The Liberal Democrats are currently polling at 7%. They have been languishing around this level for some time and, despite rebranding themselves as some sort of Remain resistance, have yet to enjoy any significant increase in support.
Organisations that find themselves being ignored and gradually seeping into the political black hole of irrelevance and obscurity tend to do silly, desperate things. It’s fight or flight. Cue Sir Vince Cable, leader of the fledgling Liberal Democrats, who recently claimed in a speech that too many Leaver voters were driven by “nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white and the map was coloured imperial pink.” Excited by these brave pronouncements, Sir Vince continued to argue that older people “crushed the hopes and aspirations of young people for years to come.”
These sad outbursts have been met with a fierce reaction. A host of MPs rushed to condemn Sir Vince’s claims, with Andrew Rosindell alleging that he had “insulted the very people who gave us the nation we have today.” Amandeep Singh Bhogal, a Sikh Tory, rejected the view that he had voted leave for reasons of ‘white nostalgia’. Sarah Vine gave this honest view: “Vince cable is an arse.”
I would like to give my own perspective. As a Brexiteer, I have become used to charges of bigotry being made against me and other Leave supporters. After all, we’re supposed to be the bad guys. You’ve heard it all before, the usual stereotypes: Brexiteers are stupid, racist, intolerant. We want to hoist up the drawbridge, brick up the channel tunnel, shell Brussels and tape over Mozart. It’s all becoming rather tiresome. In this sense, Cable’s views are nothing new – they’re what we’ve come to expect from the ever-dwindling and increasingly despairing ultra-Remain camp.
As a young person who voted leave with a positive vision of Britain’s future – for global trade and cooperation, reclaimed sovereignty, and renewed control – I have grown numb to the constant accusations that, actually, I am a racist who wants to crush the hopes and dreams of young people. I concede that not all Brexiteers share my vision for Britain, but even the most anti-immigration and restrictionist Leavers do not come close to the bigotry of the ultra-Remain camp.
The relentless charges of xenophobia and bogus claims of ‘spikes’ in post-Brexit hate crime were thinly-veiled attempts to discredit the entire Leave movement. But now, with Brexit looming ever closer, Article 50 triggered, and negotiations underway, Remainers of Cable’s ilk have let their bigotry slip. In their last-ditch attempts to convince the population that 17.4 million Brexiteers were inspired by a tide of xenophobia, they have adopted much of the bigotry that they claim to oppose.
The clearest example of Cable’s bigotry is his indefensible ageism. Arguing that older generations of Britons – who have known this country, its customs, and its problems more so than any – voted to ‘crush’ the “hopes and aspirations of young people” is pitiful, sad nonsense. It just goes to show that, at a time when most Britons have accepted Brexit and are keen to make it a success, Vince Cable and his shrinking band of Liberal Democrats are promoting prejudice over pragmatism.