Two protests happened in June 2018. One was profoundly important; the other profoundly insignificant.

On 14th June, Peter Tatchell was arrested in Red Square for staging a solo protest against Russia’s treatment of its LGBT minority. He was holding a poster which read: “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people.”

In Russia, homophobia forms the centrepiece of one of the most aggressive and tightly focused state ideologies in the world: anti-Western, anti- liberal and anti-gay. In Chechnya, that ideology takes its most extreme form in state-coordinated pogroms; in Russia proper, broad public vitriol against ‘non-traditional’ sexualities. Here is Dmitry Kiselev, a well-known news anchor, speaking in 2012 on one of Russia’s most watched channels: “It is not enough to ban propaganda of homosexuality … if they should die in car accidents, we must burn their hearts.”

Tatchell was being brave. A dignified and elegant army of one, his protest was as meaningful and just as it was effective, exposing simultaneously the hypocrisy of Western apathy towards Putin’s ‘Hitler Olympics’ style World Cup and the fragile core of Putin-style authoritarianism, its mangled logic, its absolute absurdity.

Fast forward to 23rd June, when roughly 100,000 people (the organisers claim a much higher figure) attended an anti-Brexit ‘People’s Vote’ march in central London.

That’s quite a big turnout. But what was it for? It’s hard to work out whether the march was in favour of a public vote on the final Brexit deal, or a pro-European rally.

The first issue has some degree of legitimacy. I don’t buy that we should never have another referendum again on Europe. We had a public vote on membership of the EEC in 1975; we had another in 2016. Brexit is a new iteration of a decades-long argument about Britain’s relationship with the Continent. Our membership of the EU has always been somewhere in the middle, having never wholly accepted some of its key rights and privileges.

At some point in the future, we may even accept more of them, or even choose to unravel ourselves further from its institutions. But Brexiteers still need to take responsibility for building a consensus for that unravelling; a powerful rejection of the status quo, off the back of a heated campaign in 2016, does not a Brexit make. Brexit is a process that may take many forms, not a final state.

Remainers need to acknowledge that there is no sustained public appetite for another referendum in the near future. In fact, there is consistent polling evidence that points in the other direction entirely: that the public are unsatisfied with the government’s delivery of Brexit but have broadly accepted that it should happen. Of the 30 polls that have measured support for a further referendum since 2016, 24 showed a majority against, only 3 were for.

But that wasn’t the point of the rally, was it? It was about signalling membership of the cosmopolitan pro-Remain community. For one afternoon, London was festooned with the blue and yellow stars of the European Union flag. There was some rousing pro-EU speech making, e.g. Caroline Lucas: “Brexit is not inevitable … Keep standing up for what you believe in.”  And a positive feel-good mood on social media, exemplified by Andrew Adonis on Twitter: “Thanks to Brexit, Britain now has maybe the largest, most passionate pro-European movement in the EU. See the huge crowds at today’s #PeoplesVoteMarch.”

Remainer sentiment in the country is roughly what it was two years ago. It even dipped slightly after campaign groups like ‘Our Future Our Choice’ were launched last year. There is little evidence that any of the positive rhetoric around Europe has made a significant difference to the debate.

That ineffectiveness is reflective of some profound problems with Remainer ideology, which run roughly along the same contours that proved a losing case at the referendum in 2016: a desiccated form of ‘third way’-ism that valorises narrowly-defined economic expertise at the expense of traditional forms of politics; no picture of a collective social good (beyond some vague notions of solidarity with the Continent); and with a heavily dogmatic edge to its rhetoric. How many times have you heard the exquisitely syllogistic ‘Brexit will leave us worse off’ – ‘No-one voted to be worse off’ – ‘Therefore we shouldn’t do Brexit’?

I voted Remain. I would do so again. But Establishment Remain has very little to do with Britain’s proud history of political radicalism. That’s not surprising: cosmopolitanism began in the Classical world as a yearning for an ethical community of like-minded people, outside and beyond the normal run of politics. That description suits Remain of 2018, reduced to arguing for a status quo that has been roundly rejected and to arguing for another referendum that no-one backs; it has retreated into clear and luminous little world in which all citizens are virtuous, still European and still right.