David Garcia on Fri, 17 Jul 2020 14:14:37 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Interregnum 2.0

Eleven Year Interregnum 

Stating the obvious, the battle to keep Britain as part of the EU is lost. I even think that those of us who spent 4 years disputing the referendum result by parliamentary procedural means were wrong. I was wrong! Not wrong to reject the arguments and deplore the tactics of Brexiters. But wrong to not accept the validity of the result.

Many of those who voted to leave the EU felt a huge sense of political agency during the campaign and a powerful sense of ownership of the result. And we Remainers found it hard to accept that we had lost and they had won. Sadly the way the referendum was dreadfully constructed making sure nothing but a zero sum outcome was possible. Refusal to accept a democratic result undermines what little is left of democracy. And Remainer denialism (in which I participated) has been taken as yet another sign of disrespect by a large part of the population many of whom had never voted for anything before in their lives.

I understand that there might be nuanced arguments asserting that what many of us were marching in support of, was simply parliamentary democracy is action. But Johnson’s thumping electoral victory is an indication that public sentiment saw something else. Rightly or wrongly they saw chicanery and double dealing and it was one important reason why Johnson won the election.

To immediately campaign directly to rejoin will back fire. It will simply make us targets for the Brexit zealots to play their favourite displacement games of re-visiting the old Brexit triumph and luxuriating in our futile rage. In my opinion only by saying “ok we lost now show me the fabulous benefits of Brexit” will we find a new basis for progressive discourse. Otherwise we will remain mired in a pointless battle we can never win.
Future historians may look back on the Brexit debacle as the 2nd English Civil War. The first of which ended in 1649 when Charles I lost his head. Cromwell became “Lord Protector” and like Narnia under the rule of the White Witch, Christmas was cancelled (along with most of the other performing arts). When Cromwell died and his son lacked the authority and ruthlessness to rule Charles II was (eventually) summoned from France and with that the great interregnum was over and replaced by what we call the Restoration.

How long did it take for the victors of the first English Civil War to lose their grip on power? Charles II was on the throne by 1660. Eleven years after the execution of his father. Maybe thats roughly the time frame we are looking at now for public sentiment to shift decisively and for the nation to ask to re-join the EU. But two questions immediately stand out: will the EU have us back?  or conclude like de Gaulle that England has now demonstrated beyond doubt that it is temperamentally ill suited to continental solidarity. And secondly after 11 long years have passed will there still be an EU as we know it, left to rejoin? 

David Garcia

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