In recent weeks there has been a noticeable tonal shift in the rhetoric of the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom, stepping beyond deliberately ambiguous warnings about public unrest or disorder if the outcome of the 2016 referendum was not implemented to more explicit predictions of trouble should the country fail to leave the European Union in the coming months. It seems that the gloves are coming off in the battle for the political soul of the UK with the exit-supporting government of Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party associates leading the charge, pushing a subtle form of hate speech against those fellow countrymen and women still wedded to the idea of remaining citizens of the EU.
According to The Times newspaper in London a Cabinet member close to the Prime Minister has predicted that Britain would face a “violent, popular uprising” if a second Brexit plebiscite overturned the result of the first one.
“In this country we never had the gilets jaunes or the LA riots.
People don’t think it’s possible in this country just because it has not happened before.
Now they have a model — gilets jaunes — and it only takes a couple of nasty populist frontmen to inspire people.
If we have a referendum with 30 million people who vote, and we vote to Remain by 66 per cent, that’s ten million people who are unhappy.
Even if 99 per cent of them shrug it off, that’s still 100,000 really angry people who will write to their MP and not let it go.
It doesn’t take much and soon you have tens of thousands of people on the street.”
This hyperbolic warning of impending unrest was clearly part of a coordinated effort from the heart of the British government in Downing Street, with the controversial Brexit tsar and Johnson aide Dominic Cummings commenting that:
“It is not surprising some people are angry about it. I find it very odd that these characters are complaining that people are unhappy about their behaviour now and they also say they want a referendum.
If you are a bunch of politicians and say that we swear we are going to respect the result of a democratic vote, and then after you lose you say, we don’t want to respect that vote, what do you expect to happen?”
To this litany of doom and gloom can be added the opinion of Brendan O’Neill, one of the leaders of the Brexit-supporting alt-libertarian network clustered around the British online magazine Spiked, who told the BBC’s afternoon Politics Live show that,
“I’m amazed that there hasn’t been riots yet.
I think there should be.”
Personally I wouldn’t discount the possibility of serious public disorder in a post-Europe Britain as the country falls into a period of sustained economic decline. What I hadn’t counted on was some of the more extreme yet still mainstream advocates of Brexit seeking to stir up public disorder in the first place in order to usher in that new post-Europe epoch.
See O’Neill’s calculated contribution to the Brexit debate at time stamp 23.00 below.