Tuesday, 10 July 2018
What a time to be alive! What a time to be in politics. Welcome to the circus. Since the referendum the establishment has by covert and often overt means, sought to reverse the result. But all along they coated it with the gloss of ‘doing the right thing’. Nobody, they argued, voted to become poorer; and “now we know more about what Brexit really means, we should have the opportunity to reconsider”, etc...
The basis of UK parliamentary democracy has always been the principle – however illusory – that if we are unhappy with the government we can replace it. Much like the old communist saw “We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us” we pretend to vote for change and they tell us, in the face of zero evidence, that they are providing it. Unfortunately, this time round we were no longer pretending; we really did vote for change. But were we too late?
Has the British government been so long in thrall to the Brussels project that they have taken on its features? Once again, George Orwell seems to have been uncannily prescient “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” Because the way in which recent governments seem to have pointedly ignored the concerns of the people who put them in charge looks like nothing so much as tyranny.
The mood in the country has darkened. This riding roughshod over the expressed desire to leave the bloc – which result was returned despite the appalling alignment of the entire establishment against the people – looks like nothing so much as the very thing we voted to reject. Febrile is how the media reported the atmosphere in the Tory Party. Furious is how it feels out here. You can feel it; you can almost touch it... and you can certainly taste the bitter gastronomy of betrayal.
But why? Why put it to a vote then ignore it? Well, of course there’s been no planning for a no-deal Brexit because, just as Cameron and Co couldn’t countenance losing, May and her merry mayhem makers have no vision for a Britain outside the EU. In fact they are behaving exactly like the EU, assuming they can simply ignore the people who have been asking for a way out for many years.
But remember, nothing is immutable. Treaties can be torn up. Contracts can be cancelled. The vote to leave the EU was a vote to tear up the travesty of the last 45 years and become the independent nation we managed to be for centuries. Ripping up the common rule book? Hell yes. And after this weekend’s lesson in autocracy Teflon Tess has shown that she is a true politician, as perceived by the electorate; motivated purely by power.
This may or may not be the truth but as the CPS has demonstrated lately, perception trumps intent. Of course, her biggest weapon is Jeremy Corbyn. If you don’t like it, you’ll hand the keys to Magic Grandad and his motley crew, she threatens. But that threat is hollow. People know that JC has long been an opponent of the EU and sometimes extreme times call for extreme measures. If her calculation is that no former Tory could possibly vote for Corbyn she might want to remember that Cameron thought Remain was in the bag.