The first of a three part documentary on Brexit is to be broadcast on BBC tonight. Laura Kuenssberg has apparently spoken to “dozens of senior politicians, staffers and former top officials” about the chaos behind the scenes following the 2016 referendum. State of Chaos is on BBC2 at 9pm.
It’s clear that a considerable number of those interviewed will be regarded as being a part of ‘the blob’ – that amorphous group of normally silent civil servants and officials that Brexiters blame for obstructing Brexit and therefore being, in whole or in part, responsible for the current state of the nation and of the Conservative Party itself.
Now it seems that the blob – even the ‘woke blob‘ – is about to tell its side of the story.
There was no plan
Kuenssberg has interviewed the insiders, those with a ring-side seat and those who were tasked with implementing Brexit, the biggest change to Britain’s constitutional settlement in two generations, without a precedent, a plan, an agreed destination or a political consensus in the governing party.
And all to be done in record time with Brexit-supporting air-head ministers cracking the whip.
To whet our appetite, Kuenssberg has written a piece to launch the mini-series in which she talks of the initial shock in Whitehall, the secret plotting to dump Theresa May, the shouting matches and bust-ups across government departments under Boris Johnson and what she calls the “calamitous high-speed implosion of Liz Truss’ ridiculously short time in charge”.
Interviewees from both sides agreed on just one point apparently and that was things have gone terribly wrong and that the last few years have been utterly chaotic, but they all “point fingers in different places” – as you might have guessed.
The British people ‘got it wrong in 2016’
Some senior officials openly admitted to their staff in 2016 that they had voted to remain and one, said to have started a meeting by claiming that “we know the British people got it wrong”, was accused of ‘undermining democracy’.
It is however, increasingly apparent that many of those who opposed Brexit were much closer to long-term public opinion since most British people actually now agree that they did indeed get it wrong.
One Brexiter, the former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox KC, comes close to admitting he is one of them. Cox now says that a “minority government passing some of the most controversial, difficult, fundamental, constitutional legislation that we’ve had in a hundred years was always bound to hit severe problems”.
This is a rather different message to the one he delivered at the 2018 Conservative conference where he wowed delegates by quoting Milton and likened Brexit Britain to a “noble and puissant Nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks: Methinks I see her as an Eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazl’d eyes at the full midday beam”.
State of Chaos: the blob has found its voice
Brexiters have dominated the media for seven long years, appearing on political shows and writing articles in a right-wing press always keen to amplify the narrative that ‘the will of the people’ is somehow being thwarted by unelected civil servants, a group of mysterious ‘wreckers’ which has almost entirely displaced the EU as chief whipping boy for Brexiters’ frustration and anger as things have gone from bad to worse.
Anyone who dares to bring reality into matters is eligible for membership of the blob.
It is precisely because of the myriad ‘severe problems’ and difficulties thrown up by Brexit and the inevitable recognition among the voting public that they were duped in 2016 which has emboldened ‘the blob’ to speak out in their own defence and for the BBC to devote three hours to presenting the evidence.
The blob is starting to find its voice. State of Chaos should be the beginning of the end for Brexit and the Conservative Party that tethered itself to the mast.