The hangover of ‘Brexit Day’ will be followed by a yearlong detox, in which the UK will tag along with the EU for an extension of its damaged friendship. Although, this promises to be less a detox and more like the hare of dog remedy: keep drinking and the headache will never become apparent.
I was expecting yesterday evening to be terrifying and horrific, judging by the recent indulgences made by the Brexiteers of late; a coin being forced upon me, as well as official merchandise being flogged by my own government. The build-up to Brexit Day was akin to suffering death by a thousand knives. It was as if the government and the prime minister were attempting to cleanse parts of the country that dared dissent and disagree with the Brexit vision. It’s been nothing short of an attempted exorcism on the country – where people who identify as I do, are the nuisance demon that is conclusively unnatural. That’s what British liberals are seen as now, unnatural conjurers of dark metropolitan magic. But, the hour of Brexit came and, instead of the foreshadowed death, a calm aqueous solution flowed over me. The feeling was one of liberation rather than oppression.
The constant struggle against Orwellian thought crime, in this hour, was over. I can no longer be named as a traitor to the country and democracy. The war of ideas is lost. There’s a certain surprising joy that abounds when being finally put out of your misery. Perhaps it is more a feeling of being relieved of responsibility. There are no more affordances I’m gifted with to change the course of the future. The responsibility for 65 million people now rests wholly with Mr Johnson and those who lent him a vote. Hope is what motivates you to strive – and the hope that Brexit could be democratically fought loitered for a while – yet, when that hope is quashed, all that appears left is peace.
Now, just because peace is present, it does not mean it is permanent. Dissenting opinion will be viewed as intolerable. The government will attempt to cancel those with a different idealisation of Britain. All of these issues, however, are struggles for the future. The present moment, however, can be one of relief and peace. As Remainers, we deserve at least that.