The vote to Leave the EU encapsulated opinions over so many issues; immigration, multiculturalism, the economy, where and how we spend our money, and much more. In many ways it was an answer to the overarching questions of the day: is Britain a nation, and should nations matter? As the Left and Right have increasingly blended into each other, political analysts have observed that the new dynamic in Western politics is a divide between those who have a connection to time and place, and a rootless, global elite who do not. It is a divide between those who wish for Britain to be a nation, with all which that entails, and those who wish for Britain to be reduced to a mere administrative cog in a European, and indeed global marketplace; a world where borders and nations are irrelevant.
For decades now the political class have told us that nation states are redundant, and that the very concept of nationhood is backwards and outdated in this day and age. They tell us that Britain never was a nation anyway, and that British values mean nothing more than the post-60s values of the cultural Left: tolerance, diversity, equality and so on. This has been the mantra ever since Ted Heath hauled us into the European project in 1973; it is no coincidence that the first (and failed) devolution referendums in Scotland and Wales were held just a few years later in 1979. After all, if you don't believe in the relevance of the nation state, then internal borders are just as irrelevant as external borders; the breakup of the UK through devolution and our integration into the EU have always been linked hand-in-hand. The breakup of traditional nation states is for this reason part of the strategy of the EU itself, seen for example in its notorious regionalisation plans. Strong, independent nation states like the UK could be are the major stumbling block to EU expansion.
The pro-EU elite who have been in charge for decades now have pursued a consistent agenda of eroding the institutions, values and social bonds which define Britain as a nation. They believe in a Britain without borders, seen not just in the EU's freedom of movement but in the decision to open our borders to massive non-EU third world immigration. This 'New Britain' is to lack a common culture; those shared values and cultural references which once provided the social glue that allowed us to function as a coherent and, relative to today, quite intimate society, where community above the level of the individual could exist and indeed mattered. In the new order, we live instead isolated, atomised silo lives, increasingly reduced to mere workers and consumers in a secular, multicultural state which amounts to little more than an administrative region. Our national, industrial economy, based on productivity, was replaced with a hollow service economy based on the reshuffling of debt and an enormous balance of trade deficit in the new Single Market. This is the meat, the substance of the EU project and the wider issue of globalisation which the silent majority voted to reject in June 2016.
They did so because despite decades of EU integration, globalisation and national dissolution, the British people still have a deep sense of attachment to their country, and many can recall a time before the political class embarked on their revolutionary project. They can remember a Britain that was more familiar and functional than the hollow shell of a state which it was replaced with. In the EU referendum of June 2016 they rejected Britain the cog in the European market; Britain the administrative region of Brussels. Instead they voted for Britain to be a sovereign nation, and this is what it must be if it is to have a future as a nation.
They voted for a Britain with a defined territory and an external border with the rest of the world; to reject massive immigration from both within and without the EU. A Britain with shared national values which reflect our unique national character, and the traditional values which we used to have before they were replaced with the equality and diversity code. A Britain with common national bonds which are fostered by those shared values and that common culture, in contrast to the atomising and disconnecting force of multiculturalism. A Britain with all the hallmarks of nationhood; of a country that is capable of conducting its own affairs and preserving its own existence. This covers many things from a sovereign national parliament; to the maintenance of national industry and infrastructure in domestic hands; to an effective Armed Forces capable of defending ourselves in proportion to our resources and the geopolitical situation of the day.
It is this Britain, Britain the nation, which can have a future if we actively work to build it. It encompasses much more than constitutional matters like sending MEPs to Brussels or the devolution project. Much more than that, it strikes at the heart of the broad social, economic and moral transformation of recent decades that changed our country beyond recognition. It is about what sort of nation we want to be; indeed if we are to be a nation in any meaningful sense at all. For Britain to be a functional nation like the one we used to know, there must be a broad and concerted effort to #RebuildBritain (our party motto) across the constitutional, economic, social and moral spheres.
This is why we maintain that any Brexit negotiated by the current establishment, including Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg, will ultimately still be a hollow Brexit. For these figures it is largely a constitutional matter, and not about a real change in national direction; about rejecting the broad national direction of recent decades. The fantasy of a free trade, service sector Brexit, rooted in the mantra of a "global Britain" is simply a continuation of the policies of globalisation and the erosion of national borders which the Leave vote was a rejection of. The average Leave voter in the Brexit heartlands like Bolton or Sunderland did not vote Leave for new trade deals with Indonesia or Zambia like many pro-Brexit figureheads fixate on; they were voting to reclaim the old Britain which was more functional, more familiar and (shock, horror!) just a little more insular; the Britain that they used to know.
For Britain to become this sort of sovereign nation once again, we must elect a majority of MPs with the will to bring it about; to rebuild our country and its constitutional, economic, social and moral foundations. For Britain to be Britain once again; that's what the silent majority voted for.