Down With the People

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Short of taking up black tar heroin, I’ve decided that the best way to cope with this farcical Brexit saga is to imbibe regular doses of sardonic humor. Perhaps that might douse it into a vaguely acceptable hum.

A French lawmaker agrees with my prescription.

“I’ve ended up calling my cat Brexit,” a newspaper quoted Nathalie Loiseau as saying. “It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.”

Sadly, Loiseau admitted that her cat is not called Brexit. And that she doesn’t even have a cat. Which is fitting given our Brexit conundrum thickens each week with similar jest. Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union isn’t called Brexit. And we don’t even have a deal on which we can vote.

Crushed by two ordinarily abdicating defeats, May’s deal to kind of leave the EU sits growing fungi thanks to the work of one ultra-Remainer whose opinion cascades over that of 17.4 million people.

John Bercow, speaker of the House and not of the people, this week blocked May’s deal. Using precedent stretching back hundreds of years, Bercow’s haughty intervention means May’s deal, unless changed “substantially,” won’t get a third reading.

This would have been marvelous news given our date for leaving the EU, one seared on the minds of millions, was just March 29. No-deal by default. Of course, we have a Parliament where two-thirds don’t fancy leaving the EU at all. So, that date is likely May 22.

That matters not. The point is we don’t get to leave in any meaningful sense. In case you haven’t been able to sleuth your way to such a conclusion.

Bercow’s meddlesome whim means even half-leaving the EU via May’s deal is perhaps no longer on the table. A perennial narcissist, the speaker has built a career on professional attention-seeking, which any armchair Freudian would deduce stemmed from Bercow’s lack of purposeful height.

No doubt the parliamentary pygmy gloried in the next-day headlines. All about him. That doughy snarl splattered across every front page.

But this is just a symptom of a wider elite malaise. And the hamartia that will bring them all down.

Even after three years, the debate from the Remain side still stalls upon whether or not we actually want to leave. When they say “we,” they mean themselves. Not the 17 million who pulled the trigger. Our minds haven’t changed. They’ve hardened.

Bercow is one case study in the collapse of the narcissistic elite; the majority vote to leave having shaken them irreparably silly.

And therein lies their problem. To allow democracy would be to allow reality to infiltrate. It would be to allow a forensic inspection of their shattered faith. The elite crisis of confidence is no closer to the stage of acceptance now than it was three years ago. Yet, any renewal demands it get there quick.

It is the mark of an insecure society that commands such fealty. All must play the game, or the game is invalid.

Brexit showed that the majority no longer wanted to play this game. In America, the election of President Trump showed that most no longer subscribe to a plutocratic play in which they are pawns, not players.

Of course, those who voted for either are accused daily of racism, sexism, fascism. They are intellectually famished. Didn’t know what they were voting for. These are nothing more than the charges of an elite defending its class interests. They, after all, benefit most from the smoldering status quo.

To defend this, so-called progressives employ those old tropes with diluted efficacy. Anyone who questions a neo-feudal system in which one-third gorges on the others, is branded practically inhuman.

And from both sides. Witness the so-called conservative reaction to Tucker Carlson’s critique of a broken America refusing even to reproduce itself.

Stamping one with the inscrutable label of racist means there is no debate to be had. Tellingly, those with sentient thoughts on immigration, on free trade, on rampant globalization—the radical majority—are quickly tainted as “untouchable.”

Why? Our elites insist that such undesirables are stoking a fascist future when, in reality, that is precisely what they’re trying to prevent. Insecure societies descend rapidly into tyranny. Brexit and Trump, though crude, offer an anti-venom to elite contagion.

Which raises the question: what is progressive about fighting feverishly alongside of the status quo? What, exactly, is progressive about a system rigged so brazenly to siphon the lion’s share of wealth upward, toward vanishingly few? Toward those concentrated within the megalopolis of London, Los Angeles, and Lyon?

After all, Brexit, Trump, the gilets jaunes, the populist swellings across Europe, are motored by the working and middle-classes; toward those whom the progressives are meant to progress.

Now the awoken precariat refuses to play along. The philosopher-kings and the woke hordes are hopelessly outnumbered.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll just give in. Like Bercow’s, their votes still count more than most.

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Photo Credit: Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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