With the Chancellor’s seeming betrayal of Brexit, the only option left to Leave and its supporters is to boycott the final act of this tawdry drama and deny the plotters legitimacy, says David Hardy.

After the extraordinary events of recent days in which Theresa May lost her withdrawal agreement vote, but won a vote of no confidence, who can but doubt that Brexit is alive in name only? As far as the corporate-global backers of Remain are concerned events have merely helped to consolidate an implacable reality: a so-called ‘People’s Vote.’

The final act in this drama looks certain to be the extension of Article 50, which will enable the chattering classes to achieve their real aim: legitimisation via a second referendum, which, incidentally, they are absolutely certain will go their way. Have you ever known such confidence? Have you ever known a team – sporting or non-sporting – to be so utterly convinced of the result before so much as even a ball has been kicked?

Déjà vu, just as they did in 2016 the polls confidently predict a Remain victory in the event of a second referendum. Only this time, the polls WILL be proved 100 per cent correct. Remainers make this assertion with a glint in their eyes that should worry the life out of anybody of even a mildly democratic disposition. They just know they’re going to win. Disquieting and unsettling, these are the bold predictions of a side who already know the result, one determined to prevail at any cost – foul or fair. After all, you don’t spend two and a half years attempting to overthrow democracy, spending millions of pounds in the process, only to stumble at the final fence.

“It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” Whether Stalin did or did not utter these immortal words, there can be no denying the chilling reality behind the sentiment. A second referendum will be the final act of a script written over two years ago, an opportunity for its architects – Blair, Major, Soubry, Juncker and a legion of faceless bureaucrats – to gloss over their actions and behaviour with a veneer of respectability, no matter how thin.

With the EU project looking rockier by the day, history may not speak too kindly of parliament’s Remain lobbyists. Anti-democrats, democracy deniers, traitors, Quislings . . . the Brexit saboteurs will carry these epithets with them for the rest of their parliamentary careers and beyond. Mud will rightly stick. The urge for this group to assuage their consciences must therefore be overwhelming. Hence the so-called ‘People’s Vote.’

When the EU project finally collapses under the sheer weight of its own corruption and incompetency as it surely must, Soubry, Grieve, Wollaston, Morgan et al may well find themselves cast for all eternity in the roles of Brutus and Cassius, a cabal of scheming, duplicitous politicians who stabbed the British electorate in the back. Thus, the Brexit assassins now desperately seek to legitimise their act of treachery.

For make no mistake, the scale of what these malcontents have done and plan to do is beyond anything witnessed in the history of this island nation. To fully comprehend what is about to happen to democracy, it may help to conceptualise Brexit in terms of football. Bear with me.

Imagine a scenario in which Remain FC and Leave FC meet in a cup final, and where the underdogs of Leave against all expectations pull off a surprise 1-0 victory. Imagine also that as well as enjoying massive financial backing, Remain FC also enjoy similarly extensive support from the football media and, just as importantly from its governing bodies – FIFA and the FA. That’s a whole lot of power.

Imagine too that upon the final whistle, Remain FC refuse to accept defeat. Unused to losing, imagine for one moment this team of cash-rich superstars and prima donnas immediately claimed the winning goal was illegitimate – an infringement of the rules of association football, or more specifically their own highly partisan interpretation of those rules. What of fair play, honesty and integrity? What of them? If members of the FA and FIFA happened to be fervent supporters of Remain FC, anything could be possible, including rule-bending of the most cynical type imaginable.

Just imagine a scenario such as this whereby a losing football team could, provided it had sufficient financial and political muscle, overturn a match result. Imagine if the sports’ governing body declared that in certain circumstances losing teams could indeed challenge a result – retrospective refereeing let’s call it, an option however open only to the chosen few, those teams with requisite wealth and power.

Imagine if the aristocrats of the game – the Chelseas and Real Madrids – really could trawl the football rulebook until they found a clause that could be exploited to their advantage when required. Imagine a day wherein rhetoric and dishonesty really could overwhelm fair play and decency. How long could the beautiful game last?

Speculate what might happen to the sport of football if Remain FC actually managed to get its way: annul the first match and thanks to its deeply entrenched connections within the higher echelons of the sports’ administration, secure a replay. But it doesn’t end there.

What if the replay would take place not at a neutral venue, but rather at the ground of Remain FC conferring all the benefits brought by home advantage? And what if the officials – referee and linesmen – were to be specially selected by the home team based upon their professed loyalty to the home side? Throw in a severely depleted Leave team, one expecting to lose – and the result of this replay is never in doubt. And then there’s always ‘retrospective refereeing’ in the event of another upset . . .

So how do you fight an opposition like Remain FC, one that simply shifts the goalposts as and when required? Since it installed May and Hammond as its chief assassins the day after Brexit, this well-drilled team has run rings about its opponents, the always trusting and rather naïve Leave FC, a somewhat ramshackle team of amateurs and part-timers in comparison.

And herein lays the crux of matter: while Leave has always played by the rules of the game – the rules of association football – Remain FC simply makes up the rules as it goes along. It does this because the governing bodies choose to turn a blind eye. Furthermore, it gets away with this behaviour because the football media is also complicit.

If this purely hypothetical situation did occur, who could ever trust football again? Its reputation would surely be tarnished beyond repair – over 100 years of fair play flushed down the gutter. As a sport and spectacle subscribed to by hundreds of millions of people around the world, association football – its spirit – would be dead. Kaput.

Yet this is precisely the crisis facing politics in Britain, and beyond: the rich and powerful are using all their resources to simply reverse the result of a match they lost, a match in which both teams knew and agreed to abide by the rules of the game. The losing team really is about to win; the runners-up already have one hand firmly on the trophy.

Be under no illusions, Brexit itself is all but dead. It has been for over two years. It died the moment the Tory conspirators installed in Theresa May, a false prophet. Extension of Article 50 merely lays the ground for the farce of a ‘people’s vote,’ the final act of a truly British tragedy.

Let Remain have its ‘victory.’ Brexiteers, must not, under any circumstances allow the losing team to seal their deception with anything approaching justification. Their ‘victory’ must be judged by history for what it is: false, hollow, pyrrhic, the triumph of dishonesty over fair play, of treachery over honesty, cynicism over innocence, a ‘victory’ ultimately for wealth and power. Grieve, Soubry, Blair et al must own their ‘victory.’ It’s all theirs.

With Chancellor Phillip Hammond allegedly having promised business leaders that parliament is going to ‘stop Brexit,’ can any Leaver be in any doubt that the result of the replay has already been decided? Shun, reject, rebuff: the final – only – option left to Leave and its supporters is to boycott the final act of this tawdry drama and in doing so deny the plotters that which they now desperately crave: legitimacy.

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