Theresa May passes a pro-Brexit demonstrator holding a 'Leave Means Leave' placard on Monday.(Bloomberg)
Theresa May passes a pro-Brexit demonstrator holding a 'Leave Means Leave' placard on Monday.(Bloomberg)

Brexit, lies and video—Theresa May stares at defeat on decision day

The irony, of course, is that more than two years on from the referendum no one seems in control. Not May, whose government is headed for one of the worst parliamentary defeats in almost a century. Not the people, who just want the whole thing over with.
Bloomberg | By Flavia Krause-Jackson
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2019 05:17 PM IST

Brexit has reached such dizzying levels of fame it even has its own movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

On this historic day when Parliament will vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, it’s worth reflecting on the film’s protagonist: a little-known figure to international audiences but who was instrumental in pulling off one of the UK’s biggest political upsets.

Dominic Cummings was the director of the official Leave campaign and used the power of big data to reach those who had never voted before: the angry and the unheard. In the US, this slice of the population was also tapped in the election of Donald Trump.

Cummings nailed the slogan “take back control,” a refrain one still hears today, with the divorce from the European Union either framed as an empowering choice that will restore the UK to past glories or an act of economic suicide.

The irony, of course, is that more than two years on from the referendum no one seems in control. Not May, whose government is headed for one of the worst parliamentary defeats in almost a century. Not the people, who just want the whole thing over with.

The scale of May’s loss will inform what happens next. Another election? Another referendum? Back to Brussels to re-open negotiations? There’s plenty of material for another movie.

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