Apparently, there are anti-Brexit billboards like this one popping up all over the country by a campaign group called Stop the Silence and paid for by people like me who remain unconvinced that leaving the EU is such a good idea.
I stumped up my twenty quid through the campaign’s website because it seemed the least I could do to express my doubts about our mass migration out of Europe.
But the great thing about it is that I can make my contribution to the cause anonymously, or at least I could until I wrote this post, because the way that the Leavers like to play the man instead of the ball is quite scary. From Cameron to Blair, John Major to Michael Heseltine, high court judges to the House of Lords – anyone who even appears to doubt the received democratic wisdom is trashed mercilessly.
I had my doubts about the referendum before it was held on the grounds that the issues involved were far too complex for a simple yes or no answer. By that, I don’t mean that anyone in favour of Brexit is stupid – the Remainers were equally blind to the consequences of that fateful decision because what staying or leaving actually means was and is still shrouded in confusion.
Another who has had to contend with the Leavers vitriol is former MP and Spectator columnist Matthew Parris and he wrote about it recently. I’ve lifted some quotes below but you can read the full article here.
Why do they, the winners, keep lashing out whenever one of the losers doubts or questions their plans? You can almost see the veins standing out on their necks as they rail against the people who didn’t win the referendum.
I think most of these voters, MPs and journalists are public-spirited patriots who are secretly, usually unconsciously, terrified that they’ve done the wrong thing. They do of course care. They urged their country forward into a leap in the dark and now worry desperately lest it turn out badly. They’re displaying the classic psychopathology of deep anxiety, seeing enemies and conspiracies everywhere, hitting out angrily at all dissent, and channelling their own fear into aggression against those who are in fact expressing it. Freudians call this projection.
So what’s needed is not columns like this (which they will wrongly interpret as questioning their sanity) but therapy, in the form of ladders to climb down. Maybe I need it too, for in truth I’m not sure I’m right, and can imagine Brexit proving a (to me surprising) success. So let me make the first conciliatory move. I, a Remainer, accept that Brexit may not prove a mistake. Ball’s in your court, Leavers: can you accept that it may?
Like Parris, I think it possible that Brexit might work out for the best and really hope that it does. But then again it might not, especially if we don’t make our doubts known.