Cavafy’s famous poem begins by describing the Emperor, consuls, praetors and senators waiting for the barbarians to arrive. “What’s the point of senators making laws now?” he writes. “Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.”
It ends with all of the above going home “lost in thought…Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come. / And some of our men just in from the border say / there are no barbarians any longer”.
ConservativeHome feels the same way about the Remainers, now that the EU Withdrawal Bill has passed Parliament, and Britain will indeed leave the Union a week tomorrow.
There were certainly times when, during Theresa May’s premiership, it seemed unlikely to happen at all – because the Commons would deliberately put two fingers up to the referendum verdict of 2016.
Brexit was promised by March 29 last year. Then by April 12. Then by the end of June. By the time May was eventually deposed, the Party was reduced to four MEPs, she was reduced to seeking to get Brexit through on Jeremy Corbyn’s terms, and the Tory poll rating was down to 20 per cent.
It really looked as though MPs, with Oliver Letwin in charge of the Commons timetable and John Bercow bending the rules to suit himself, would keep extending and extending Britain’s membership…until a semi-rigged second referendum delivered the verdict that the Remainers wanted.
Boris Johnson has been so successful in turning all this round that it seems like a dream, and one wonders whether it really happened at all. But it did.
Now, Tony Blair, John Major, Michael Heseltine, Keir Starmer, Jo Swinson, Dominic Grieve and all the rest of them have gone quiet, in the wake of Johnson’s near-landslide last month and in the run-up to Brexit this one…
…And we will hear a bit less, at least for the time being, from Gina Miller, A.C.Grayling, Hugh Grant, Will Hutton, Jolyon Maugham, Ian Dunt, Alastair Campbell, and all the rest of them.
They will now have to argue for Britain to rejoin the EU – a more formidable task than trying to stop it leaving, precisely because it seeks to change the status quo.
Good riddance to the lot of them, many of our readers will say. This site doesn’t quite feel the same way. Perhaps we are wondering what and who Brexiteers will complain about now that the Remainers have been routed.
As Cavafy almost put it in the last lines of his poem, “Now what’s going to happen to us without Remainers? / Those people were a kind of solution.”