Steve Hilton: On Brexit and Trump, the elites are trying to overturn the 2016 populist revolution

Well I suppose the elites get some things right - they at least know how to throw a wedding party. As I write this in the shadow of England’s storied Windsor Castle, the excitement is infectious as people from all backgrounds flock to see the Royal Wedding and celebrate a good old-fashioned love story.

It is, however, a temporary respite from the gloom and bitterness that seems to have descended on the U.K. as the country still grapples with - and argues about - the momentous Brexit vote in 2016.

The trouble is, the vote may have been momentous but the British government’s response has been decidedly lacking in momentum.

The whole point of Brexit was to liberate Britain from the bureaucratic shackles of the sclerotic, inward-looking, unaccountable EU in order to embrace a dynamic, enterprising, outward-looking future that would make sure the British people got back control over the decisions that affect their lives.

Instead the bureaucracy itself seems to be taking over. The process of leaving the EU is mired in wrangling over which EU rules and regulations should still remain in effect, even though the British people voted to reject all of them!

Astonishingly, given that the Brexit vote itself was nearly two years ago, the debate today is about whether to kind-of-stay-in-the-EU-really (for example by remaining in its hitherto obscure “customs union” or joining something called “the European Economic Area” which sounds to many people like the EU by another name), or to have a second referendum. You know, because the people got it wrong the first time.

The elitist agenda - globalization of the economy, centralization of government, and unlimited immigration to provide cheap labor for corporate profits - resulted in riches for the ruling class but unemployment and wage stagnation for everyone else.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who campaigned against Brexit but now feigns enthusiasm for delivering it, seems to have been completely captured by the civil service - who were opposed to Brexit all along and now see it as their mission to derail it.

They have persuaded May that she has no cards to play in her negotiations with the Brussels bureaucracy, which of course wants to make the Brexit process as negative as possible for Britain in order to discourage other nations from following the U.K.’s lead.

Concession after concession is being made by the British, with the prospect of delivering the clean break with Brussels that people actually voted for receding every day. Britain is going nowhere under Theresa May - and that’s just how the establishment wants it. They desperately want to show that Brexit is a disaster, in order to prove that the 2016 vote was a giant mistake.

Remind you of anything?

Just as the elitist establishment in Britain and the EU is trying to overturn the result of the Brexit referendum, so too the establishment in America is trying to overturn the result of the 2016 presidential election.

Both votes were a clear response to elitism’s failures. The elitist agenda - globalization of the economy, centralization of government, and unlimited immigration to provide cheap labor for corporate profits - resulted in riches for the ruling class but unemployment and wage stagnation for everyone else.

In America, just as in Britain, people had come to the conclusion that it didn’t matter who they voted for in actual elections - Democrat or Republican; Labour or Conservative - the outcome was the same, decade after decade: the rich got richer while working people saw their incomes go down and their jobs go away.

They finally saw, with Donald Trump in the U.S. and Brexit in the U.K., a chance to reject the failed elitist consensus and get real change that would help improve the lives of those who had been left behind by the sweeping changes that elitism had unleashed.

And of course the elite’s response was: “How dare you! You can’t take our power away - this impertinence will not stand.”

And so the counter-revolution began: in America, the Russia fixation, Mueller, the unceasing attempts to derail and discredit the populist insurgent in the White House. In Britain, the endless bureaucratic roadblocks put in the path of the Brexit process.

There’s one big difference though: at least Donald Trump is actually delivering on his promises, most notably on the economy. A decisively pro-business administration has transformed confidence, boosting investment and leading to faster growth, record unemployment lows and finally, after decades of stagnation, rising incomes.

And that’s the big lesson for Theresa May: if you challenge the establishment, instead of caving in to it, you might actually deliver the positive promise of the populist revolution.

In the end, that would be a lot more to celebrate than a Royal Wedding - however well the Brits know how to throw a party.

We’ll be debating all this on Sunday at 9pm ET on The Next Revolution - hope you can join us!