Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

The best thing about Brexit? It’s not my fault

I hope this terrible idea goes swimmingly, but if it doesn’t, I’m nothing to do with it

Brexit Britain fills me with calm. Six weeks on, there’s no point pretending otherwise. Losing is far better than winning. I am filled with enormous serenity at the thought of this terrible, terrible idea being not my fault at all.

I didn’t expect to feel this way. Although there were signs, now I think back, on the night of the vote. I was at Glastonbury, obviously. (‘Of course you were!’ cried Rod Liddle, when I saw him a few weeks later.) Of course I was. There, with the rest of the metropolitan, liberal, bien-pensant yadda yadda. I found out at about 2 a.m., after a pleasant evening doing pleasant Glastonbury things. I’d wandered backstage, to meet a journalist friend who had secured access to Wi-Fi and a television.

‘It’s all fucked,’ she said. ‘It’s definitely happening.’

‘Jeez,’ I said, or words to that effect. And then we spoke of the miserable future. Of a nation shamed, and racists vindicated, and countrymen which, in hindsight, it turned out we didn’t understand at all. All that fun Remain stuff.

After a while, though, my friend fixed me with a look. ‘You do not,’ she said, quite accusingly, ‘seem very sad.’ And I thought about this, and I realised she was right. ‘It’s probably because I’m wasted,’ I told her. ‘Or in denial. Or Scottish.’ Although it wasn’t. I see that now. It was something else.

I was sad afterwards, obviously. I went home, sobered up, wrote the odd column, did the odd TV appearance, and my approach, I think it is fair to say, was morose. There were practical reasons for this, obviously, but at heart probably was a sense of rejection. Don’t play your tiny violins at me; I’m just saying. After all, wasn’t that what I was supposed to feel? A million times, by then, I had read that Brexit wasn’t about immigration, wasn’t even about Europe, but was actually a blow struck against precisely the sort of aloof, condescending, bubble–dwelling media-politico idiot that the comments under my articles ceaselessly tell me I am.

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