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Artillery Row

The fall of the House of Rejoin

A popular cause has withered into an elitist dinner club

In the latest stand of the European not British brigade, European Movement U.K. held its “Europe Day” rally in the private members’ National Liberal Club. The EMUKs, celebrating their 75th anniversary, and still pining for the clammy grasp of the EU, might struggle to avoid charges of elitism here. Any hint of a mass movement has fizzled out in exchange for some Continental cousins orchestrating our Glorious Return behind closed doors to an audience of not-so-quiet recusants.

Prezza Hezza’s all-party pressure group bash started off with walking up a set of spiralling stairs adorned with liberal guardians from Gladstone to Lloyd George. Into a room of complimentary prosecco, complemented by supposed “European-themed” canapes of fish. A chide at fishery policy went noticed. Men in three-piece suits, centrist dads wearing coloured pants with similarly flamboyant upper-wear, and a brooding Tobias Elwood in the corner lamenting the state of his less-than-conservative allies. The European Union’s flag waved outside.

The organiser opened the event, declaring that the movement is dedicated to “amplifying young people and their voices”, despite the average age of the audience being a respectable innings for an opening batsman. “Open channels of communication”, they say, to those Club barons who paid £48 to liberalise their wallets. This inspiring Chargé d’affaires then cast an allusion to the moneyed by claiming that a “small group of thoughtful [read: rich] citizens can change the world”, comparing their struggle to, of all people, Rosa Parks. A dinner suited liberation teleology lurked behind such words: sitting at the back of a limo is not for them. However, I think they are more likely to boycott limos than buses. The eerie fervour that had characterised the last decade of Remainer adulation of “people power” has been left as an anachronism. We, the victimised powerful, must retake control over the peasantry.

The Europhiles have faced the stripping of their meritocratic manpower. When the Chairman, Mike Galsworthy, praised Sir Vince Cable for knowing the “importance of the E.U. in terms of common defence” one knew the intellectual brainpower had been completely drained. My Iberian comrade and I visited Europe Day as an escape from finals revision. However, I came back with my mind marbles knocked loose by a depressed set of gerontocrats crying on each other’s shoulders, trying to set their failed vision back on course.

Leper-like to his former party, Dominic Grieve was given only a minute and a half to speak: his statement eloquently displaying why. “This movement is in a much better position”, seemingly because “everyone that looks knows Brexit hasn’t worked”. These points seem to correlate only if the public accepts that the EMUKs are less insufferable than they were 8 years ago during the Referendum. Confirmation Bias? Sure. A repeat of a public-averse catchphrase? Yeah. Either way, if the drink did not cover the hefty entry price the withering of aristocratic remainerism was a priceless show to watch.

The European idols of these incongruent Anglo speakers at least exhibited a genuine self-interest. Guy Verhofstadt, newly elected President of the European Movement International and former European Parliament Brexit Coordinator, spoke of the world “no longer of 198 nations but of Empires”. Whether his London acolytes have grasped the implications of his federalised goal for Europe is linked to his commentary is unknown. “There will be a day of rejoin; the only question is when.” To compare the International to the Jesuits of the 16th century rings true. Educated and given commands from the Continent, shipped off to exclusive gatherings, then finally sent forth to destabilise the settlement long established by time. 

The Scouse not English crowd have met their match here

Ellwood, recognising the harm Brussels-packaged talking points have on the debate, pointed out, “British politics isn’t at its best”. With little introspection, though, he  argued, “there is more that unites the parties than divides them”. What a telling sentiment. This is the exact point many people in the country are lamenting.

In the liberator mindset of these Europhiles, we are meant to be freed from our history of respectability and mellow dulcet tones and turned into another patisserie polity. There is, though, a more profound and more troubling question than how to combat European morbidity, and that is whether the perception they strive to promote sticks.

The goal of reducing our cultural DNA to a mush of pale slop would fail our predecessors, yes, but also mislead our descendants. The experience of their grandparents and parents, they would learn, was but uniform to the parvenue cousins across the Channel.

Sooner or later, there’ll come another revolt of the Remainocrats, from the institutionalised non-jurors. A mass eye-roll when their time comes, then a parallel realisation from the parties of how toxic the brand has become. Neil Kinnock, former Labour Party leader, ended the 3-hour-long Europe “Day”, citing that the only thing he got right in life was marrying his wife, which may well be factually true tonight. If the elderly and manor housed are the future of the European Movement, then the re-energising of the pro-Brexit base should be child’s play.

The eager youths who grew up in 2016 with heart-thronging European love are exposed to what their movement has become at its weakest. Their ringleaders have fallen back into elitism, uncloaking their desire for distant governance of British affairs. Kinnockian tears at the end of it all spoke to the retreat of the movement: celebrating their day with exclusive prosecco, under Gladstone’s sighing eyes.

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