Theresa May’s ‘Dear John’ letter has now dropped onto President Tusk’s desk and, to euphemise a saying popular among The Young People, feculence just got actual.
In the early, sunlit days of New Labour, the left-wing comedian John O’Farrell had a skit on how the Tories, after a generation of dominating British politics, found their party and its principles rejected by the electoral mainstream. ‘Now the Conservatives are like a lunatic fringe party,” he said. “Soon we can expect to see them outside Woolworths next to the Socialist Workers on a Saturday afternoon shouting “Daily Telegraph! Get your Daily Telegraph! Britain out of Europe!”‘
A generation on, the Tories are in power, Woolworths is gone, the Socialist Workers are running the Labour Party, and Britain is indeed coming out of Europe.
This serves as a useful reminder that, far from a conservative country, the UK is dynamic and holds the possibility of major political change for those willing to fight for it. It also underscores the import of the moment. Fifteen years ago — fifteen months ago — few thought we would be here and yet here we are.