Bill Carmichael: Accept the result - and prepare for Brexit

The sooner David Cameron is replaced as PM, the better.
The sooner David Cameron is replaced as PM, the better.
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FIRST came Project Fear, which saw the Prime Minister widely ridiculed for predicting the UK’s exit from the EU would lead to genocide and the outbreak of World War Three.

When that didn’t work we were subjected to Project Sneer, best exemplified by the multi-millionaire pop star Bob Geldof giving the two-fingered salute to fishermen worried about their jobs.

Not surprisingly that didn’t work either, so now a week after the historic EU Referendum we are deep into Project Whinge, in which a crèche full of crybabies throws a major tantrum in an effort to get result overturned because the vote didn’t go the way they wanted.

In this column last week I called on everyone to accept the will of the people and to pull together to make it work.

When I wrote that I didn’t know the result, but all the indications from pollsters and bookies was that Remain would enjoy a pretty comfortable win.

I was hoping if that happened the Brexiteers would take it on the chin without complaint – much as they did in 1975 when the referendum result went against them.

To the surprise of many the result went the other way – but in contrast the Remain camp have proved themselves entirely incapable of accepting defeat with any kind of grace.

Instead the hatred and contempt for ordinary people, which characterised the entire Remain campaign, has spewed forth in a torrent of bile.

Anyone who voted to Leave the EU has been smeared as an uneducated, knuckle-dragging racist, too stupid to understand what they were voting about.

In fact surveys show that the main issue that motivated Leave voters – more than 17 million of them, don’t forget – wasn’t immigration at all, but the simple, fundamental matter of democracy.

This is the belief that the only people who should be allowed to make laws we have to obey and impose taxes we have to pay are those chosen by ourselves – and we can vote them out of power if they do a bad job.

Hoping to restore this kind of representative democracy to your country – instead of being ruled by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels – doesn’t make you a racist. It makes you a democrat.

What happens now? Well, the Remainiacs will eventually have to
calm down and accept the result, although looking at the foot-stamping hysterics of the last week that may take some time.

We have to move quickly to secure an orderly and equitable withdrawal from the EU and to negotiate mutually beneficial trade deals with our friends, not only in declining, sclerotic Europe but also in vibrant and growing parts of the world.

Indeed, we should see our exit from the dying EU as an opportunity to build an open, outward looking, prosperous economy with allies and trading partners in all parts of the globe.

To that end it is good that the Conservatives have expedited their leadership process. The sooner a new Prime Minister is in Number 10 to oversee these negotiations the better.

As for Labour, it is difficult to know where to begin. Shambles doesn’t begin to describe it. Jeremy Corbyn seems determined to cling on despite the overwhelming opposition from senior party figures and the Parliamentary party.

But he retains the loyalty of much of the party’s militant grassroots and it isn’t clear that any challenger will succeed in unseating him. Either way Labour faces months of in fighting and division, and a legacy of long-lasting bitterness.

Some of us who witnessed the destruction of the Liverpool Labour
Party at the hands of the far left in the 1980s predicted this would happen. It gives me no pleasure to say I told you 
so. The ‘Ultras’ of the far left never go quietly.

The real problem for Labour isn’t left versus right, or Blairites versus Corbynistas, but the simple fact that it has entirely lost contact with its traditional working class supporters in the Midlands and the North. Last week’s vote demonstrated that emphatically. Until it can reconnect with those voters Labour is going nowhere.

And while the Labour Party is preoccupied with tearing itself apart, there is no effective Opposition in Parliament to hold the Government to account – and that is bad for democracy.