IN the spaces between the football results and the rugby on an indolent, television afternoon last Saturday I heard some of Brexit’s gnarly voices. There was little by way of perspective or nuance or context to be heard here and certainly nothing as unpatriotic as caution.

These were voices full of glee and jubilation, even though some had difficulty articulating just what it was that had induced this euphoric state. Beyond infantile Brexit locutions such as “taking back control” and “making Britain great”, there was little save flag-waving and slogans and a cheery “f**k the Pope” from a stray passer-by in Northern Ireland (I hadn’t realised His Holiness was a committed Remainer, but there you go).

And then the Remainers’ online reprisals started: mocking, sneering, contemptuous, imperious. Words and phrases from the pro-Europe lexicon, just as fatuous, came tumbling forth in a frenzy of righteous fury and rained down upon the heads of their disdained foes. They were racist and dense and had no idea of the economic apocalypse their stupidity had wrought. There was talk about a “stolen future” and losing “something precious”. Who knew that so many Remainers had harboured such deep affection all these years for the mighty European Union, cathedral of western capitalism? You live and learn.

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It was not a good look. It never is when self-appointed arbiters of ethical behaviour, drunk on their own sanctimony, mock untutored, working-class voices struggling to package their thoughts in the lights of a BBC camera crew. What were we expecting: an oral dissertation on the vagaries of the Northern Irish backstop and the potential advantages of a Canada-style trade deal? I’ve been in that situation several times and very rarely did I feel I articulated cogently the arguments I wanted to advance. The benefits of a university education and a career in the media can crumble when asked to compress your wit and wisdom into a few edgy sentences and deliver them with a degree of elan.

Rather than accuse the clear majority of English voters who wanted Brexit, perhaps some of us on the left ought to be asking ourselves this: why did so many feel so alienated from the parties that were supposed to represent them that they chose the side favoured by the Conservative hard right.

Many of these people, especially in England’s northern territories, have seen their jobs disappear and their industries razed. In the face of this the Labour Party offered them little. The fishing communities of Humberside I visited in 2016 have long memories. They recall their livelihoods being traded as pawns in a deal which gave Iceland access to their waters in return for the US being able to monitor Soviet submarines on the Icelandic coast.

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Of course it’s heartbreaking that they chose to take refuge in Nigel Farage’s crass messages of English superiority and the careerism of Boris Johnson. I watched Farage on the Andrew Marr Show and gone was the triumphalism of his address to the Trafalgar Square throng on Brexit night. He knows that he was used by Johnson in his all-consuming journey to power. He’s been reduced to a Brexit circus act while Johnson is now running the country.

But what do working-class English voters care? And don’t keep telling them to be careful what they wish for. It can’t be much worse than what they’ve had to endure for the past 40-odd years. We, who style ourselves as liberal and progressive, lost them long before Farage came along. While they were trying to rebuild communities destroyed by Thatcherism and left twisting in the wind by a succession of worthless Labour hand-wringers, we were counting angels on the heads of pins and trying to tell them how to behave; what they should be drinking; how they should be thinking. We were scolding them for not rearing their families properly even as they were trying to feed them.

If all the left can muster in the face of Brexit are smart-arsed rebukes about the perceived naivety and ignorance of its supporters then we are condemned to an eternity in the wilderness.

And spare me the mince that they are all racist. Almost as bad as authentic racism in all its ugly forms is the false accusation of it. For this merely clouds our responses when it’s genuine.

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Mock their inarticulate musings about taking back control and a better Britain all you like. But it would be better if we began to look at ourselves and asked why we began to care more about experiments in social engineering than the reality of the challenges faced by communities living on the edge. We’d do well to understand their desperation without reverting to supercilious name-calling.

I also need to examine my own conscience about the reasons I voted to remain in the EU. This certainly wasn’t out of any deep and abiding love for what is, essentially, a business cartel pooling the economic might of the world’s richest economies the better to exact trade deals at the most favourable rates.

Who do you think always stands to gain the most from its practices and rules? Try the German bankers who watched the profits roll in from the bonds they issued at crippling rates as the price for bailing out impoverished Greece. My decision was influenced more by a desire not to be on the same side as the political chancers who championed Brexit: Farage, Johnson, Michael Gove and their unprincipled acolytes.

There is a lesson here for supporters of Scottish independence too. Last week’s publication of the Scottish Index for Multiple Deprivation revealed that the most disadvantaged communities belonged to areas which were most supportive of independence in the 2014 referendum. I visited many of these places, too, prior to the vote. Many of those who opted for self-determination weren’t doing so because of an abiding passion for the Yes cause. They simply felt nothing could be worse than what they’d been experiencing for their entire adult lives. In these circumstances there is no risk. Likewise for many who chose Leave in the EU referendum.

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You won’t get much eloquence or detailed analysis from me either to explain my support for an independent Scotland. Certainly, I can rhyme off a few decent statistics from Business for Scotland and talk of an overarching sense of unease about England’s political journey right now.

Essentially, though, and in no particular order, the three main reasons are these: I like the sound of it; the right people would be severely pissed off; and for the sheer, bloody hell of it. Rock ’n’ roll.