary European parliament election on 23rd May (three years after we voted out) ends at the vast hall of Olympia.
Remain zealots are fuming at the sudden resurgence of Farage and the potentially transformational impact of the Brexit Party. From the working men’s club in the former mining town of Featherstone to the Tory shires, this disruptive party has wrested voters away from their lifelong political allegiances. Who would have foreseen a combined vote share of the Tories and Labour of well below 50%? The Brexit Party has irresistible momentum that won’t stop at the practically meaningless EU election: it may gain Westminster seats through defections as well as a likely by-election victory in Peterborough; it will demand a general election to evict the incompetent and treacherous occupiers of the green benches.
Footage of the Olympia rally will enter the history books. And the tactics of Remain opponents will be recorded as a categorical error. Their smearing of Leavers as thick racist bigots is no longer working, and has become counterproductive. The diverse set of Brexit Party candidates has been carefully chosen, Many are standing for election for the first time, but they are grounded public speakers, refreshingly free of the political jargon that is a smoke screen for doing the opposite of what voters want.
The Brexit Party is obviously doing something right, but rather than listen and learn, the Remain media will cast the rally as something worse than Napoleonic: it will be the reprise of the 1930s and Oswald Mosley, or the Nuremberg Rally. I have attended several allegedly ‘far right’ demonstrations in the last year, which were actually gatherings of ordinary people protesting about the wounded political establishment’s trashing of free speech, democracy and equality before the law. But while mud sticks to Tommy Robinson fans (however unfairly), it slides off Farage’s slick movement. Remainers are so worried that they’re complaining to the Electoral Commission about the subliminal effect of the insurgent party’s logo.
Respect to people who voted Remain in 2016. Respect to politicians who regretted the verdict of 17.4 million but accept its democratic instruction. But no respect to politicians and other influential figures who strive to overturn the biggest mandate in British political history. They continue to demonise people who simply voted for the sovereignty of their proud nation. A hundred years after universal suffrage, millions of women and the working class are being disenfranchised. Over two hundred years after a historic battle on the Belgian plain, Britain is again fighting free of continental control. And again it shall prevail.
While Leavers rise at Olympia, arch-Remainers in Elba Bar will rage at the Waterloo sunset.
Link to the original article: https://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/another-european-empire-ends-at-waterloo.
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Author: Dr Niall McCrae is a senior lecturer in mental health at King’s College London. Niall campaigned for Brexit in Sutton, one of the few London boroughs to vote to leave the EU. He continues to write on Brexit within his broader theme of democracy and freedom of speech. Regular writer for Salisbury Review. Author of books The Moon and Madness, The Story of Nursing in British Mental Hospitals: Echoes from the Corridors, and Moralitis: a Cultural Virus (with Robert Oulds).