“Insurgents.” Britain’s former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair’s favourite term of non-endearment for those in the U.K. who voted to support England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pulling down the curtain on its European Union membership. Blair went further on his MSNBC interview of a few days ago as he attached the “insurgents” label to the global “populous” movement which has been gaining strength for several years and increasingly manifests itself directly, swiftly and powerfully.
I found Blair’s choice of terminology interesting because I doubt he is unaware of the definition of “insurgency,” namely, “a movement within a country dedicated to overthrowing the government.” In the late 1700’s Britain experienced a colonial insurgency, as much of its valued North American territory was actively and popularly beginning the process of branding itself the United States of America.
Tony Blair’s use of “insurgency” and “insurgents” was a clever and nasty attempt to paint Brexit supporters and their international populist counterparts distastefully. Insurgents is most frequently employed in media to describe terrorists and other global merchants of violence.
Mr. Blair’s annoyance at populists was clear. They were tearing down something he believes in. The EU. And the insurgents accomplished their mission by the pencil, not by the tools of 1776, the musket and sword. Blair virtually spat out his annoyance at Britain’s now resigning occupant of 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister David Cameron, architect of the Brexit referendum.
It was Cameron who fell on his political sword mere hours after the “leave the EU” side swayed more than 52% of Britain’s eligible and participating citizens to remove Brussels oversight. It was Cameron who had just made the job of Prime Minister hugely more difficult for his eventual successor and successors.
Immediately, the complaining began. Older Britons, probably xenophobes were responsible. The south of England and Scotland voted by majority to remain in the EU and surely that mattered. An online petition signed by millions expressed support for the EU remain choice.
The first point is a manifest and calculated insult to the integrity of all leave voters of a specific demographic. The second is of interest, but not most likely, of sufficient consequence to invalidate Brexit and the is third utterly predictable. Of course many who cast their lot with the “stay” voters prefer the Meatloaf referendum formula. Two out three ain’t bad.
If those marking ‘leave’ on their Brexit ballots are in fact insurgents, as Tony Blair insists, the problem is of far greater significance than a one time referendum decision. Not only will citizens of other EU nations quite likely demand their own versions of Brexit, but other institutions of elite government globally may well also face the threat of being swept aside by populist demand.
I have for a number of years heard an increasingly vocal and determined call for elites to respond to expressions of dissatisfaction with the status quo. The meteoric rise of Donald Trump in his pursuit of the White House as he pushed past the traditional power base of the GOP during the primaries would for Mr. Blair likely signal another example of the rush of insurgents beating at the gates of the establishment.
Canada? Three times I have interviewed Kevin O’Leary on my radio program and each time Mr. O’Leary’s favourables among listeners have increased. Why? Largely, because he’s non establishment and recognizes and responds to demands of the dissatisfied.
If Mr. Blair is correct and what we’re witnessing internationally is an insurgency, it is growing, increasingly insistent and unwilling to be ignored.
Written by: Roy Green