Here is something I have noticed as an aside to the whole Dominic Cummings kerfuffle this week.
Whatever your views on the events of the week the one thing that can be said is that it didn’t play across traditional party lines alone, many hard right Tories have been critical of Mr Johnson and Mr Cunnings indeed over 40 conservatives calling for him to resign. This seemed to be reflective of a lot of the country however.
There are a small but significant number of people on twitter that seem to be stuck in some kind of time warp
If you remember the heady carefree days before the virus all we had to take about was something called brexit, you may not remember this but trust me it used to be a big deal to a lot of people.
A war was fought and the leave side won, quite convincingly as Mr Johnsons government and their battle cry of get brexit done rode in to an emphatic victory. Disappointing for myselfwho was very much on the losing side but there you have it, the victory was done and we left Europe. Brexit was over, yes there will be years and years of trade negotiations with our European neighbours to look forward to but it was a over, after 4 long hard years over.
Or so most of us thought, back to the time warp thingy, first there are a small, vocal and slightly deranged FBPE tribe that are still in denial. They are a strange bunch as I have found out having been attacked by them in the battle of brexit (and I was on the remain side don’t forget) they are like small tribes fighting a war in pockets that has already been lost however they do seem to be in ever diminishing numbers as the realisation they lost dawns on them.
Perhaps more worrying are the pro brexit crowd, they have won but it seems a bit of a hollow victory for them. frequentlyon twitter (a platform I once loved but are getting more and more disfranchised with) they attack anyone as a lefty or a remoaner if they criticise Mr Cummings or Mr Johnsons handling of the virus. I started to do a bit of an unofficial study and when you open the profile they almost always have brexiteer or pro brexit in their bio, may have the union jack as their picture.
While I never believed in Brexit I could see the allure of it for many people, so many people who had been marginalised by society, felt they didn’t have a voice, wanted a say on issues like immigration etc subjects they wanted the UK to take back control, to have its own voice in the world. I never bought into the in my opinion divisive narrative that they were racist or stupid and indeed these accusations just strengthened their resolve further to find their own voice and get brexit done.
It was empowering, they felt part of a movement where they belonged ( I am sure this applied to the FBPE crowd as well) they has a mission, a purpose a goal.
The problem is what happens now it’s been completed, the mission is finished the objective met. It’s a problem especially for those who activated these people in the first place with a get brexit done battle cry.
And so they appear so out of place in a world that has by and large forgotten about the brexit era for a season. They still want to draw the same tired battle lines but the war is over. They have post brexit syndrome.
They always say that the peace is far harder to win than the war and that is the difficulty mid to long term for the government. Making Britain thrive in a post brexit world was always going to be a hard task; the economic fallout caused by the worldwide pandemic has made it nigh on impossible. Four years is a long time but it soon passes. The success of Mr Johnson’s government will be determined in its ability to bring the spoils of the war that was promised to the brexit army. They need to be able to see tangible benefits from leaving Europe. Mr Cummings is well aware of this his strategy prior to Lockdown was to level up the north and the south and bring prosperity to the red wall of ex labour seats they took in the general election, many commentators believe this was the crux of the row that saw Javid leave the treasury. The pandemic has now made that task all the harder.
The war is over, the battle won, they just need to fill the void that has been left.