In 1964, the film Mary Poppins was released. It captured the mind of a generation and epitomised the sentiments of the turn of the century. Mary Poppins was not ultimately about a magical nanny or a singing chimney sweep, but about duty. It was about the duty of man to his family. Mary Poppins is the story of George Banks, who gives up personal ambition in order to fulfil his role as a father, it is about the joy he finds in fulfilling his role as mandated by society. More recently another version of this film has been released. It is a completely different narrative but is equally successful in its depiction of the cultural zeitgeist.

Society is no longer about striving for a higher good, it is no longer about setting aside personal ambition for collective responsibility, or about conforming oneself to the role it is given by the world. Now, it is abundantly clear that rampant individualism has created generations who do not seek to conform to the world, but seek to conform the world, to them. To change reality to fit their desires and to remove any sense of duty. How many films can we think of, where the entire plot revolves around this idea of shaking off the chains of societal pressure and find fulfilment in just ‘being yourself’.

The cause of this is, of course, the disestablishment of the church. It used to be that we believed, as a society, that there were ultimate moral goods and an objective path to individual flourishing that was inextricably linked to external and the eternal. The culture (with individual deviance, of course), believed that the ultimate goal of human life was not ultimately personal happiness or fulfilment, but doing good. With the advent of increased secularism, this sense of moral duty has become anathematised, our society has become built around introspection and self-realisation at the expense of all higher purpose. As, if there is no transcendent lawmaker, there is no transcendent law to be obeyed.

With the calls for a second independence referendum, self-centredness has flourished. Most people who voted for Brexit, I believe, did so for a higher moral purpose: self-determination, democracy and the concept of freedom. Most were probably aware that it would make there holidays harder, and temporarily raise their cost of living, but, as the ‘relics of a bygone age’, they understood this greater purpose. Those who voted for Remain, and who are now campaigning for Leave, are ultimately the same. They are bound by an understanding that their personal opinions and preferences pale into insignificance when confronted with the duty to uphold democracy. And the responsibility they have to those who voted leave. They understand that they have a higher obligation to conform themselves to the world in an attempt to maintain the beautiful system in which our country operates.

The ‘People’s Vote’ crowd are not the same. Secularism and selfishness as wound it’s way into their affections and blinded them their duty to their country and to those around them. With the ‘Age of Aquarius’, the age of secularisation, there is no need to do anything against your own interests. Do what thou wilt is not the whole of the law.

Whether or not we voted Remain or Leave, we have a moral duty to uphold the result of the referendum, we must look beyond ourselves and feel the burden of obligation upon our shoulders. Ladies and Gentlemen, whatever you voted in the referendum, now is the time to fight to uphold the great principles of freedom and democracy upon which our country is built and to reject the self-individualism of modernity and #indyref2.

Author: Will Podmore has been the Chief Librarian at the University College of Osteopathy (formerly the British School of Osteopathy) since 1986, and is the author of five books, including Brexit: The Road to Freedom. 

This article was first published on the Bruges Group website (, and is republished with permission. You may not use, copy, distribute, publish, syndicate, sub-license and transmit the whole or any part of such material in any manner and in any format and/or media without the permission of the original publishers.

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