At last the country is run by Leavers

Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is more in tune with public opinion than May or Corbyn could ever be.

Brendan O'Neill
Topics Brexit Politics UK

Remoaners in the media are alarmed at Boris Johnson’s ‘brutal reshuffle’. He is ‘rewarding Hard Leavers’, they claim. His clearout of no fewer than 17 of Theresa May’s 30-strong Cabinet, and his replacement of them with largely pro-Leave and even pro-No Deal ministers, is disturbing and shocking, moans the pro-EU set. Not for the first time they need to get a grip. What is really shocking is that for the past three years Britain was run by Remainers. We often overlook how perverse it was that a nation which voted Leave was so dominated by a Remainer elite. Johnson’s new Cabinet redresses this undemocratic disparity between political-class sentiment and public sentiment and gives rise to a UK that is now run by Leavers. About bloody time.

It is testament to the anti-Brexit elites’ sense of entitlement, to their belief that they were born to rule, that they are so disgusted that pro-Leave people now have the top jobs. There’s the PM himself, of course, who was famously flighty on leaving the EU to begin with, but who then stabbed his flag in the Leave camp and played a key role in Vote Leave. There’s his home secretary, Priti Patel, an implacable Leaver. And his foreign secretary Dominic Raab, a long-time intellectual critic of the EU and literally the only person May ever sent to Brussels who couldn’t be bossed around by Brussels – hence he had to resign as May’s Brexit secretary because he got in the way of her strategy of caving in to every single one of the EU’s demands. And there’s Jacob Rees-Mogg, head of the European Research Group and now leader of the House of Commons, which is hilarious given how many people in the Commons – including on the Tory side – hate how pro-Brexit he is.

Across the Cabinet, there are ministers who have committed to leaving with No Deal if necessary by 31 October. It remains to be seen whether the BJ government can pull this off, and there will be serious repercussions for it, electorally and reputationally, if it fails to. But that we now have a government led by Leavers is perfectly normal. Good, in fact. It means this Cabinet is far more in tune with public sentiment than the Remainer double act of Theresa May / Phillip Hammond ever was, and than Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit-thwarting, second referendum-backing Labour could ever be. Never forget the most staggering political statistic of modern times – where 52 per cent of the public voted Leave, just five per cent of Labour MPs did. Boris might be Eton, Rees-Mogg might sound like a man from another era, but it is testament to Labour’s stunning drift from its traditional voter base and from the public in general that their Cabinet is more reflective of public opinion than Labour is.

On top of these ministers we have Boris’s new senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, the strategic whizz behind Vote Leave, and his director of policy, Munira Mirza, friend of spiked and a committed Leaver. Downing Street is now a Leave bastion. This is progress. The proof is in the pudding, of course, so Downing Street must make good on its Leave credentials or else the masses’ eyes will roll yet again, as they have many times over the past three years. In some ways the most admirable thing about the appointment of Cummings is that it suggests Johnson doesn’t care that much what the media class thinks. He must have known that having Cummings at No10 would cause a meltdown among those chattering-class muppets who think Cummings is a mad, criminal mastermind who hoodwinked the electorate in 2016 – and yet he still did it. Let’s hope this is a positive sign of a healthy disregard for media-class moaning and Twittermob hysteria.

Here is what is most striking about so many Vote Leave people now playing a key role in government: for three years the anti-Brexit, anti-democratic wings of the establishment have tried to demonise Vote Leave as a criminal enterprise. They have insulted it, demonised it. They have accused it of destroying modern Britain. And yet here it still is, more influential than ever. And that is not down to any peculiar talents on the part of Vote Leave, by the way. It’s down to the fact that Leave campaigns are still necessary. Unbelievably. More than three years after the people voted to leave, the fight actually to leave continues. It must be hoped that Johnson and his team understand what a colossal blow to people’s aspirations and to the democratic spirit itself it will be if they now do not deliver on Leave. It will be a far greater failure than May’s. We always knew she was a Remainer. But they’re Leavers. And if Leavers don’t deliver Leave, then politics will suffer even more than it did under the Maybot regime. No pressure, guys.

You don’t have to have unfettered faith in this Cabinet to see that it feels refreshing. It was always a depressing sign of the times that British politics – not to mention the British media elite, the cultural elite, the university system, the judiciary and all other powerful institutions – were dominated by Remainers. This was a Leave country ruled by Remainer politicians, proof of the chasm that now separates elite opinion from public opinion. The new Cabinet goes some way to rectifying that. Now let’s leave. Properly, fully, with no turning back. Out, out, out.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Alan Burdon

31st July 2019 at 12:03 pm

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, is the phrase Brendan. The proof is not in the pudding.

John Millson

31st July 2019 at 8:20 am

So once we’ve left the Evil Empire what next? Who’s the next whipping boy?
What poisonous times we live in.

Michael Smith

27th July 2019 at 4:54 pm

Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU. And now there’s a persistent polling majority for Remain.

Jerry Owen

28th July 2019 at 8:53 am

There was a persisting poll for remain before the referendum.
Not sure what your point is. We had the referendum and you lost. Get over it.

John Millson

31st July 2019 at 9:11 am

The mixture of smugness, stupidity & aggression doesn’t help the Brexit cause.
Thanks for destroying our country Brexiteers.
From a British European.

Marvin Jones

27th July 2019 at 4:29 pm

I have never been a fan of Boris, as he decides policy in the direction that the zephyr blows his hair.
BUT! I would like to wait till November. Just one enigma that needs explaining. Why has he kept the two biggest spineless remainers, Sedwell and Rudd? WHY?

David Robinson

26th July 2019 at 11:34 pm

I just discovered Brendan and Spiked tonight. GREAT 🙂 Thanks for your work…. and I’m thinking about donating,,,,,,,, maybe soon. All the best.

Michael Ray

26th July 2019 at 6:08 pm

Shame that the Cabinet weren’t committed Leavers 3 years ago. The destruction of the Tory majority by Theresa May with her reckless election and Dementia Tax manifesto has made Boris’s job more difficult. If he genuinely tries and is hobbled by a remainer parliament he will have Leaver sympathy. I wish him well.

jim payne

26th July 2019 at 7:45 pm

I am just a “thick, badly educated left school at 15, ran my own garage for 50 years, pensioner. Proud to have signed naturalisation papers for 2 of my Shri Lankan neighbours. Voted leave, for all the reasons noted, but mainly self government. EU stops us helping the 4000 steel workers in Scunthorpe, rather we pay them to work in distribution centres or stay on benefits. Want every one to earn what they are worth. Help those that can’t help themselves piss on scroungers. My remain friends are only worried about their safe public sector pensions and big pay offs they receive. Boris, Rees Mogg and many others may be “Toffs” but look at the credentials of most of our other “Informed” Leavers. Most are better of than most of the Brexiteers.
Realise B O’N is a bit lefty, but I am a proud Vlad the Impailer Socialist. Why am I and the rest of us Brexiteers slagged off and regarded as uninformed, badly educated, racist’s or even nazi’s (Do they not know how the nazi’s behaved? Just get us out. Had Remain got 52% would they expect us to protest, scream abuse? No they would say ” IT WAS A DEMOCRATIC DECISION” it has to be observed in the name of Democracy.

David Hilton

26th July 2019 at 10:18 pm

The 2017 General Election that Theresa May called in contravention of the Conservatives own “cast in stone” fixed five year Parliament decree, exposed her to me as a remainer; certainly she thought she would increase her majority, but it was NOT for the purpose of ensuring Brexit was delivered. The reason she called that Election was to reset the clock, if she had not called a General Election in 2017, the next General Election would have to be held next year, 2020; but by calling one in 2017 she reset the schedule for the next Election to 2022. An extra two years to delay, defer, destroy and bury Brexit; THAT was the real reason for the 2017 General Election.

Bill Smith

26th July 2019 at 4:44 pm

“It’s down to the fact that Leave campaigns are still necessary. Unbelievably. More than three years after the people voted to leave, the fight actually to leave continues.”

Ha! That’s a nice one. If there was any sort of campaign to explain to the 48% why Brexit is (in your view) a good idea, that would be one thing. If in one of his hundreds of articles since 2016 Brendan O’Neill had explained the benefits of Brexit, fine.

But the only campaign to win the hearts or minds in the last three years has been nothing but vitriol and abuse: “Remoaners! Remainiacs! You lost, get over it! Elitists! Snobs! Anti-democrats! Ner ner ner!”

Amazingly this campaign has won over 0% of the Remain vote to embracing Leave.

Jerry Owen

26th July 2019 at 5:53 pm

B Smith
So why haven’t you got over your loss ?
Your tears are a joy to behold BTW !

harry briggs

26th July 2019 at 7:33 pm

Extremely mild language considering how the people who voted to to leave the EU are generally described and denigrated, it’s not so long ago that there would have been a civil war over these issues, with remoaners and brexiteers hoping to slaughter each other on the battlefield, of course the remoaners would have invited their EU allies to war on our land and against the democratic brexiteers, being the foul beings that they are.

Phil Ford

26th July 2019 at 3:52 pm

Boris Derangement Syndrome™ will, of course, guide the narrative of our hopeless msm, but I’m cautiously optimistic that now we appear to have a Leave Cabinet we may yet get what so many of us voted for (and won) three years ago. We’ll see.

Bill Smith

26th July 2019 at 4:49 pm

What it means is when Brexit turns out to be the inevitable disaster it was always going to be, you lot can’t shift the blame. With ‘Remoaner’ May’s deal rejected, we either go out with a deal negotiated by Johnson, or no deal at Johnson and his pygmy cabinet’s behest, so nothing to blame but the decisions of Leavers.

Of course, Leavers will try to say Brexit was a failure not because it was a bad idea, but because the Remainers didn’t get behind it. But that would be the equivalent of saying a future Corbyn Government failed because Tories didn’t get behind it – they’re not meant to, you’re not entitled to their support.

Jerry Owen

26th July 2019 at 5:55 pm

B Smith
You have a huge crystal ball it seems.. lots of forecasting based on… er , based on nothing.
Your tears are a joy to behold !

Dennis Ambler

28th July 2019 at 9:46 am

64% of his cabinet voted to Remain. The myth of a “Brexit” cabinet is a little hyped.

James Chilton

26th July 2019 at 3:13 pm

“Boris” is fun, an energetic toff, and a Brexiteer – at least for the time being. He is also an unprincipled charlatan and deeply untrustworthy. He voted for May’s despised Withdrawal Agreement when it was put to the Commons for the third time.
Johnson’s calculations depend on how he sees his own interests to advantage.

Be prepared to see a bright new cover on the old text. It will be marketed as a revised edition.

Simon Morgan

26th July 2019 at 2:46 pm

Amelia Cantor: It’s going to be v. funny watching you and the other Brexitards pretending to see light at the end of an ever-deepening and descending tunnel.”

-Not half as funny as watching leftards spitting the dummy whenever something doesn’t go their way – the success of Brexit being a case in hand.

But that clown screaming to the heavens over Trumps’ election was another fave of mine.

Anyway, my advice would be to get used to the disappointments – there’s a lot more on the way for twits like you.

Simon Morgan

26th July 2019 at 2:27 pm

IT’s great to have such a breath of fresh air for Brexit, but it would have been so much better to see Boris tackling some of the other issues as well – like nutty professors and their greenhouse gases, and lunatic levels of immigration.

We need to get out of Paris (and rip up Mays’ insane 100% carbon free horse manure). And we need sustainable immigration.

Come on Boris – England needs you.

Phil Ford

26th July 2019 at 4:34 pm

Unfortunately, Boris bought a 1st-class ticket aboard the Climate Change Express. He’s all-in on the nonsense and wasted little time virtue-signalling about that fact. A great shame. Manage your expectations accordingly.

Amelia Cantor

26th July 2019 at 10:06 am

Well, we Remainers have laid in our supplies of popcorn and will now sit back and watch “democracy” in action. Johnson couldn’t organize a vertical micturation in a brewery, children. And you’re pleased to see him in charge of the country!

“On top of these ministers we have Boris’s new senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, the strategic whizz behind Vote Leave, and his director of policy, Munira Mirza, friend of spiked and a committed Leaver.”

The comedy gets even better. The Revolutionary Communist Party has an agent of influence in the engine-room of the Titanic! Full steam ahead, comrades!

Jerry Owen

26th July 2019 at 2:18 pm

A Cantor I’m thoroughly enjoying your tears !
Boo Hoo.

Neil McCaughan

28th July 2019 at 8:36 pm

You don’t sound bitter and angry at all, poppet.

James E Shaw

26th July 2019 at 1:16 am

So Brendan, Brexit, this mighty revolt against the elite, now that it is being spearheaded by an Old Etonian (by common consent, the worst foreign secretary in recent memory at least) championed by public schoolboys like JRM, how is it going?

Andrew Simpson

26th July 2019 at 3:22 am

By common consent you mean just you and a few others who are still upset that you lost a vote in 2016, and it now looks more likely that the outcome of that vote will be carried through.

Give us more of your tears.

Jerry Owen

26th July 2019 at 9:20 am

James E Shaw
‘How’s it going’… it’s looking promising James !
Luckily we seem to have rebels in Parliament that are supporting the democratic result of a referendum. Hve you seen the press Boris is getting from the anti Brexit elites ?
I’m not quite sure what your point is.

Amelia Cantor

26th July 2019 at 10:13 am

Your reading comprehension needs work. His point is that the Old Etonian Boris Johnson makes a very unconvincing Champion of the Proletariat. Johnson serves a constituent of one: himself.

It’s going to be v. funny watching you and the other Brexitards pretending to see light at the end of an ever-deepening and descending tunnel. Start preparing your excuses and get ready to blame the “enemies of the people” for sabotaging your glorious project!

Paul Weston

26th July 2019 at 11:33 am

Your comment reeks of bigotry and predujice. The democratic mandate (which you don’t agree with, ergo you are a totalitarian) will hopefully now be carried out. I don’t care if the person upholding the will of the people is upper-class, middle-class or working class. Mind you, I’m not a predujiced bigot seeking to overturn democracy. I am aware of the horrors of the 20th century which resulted from the antics of people just like you.

Simon Morgan

26th July 2019 at 2:35 pm

Brendan says ‘very well’ thank you.

Stef Steer

25th July 2019 at 6:59 pm

I think Boris is actually trying to leave on Oct 31st, his cabinet and wider team shows that. Now the problem is that the tory party is full of remoaners many of them like clarke and grieve who will be happy to vote against in a vote of no confidence. So we probably are heading for an election in Oct/Nov and we might leave by default but that election will obviously decide if we leave for good.

I Don’t think Boris will be able to deselect enough remoaners in his party. So It will be up to the Brexit party to point that out and up to the brexit party to spell out that not only is this a golden opportunity for new trade deals etc but it is a golden opportunity to reform our politics (as spiked wants for example) so that once brexit is done we do not want the same old corrupt and entitled parliament that is so on display from the Remoaner parties.

Jerry Owen

26th July 2019 at 9:27 am

You make a good point I had pondered myself.. yes Brexit is the most important issue at present, and we must use it as a springboard to democratize our political and cultural systems.
To my mind TBP is a one issue party which is ideal now but when (if ) we get Brexit it will be seen to be immaterial. It really should have had another name that could be relevant after Brexit. It needs to morph into a ‘proper’ party with national policies, it’s downfall though may well be the cross party support it has, they will revert to type after Brexit. TBP has huge support and needs to tap into this for the long term.

Olly Connelly

25th July 2019 at 6:35 pm

The questions I have are this: Can you confirm, Boris Johnson, that Brexit means leaving the SM, leaving the CU, leaving the jurisdiction of the ECJ? Can you confirm that the EU will have no veto in any way whatsoever over the process? How long would any deal agreed by you see the above effected? And what assurances can you give that the above – true Brexit – will be enacted by your government and that it cannot be undone by a EUrophile replacement should you lose power in the next few years to, say, a Blairite-led coalition, or via a Tory coup? Can you assure that no Withdrawal Agreement will be brokered without an accompanying trade deal set in place? And can you give assurance that, unless the WA and a trade deal can both be agreed, in parallel, that any claim to a divorce payment will be met with the riposte, “Go whistle!”?

I had hoped we’d have had those questions, and the answers, today in the House. All we actually got was what amounts to the kind of assurance we got from the last Tory PM in what was proven to be an outright lie, that “Brexit means Brexit”, along with Boris saying that the backstop – not the Withdrawal Agreement, just the backstop – is unacceptable in its current form.

… That is not good enough to convince me that the Conservatives can suddenly be trusted with my sovereignty. Far from it.

Winston Stanley

25th July 2019 at 9:32 pm

Well said, Olly.

Steve Roberts

25th July 2019 at 6:35 pm

A reasoned, objective and positive article especially considering the shenanigans from the political class for three years, some of whom are in this cabinet. But let’s be very clear too and heed the words in the article ” Now let’s leave. Properly, fully, with no turning back. Out, out, out ” Johnson et al be warned and be very afraid, understand what leave means, it means not been in, not in the SM, CU, or under the control of the ECJ. It means out , not in , not in any shape or form, no compromise, this is not a political Hokey Kokey, one foot in one foot out shake it all about, it means out. And there is a message there for all leavers too whatever your political allegiances, no compromise, if there is compromise our democratic demand is lost, buried in the hyperbole of buoyant conservatives. No thank you, no going back now.

Linda Payne

25th July 2019 at 6:02 pm

He has pledged to act on social care; I will look out for this because it is a scandal that people have to sell their homes yet I am intrigued on how he means to fund this; end of life care is the most expensive for a person using the NHS and I really hope it is not a case of taking from other areas meaning some one else will suffer

Christopher Tyson

25th July 2019 at 5:40 pm

Nice picture, the team looks happy, Boris looks happy and kinda humble too. Johnson has been decisive and strategic, and many of us will have been surprised for all kinds of reasons. Johnson’s team has a real One Nation Tory feel about it too, he seems to have put a premium on people who are good with people, which is one of his own strengths; In terms of degrees of separation I’ve never been closer to a British Government. I don’t know what happens next.

Margaret Potter

25th July 2019 at 5:15 pm

Disappointed not to see Steve Baker or IDS rewarded for their efforts on Leave over past three years with government post, especially as IDS ran his campaign ???

gershwin gentile

25th July 2019 at 1:24 pm

Aren’t there 18 members who voted remain and only 15 who voted leave?

Jim Lawrie

25th July 2019 at 1:52 pm

I think Spiked are carried away by one of theirs on the inside.

Jerry Owen

25th July 2019 at 3:33 pm

I’ve yet to work that one out myself, but I suspect Boris has put some reaminers in jobs where they can be happy paddling about without actually interfering in grown up stuff.

Jerry Owen

25th July 2019 at 1:15 pm

Boris despite his buffoon image .. or rather the image given to him because of his slight hesitancy in speaking is no fool. He is pragmatic enough to know that he has to deliver finality, the two choices are stay or leave. The referendum chose leave therefore the ‘logical’ decision is to leave. It is no more simple than that.
We know he has flip flopped on it , but I suspect he knows that the only proper decision is to leave from a pragmatic point of view and then we can get on with sorting out the myriad of other issues afflicting this country.
Hopefully Brexit will be a done deal a distant memory of the past. And the remoaners will be too , in fact I suspect many of them will ask themselves.. ‘just why did I become such an unhinged anti democrat devoid of any joined up thinking’.

Michael Lynch

25th July 2019 at 1:02 pm

Spot on again, Brendan.

At last. Brexit has now been recognized by the Tories as the immovable object it always has been. I’m going to sit back and watch with glee at the attempts of the Remain elite to dash themselves against it over the next 100 days. Their only way out is to Revoke, but I’ll bet only a few will do so as it’s against their own self interests. Just imagine the carnage in a GE if they dared to.

Hana Jinks

25th July 2019 at 12:30 pm

Why do people still comment about Labour? Is that like a security-blanket?

It isn’t enough to be going on about “out” without being clear that it has to be a clean break from the eussr. Anything less isn’t anything different to that which May and her backers have craftily put in place.



Jerry Owen

25th July 2019 at 12:04 pm

I say ‘greatest PMs’ but to be more accurate just to ignore the mob and do what he thinks right would be a huge step forward in turning the tide back on the mob, that think shouting screaming and bullying is the way civilized political discourse should be carried out.
He has the ability due to his polite humble manners, and he has the opportunity because of his new position to turn the tide.
Make no mistake he will suffer the same vitriol that Trump gets, Trump is probably the toughest man out there , it remains to be seen with Boris.
Out out out .. I desperately hope so.

Jerry Owen

25th July 2019 at 12:04 pm

This post should be below my first post .

Jonnie Henly

25th July 2019 at 12:59 pm

Who are “the mob”?

Are they just anyone who you don’t agree with?

Jim Lawrie

25th July 2019 at 11:53 am

By the reaction to Dominic Raab you’d think the love child of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan had just seized power.

Jerry Owen

25th July 2019 at 11:49 am

‘Brutal reshuffle’ tut tut .. you’ve had your nose in the Gurdian ! It’s a joy to behold reading the Guradian today even better when after enjoying their tears they ask me for money, it doesn’t get much better !
I actually feel optimistic is this a bad omen I ask myself , and yes, if he fails to deliver it will be far more damaging than the damage created by May which to most of us was no surprise. I don’t know much about Patel but I did hear her speak on Brexit once and I liked the cut of her jib.
Boris has waited a long time for this job , most of his adult life I suspect. I really hope and expect him not to screw up, if he does he will be remembered as the worst and shortest reigning PM since May, a record I assumed was impossible to beat, we’ll see.
If he delivers a No Deal Brexit I will consider him a total success and he could go on to be one of the greatest PMs we have had if he simply speaks his mind and doesn’t cow to the mob, I think he will deliver being a PM was his destiny even though the Grauniad writers have written acres on his failure as a politician.. titter titter do they feel like tits now !

BTW for a Nazi Boris sure has a diverse cabinet !

Hana Jinks

25th July 2019 at 12:35 pm

That’s why it’s called diversity-communism. He’s controlled, and in place to thwart no-deal. It’s become a pantomime.

Michael Lynch

25th July 2019 at 1:05 pm

It’s been a pantomime for the last three years.

Jane 70

25th July 2019 at 11:30 am

October 31st, let that be the day when the referendum result is finally enacted. Bring it on!

Jane 70

25th July 2019 at 12:56 pm

Meant to add: he’s chosen a good strong team; I was really pleased to see Patel, Raab, McVey, Leadsom, Javid, Villiers , Sharma, to name a few.

Hopefully this time our elected representatives will follow through, and the libertariat can have one giant hissy fit.

Marvin Jones

27th July 2019 at 4:36 pm

Including Rudd the Dudd and Sedwell the doom and gloom merchant? I think that Steve Baker should have got the HS job.

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