The Remainers, having lost the war, have now entered the franc-tireur phase and have taken to the hills where they continue the clamor for the lost provinces. Their current spokesman is Owen Smith, pretender to the Labour throne. He wants a second referendum, as does that Ozymandias of Left-wing power Tony Blair. But Smith has no chance of succeeding in his hopeless quest. There is no stronger attachment in the whole of British politics than the Conservative interest in Jeremy Corbyn. They see in him their absolute guarantor of victory, the equivalent of a flaming sign in the sky in hoc signo vinces. So Corbyn is protected by unseen hordes of loyal defenders, an unacknowledged praetorian guard.
We are left with the broad Remain faction, which is, in James Delingpole’s phrase, "essentially the elite trying to shore up its power base." This is now contracting by the day. The idea that the referendum is "advisory, not mandatory"—a nonsense I have heard spoken in tones of deep conviction in the House of Lords—collapses before the objection that a Government announcing this policy would be destroyed. Today we learn that the Government will not submit the decision to invoke Clause 50—the formal beginning to leaving the EU—to Parliament. It is an executive decision, say the lawyers, who will rule on this one. There is now word that a group of Tory MPs wants the Government to go the repeal of the Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome route, and that this is now on the table. They could get the motion through the Commons, relying on the Whips who will make it clear to doubters: We know where your knee-caps are. And far away is Nigel Farage, who after his historic triumph in the Brexit vote is now in the US making common cause with Donald Trump. The larger Brexit coalition is upon us.
Ralph Berry writes from England.