Cyprus Mail
Guest ColumnistOpinion

Not Project Fear, Project Wake Up

Demonstrators gesture outside the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday during a protest aimed at showing London's solidarity with the European Union

By JT Christophides

Dear Friends who supported Britain Stronger in Europe.

CHAOTIC times call for creative actions. The referendum result was terribly disappointing but there is a chance to reverse it if people of good faith can come together and act with bold imagination.

The Leave Campaign won on prejudice, lies, manipulation and hatred. Even as Nigel Farage was claiming victory in front of the whole world, he had the nerve to say that this vote was achieved without a single shot being fired, totally disregarding the tragedy of Thursday 16th June. He also said that it was a victory for decent people, with the sinister implication that people who voted the opposite, people like Brendan Cox, weren’t.

Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and Boris Johnson all traded in the xenophobia that the EU was founded to banish with their shrill anti-German rhetoric.

I don’t know who was more odious; Gove claimed that the vast majority of experts backing Remain were similar in trustworthiness to the scientists who worked for Hitler, while Boris compared the EU to the Third Reich.

The same reasons why Britain needs to stay in Europe are still there. We need to cooperate on combatting organised crime. We need to coordinate our efforts in deploying new tools and strategies that will contain, mitigate and ultimately defeat international terrorism. We need to preserve the Special Relationship. We need to save the British economy. We need to keep Scotland in the union and we need to keep the peace in Northern Ireland. We need to stop the people who supported Brexit because they saw it as a way to wreck the Paris Climate Accords by empowering those who deny the existence of man-made climate change, the greatest threat to our future.

Most of all, we need to stand up for freedom and be on guard for the rise of anti-democratic forces and the far right. Already, there are ominous warnings of the future to come if we allow Brexit to proceed.

This is not Project Fear. This is Project Wake Up.

In Russia, one of the Kremlin’s minions predicted there will be “a united Eurasia — about 10 years.”

For those who do not know of the concept, Eurasianism is an ideology created by an obscure neo-fascist philosopher with close ties to the Kremlin, Alexander Dugin. The idea of a united Eurasia is one in which a strong, ultimate leader embodies and commands the will of a particular ethnic, national or racial group in their fierce and struggle, or “passionarnost” to assert dominance, and to keep going until that objective is achieved.

In other words, regardless of whether he genuinely believes this or whether he is just using this doctrine for domestic consumption, the former KGB operative in the Kremlin is parroting the words of a certain Austrian vagabond who went on to wreak previously unimaginable destruction on civilization.

Over the course of the campaign, I have been following different Remain figures from all of the main parties. Some were very impressive. There is one person who impressed me above all else. His name is Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames, the grandson of Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. He had been a passionate advocate of Europe from the very beginning, and never waffled like some in the Remain Campaign. He has been eloquent and intellectually coherent. He has looked to the past and to the vision of a Europe articulated by his beloved grandfather. He has looked to the future by saying that young people should not be denied the world of opportunities that awaits them in the 21stcentury. He has withstood the accusations that he betrayed his grandfather’s memory. And he seems to have the clearest appreciation of anyone in British politics of where the world is going.

Admittedly, Sir Nicholas Soames was a bit rude at times to certain Brexiters. However, sometimes rudeness is necessary. Rudeness in defence of rationality is not a vice. Etiquette in the face of the mendacious manipulation of ignorance and prejudice is not a virtue.

Sir Nicholas Soames should launch his own bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party and of Great Britain. The pro-Remain Conservative MPs should rally around him rather than splinter the vote in the face of Boris Johnson or Liam Fox or whoever the Brexiters nominate. He should then go to the country and make a direct appeal to the rank and file members of the Conservative Party who will have the ultimate say on who should be their next leader. He may be old, but he has the powerful personality to expose the chinks in the Brexiters’ armour. He can weaken the support of the Brexit candidate, whoever he is. He can mobilize young voters to join his cause in the way Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders did. He can also appeal to the older voters by invoking the glorious courage and decency of their parents and grandparents who braved Dunkirk and Normandy and defied the Luftwaffe.

Regardless of whether he will win the leadership election, he can get a strong result. And then he can split the Conservative Party. Many analysts and political scientists say that the party system in Britain is outmoded for an age of globalisation. He can then set up a new party that will unite people across all walks of life.  He can then invite the Liberal Democrats and liberal or centrist Labourites to join him in a political insurgency that will reshape the politics of his country.

Precedents for such drastic action exist in British history when the nation was confronted with a threat to its survival. The Liberals and Conservatives united during WWI. After the Great Depression hit Britain, there was a National Government composed of Conservatives and the Ramsay MacDonald wing of the Labour Party. In WWII, all three parties united to rally the people against the Nazis.

Already, the Remain Camp has 48% of the vote. The seeds of a new great party have been sown. Together, they can force new general elections within the year and campaign on a liberal, pro-globalization, pro-Europe, internationalist, centrist platform that embraces intelligence and compassion in politics and that seeks to transcend the age, gender, class, education, and regional divisions plaguing the land. A coordinated, positive and unified campaign of Remain supporters can chip away at the support of the new Brexit/Isolationist Front that will coalesce around UKIP by continually focusing on their deceitful conduct during the campaign and the ensuing economic chaos and pain they foolishly unleashed. The people will realise they had been misled and the result can be reversed by launching a second referendum.


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