The “establishment” consists of people with leading roles in big business, the media, the law, the civil service and elsewhere. They believe their wealth and education means that they know what is good for the country better than the people who live in it. This loose grouping is present in all of the major political parties. The “establishment” is not a club with a list of members and set of rules. It is more of a mind-set. But nobody should be in any doubt about its existence and power.
The “establishment” was outraged by the vote to leave the European Union and the last three years has seen a determined and very clever effort to ensure that the vote is overturned or ignored. The 2016 referendum result has been challenged in the High Court and House of Lords; financial investigations have been launched into Leave donors; big business leaders with a hotline to the Chancellor have been threatening to leave if they don’t get their way (just as they did when they wanted us to join the Euro); Remain campaigners tell us without a shred of evidence that the public have “changed their minds”, or that the result was only “advisory”; and Brexit voters have been contemptuously vilified as old, uneducated, bigoted, tabloid readers. We have been treated with utter contempt.
I was prepared with a heavy heart to support the Prime Minister’s withdrawal deal as the best way to make Brexit happen. I also voted last week for us to leave with or without a deal on 29 March. It looks as though the “establishment” will not let it happen and this round may be won by the EU and its friends. The last three years have been an affront to democracy in Britain but the 17.5 million of us who voted to leave will never, ever give up. We will continue to fight for Brexit over the following weeks, months, year and - if necessary - decades.
It has become impossible to predict the parliamentary programme or the amendments to motions which will be selected by the Speaker – except to say that none of them will be helpful for Brexit supporters. I campaigned for Brexit and stood on a general election manifesto promising to deliver Brexit. I will simply use my best judgement to vote in any way necessary to try and get Brexit done. Last week the “establishment” won its battle – but this war is far from over.
*Published in the South Wales Argus on 18 March 2019*