by Kevin Meagher
Three months after the Remain campaign crashed to defeat, there is ne’er a squeak in British politics about what went wrong.
This is strange. Surely an autopsy on a losing campaign is entirely logical and much needed?
Where did the high hopes and expectations of Remainers come unstuck? When was the moment the voting public decided they wanted to jump the other way?
There’s lots of analysis about the effects of Brexit (with the Fabians weighing in just this week), but nothing about the campaign itself.
Perhaps the absence of any hint of organised reflection and public analysis is explained by the reaction of many hard-core Remainers.
They refuse to come out of the jungle and accept the war is over. Denialism is rampant.
They want to play on after the allotted 90 minutes. To continue boxing for a 13th round. Any excuse to avoid the glaring conclusion: they lost.
‘Ah but Leave promised to spend £350 million more on the NHS, that’s why they won.’
Their lies were better than our lies.
‘There should be a second referendum’.
Best out of three?
This refusal to pore over the failure of the Remain campaign shows-up how our unloved political class simply cannot accept or understand why they are no longer in control of events.
It’s an unfamiliar feeling. But this is the true meaning of Brexit. The moment when the British public became self-aware and political authority died a very public death.
When Westminster learned the hard way that it doesn’t, in fact, have magical powers of persuasion.
Outside London and the EU client statelets of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England was a desert for Remainers.
What united the fishermen of Grimsby, with the ex-steel workers of Redcar was the clear sense the EU was damaging to their lives and communities. They were right: it was.
The common fisheries policy and the inability of the British government to offer state aid to keep the steel industry going impacted disastrously on those areas.
Of course there were plenty of other places that benefitted massively from EU funding, but many of them also opted to leave. Why did the message not get through?
Perhaps it’s because Remain was, in its bones, an establishment attempt to talk down to the little people. No dialogue, no conversation, no persuasion; just a procession of political and business elites taking turns to shout down a megaphone.
It was a poorly-led and badly conceived attempt to bounce the British public with a bombardment of desperate exaggerations that quickly ceased to be credible.
Of course, the Remain effort would have been helped if the European Union had displayed even the merest interest in reforming itself in recent years.
Somewhere along the way, the dream of inter-governmental co-operation descended into bureaucratic bullying and waste.
When Europe should have combined German industriousness and British invention, it settled for Mediterranean levels of probity and leadership from the gnomes of Brussels.
Still, the campaign could have been won if David Cameron had been equal to the task of negotiating a better deal for the UK. Limiting the free movement of people in the single market to stem migration into Britain would have probably done enough to convince a majority of Brits to stay.
But Frau Merkel was too pig-headed to help him secure one.
She was willing to do whatever it took to keep a basket case like Greece in the Eurozone, but was obstinacy personified when it came to preventing Britain, the fifth largest economy in the world, from walking out the door. Madness.
So we are where we are; not where we ought to be or, indeed, could have been.
Does any of it now matter?
If there is any prospect of a second referendum at some stage, then, yes, it does.
Understanding why Remain lost ground throughout the campaign, why nothing it did worked and why there was no moment when it’s overblown pitch to retain the status quo cut-through with the British public, are all necessary lessons to learn.
Instead of behaving as they were meant to, voters defied expectations and opted for the devil they didn’t know.
This is surely the acme of a disastrous campaign?
A large dose of humility and introspection is the obvious remedy.
I shall not, however, hold my breath.
Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut