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Brexit Catastrophisation Watch, Part 9 – Another Song For Europe

The long-awaited follow-up single is finally here…

Madeleina Kay, an almost Vera Lynn-like character among disappointed Remainers, has released another classic ode to the EU, following up on her first hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is EU“.

This one is an adaptation of the Elvis Presley classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, re-engineered as a tearful plea from a contrite Britain for the European Union to take us back.

The immortal lyrics:

Wise men say
Only fools Vote Leave
‘Cause I can’t help falling in love with EU
Shall we stay
Would it be a sin
If we can’t help falling in love with EU?

Every Remainer knows
It’s a catastrophe
But Brexit rest assured
It’s not meant to be

Take my hand
Accept this apology
‘Cause I can’t help falling in love with EU

As the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been co-opted to serve as the European Union’s anthem, let this effort – sung here with the sweet innocence of a child – become the EU equivalent of Parry’s “Jerusalem”, etched into the hearts of every European citizen and fondly sung on all those many euro-patriotic occasions which we have in common across the continent, and which are so important to us all.

Deep breath.

Think about the European Union for a moment. Think about what the EU actually is, how it was founded, how it deliberately grew by stealth, its deliberate corrosion of member state democracy and the impact that the outsourcing of government to a supra-national level has had on political engagement across an entire continent.

Think about the harm that the EU’s protectionist trade policies have wrought on developing nations without and on economic competitiveness within.

Think about the way that this hulking relic from the post-war era, totally lacking in popular legitimacy and unable to meet the challenges of the 21st century without inevitably making them immeasurably worse, grinds ever-onward towards its pre-ordained federalist destination, deaf to all opposition.

Then imagine writing not one, but two love songs to that organisation.

Just think about it for a moment.

The more I see of Kay’s output, the more I am starting to suspect that she may actually be a cunning Brexiteer, trolling the pro-EU Brexit-deniers from deep behind enemy lines.

If so, then she is doing an absolutely masterful job.

 

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Brexit Catastrophisation Watch, Part 8 – A Song For Europe

When all else fails, sing a song for Europe

From a Remainer perspective, the drawbacks and perils of honouring the unexpected EU referendum result and actually leaving the European Union, as demanded by the British people, are endless.

Already we have heard that Brexit will leave elderly people housebound and uncared for (though perhaps the old gits deserve it, for not appreciating the EU enough), prevent artists from collaborating across borders, herald the triumph of “post-factual politics”, endanger the nation’s fluffy kittens and lead to people being lynched for speaking German in London.

Given the harsh, fascistic dystopia in which EU supporters now find themselves, one might fully expect many of their number to feel depressed, hopeless, withdrawn and resigned to defeat. Not so, though. One woman is fighting back, through the medium of music. And her latest weapon is a cover of Mariah Carey’s classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, reimagined as a wistful ode to the European Union.

The singer is one Madeleina Kay, an “an artist, writer, musician and social activist from Sheffield” who is “committed to using the arts to address important social and political issues and challenge destructive ingrained cultural attitudes”. Yes, she’s a Social Justice Warrior.

We’ll be generous and ignore the fact that the track Madeleina Kay hopes to make Christmas #1 sounds like a worn-out cassette recording of Zooey Deschanel’s inexplicably tone-deaf ghost playing on a battered Sony Walkman with dying batteries running at half speed deep underwater – let’s take a look at the lyrics:

I don’t want a lot for Christmas

There just one thing I need

I don’t care about the presents

In a country fuelled by greed

I just want for us to remain

Yeah, I want things to stay the same

Make my wish come true –

Baby all I want for Christmas is EU.

Because today’s generation of coddled, entitled millennials are actually profoundly conservative, inasmuch as they “want things to stay the same”, preserve and protect their own entitlements and value stability over opportunity.

A country fuelled by greed? Would that be the greed of young people brainwashed into believing that international travel and careers are possibly only through the munificence of the EU, and who then voted to Remain based purely on material concerns affecting them? The young people who claim to be citizens of the world but who make wretched citizens of their own country?

oooooh yeeeeah

I don’t want a lot for Christmas

Especially any new trade pacts, oh

I won’t be deceived by lies

I’m only concerned with the facts, oh

I don’t want my stocking filled with

A gift from Theresa May

Santa Claus won’t make me happy

With another border on Christmas Day

I just want for us to remain, etc.

And here is the customary allusion to the idea that Remainers voted in the EU referendum based on a high-minded, dispassionate review of the facts, basing their decision based on pure reason, while Brexiteers supposedly voted based on ignorant, racially-tinged superstition and emotion.

You and I may have blundered blindly into the voting booth, heads stuffed full of lies told by Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, but Madeleina Kay and her Remainer friends painstakingly considered every piece of available evidence, every testimonial and every possible angle (economic, diplomatic, political, cultural and historical) before deciding that the European Union is just super, and that Britain should remain a member state forever.

And Kay clearly hates the Evil Tor-ees so much (more on that later) that she would refuse a gift from Theresa May if one were offered. We are clearly dealing with a young lady of great wisdom and principle here.

I won’t ask for much this Christmas

I won’t even ask Jeremy Corbyn to go

I just want to share the love so

I’ll wait beneath the mistletoe

I won’t make a list of demands

To send to Boris Johnson or Saint Nick

I won’t even try to chase away

Nigel Farage with a large stick, oh

For the sake of peace I will fight

Until we have seen the light

What more can I do?

Baby all I want for Christmas is you.

Okay, so Madeleina is a trendy lefty, but not of the Corbynista variety. Good to know. And it is also encouraging to know that the songstress intends to wage unrelenting war in the cause of “peace” – the peace that only the EU can give.

Oh the red bus driving

Spreading lies everywhere

And the sound of NHS patients’

Crying fills the air

And everyone is doubting

The lies they kept on shouting

Santa won’t you bring me the things I really need?

Like compassion, tolerance, multiculturalism

And a fair democracy?

Obligatory reference to Our Blessed NHS (genuflect)? Check.

Because of course every single patient in the NHS is lying in their hospital bed, their kidney transplant utterly dependent on the instant £350 million windfall that we all totally believed would land in our laps the moment we voted for Brexit, weeping at having been so cruelly betrayed by Vote Leave. And again, the only lies uttered in this campaign were those told by the official Leave campaign. Remainers possessed a virtuous monopoly on truth at all times.

And who can argue with Kay’s assertion that compassion and tolerance have been sucked out of Britain ever since the EU referendum? Personally, as a Brexiteer I delight in witnessing the suffering of others and adding to it wherever possible, and am incredibly intolerant of dissenting viewpoints, seeking to squash free speech, shame and intimidate people into fearful silence – quite the opposite of enlightened Remainers.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas

This is all I’m asking for

All my European friends singing

Stille Nacht outside my door

Oh I just want for us to remain

Yeah, I want things to stay the same

Make my wish come true

Baby all I want for Christmas is you.

Well, at least Madeleina correctly recognises that Germany is the dominant force within the European Union, that community of (ahem) equals based purely on “friendship” and “cooperation”.

But it gets better. It turns out that Madeleina Kay is also a rather prolific cartoonist, expressing many of her stridently superficial pro-EU sentiments through numerous political cartoons. Much of her artwork seems to channel a bizarre Wizard of Oz obsession, in which EU supporters are portrayed as childlike innocents while any conservative or pro-independence politician is generally depicted as a snarling, fanged monster (Theresa May becomes the Wicked Witch of the West):

And no prizes for guessing who this X-Files monster is supposed to be:

I am strangely drawn to Madeleina Kay’s art because it represents very simply and honestly the simplistic thinking of leftists and Remainers alike. When she draws winged demons snatching the “Future Opportunity”, “Life Chance” and “Hope” from helpless children, she reveals how leftists genuinely see the British people – as feeble lemmings in need of constant nurturing and support from government, utterly adrift when faced with separation from the European Union which seeks to be an auxiliary parent to us all.

So this is much less a criticism of Kay, and more an attack on the stunted, juvenile thinking of those politicians and commentators who frequently express in words the same ideas and sentiments that Madeleina renders in crayon. Kay, after all, is young and naive.

I myself was a drooling europhile in my student days only a decade ago, a committed euro-federalist with an EU flag adoring my university dorm room. Wider reading and real life experience eventually disabused me of these dangerous notions, and Madeleina Kay may yet go through a similar conversion and learn to put down the guitar and the Crayolas in pursuit of something more worthwhile.

But until then, at least we can sing along to “All I Want For Christmas Is EU” – either wholeheartedly or ironically, according to our position. And to be fair, it’s no worse than that ghastly, sycophantic NHS worship song we bizarrely saw fit to make Christmas #1 last year.

 

Postscript: Now you can buy anti-Brexit Christmas cards designed by Madeleina Kay. An essential purchase for all virtue-signalling Remainers who don’t have the first clue what the EU is or how it works, but who need to show their friends that they are very much against leaving.

 

Hat tip: Pete North

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Bottom Image 1: Madeleina Kay / Twitter

Bottom Image 2: Channel 4

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Remainers Are Trying To Rewrite History, Claiming Media Coverage Favoured The Leave Campaign

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Yes, the BBC let the public down with their spineless, uninquisitive EU referendum coverage. But this only benefited the Remain campaign, not the Brexiteers, and to suggest otherwise is absurd

Disappointed Remain activist Hugo Dixon takes to the pages of InFacts with with a sullen litany of the many ways in which the (ahem) notoriously eurosceptic television news media supposedly hindered the pro-EU camp’s chances and aided the fact-free Brexiteers at every turn.

Dixon writes:

The BBC has rightly been criticised for its weak referendum coverage. If the broadcaster had done a better job of challenging interviewees, informing the public and making room for a variety of viewpoints, voters would have had a better chance of sifting fact from fiction. The BBC, after all, dominates our news coverage: 77% of the public use it as a news source, according to Ofcom.

The most common criticism aired against the BBC is one of phoney balance – namely that it gave equal airtime to experts and their opponents’ unsubstantiated bluster. But this is probably not the most serious charge. After all, it would not have been fair to deny the two sides of the referendum equal airtime or to keep off the air campaigners who were telling fibs or spinning fantasy.

However, what the BBC could and should have done was grill its guests more vigorously – and make more space for coverage that didn’t fit into the tired Punch-and-Judy style battle between spokespeople put up by the two official campaigns.

There is a kernel of a sensible point in here. This blog has written numerous times that sensationalist or craven news coverage which merely allows two opposing talking heads to scream at each other without any effort to arbitrate or discern truth is a pox on our journalism – whether it is infecting the US presidential election or the EU referendum in Britain.

Dixon is also admirably on-point when he criticises the media’s reliance on the sanitised, focus-group approved  media grids of the two opposing lead campaign groups, effectively suggesting to their viewers that these incompetents and nepotism beneficiaries represented the full spectrum of eurosceptic and pro-European thought:

This wasn’t the BBC’s only failing. It also allowed too much of its coverage to become a Punch-and-Judy style battle between the official campaigns. The broadcaster, of course, had to give a lot of airtime to Vote Leave and Stronger In. But it allowed its coverage to be virtually dictated by their agendas.

I know the Remain side of the story better. Stronger In had a “grid”, on which it set out what stories it wanted to push on particular days and which people it wanted to push those messages. It coordinated this grid closely with Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s director of communications. Indeed, Stronger In was effectively in Number 10’s pocket. It rarely put forward people who weren’t on message with its Project Fear strategy.

The BBC should not have allowed itself to be manipulated in this way, particularly since it was aware of the potential problem. Its guidelines said: “Where there is a range of views or perspectives, that should be reflected appropriately during the campaign.” They went on to say: “The designated Campaign Groups – whilst offering spokespeople to programme-makers and other content producers – cannot dictate who should or who should not appear on BBC output.”

But the broadcaster didn’t do enough to resist the pressure. As a result, Downing Street and its puppets dominated the Remain camp’s share of airtime, and people who wanted to make a positive case for Britain’s involvement were edged out. Even Gordon Brown – who was trying to argue that we should lead Europe, not leave Europe – found it hard to be heard.

While Hugo Dixon’s heart wells over with sympathy for Gordon Brown’s inability to claim his fair share of the limelight, this blog would point to the many independent and non-aligned voices on the Brexit side who struggled to get a hearing of any kind, despite (in some cases) holding media events in the heart of Westminster under the very nose of the establishment.

So on both of these complaints, Dixon is on solid ground. But to go on and suggest that intellectually lazy journalism which impacted the Leave side every bit as much as the Remain campaign somehow decisively swung the outcome of the referendum is to venture into the realm of fantasy.

Dixon concludes:

For every such example, the BBC could presumably come up with a counter-example. But when its senior figures search their souls, do they really think they fulfilled their mission of informing and educating the public well during the referendum? And, if not, what are they going to do about it? How about an independent, public audit of how the BBC fared during the referendum backed up by recommendations on how to do better in future?

The world is not getting any simpler. Hard, honest thinking about how to cover often very complicated questions could stand the BBC in good stead. Audiences and license fee payers definitely deserve it.

The underlying assertion, carefully left unsaid, is that these various journalistic failures added up to a succession of “microbiases” which somehow cumulatively tipped the referendum result, and that if only BBC and other television news presenters had challenged guests and demanded more “facts” then the British people would have come to their senses and realised just how star-spangled awesome the European Union really is.

And maybe in an alternative universe that was the case – that there simply weren’t enough highly credentialed experts, both hysterical and sober, using abundant media platforms to lecture the British people that seeking freedom from the EU would be an unmitigated disaster.

Why oh why were these noble voices, these latter-day Cassandras so cruelly shut out of the national debate, swamped by a relentlessly pro-Brexit television media amplifying the Leave campaign’s monopoly on falsehoods and scaremongering?

But that’s not how I remember the EU referendum campaign.

Hugo Dixon inhabits an interesting parallel universe, and no doubt a comforting one for disappointed Remain campaigners so deeply invested in their failed euro-federalist dream. But it bears no resemblance to the real world, where the plucky, haphazard, incoherent and almost terminally disorganised Leave campaign triumphed against the arrayed forces of the establishment and a television news media which only amplified rather than diminished their influence in support of the status quo.

 

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Brexit Catastrophisation Watch, Part 2

Suffer and roar

The other day, while in an uncharacteristically high-minded mood, I wrote:

During the EU referendum, I genuinely wanted the Leave campaign to win more than I wanted to defeat the Remain campaign. Despite immense provocation from the political establishment and many on the Remain side, I was generally motivated more by a desire to secure a better and more democratic future for my country than to make Remainers sad or to wipe the smug smile off George Osborne’s face.

Well, today I take it all back.

Ordinarily I would feel bad about sharing what is basically an hour’s worthy of weepy young ignoramuses whose mourning for their lost “European identity” is matched only by their ignorance about what the European Union actually is and how it works – but many high-profile Remainers have been so insufferably tedious and ungracious in defeat that any reserves of goodwill I possessed on 24 June have long since been exhausted.

One can only take hearing one’s perfectly legitimate and non-extreme political views (i.e. believing that Britain should be like every country in the world outside the EU and not outsource swathes of our governance to an unaccountable supranational government) described as the first step toward the return of fascism before feeling tempted to hit back, hard.

So enjoy: sixty glorious minutes of morons who who think that painting the EU flag on their faces and singing hymns of praise to Brussels makes them Virtuous People and Enlightened Citizens, weeping bitter tears because the Evil Old People and their nasty racist views have set in motion our foolish secession from the greatest and most noble organisation in human history, the European Union.

Money quotes:

1.30 – pinch-faced, morally righteous young woman on the verge of tears

“I feel like we are watching the stirrings of fascism in Europe again, and I genuinely never thought it would by my country that did that”

Yep, vote for freedom from supranational political union one day and we’ll all be polishing our jackboots the next.

And:

2.17 – a hipster girl wearing an outfit seemingly made entirely of feathers:

“London is like a little bubble, and the outside world, especially like regional places, is quite right wing. And it’s really really scary for our generation?”

And yes, her statement does end with a question mark.

And:

2.26 – the pinch-faced, morally righteous young woman, again

“The majority of these people are over 75 – they don’t have a future in this country.”

Children, respect your elders.

And finally:

23.18 – MP / industrial vacuum cleaner salesman Keith Vaz, crying to the BBC

“This is a crushing, crushing decision. It’s a terrible day for Britain, and a terrible day for Europe with, you know, immense consequences [..] Frankly, in a thousand years I would never have believed that the British people would have voted in this way, and they have done so and I think they have voted emotionally rather than looking at the facts, and it’ll be catastrophic for our country, for the rest of Europe and indeed the world.”

Ah, the arrogant Remainer head vs heart explanation again. Sorry to let you down, Jim.

To be fair, though, I myself was a rabid euro-federalist from the beginning of my student days until my early twenties. Had the EU referendum happened back in the early 2000s, I could easily have been one of those people having a weepy nervous breakdown into any passing TV camera.

Hopefully, like me, some of these petulant voices will come to recant their pro-European views as they grow in age and wisdom – and as the realisation slowly dawns that Brexit, however badly managed by politicians, has not ushered in the apocalypse.

 

People hold banners during a demonstration against Britain's decision to leave the European Union, in central London

Bottom Image: Huffington Post, REUTERS/Neil Hall

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Brexit Fallout: Shaming Leave Voters Is Despicable, And Will Backfire

Shame

Remainers were not able to win the EU referendum, but they are determined to make wavering Brexit voters regret and feel ashamed about their vote

I’m now starting to get quite angry at the effect the bullying, hectoring and self-entitled sore loser contingent within the Remain camp are having on soft Leavers.

Many people were genuinely conflicted in their decision, and have already displayed an enormous amount of personal courage in overcoming the incessant Project Fear messages crafted by Will Straw, David Cameron and their Britain Stronger in Europe henchmen. To see them now cowed and bullied into feeling bad about their decision by furious Remainiacs intent on associating them with racists and xenophobes is offensive in the extreme.

Newsweek magazine details some of the abuse received by just one left-wing Brexit supporter:

Here is one of the hateful comments that was posted on my Facebook profile by a male friend in Berlin: “It’s plain & simple: You voted with the fascists and now you use their lingo (that the mainstream media covered it wrong) to justify your naivety. If I hadn’t heard that sentiment a gazillion times from morons in Germany or the UK, it would be pretty funny, but now it just makes me sick and I have to say it somehow fits ya…[sic]” Not content with that, he then followed up with an even more insulting private message to me, at which point he was defriended.

This next one came from a senior male ex-colleague: “You voted leave??? A racist hate campaign based on lies which were admitted not even 24 hours after the vote? I am shocked. But at least Trump sent his congrats. Unbelievable.”

Another male friend, this time from London, wrote: “When you’ve got commenters on the Daily Mail site saying they feel misled and would change their vote if they could, then you know you’ve got problems.” I told him I didn’t feel misled. He didn’t like that very much. Cue more vitriolic and deeply patronizing comments where I was told to “look up this” and “look up that” as if my IQ had dropped.

Newsflash! I didn’t go to bed left-wing and wake up right-wing. As all my real friends know, I believe in integration, tolerance, multiculturalism, the NHS and equal rights. So just to say it once more for those at the back not really listening—that’s definitely not fascist. Perhaps some of my so-called friends would like to talk to people up and down the country, not just in London, and learn how disenfranchised and disappointed many in the U.K. are with the EU, the Conservatives and austerity politics in general.

Latest to succumb to the browbeating is divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag, who pitifully recants her Leave vote in the Telegraph:

I think there has been a lack of informed debate on both sides. I was not uninformed. But perhaps, in this instance, I was too informed, and I should have voted with my natural, liberal, European-spirited tribe rather than according to my concerns about the federal project, which now feel to me esoteric and unimportant.

With all this, I sound as if I’m making excuses. But I am only trying to explain, I suppose, why I voted as I did and why, too late, I have changed my mind.

I hate much more than anything about the EU the divisions in our country, the racism and xenophobia that have been given voice and legitimacy, the indignity of the shameful lack of leadership in our country, the destruction of our national esteem in our own and others’ eyes, the horrible, horrible mess that engulfs us now.

I feel, bizarrely, personally responsible for everything that goes wrong now, because, with my vote, with my expressed opinions, I contributed to it, and I shall be sorry every day. And those who know me well know I don’t much like to say sorry.

I’m sorry I voted out, given how it has transpired. I am so sorry so many people I care about are upset about the referendum result. I feel guilty that I voted for something that has made them so afraid and unhappy. I also feel massively panicky about the market instability, the social division and the failure of sensible direction at the top.

Guilt trick – successfully accomplished.

This blog is no great fan of Ayesha Vardag, but one should still deplore the fact that a fellow citizen and voter can have such opprobrium heaped upon them – including accusations that they are effectively in collusion with racists and reactionaries – simply for voting based on their perfectly valid and mainstream criticisms of the European Union.

And it is not just angry trolls on social media whipping up this anti-Brexiteer hatred. It is politicians and commentators and supposedly respectable people who have decided to characterise the EU referendum as a battle of good versus evil in which any dissenters from the pro-EU status quo automatically fall into the evil category.

This can only backfire. Loudly and shrilly accusing half of the country of being racist simpletons didn’t work when the establishment was fighting to keep Britain in the EU; it will certainly not work as disappointed Remainers seek to find their footing and regain their influence over political events. Indeed, we already see the opposite happening, with even some Remain voters recoiling from the arrogance and intolerance of their own side.

The Spectator carries the story of one Remain voter who now openly wishes that he had voted Leave:

As the week progressed, and demonstrators with radical piercings marched on Parliament in solidarity with EasyJet and George Osborne, I found my mood change. As one Guardian commentator after another dismissed the opinion of the poor, the old, the white, the uneducated, I began to wonder if the Leavers hadn’t been right all along. Perhaps the Remain side were out of touch with what much of Britain thought.

[..] As my mood changed, yet more taboo thoughts rose to the surface. If the EU has transformed working conditions for the better, why are there so many zero-hours ‘contracts’? Why do ‘left wingers’ trust businesses so reliant on cheap labour? If it’s so important for crime prevention, how do we explain Saliman Barci and Arnis Zalkalns? We are ‘informed’ that we need young blood because there’s a pensions crisis, but won’t migrants also grow old? We are told by Jeremy Corbyn that immigration has no impact on housing, and it’s all because the Tories are too mean to build 300,000 houses a year. What if he’s wrong and the EU did in fact have a negative impact on housing stock?

Then came the petitions. Remainers calling for the referendum to be ignored, or worse, re-run, revealed themselves to be the enemies of democracy. How many of them would tolerate similar calls from the Leave camp if the vote was reversed? And what happens if a re-run took place and a slender majority did vote Remain. Did they really think the Leavers would take that lying down?

By now, I also wanted to repent. I’d voted Remain, but had not realised that my vote would have counted for more if I had voted Leave. I regretted my vote because if the margin had been wider, perhaps those commentators who make a living decrying our country, our electorate, our past, would pause to reflect on what voting meant to ordinary people rarely allowed to make national decisions. For an overwhelming majority of Leave voters it wasn’t about sending messages to Brussels, or wiping the smugness off Cameron’s face; it was about deciding which choice would be best for them, their children, and for the country they love.

In case it was not already apparent (with the ascendancy of Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP and Donald Trump) these are not normal political times in the West. The establishment was already discredited and seriously off balance even before the stunning EU referendum result further highlighted their disconnect from much of the population. And now, many people within and around the establishment seem determined to compound this disconnect by either explaining away the people’s decision to vote for Brexit or angrily chiding them for it.

But for every tearful recanting of a Leave vote under duress on social media we are likely to see two or more hearts hardened against pleas from establishment figures for the people to defer to their arrogant self-interest masquerading as dispassionate expertise. People just aren’t buying it any more.

Ayesha Vardag, for her faults, has absolutely nothing to apologise for when it comes to her vote in favour of democratic self government and against a failing, dysfunctional and terminally un-reformable European Union. And though wall-to-wall catastrophisation of Brexit in the media and screeching denunciations of Brexiteers on social media have caused her to recant her vote, she will be vindicated in her initial decision in the fullness of time.

And this sneering, arrogant and deeply ignorant anti-Brexiteer inquisition being waged by disappointed Remain supporters will not succeed.

 

Shame - I will not do it again

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