24 June 2016

Sorry, #leave , but you're all UKIP now.

Britain is out.

And now I find that I've got quite a few #leave friends who are suddenly anxious to make sure that I know that they aren't racists. That they did not vote leave because Nigel Farage made them afraid of mass rapes by migrants. That they voted leave for other reasons, such as the impact of undemocratically adopted Brussels regulations on the UK, or EU overreach into national affairs, or because they feel that the UK should negotiate its own trade deals. That they aren't, in short, racists.

And I believe them.

I don't think that voting to exit the EU was the best choice, but there's legitimate cause for complaint about the EU. So much so, in fact, that it's insane to think that the result of the vote was entirely driven by irrational xenophobia. I don't think, for example, that the Minister The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, joined the "out" campaign because he thinks that Nigel Farage talks good sense. I think that his motivation is much more likely to be tied to other factors, such as frustration with a Court of Justice for the European Union that seemed determined to overrule as much of the common law system as possible.

But I don't care.

Because the thing is, it was clear from the start that a victory for #leave wouldn't happen without the UKIP support. So while toxic Nigel wasn't part of the "official" Leave campaign, while there was an "official" distance placed between "official" Leave and UKIP, there were no efforts to place any actual distance between UKIP and Leave. When Nigel spouted off about mass rape, there was not loud condemnation; instead, there were remarks about the effect of Turkey joining the EU, and whether the UK could manage suddenly growing to 70-80 million. There was no condemnation, but there were many dog whistles.

The Leave campaign voluntarily got into harness with UKIP, because that's what it was going to take to get across the line. The Leave campaign does not get to cut those chains that easily now that the race is done.

"Mainstream" leave couldn't have done it alone, and nor could UKIP. They did it together, and together they remain.

Sorry, #Leave, but you're all UKIP now.