Monday, 18 December 2017
In the oft-quoted sentiment of Voltaire, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise." Well, on that basis it has to be islam. But that aside, I’m concerned about the way in which we are handling Brexit. After months of tense wrangling, deprecating descriptions of those who voted to leave, expressions of hostile intent towards a post-Brexit Britain and vainglorious pomposity from the burghers in Brussels, all of a sudden Theresa May is declared a saviour.
Heaping praise on her for her resolve – a characteristic for which she is certainly not known in the UK – the Eurocrats declare themselves ready to treat. I can’t be alone in smelling a rat. The process of the public political debate is, as has been observed by many, like a football game between evenly matched sides; the ball goes back and forth interminably and only after extra time and an unsatisfying penalty shoot-out is a result declared.
But like a rigged game we onlookers watch as open goal after open goal is left unscored. We watch as the arguments of one side are adopted by the other and new meanings are imparted to otherwise clear objectives. We want to leave, we said. This became “You voted for Parliamentary sovereignty”. No, we didn’t, we voted to end our thrall to representatives which no longer represented us. There has been no greater treachery than that of the Labour Party; once the great champions of the working class, now mere champagne swilling theoretical socialists, proposing policy for which few have asked.
For the many, not the few says Jeremy Corbyn, then swiftly ignores what the many are clamouring for. Meanwhile on the government side we get a great war of words and the repeated assertion that ‘we did not know what we were voting for’. The fictions of hard and soft Brexit have played out in mid-field, the players oblivious to our insistence that the flouted ‘will of the people’ was simply to rid ourselves of EU control. When one gambit fails the team captains appear to collaborate to confect another; thus Ireland now steps in to take a free kick.
And in all this the biggest casualties are truth, honesty, honour, principal, as one after the other is abandoned in favour of weasel words which obscure and obfuscate, delay and detract from the matter at hand. The language of diplomacy, or as we commoners prefer to call it, lying. We are taken for fools and called it openly. Those few in prominent positions who support our cause – the cause, remember, of the majority of working class people of Britain – are attacked and defamed as somehow working against our better interest; their better interest.
I hold in my hand a piece of paper...
The political class is in cahoots, if not by arrangement – for the sake of appearance – then certainly by instinct. They are united in believing that they know better than we who have to live with their decisions. And they are afraid because Brexit was about more than just leaving a sclerotic and corrupt supranational administration; it was about our rejection of the political status quo. They see their power base quiver and crumble and fight like tigers to keep it. Were Voltaire alive today he would be able to coin another bon mot: To know who they fear, simply find out who they are allowed to denigrate.