By Julian Lewis
The House Magazine – December 2016
In 2016, Silent Majorities in separate countries on separate continents simultaneously found their voice. Political projects, deemed inexorable, came to a shuddering halt – and so did the careers of many politicians who thought they knew better than the rest of us.
For forty years, we were sucked into the federalisation of Europe while Ministers posed as sceptics in word though not in deed. Yet, when the chips were down, they were forced to come out in their true Remain colours.
Having secured a place in history for leading the Liberal Democrats to defeat without intending to do so, David Cameron then became the man who led us out of the EU without intending to do so either. The ‘swivel-eyed loons’, so despised within his circle, had understood the British people better than an army of imported pollsters.
As a wave of Middle Eastern and African migrants – some from war-torn countries, others from grindingly poor ones – surged across the Mediterranean, the reaction of leading EU governments similarly contradicted the wishes of their own people. Will this result in far-Right victories in 2017? If so, then the seeds of EU disintegration were sown in 2016.
In Washington DC, the election of Donald Trump dealt a serious blow to the notion of ‘political Royalty’, in which dynasties of Democrats and Republicans follow the Presidency of one family member by the automatic selection of another. Yet, within days of Trump’s victory, Mrs Obama was being touted for the Democratic nomination, so the practice is not dead yet.
Will President Trump turn away from NATO, as his detractors fear, or will he actually strengthen the Alliance by making its members pay more for Defence? As an admirer of Ronald Reagan, he needs to recall – or be reminded – how the Cold War was won.
Will 2016 prove to be a watershed or merely a hiccup before normal service is resumed? Remember the EU Constitution: rejected in referenda in two continental countries, its provisions re-emerged in the Lisbon Treaty, with no popular votes permitted.
Will legal cases in British or EU courts similarly steal the Referendum result? Or will the concept of ‘Soft Brexit’ – virtually unheard-of until the Remainers had lost – result in our continued subjection to EU control in everything but name?
Brexit was the making of Theresa May in 2016. Its delivery in fact, rather than only in name, will determine the success of her premiership.