‘You were promised the earth, and you’re going to get hell’

Steve Bray, the Stop Brexit man, talks to spiked about why he’s not giving up the fight.

spiked

Share

Before the 2016 EU referendum, Steve Bray was a rare-coins dealer in South Wales with a passing interest in politics. But the EU referendum got his blood up. He became convinced that Brexit was the wrong move and after Leave won he decided to do something about it. He became Stop Brexit man. For more than two years he has held a near-permanent protest in Westminster, heckling politicians using a giant megaphone, and holding placards in shot of TV news cameras, all in his homemade ‘Stop Brexit’ top hat. One of the more colourful characters in the anti-Brexit movement, Bray even stood at the General Election for the Liberal Democrats in Cynon Valley, where he came fifth.

But what now for Bray and his accompanying band of blue-beret-wearing Remainers? Since Boris Johnson won the General Election last week – delivering a pro-Brexit majority in parliament to implement the pro-Brexit majority vote to leave in 2016 – many Remainers are demoralised. There is a palpable sense that the battle for a second referendum, let alone a revocation of Article 50, is over. But Bray says he is fighting on. spiked spoke with him in Westminster yesterday. He was outside parliament as he always was, but in a new hat – a more funereal grey, rather than the usual EU blue. It was a fitting reflection of a damp, overcast day in Westminster, and of the spirits of the pro-EU movement in the wake of another historic defeat at the ballot box.

spiked: It’s after the election, there’s now a pro-Brexit majority in parliament – isn’t yours a lost cause now?

Bray: No, absolutely not. We haven’t left the European Union yet – where there’s hope, there’s a way. But Boris needs to be held to account. He’s a proven liar, he’s never kept a promise yet. Remember ‘dead in a ditch, do or die, 31 October’? Didn’t go well for him, did it? He should have resigned after that, to be honest. But there you go. We are where we are. And of course, we’ve got the transition period now, we haven’t left yet. So the campaign will continue, it’s just a question of in what format.

spiked: What do you think the route is now to stopping Brexit?

Bray: The route now for stopping Brexit is the people of Britain. It always has been. When you look at the election, more people voted for Remain parties than they did for Leave.

spiked: But Leave won the referendum, we’ve now returned a pro-Brexit parliament under First Past The Post, you still don’t think the people want Brexit?

Bray: Well, look, we’ve got a problem with First Past The Post. We need proportional representation, every vote should count, everybody should have a voice. That’s democracy. And that is not the system we have at the moment. If we did have proportional representation, everybody would have a voice, including Nigel Farage, smaller parties… But the two larger parties do not want proportional representation, because it does not serve them.

spiked: I’ve read that you weren’t that politically active before the referendum. What was it about that result that made you feel like you had to get involved?

Bray: Throughout the referendum I listened to the argument, and I knew that what was being promised was not possible. So based on that, doing a bit of research, people voting to Leave… I think it was too big a decision for us, Joe Public, to make. Because we don’t fully understand all of the implications. For the first year of Brexit, when we’re in the transition period, it will look rosey, because we won’t have actually left the curtain of the European Union. But after that, that’s when things will start to go wrong rather quickly.

spiked: You said there that this was too big a decision for us to make. Will that not convince people on the Leave side that you’re just not in favour of democracy?

Bray: No, absolutely I’m in favour of democracy. This is why I also believe that there should be a vote on a deal… Because there wasn’t an actual deal in our referendum, there was nothing tangible to vote on, just Yes or No, In or Out. So we should say to the British people: look, here is the deal, if you accept this, so be it, or we Remain and we work together in the European Union to make things better.

spiked: Say we leave on 31 January, we enter the transition period, and say we do end up leaving at the end of it, what’s the fight for you then – to rejoin?

Bray: If we do leave, the battle will be to hold the government to account while they’re in office and to look at every tangible way to get back into the European Union. I don’t think we’ll ever have as good a deal as we had, should we ever get back in. But that’s something that they need to sort out in there.

spiked: Have you bumped into your neighbour, Jacob Rees-Mogg, since the election?

Bray: He’s not my neighbour anymore. But I bumped into Dominic Cummings. You will have heard Boris’s acceptance speech, where he said, basically, I need to put a sock in it. Well, I will. I’ll put a sock in it when he stops lying and he’s more honest with the British people. So that’s going to be never.

spiked: What do you say to those Brexit voters who are happy about this government, people who do want their vote to be delivered?

Bray: I’d say to them, look, we are where we are. You now own this, and you are going to see the fallout from it. I don’t blame anybody that voted to Leave. You were promised the earth, and you’re going to get hell.

Steve Bray was talking to Tom Slater.

Picture by: Tom Slater

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

Comments

Noel Mac

27th December 2019 at 1:16 pm

This incoherent buffoon who cannot string a sentence together obviously thinks we are all like him , that we should know our limitations and don the cap to our “ betters” . You’ll notice it’s the high brow media who give him credence not the man in the street who knows a first class idiot when he sees one

Richard Evans

23rd December 2019 at 8:02 am

Poor man is clearly unwell if he thinks people in the Cynon valley have “never had it so good” as they have it now. No wonder he came 5th in the election (with only 1/3 of the vote of the Brexit party and below the Cynon valley party).
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/W07000070

Al Tudy

22nd December 2019 at 1:19 pm

In the aftermath of the general election the Remainers seem to have split into two camps.
The first comprises those who would have preferred to stay in the EU but, having conceded defeat, have an uneasy feeling that Boris might just be able to secure a profitable deal for the UK. Vince ‘bollocks to Brexit’ Cable advises those in the Remain camp to abandon ideas of rejoining the EU and cautions against fear-mongering and dire predictions because they could negatively impact on upcoming trade negotiations. Mark Carney, in his latest Bank of England forecast, has delayed the end of the world for another ten years. We will, it seems, have a decade of prosperity after which we will fall off the cliff and feel the results of Brexit. Very convenient!
The other group of Remainers, like the Democrats in the USA, will refuse to acknowledge reality and will become unhinged. We already see signs of Boris Derangement Syndrome emerging which neatly mirrors the Trump Derangement Syndrome of the last three years. He is a liar, a racist, a homophobe, an islamophobe and unfit to govern etc etc. These Remainers will regroup behind the likes of Anna Soubry and Gina Miller and probably form their own political party, ‘REJOIN’, its logo being a clenched fist on a blue background surrounded by an incomplete halo of yellow EU stars. As before they will try every trick in the book to thwart the smooth course of negotiations, resorting to the supreme court if necessary (until such time as Boris reforms it). They will routinely appear on the BBC, savouring with delight every unfortunate death under the NHS or negative blip in the economy, parading it as evidence that Brexit was a mistake, that people didn’t know what they were voting for, that the people have changed their minds and that it’s not too late to return cap in hand to Brussels and beg for forgiveness and readmission to the EU. Believe me, these people are dangerous and far from being a spent force. Brexit is not just a political battle, it is an ideological and cultural war which will last for years to come and we must continue to defend our gains.
Boris is right to reject EU standards and regulations in upcoming negotiations. Too close an adherence could easily prove an almost seamless return to life under the yoke of Brussels in ten or twenty years time.

NEIL DATSON

22nd December 2019 at 2:26 pm

Al, yours strikes me as a plausible summary of what is likely to become of the Remain lobby. The Gina Miller / Anna Soubry tendency will doubtless do all that they possibly can to make ill things come about, and yes, they will be granted the oxygen of publicity by a broadcast media that has always been heavily weighted in their cause. So many have invested such huge volumes of their personal self-belief in the cause of ignoring the referendum that they’re hardly going to turn about and accept that they may have made a mistake. To expect that would be to expect far too much of too many.

Probably the best hope for their relatively rapid silencing is that the EU’s shortcomings and difficulties become ever more prominent; hopefully without too many of the citizens of its member states suffering too much as a consequence. Obviously, should that happen, some of our most committed fanatics will always lay the blame at the door of the British racists, xenophobes etc who had the temerity to vote as they did in 2016.

Al Tudy

22nd December 2019 at 4:43 pm

Neil, I entirely agree. The European Union is destined to collapse under it’s own weight, paralysed by its sclerotic bureaucracy. Signs of its imminent demise will become apparent within the next ten years. However the historical narrative which the European Union will attempt to impose upon posterity is that it was the UK which delivered the fatal death blow from which the grand project was unable to recover from before it had the opportunity to bring its utopian paradise to fruition. By a fiction they will conceal their fraud.

NEIL DATSON

22nd December 2019 at 7:56 pm

Obviously, like all of mankind’s political constructs the EU is bound to come to an end. How soon? The sooner the better as far as I am concerned; the friendly association of democratic states is surely a much better future for Europe than living under its supra-national anti-democratic oversight. But I’m certainly not making any predictions. If it happens relatively quickly some of its champions will presumably attempt to ‘blame’ the British; most especially to ‘blame’ the English. Were that to happen there would a least be a delicious echo of William Pitt’s words available to us Brexiteers: ‘England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.’

Noel Mac

27th December 2019 at 1:06 pm

Correct. We must be always on our guard against this 5th column of fantasists who even when shown the categoric proof we want out now will refuse to see it

Ken Dodds Dads Dogs Dead.

20th December 2019 at 7:23 pm

The poor chap is slightly reminiscent of the Japanese soldier who remained, excuse the pun, in the jungle for years after WW2 had ended and wouldn’t leave the jungle until his commanding officer was brought in to coax him out. Therefore, before Corbyn is put out to pasture he could at least have the decency to remind Bray that it’s all over and that democracy prevailed.

Ken Dodds Dads Dogs Dead.

20th December 2019 at 7:14 pm

Whilst Bray continues Braying the country has spoken, we’ve had our third referendum and the ayes have it. Its now, as the saying might go, all over, bar the Braying.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.