‘If we are going to Westminster to riot,’ I told my Brexit-voting friends over dinner at the Thai restaurant at our local pub, ‘then we are going to have to work out where to park. I don’t want to get a ticket.’
We shifted our noodles around our plates and chewed our sizzling beef strips thoughtfully. Outside in the country lanes of Surrey, the dark September evening was settling down, the owls hooted, and the screaming Remoaners in their EU berets seemed very far away.
‘Maybe we won’t have to go to London,’ said one of us, a farmer. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘that’s a good idea. We could just take part in local skirmishes.’
Everyone looked down at their plates. No one seemed very enthusiastic.
I wonder what form local skirmishes might take and whether people in the provinces would be expected to smash things. I don’t think I want to smash anything. I’ve never been in trouble with the law before, so I’m not altogether sure I know how to do it.
Does one simply walk up to a shop window and throw something through it? A chair, perhaps. Where does one get the chair? Does one bring one’s own chair, from one’s house, or steal a chair from nearby? I think I would want to pay for the damage, so I would probably leave the shopkeeper a note with my number on it.
I’m not looking forward to it at all, but I am prepared to stand up and be counted.
Jeremy Corbyn calls for his lot to come out and demonstrate and, with no one casting aspersions on them, a band of extremely confused liberals block the streets waving foreign flags and shouting rude, ignorant clichés. When you go on telly as a commentator on those platforms in Parliament Square, the noise from these trainee communists is so loud you have to have the mic taped to your face so you can be heard above the caterwauling.
But when someone like me says she might have to protest because her vote has been ignored, the left declare it proof that fascism is on the march: ‘There you go, see, violent Brexiteers being yobs as usual!’ The problem is we’re not yobs. If we were, we wouldn’t be in this position three years after a democratic vote.
If we had had the bad manners to come out on to the streets, the establishment would have had to deliver the result of the referendum.
I’ve got a better idea. If all 17.4 million of us flew the Union Flag outside our homes we could make our presence felt without having to lower ourselves to the ill-mannered antics of the left.
I thought I had better ring the council and ask whether I need planning permission as I live in a conservation area and the Remainiacs round here would love to have a good row about an illegal flagpole — while secretly seething at the cheek of my patriotism.
So I rang the borough council and asked the question: ‘Do I need planning permission to fly a Union Flag on my house?’
‘That is an excellent point,’ said the lady, which cheered me up, for I was half expecting her to send the police round to arrest me for a hate crime, seeing as how Surrey had a relatively large proportion of MPs in the rebel group of EU-backers who blocked a no-deal Brexit.
But reassuringly she was cheerful and went off to find out. She came back to say: ‘It’s not a conservation issue but whether you need permission does depend on how you wish to fly it.’ ‘How should I fly it?’ I asked.
‘If you want a flagpole you need planning permission, but if you want to hang it on the window during the football season that’s fine.’
‘How about hanging it on the window during the Brexit season?’ I said. ‘It could be there for some time and I don’t want it to look messy. I’m thinking of wall mounting.’
She said she would have to put me through to someone else, whereupon a man answered and said he didn’t know and would have to ask someone else. This time the line went blank for a long time and when he picked up again, he said: ‘Can I help you?’
‘I’m flag lady, remember?’ ‘Oh yeah,’ he said, like he was hoping I’d gone away. ‘I think it’s best if you email us, then the officer can look into the planning consents.’ And he told me the address began planninginquiries@. ‘Is that inquiries with an “i” or an “e”?’ I said, because I’ve had that one before. ‘Er, an “i”,’ he said, sounding shifty.
I sent the email and a few seconds later it bounced back. So I sent it with an ‘e’, which worked fine.