Back to the 16th century?

Since the publication of the government’s Brexit White Paper, the atmosphere in some Brexit-supporting rural areas is what it must have been like in the 16th and 17th centuries. There is an outbreak of cholera or cattle sickness; and you try to tell them it is probably because of infection or insanitary conditions.
“Nah!” they say. “It’s the witches. Or the Jews. You’re just an elitist ‘expert’.”
And when you say that burning or drowning is perhaps a bit over the top, they tell you “it’s the democratic will of the people, isn’t it?”
During the referendum campaign itself, it was almost impossible to get across even some simple facts: for example, that the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has nothing to do with the EU.
“You’re lying!” they’d say.
What can one do in these circumstances? One answer would be to follow the Duke of Wellington and ignore “mob rule”. Or – this is for Boris in case he is following us – Horace: “odi profanum vulgus et arceo”. But we must make an effort. Tempting though it might be just to let the house come crashing down after a cliff-edge, no-deal Brexit, so proving us right, this would be cutting off our noses to spite our faces
We have to persevere in trying to get across the positive message about the EU before it is too late.


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  • Ben Patterson