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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Five years on from Brexit, it’s all over… bar the shouting

Five years? Was it really five years ago this week we voted to Leave the EU? Some days, it feels more like 50. Others, it’s as if we’re still fighting the referendum campaign.

Like 9/11, the assassination of JFK and the death of Lady Di, most of us can remember exactly where we were when we heard the earth-shattering news.

Who could forget David Dimbleby’s funereal demeanour when he had to read out the result on the BBC. He looked like a man who had just been told that his dog had been run over.

But having savoured the moment, most of us who backed Leave have no burning desire to revisit it. What’s done is done and, in modern parlance, we have moved on. Would that the same could be said for those on the losing side who have never reconciled themselves to defeat.

Five years on, like Japanese soldiers marooned halfway up a tree in the Burmese jungle in 1947, they are still fighting the last war.

Having tried and failed time and again to overturn the result and scupper any hope of an amicable departure, they are still sniping from the sidelines.

Five years? Was it really five years ago this week we voted to Leave the EU? Some days, it feels more like 50. Others, it’s as if we’re still fighting the referendum campaign. Pictured: A pro-Brexit protest in 2018 [File photo]

We had to put up with Remainers' tantrums for three and a half years, until Boris Johnson won the December 2019 'Get Brexit Done' election with a thumping 80-seat majority Pictured: Johnson in an armoured vehicle during a visit to the new Ranger Regiment to mark Armed Forces Week

We had to put up with Remainers’ tantrums for three and a half years, until Boris Johnson won the December 2019 ‘Get Brexit Done’ election with a thumping 80-seat majority Pictured: Johnson in an armoured vehicle during a visit to the new Ranger Regiment to mark Armed Forces Week

Recalcitrant Remainers seize on any minor setback or loophole in the Withdrawal Agreement to condemn the entire process as an unmitigated disaster. I guess it was always too much to hope that they would fold their tents and retire gracefully from the fray. These days, the losing side rarely accepts the result of a democratic plebiscite which goes against them.

Look at Wee Burney’s monomaniacal determination to rerun the ‘once-in-a-generation’ referendum which rejected Scottish independence. On the other side of the political spectrum, Donald Trump is still insisting he won last year’s U.S. Presidential election.

The Corinthian spirit of shaking hands at the end of the game and accepting that the best team won has long since gone the way of top hats and crinoline underskirts.

Compare and contrast the reaction of the Leave and Remain camps five years ago. On the night, before the result was announced, Nigel Farage believed Leave had come up short. Oh well, he shrugged, we gave it our best shot.

The next morning, when it was announced Leave had won, the airwaves were filled with bitter Remainers alleging foul play and demanding a re-run.

We had to put up with their tantrums for three and a half years, until Boris Johnson won the December 2019 ‘Get Brexit Done’ election with a thumping 80-seat majority.

Recalcitrant Remainers seize on any minor setback or loophole in the Withdrawal Agreement to condemn the entire process as an unmitigated disaster. Pictured: An anti-Brexit activist in 2019 [File photo]

Recalcitrant Remainers seize on any minor setback or loophole in the Withdrawal Agreement to condemn the entire process as an unmitigated disaster. Pictured: An anti-Brexit activist in 2019 [File photo]

Whatever his faults, Boris rescued us from the dead hand of Mother Theresa, who having become Prime Minister pledging that ‘Brexit Means Brexit’ did everything possible to keep us locked into the EU. We’re still living with the consequences.

It was one of the most demeaning, shameful episodes in British democratic history. A Vichy Parliament, under a partisan Speaker, which had sworn to respect the referendum result cynically employed every ruse in an eventually doomed attempt to thwart the will of the people.

Where are they now, the Dominique Grieves, Anna Soubrys, Gina Millers et al? Gone and largely forgotten, although that treacherous, gurning gargoyle Bercow popped up again this week to announce that he had joined the Labour Party in a last desperate attempt to get a peerage.

Dream on, you pompous, posturing pygmy.

One by one, the lies of Project Fear have been exposed for what they always were, scaremongering on a scale which would have shamed Joseph Goebbels. The food shortages, the economic collapse, World War III — none of these have come to pass.

Still, that was then. We finally left at the end of January last year, but diehard Remainers have never forgiven us. They pine for reunification with their mothership in Brussels.

Each tiny hiccup is magnified disproportionately to highlight the folly of our exit. If it’s not the so-called sausage wars, it’s something equally idiotic such as banning the export of sprouting potatoes from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

This week, the Guardian — who else? — drew attention to the fact that cross-Channel pigeon racing is threatened because of French insistence on animal welfare certificates.

Whatever his faults, Boris rescued us from the dead hand of Mother Theresa, who having become Prime Minister pledging that 'Brexit Means Brexit' did everything possible to keep us locked into the EU. We're still living with the consequences [File photo]

Whatever his faults, Boris rescued us from the dead hand of Mother Theresa, who having become Prime Minister pledging that ‘Brexit Means Brexit’ did everything possible to keep us locked into the EU. We’re still living with the consequences [File photo]

You couldn’t make it up. Pity the French aren’t so fussy about proper procedures when it comes to escorting migrants across the Channel to Kent.

But while the British Government has only behaved with magnanimity, the EU has responded with aggression and intransigence. Admittedly, the NI Protocol is far from perfect, courtesy of the duplicitous Mrs May. With goodwill on both sides, it could be sorted out in a heartbeat. Sadly there is no goodwill coming from the EU.

In the past few months, Brussels has tried disgracefully to stop the export of life-saving Covid vaccines to Britain; and threatened to close the Irish border it pretends to want to keep open to ‘protect the peace process’, as it seeks to detach Ulster from the rest of the UK.

French trawlers have blockaded the Channel Islands, even though it is British fishermen who, for now, find themselves on the rough end of the pineapple for the next five years as part of the transition deal.

As Priti Flamingo pointed out this week, while Britain is extending full rights to European Union citizens resident in the UK, the EU is refusing to reciprocate — just as it is over financial services.

We’ve already seen British expats prevented at Spanish airports from returning to their homes on the Med, and now Angela Merkel attempting to impose strict quarantine restrictions on visitors from the UK, not just to Germany but all 26 EU countries.

Maybe we should have made her isolate for ten days in a grotty airport hotel before letting her attend the G7 in Cornwall.

As I keep telling you, Mrs Merkin is no friend of Britain. She’s a former member of the old East German Communist Party’s youth wing, and is currently cosying up to the Russians. Would the Left look so kindly upon her if she’d been a member of the Hitler Youth?

Angela Merkel attempting to impose strict quarantine restrictions on visitors from the UK, not just to Germany but all 26 EU countries. Pictured: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin

Angela Merkel attempting to impose strict quarantine restrictions on visitors from the UK, not just to Germany but all 26 EU countries. Pictured: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin 

We can nitpick about some of the detail of the messy withdrawal deal, but I remain convinced that the Leave vote was the greatest leap forward for our freedom and democracy in my lifetime

We can nitpick about some of the detail of the messy withdrawal deal, but I remain convinced that the Leave vote was the greatest leap forward for our freedom and democracy in my lifetime

Up to now, the British Government has been reluctant to retaliate, instead using our new freedoms to seal new trade deals across the globe.

The most spectacular post-Brexit achievement has been the genuinely ‘world-beating’ (for once) vaccine programme — only made possible because we are no longer locked into the EU’s sclerotic bureaucracy.

If only Boris would show similar boldness in other areas, such as ‘taking back control’ of Covid policy from The Science by opening up the economy and reinstating foreign travel immediately.

The world is our lobster.

We can nitpick about some of the detail of the messy withdrawal deal, but I remain convinced that the Leave vote was the greatest leap forward for our freedom and democracy in my lifetime.

Forget about the noise. It’s all over, bar the shouting.

But that still won’t stop some people squabbling about Brexit in 50 years’ time, never mind five . . .

With the faint hope of summer holidays peeping over the horizon, one enterprising cruise company is offering, in conjunction with the Sun, The Ultimate Eighties Experience, at 1980s prices. 

For a pound under £500, you can sail the seven seas, while being entertained by stars including T’Pau’s Carol Decker, Nik Kershaw and Toyah Willcox. 

If they really want to offer a true ’80s experience, they should book miners’ strike leader Arthur Scargill and Degsy Hatton, former Militant Tendency firebrand on Liverpool Council, as the cabaret.

Bring me sunshine? Eric and Ern, they ain’t.

With the faint hope of summer holidays peeping over the horizon, one enterprising cruise company is offering, in conjunction with the Sun, The Ultimate Eighties Experience, at 1980s prices

With the faint hope of summer holidays peeping over the horizon, one enterprising cruise company is offering, in conjunction with the Sun, The Ultimate Eighties Experience, at 1980s prices

Perhaps the entertainments director could get that dance troupe from Britain’s Got Talent to recreate the Brixton, Toxteth and Broadwater Farm riots. 

For an extra touch of authenticity, passengers would have to cross a screaming picket line of Wapping print workers. 

And as the ship rounds the Falkland Islands, instead of a fireworks display, they could stand on deck and watch the Exocet missiles flying overhead.

Oh, I won’t let the Sun go down on me . . .

The Markles are said to have rejected the title Earl of Dumbarton for their son Archie because it contains the word ‘dumb’. At least it wasn’t the Earl of Scunthorpe. 

The Government’s latest bright idea for persuading people to go back to work is offering everyone a four-day week. Four days a week?

After 15 months of furlough, WFH, and Money For Nothing And Your Chips For Free, they’ll be lucky to find anyone willing to work four hours a day.

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