For the first time, I feel ashamed to be British

Before even writing this I know what response it will meet. Some who fought for Leave on 23 June will be contemptuous. ‘Bad loser’, ‘diddums’, ‘suck it up’, ‘go and live somewhere else’. From the online Leave brigade who stalk the readers’ comments section beneath media columns I’m already familiar with the attitudes of the angry brigade; but aware that there were also plenty of perfectly sane and nice people who took a considered decision to vote for our exit from the EU. To what I shall say, such people can reasonably reply that their side have beliefs too, and Remain can claim no monopoly on reason or conscience. What

Letters | 30 June 2016

A rational vote Sir: There has been a lot of bile poured out about those who voted Leave by the Remainers. Their intelligence, their racial tolerance and their general moral standing has been called into question. I was a Remain voter, but live in an area that was 69 per cent Leave, and work with people who were strongly anti-remaining. To take one example, being anti-free migration is being referred to as racism. For many people migration is not anything to do with race or even nationality: 1,000 people from the next town would create the same degree of concern as 1,000 Poles. When jobs, houses, school places and so

Rory Sutherland

A game of chicken with the electorate

I have worked in advertising for 28 years. In that time I have seen many briefs for communication campaigns, but none contained the line ‘It is important to insult the target audience, or at least treat them with barely disguised disdain.’ So I wonder whether the referendum result might have gone the other way had Remain supporters refrained from using social media in the days before the vote. Impossible to enforce, of course. The problem with the self-righteous is that they are so eager to virtue-signal to each other that they will go on doing it even when it is completely counterproductive. One American expert has written a blog post

Rod Liddle

Three great myths of the sulking Remainers

I think my favourite moment of the referendum campaign was John Major’s intervention, a couple of weeks before polling day. In that immediately recognisable tone of condescension tinged with snippy petulance, which we all remember and love so well from the time of his magnificent stewardship of this country, he said that people who didn’t want some degree of pooled sovereignty should go and live in North Korea, oh yes. No, John, that’s where you should go. I’m sure you can persuade the fat idiot who runs the place that his people need and deserve a motorway cones hotline, even if there are no cars on the roads. It’s time

Emily Hill

Why I lie about voting Leave

There are lies, damned lies and pretending to back Remain. I lie because I am a coward. I hug friends who burst into tears, petrified by life without the European Union. I sympathise with strangers, who act like Lady Di just died and there’s nowhere to lay flowers. I obfuscate, I mutter, I am evasive. And I am not alone. There are hordes of us who’ll not admit we voted Leave to our best friends, our next of kin. We learned to keep schtum a long time ago — thanks to social media — since they’d defriend us if said we’d vote to leave. Now they are outraged, deeply confused

The Brexit divide wasn’t between young and old, but Ponces and Non-Ponces

Ever since Friday’s Glorious Victory, one of the chief recreation activities of we Brexiters of a childish bent has been the Taunting Of The Remnants, mostly online. ‘How are you comforting yourself?’ one Facebook post asked. ‘In the usual way – with the tears of the vanquished,’ I replied. ONLY ONE LIKE! For self-proclaimed ‘progressives’, what a bunch of doom-mongering, curtain-twitching, tut-tutting stick-in-the-muds they’ve proved to be! For this Remnant Zombie Army, out to do in our brains with their bed-wetting ways and bleats for more referenda until they get the result they want, everything that goes wrong over the next few months – the weather, the football – will

Rod Liddle

At least the howls of Remain cry-babies give us something to snigger at

A very good piece by Libby Purves on the petulance, whining and spite of our liberal elite. Libby got there before I did, annoyingly – and has some terrific examples in her column. I bought Saturday’s Guardian for the sole purpose of harvesting a bunch of tantrums from the letters page – and it did not disappoint. ‘Utterly ashamed to be English’ and ‘I’m moving to Scotland’ (good) and a hugely pompous encomium from an idiot called Michael Rundell, of Canterbury, about the ‘stupidity, mendacity and xenophobia’ of the Leave campaign. Long may they howl – these are somewhat fraught times and it’s nice to have something to snigger at.

Reminder: the referendum was about leaving the EU, not blueprints for the future

It does seem to me that there’s been a misunderstanding about what, exactly, a referendum is about. It’s not a general election. It’s not about electing a party with a manifesto. It’s simply getting an answer to a specific question, in this case, whether to stay in or leave the EU. So when disgruntled Remainers complain that there is no blueprint for the future, no grand plan for the way ahead, no specifics about immigration reduction, no answers about getting access to the free trade area, all you can say is, that’s not what it was about, people. There was a coalition of disparate interests behind the Brexit side, from

It is best not just for Britain but for the EU that we part ways

A few thoughts on today’s events. First – it wasn’t working. With each year it was becoming more and more obvious that Britain and the EU wanted different things. Many (though not all) continental countries seem happy with a political union which pools their national sovereignty. There may be virtues in that, problems in it or both.  But it was never a desire of the British people. Last night demonstrated that. So it is best not just for Britain but for the EU that we part ways. If we had not then we would have continued to be a hindrance and drag on our partners during the next stages of

Melanie McDonagh

This EU anarchy is more interesting than the alternative

Don’t know about you, but the healing process is proving difficult from my point of view in dealing with my friends and family. My daughter, who is 9, broke down and cried over breakfast when she heard the result. Which is nothing to what her class will do: to a child, they’re solidly pro-Remain, and I know who’s spreading the message too – one of the little girls’ fathers is a journalist who worked himself up into a state of incoherence at the very thought of Brexit… he’s probably lying down in a darkened room right now. A colleague of mine whom I’d always thought of as rather a good

Britain’s great divide

In Notting Hill Gate, in west London, the division was obvious. On the east side of the street was a row of privately owned Victorian terraced houses painted in pastel colours like different flavoured ice creams. These houses, worth £4 million to £6 million each, were dotted with Remain posters. On the west side was a sad-looking inter-war council block, Nottingwood House, which had dirty bricks and outside staircases and corridors. No posters there. But that is where my fellow campaigners and I headed — down to the basement entrances with their heavy steel gates. We looked up the names on the canvassing sheets and rang the bell of one flat after

Real life | 22 June 2016

The cottage in Surrey has fallen through, for the time being at least. Maybe I am going to be a country girl again at some point, but for now it’s looking like I will have to remain a while longer in Bal-ham, gazing longingly towards the south. The owners of the cottage in Ripley pulled out, after I failed to sell my flat quickly enough. To be fair, I had promised I would be under offer within days, because that is how it has always been before. I have had the place on the market twice in the past two years, and both times it was snapped up in a

Tom Goodenough

Coffee House Shots: The final countdown

There are now only hours until the polls open in the EU referendum. But the campaigning has continued today right up until the wire as both ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ do their best to win every vote in what looks set to be a close contest. David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson have been across the airwaves as they attempt to convince the public which way they should vote. It’s not only political figures from the UK who have had their say, though: Jean Claude Juncker has insisted Britain would not be getting a new reform package after tomorrow’s vote. Was it wise for him to speak out?

The Spectator’s Guide to EU Referendum day (and night)

Britain goes to the polls tomorrow for the most important vote in a generation, as the country decides whether it would like to remain part of the European Union, or leave. But what will happen on the day itself? And where are the key areas to watch out for overnight? Here, The Spectator has put together a run-through of what to look out for and when we can expect to find out the results: Thursday 23rd June 7.00am Polling stations open across the UK. Voters will be asked the question: Should Britain remain a member of the European Union, or Leave the European Union? 10.00pm Polling stations close and the

Tom Goodenough

The PM boils his entire referendum campaign into a single word. But will it convince voters?

David Cameron has boiled down his entire EU referendum campaign into a single word: together. The Prime Minister made one of his final pitches to Britain on the Today programme just now. But despite doing his best to put forward the positive case for staying in, he still came unstuck on the age-old issue of migration. He was repeatedly quizzed on his net migration target to reduce numbers to the tens of thousands. We knew before that this is, to say the least, a tricky subject for Cameron. And he didn’t offer much in the way of substance to salve voters’ worries. Instead, when immigration came up, he flipped the

Tom Goodenough

Would a narrow win for ‘Leave’ be useful in getting a better post-Brexit deal?

In less than 24 hours, the polling booths will finally open. We’ve seen today the now familiar raft of letters from both sides calling on people to vote ‘Remain’ or back Brexit. 51 FTSE have signed a letter saying they think the UK should stay in the European Union. Whilst Tate and Lyle Sugars said Brexit would be the best way ahead for its business in a message to employees. But amidst this final push for votes, the polls show that tomorrow’s referendum will likely be an even race: the ‘What UK think’s’ poll of polls has ‘Remain’ on 51 per cent and ‘Leave’ on 49 per cent. So what


Is it a case of Tim-Nice-But-Dim for Remain?

Another day, another Brexit poll. This time YouGov claim to have discovered what a name can tell you about someone’s voting tendency. If you’re called Sheila or Graham you’re most likely to vote Leave, whereas those by the name of Kathryn and Samantha are most likely to fall into the undecided category. However, the poll finding that caught Mr S’s eye relates to Remain. It claims that when it comes to men, those by the name of Tim are most likely to plump for In. So, is it a case of Tim-Nice-But-Dim for Remain? Harry Enfield’s Old Ardinian comic creation — a parody of pleasant yet intellectually challenged public schoolboys — said ‘yah to the euro’ back in 2002 (before admitting

Victoria Beckham: ‘The Euro-bureaucrats are destroying every bit of national identity’

Victoria Beckham has said today she wants Britain to remain a member of the European Union. But ‘Posh Spice’ hasn’t always been so keen on the EU. In this Spectator piece from December 1996, Victoria described how she thought the ‘Euro-bureaucrats are destroying every bit of national identity’. Here’s what she had to say in an interview with Simon Sebag Montefiore: Interview the Spice Girls, I thought. But the Spice Girls are interviewed all the time. My interview, however, would be different. I would ask only questions that I would ask Mr Major, Mr Blair, Mr Heseltine or any other politician. Only one thing worried me about this plan. What