We have all seen the hashtags the slogans: #FBPE, #The People’s Vote, 2nd referendum, Leavers didn’t know what they were voting for, cliff edge, crashing out etc. As we can see its effective in its own way. Over the last 50 years ground in public discourse has been conceded to the elite left through the media, the arts, humanities and so on.
So what have we got on our side? Nigel Farage and his “Leave means Leave”, Theresa May’s even more sterile “Brexit means Brexit” and “No Deal is better than a Bad Deal”. Where have we gone wrong?
My take on this is it’s our own fault. We are the silent majority. Always have been. Our families and jobs have taken all of our time and effort, as they should do and we have expressed our opinions mainly through the ballot box plus in rants at home at the TV with our family looking on wondering if the straitjacket is appropriate, down at the pub or in safe gatherings. The thing is there is nothing wrong in this. Nothing at all. Its normal for our society, its liberal, its free thinking, its not imposing, it’s, to all intents and purposes, silent in the polite sense.
This used to be enough, it looks like it is no longer. There is a cliff edge but not the one they are talking about. The yellow jacket protests are raw and visceral but have as usual been hijacked by the black clad nutters from both ends of the political spectrum and its unfocused rage seems a trifle not “us”. There seems to be polite versions of it, persistent crossing and re-crossing of roads at pedestrian crossing for one.
So, what is wrong with what’s going on with Brexit exactly? Fundamentally it’s a democratic vote in which the political class is, at worse, determined to reverse and, at best, vacillate in the hope that something will happen, like a revote to make it all go away. It’s the vote that counts, Brexit is great but its just a political move that could be changed back in the future anyway. It’s the vote that matters. If it had been a remain win, we all know we would have accepted it, shrugged and gone back to verbally abusing our TVs. We are not objecting to the EU now. We are objecting to the abandonment of democracy. That is far more concerning than the EU or even May’s servile deal.
What do we cosy people do to make a difference? My idea to take a letter out of the opposition’s book. Simple sloganeering and symbolism that shows we are the silent majority, we know what they are trying to do and we are watching them sullenly and silently, but make them aware that they’d better hope we don’t break our silence to stop them.
Firstly, on the online front we need a hashtag. But it’s not about #Brexit its about being the silent majority who voted for it. Who knew what they were voting for. Who could see the act of leaving with a few minor inconveniences as positive. Who want to keep our silent majority status as regal as the constitutional monarchy is. We are #The52. Own it, use it, dare them to deny the maths.
And then the symbol. Take a card from a standard set of playing cards (not the jokers). Any card you like with a meaning personally to you. Mine is the 5 of Hearts. We all have a pack somewhere in the house or can easily pick up one. When you want to protest go somewhere like Parliament or civic offices, media organisations or any “establishment” and brandish your card silently, your 7 of Diamonds or Queen of Hearts; stand there like a football referee showing a warning yellow: we see the transgression, we know what you are doing, we will not accept it, we are #The52. Either do it as you walk past or stop for a few seconds. But no words, keep silent, keep sullen. Keep your card in your wallet or purse and if you get a Remainer in your face, show them the card. Make them do the maths. Better yet add the symbol to your Twitter handle or Facebook name if you are feeling brave.
This may well not catch on. It may be silly but its my small simple recipe for being slightly less silent about an important subject. And I say #The52.
© Zero Fox Gibbon 2018