Why is Stephen Fry still burbling on about Brexit?

Petulant Remainer luvvies are still refusing to accept that they lost.

Julie Burchill

Julie Burchill

Topics Brexit Politics UK

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

I wouldn’t generally compare entertainers to soldiers – that way lies righteous public ridicule. Like the time Gwyneth Paltrow compared being trolled on social media to being in the trenches: ‘It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanising thing.’ How glorious it was when an American green beret, Bryan Sikes, told the cloth-eared bint where to get off: ‘A long line at Starbucks, your driver being three minutes late, a scuff mark on your $1,200 shoes and a mean tweet do not constitute difficulty in the eyes of a soldier.’

But seeing Stephen Fry’s big old head pop up from the foxhole at the weekend, on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, I was irretrievably reminded of those mythical Japanese soldiers hiding out in Philippines jungles. Oi, Fry, you lost – go home. But no, the stupid person’s idea of a clever person insisted on using his slot to bash Brexit.

‘We must mention Brexit’, he said. ‘The Labour Party is afraid to mention it. It was a catastrophe, and everybody knows it deep in their bones.’ When Kuenssberg added, ‘Not everyone would agree with you’, Fry answered: ‘Yes they do, they know it – of course they do. Certainly the rest of the world does… It’s a clown-car crash and you can’t help being amused by it. But unfortunately, during that time, so much was taken out of what should be the run of politics.’

What does that last bit even mean? It sounds vague but the only possible interpretation is: ‘Middle-class people normally run the country, which is as it should be, but on that occasion the mob took over.’ Surely ‘what should be the run of politics’ is actually democracy, and politicians answering to the will of the people – as opposed to saying that they’ll stand by the result of a referendum beforehand, and then trying to wriggle out of it?

I’ve always liked that saying, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them’. No matter how often Fry trundles out that ‘national treasure’ shtick, all bumbling and burbling, he so often reveals himself to be a profoundly arrogant clown. After all, how fragile does someone’s sense of self have to be that they can’t get over losing a debate fair and square?

I remember going to bed blithely on the night of the referendum in 2016, convinced that we Brexiteers wouldn’t win, but nonetheless thrilled that such an excellent exercise in democracy had taken place. I thought that my Remainer friends might exhibit the same generosity. How wrong I was. Instead, Brexit voters were ostracised from book groups, friendship groups, families… just because they’d had the nerve to be on the winning side.

Looking at the embittered faces of those clowns at the Last Night of the Proms last week, waving their EU flags, or hearing the half-witted trumpeting of ‘Stop Brexit’ man Steve Bray, I recall the companions I shed when Brexit rendered them from reasonable people into shrill zombies in a state of permanent Veruca Salt-ish petulance. They would blame all their disappointments in life on one simple act of democracy. Every mediocre chump in the UK would ululate that their ‘dreams have been dashed’ when they just had to shell out an extra tenner at Duty Free.

The Remoaners are still with us – and it’s not just entertainers accusing us awful common civilians of making everything all horrid, but also actual civil servants. Again to Laura Kuenssberg, in her BBC documentary about Brexit this week, State Of Chaos, senior mandarin Lord McDonald of Salford reveals not only that he made his Remain vote known to his colleagues – a breach of civil-service impartiality, surely – but also that after the referendum result came in, the Foreign Office was full of grown men behaving like little girls learning that One Direction had just broken up. ‘The main feeling in the Foreign Office building was of mourning. People were in tears. People were in shock’, he said.

For the swivel-eyed Remainer loons, it will forever be that morning in the summer of 2016, when it dawned on them that the votes of those who dared to reject rule from Brussels counted just as much as theirs, even if they hadn’t scraped a 2.2 from a decent uni. For shame! It must be difficult to be someone who swans through life getting what they want until one day, they don’t. It probably brings on a kind of cognitive dissonance that feels very much like the end of the world – just as Gwyneth Paltrow experienced being trolled as akin to trench warfare during the Battle of the Somme.

Well, it’s called democracy, and we’re very fortunate indeed to have it. Here’s the thing about democracy – it’s ‘divisive’, as Remainers are always saying of Brexit. Women’s rights were / are divisive. We had to upset a lot of people to get what we did back in the days of the Suffragettes. And it’s the same story now, as we try to defend what we have from the monstrous regiment of the ‘stunning and brave’ trans brigade. Black civil rights in the US were divisive, as many whites were unwilling to give up their privilege. Workers’ rights were divisive, with the trades unions fighting a long battle in the 1920s to establish the concept of the weekend as a pause from labour. General Elections are the most divisive thing of all, by their very nature. But Churchill’s line is still true: democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.

So, a suggestion, out of respect for ourselves as sentient adults and out of respect for the millions of people who have fought and died – and still are dying – to have this vulgar, fragile, precious thing we call democracy for themselves: when a democratic decision we don’t like occurs, let’s not give our best imitation of Violet Elizabeth Bott, sulking on national TV, putting our fingers in our ears and shouting, ‘LA LA LA, EVERYONE AGREES WITH ME, EXCEPT PEOPLE WHO SMELL!’, as Stephen Fry basically did.

In Fry’s outburst, damning Brexit as a ‘catastrophe’, we can see our old mate magical thinking again. As Fraser Myers recently wrote on spiked: ‘Since we formally left the EU in 2020, elite Remainers have developed a kind of Brexit Tourette’s syndrome. Seemingly every economic challenge, from pandemic-induced supply-chain snarl-ups to post-Ukraine energy-price hikes, is now blamed squarely on Brexit.’

If Brexit Britain must be the villain, the Remainers must have heroes in order to back up their primary-school version of good and evil. It was fun to see the Guardian and other hysterical Remainer rags run stories about Brits who were planning to emigrate to Germany after the referendum, as it is supposedly far more civilised than their homeland. How’s the rise of the AfD working out for them? Are they going to stay in Deutschland if the party gets elected to government? Or would they like this increasingly popular party banned, too, until only the things they approve of are left?

The Remainer luvvies’ idea of democracy has been revealed as utter bunkum, and for that we have our blessed Brexit to thank. More people voted to leave the EU than voted for anything else in our country’s entire history – that Remainers were on the losing side is no one’s fault but their own. Queen Anne’s dead and Brexit lives – get over it, you clowns.

Julie Burchill is a spiked columnist. Her book, Welcome To The Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics, is published by Academica Press.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Brexit Politics UK


Want to join the conversation?

Only spiked supporters and patrons, who donate regularly to us, can comment on our articles.

Join today