Right to Remain

Most Remainers would like to be wrong about Brexit. Wouldn’t they? Much as Brexit voters might find this a difficult notion to absorb. For all the scorn and horror and bitter resentment, most Remainers did not become so out of any great fondness for the European Union. Their lack of positivity and inability to make an enthusiastic, emotional case to stay in, during the referendum campaign, is often remarked upon. The official Remain campaign was dull, inadequate and complacent but Remainers, generally, were pragmatic about their EU-scepticism when they voted to stay in. They weren’t sold on the EU but they certainly weren’t buying the snake oil of Leave.

Not only was the EU not an important issue to Remainers but Leavers’ reasons were not even logical, unless they were framed as disconnected factors which, of course, is impossible. As is being borne out, Sovereignty, Democracy, Law, money, security, border control, etc, etc cannot be thought of and managed in isolation, as though they were simply independent of each other.

Project fear was and still is Leave’s automatic call and response to any awkward question and inconvenient analysis. And here, Leavers continue to miss the point: that Remainers’ lack of enthusiasm for the EU paired with a pragmatism that supports the EU would strongly indicate that Remainers were much more capable than Leave of being objective when interpreting the devilish details, choices and consequences. They still are. Remainers simply were not attached to an ideological outcome sought by tribal agendas. They were more attached to practical wisdom in a real-world setting. They still are.

If Remainers seem fond of the European Union, now, it is because, over the last two years, they have learned more about it and come to appreciate, value and respect its purpose and its import, not just to this silly little island outcrop but to the shifting body politic of the entire shrinking world.

If Remainers are wrong and Brexit really does become the huge success it was peddled as, it will be the result of a quite undeserved luck, being as far away from good sound judgement as it is possible to get. It will be a flaming miracle, in fact but, rest assured: most Remainers will breathe as big a sigh of relief and cheer as loudly as Brexit’s most prolifically vacuous leaders.

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