So at 11pm on 31 January, dismiss Johnson’s extravagant claims for what lies ahead and the faux celebrations. Light a candle in a window, at your door, in your garden; find friends to do it together. We stand for a European Britain. We will be back.
So says Will Hutton, one of the greats of the British intellectual left, in a “Guardian” opinion piece sub-titled by the editors “Brexit is a Tory invention and pro-Europeans must still fight our EU exile.”
I wonder what that fight involves. Will the Remainers take to the forests of Home Counties, the rugged Highlands of Scotland and the Welsh valleys to join scattered partisan bands? Will it be the only ever resistance movement fighting to actually bring back the foreign occupation?
(For the record, because in the stupid times we live in this has to be explained, the above paragraph is a joke. I don’t think the European Union compares to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, and the membership of the EU did not involve a foreign occupation, even if much of sovereignty was voluntarily surrendered to Brussels.)
But don’t worry, Hutton is not advocating derailing trains at night or assassinating Tory officials; according to him it will all come naturally, because Britain has to maintain some formal links with Europe throughout the future – and of course him and his “forest brothers” will keep up the spirit and the struggle:
Britain, chastened by its exile and more European in its economic and social model, will find EU membership the second time round much easier. All this is inevitable: the only question is whether it will take five or 15 years, depending on how quickly the Labour party – or a successor – can capture and successfully exploit the new political currents.
I guess you can call it progress that it took the (mostly) left a few years to accept the results of a democratic vote but they finally did. Sort of. No more second and third and fourth People’s Vote referendums or legislative coups; presumably just hoping that Little Englanders will keep dying off, getting replaced by new cohorts of woke cosmopolitan youth, and voila – a new vote!
In the meantime, light that candle and imagine you’re a brave resister fighting for freedom.
What Will Hutton and the Guardian editorial team might look like, Forest of Dean, 2022, black and white