No one could have made the case against Brexit as powerfully as Tony Blair did last week. His framing it as a act of patriotism only added to the force of his argument. In time his analysis may prove to be right, because there is no doubt that our Prime Minister has chosen the riskiest, most difficult Brexit path. But right now his message is not going to gain traction. Unfairly or not, his reputation is in tatters, the economy didn’t crash after 23 June and hardly any Leavers have regrets. May has unified her party, Labour has fallen in line and within weeks the government will trigger Article 50. Unpredictable events such as the outcome of the French Presidential election in April, an economic downturn unrelated to Brexit and the near inevitability of another terrorist attack on continental Europe will now shape the course of how we leave the EU. But that we are leaving is not really now in doubt, for all the doomed, ingenuity of court cases in Dublin.

Perhaps I am being ridiculously optimistic but I do retain a hope that Brexit might now become a spur for genuine national renewal, an opportunity to think again about the life prospects and the opportunities for people living in the towns that voted Brexit, a chance to create an immigration policy that has public support, to sort the NHS/social care crisis (and an equitable/sustainable way of funding these critical public services), to reform our deleterious criminal justice system and to think intelligently about dealing with the consequences of mass-automation.

Might Brexit jolt us out of our cultural complacency and disrupt the innate structural conservatism of too many of our public institutions, notably the civil service?

Right now whether we are in the EU or not seems less vital than focusing on these profound demographic, democratic and technological challenges.

Over the past month I have sensed the summoning of some of the entrepreneurial, cultural and civil society imagination and energy we are going to need going forward, but not nearly enough. There is still too much despondency and grieving drowning out ambition.

The political course now seems set for good or ill. Theresa May has read the mood of the country correctly and played the politics adroitly. Her destiny will now be dictated by events not protests. All the middle class mourning in the world will not stop Brexit but, of course, economic shocks still might.

But her political bold approaches will only succeed if the risk takers, the cultivators and creative class rise up. Three decades ago Margaret Thatcher was reliant upon the same social energy. The best accounts of how it emerged are Andy Beckett’s Promised You A Miracle and Iain Martin Crash Bang Wallop –  read both of you can, they are wonderful near histories.

The events and projects I am now working on are focused on tapping into this energy, drawing out the talent, crashing people together and working new ideas hard.

To paraphrase the late great Iain Macleod you can dream your dreams, scheme your schemes but we have work to do.

This article was first published by Steve Moore. You can read the original here.