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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

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Since the EU referendum result, we have witnessed the slow death of democracy in the United Kingdom. Piece by piece, inch by inch, day by day. Looking back now,it can be seen that the efforts to try and delegitmise the Leave vote began literally the next day. At the time I, along with many others, were just happy that we had won. I didn’t give it much attention. The UK had implemented the result of every referendum result in its history. Surely it wouldn’t stop this one, which had the biggest turnout on record? Over three year later we are still waiting.

Almost immediately the smears began. Racist, uneducated, bigots, lies, bus, etc were all being trotted out. The great and the good lined up to lambast Brexit and all the terrible little people who had dared to vote for it. Cameron resigned, even though he initially said he wouldn’t. Then we had an achingly slow leadership “contest” that ended with the smearing of Andrea Leadsom for having an opinion, then the fateful coronation of Theresa May. All the while Article 5o had not been triggered, again something Cameron had said would happen straight away. This became a famous line, along with a government leaflet stating, “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.” We should have known something was up.

Article 50 was finally triggered in March 2017, getting on for nearly a year after the vote to leave. It had already faced one legal case, that of Gina Miller. Legal cases designed to slow or stop the UK leaving were to become a common feature, “lawfare” as it was becoming known as. Other cases of note were against leave campaigners such as Darren Grimes, who subsequently won on appeal. Lawyers such as Jolyon Maugham launched numerous cases. Campaigns sprung up to stop the UK leaving and reverse the referendum, mainly via the mechanism of another public vote. Billionaires like George Soros backed these campaigns, donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to groups like Best for Britain. The irony of the name... The mainly pro-Remain media began pumping out scare stories of the consequences of leaving. Vast numbers of Remain supporting guests were lined up for chat shows and panel shows. Leavers, not so much. The establishment was fighting back hard.

We then saw Theresa May “negotiating” a deal with the EU. This involved sending Olly Robbins to Brussels, and bypassing the then Brexit Minister, Steve Baker and David Davies, who was allegedly in charge of negotiations as Brexit Secretary. Davies and Baker resigned, feeling that their positions had been undermined. May’s “deal” would have satisfied no one. Many felt that it had been dictated by Brussels and was a trap to keep us locked in to the EU. May had campaigned for Remain, was a tepid leaver at best, seemingly wanting to keep the UK as closely tied to the EU as possible. Unsurprisingly it was voted down by Parliament three times. All this had taken us up to 2019. The deadline for leaving was put back twice.

May was eventually dethroned, Boris installed after another protracted leadership contest, but at least the members got a vote this time. Boris promised to leave by the 31st October come what may. Well, the establishment didn’t like the sound of that. Actually leaving? After all their hard work to stay in? Unthinkable. Media scare stories were again ramped up, this time about no deal scenarios. Tory cucks who had been key players under May, helping to guide the UK back to either staying in or accepting her deal, began acting up.

Most recently we have seen laws to block leaving with no deal, to force the Prime Minister to ask for an extension to Article 50 and to force people to reveal private messages and correspondence. Boris wanted to call an election, based on backing him to leave in October no matter what, or choosing the opposition. Without a hint of shame, those who had been calling for an election or a second vote, suddenly decided that a public vote would be a terrible idea. They voted down the government to stop this. We seem to have a Speaker that appears to have gone rogue, deciding what he wants on the day and ignoring convention and the unwritten constitution. Every Remainer act of sabotage has been allowed.

Where were the voters in all of this? Ignored, only important in any tactical ploy launched by political parties, to be discarded and ignored otherwise. Many, many people (on both sides) are deeply unhappy at this situation. Most have accepted the vote and just want the government to get on with it, so that they can carry on with their lives. They want certainty and a way forward, not endless argument, delay and political manoeuvring for party gains. Turnout for the Newport by-election @ 37% was abysmal. Many people I have spoken to say they will never vote again. I don’t feel this way, but a lot do.

Why does this matter? We judge our democracy by participation. If people are engaged, believe they can get change by campaigning and voting, that the system is working for them, then they take part. We like to think that if people care about the issues and they are important to them, then they will go out and vote. The fact that so many have been turned off politics for good speaks volumes. At first, I thought, ” What, you can’t even be bothered to walk to the local polling station?” But then I thought about it carefully. It’s a lot more than that. When people go to vote it is showing faith in the system, that it can work for them. They invest the act of voting with the belief that it can bring change, that it can make society better, that democracy is the best way to govern the country. For many, they invest their hopes and dreams in it. A better future for them, or if not for them then at least for their kids. The political class in this country have smashed that.

This is why the apathy in the current political climate worries me greatly. People are losing faith in democracy. They no longer see the point in voting. This is troubling, because what happens then? You tell 17.4 million people their vote doesn’t matter and can be cancelled on a whim, because they didn’t vote the right way and it doesn’t fit the shiny, progressive, left-wing liberal narrative. What will happen when you tell people they can no longer effect change through the ballot box? If people decide democracy doesn’t work, what comes next? Where will they turn and what methods will they use to get the change they want?

Low voter turnout also risks letting in genuine fringe extremists who can take advantage of the situation. Added to this, Parliament is taking it upon itself to take on ever more intrusive powers, such as demanding the performance of personal service and the turning over of private and sensitive documents. Rather than governing for the people they increasingly seem to be governing for their own ends. Personal vendettas are being pursued. Where will this end? Politicians are taking an extremely short-term view, just because they are upset over the result of one vote they disagree with, and want to throw their toys out of the pram. They either do not see or do not care about the long-term damage they are causing. All that matters is Westminster and after that London. They seem blinkered to what is happening in the rest of the country. All for a blue flag with some gold stars. This is a dangerous game and I fear it will not end well. For anyone.

I am hard-pressed to say anything optimistic, except that, things rarely turn out the way the plonkers in Whitehall-Westminster think they will.

The powerful will stop at nothing to thwart the will of the people. Power vs freedom, it has always been this way.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn!
The liars, at least the worst ones, have exposed themselves.
They won't survive an election.
The question is can one be brought about soon, or can they hold out till 2022? By which time the EU will be on the verge of collapse regardless of what we do.

Thanks to David M. for his masterly summary of the situation. We should all take heart that we have such intelligent and articulate people on our side, and this in itself gives me more courage to hope. I can't hope to match what he says, but here's my thinking.

First, the game is far from over. The commentariat is buzzing with rumours that Brexiteer Conservatives have an ace up their sleeve, and that Dominic Cummings knows something that Kinnock and Benn missed. Of course, each possibility along these lines can be shot down by anyone who claims to have the extra knowledge, inside information, or generally considers himself smarter than his tiny internet audience. SoD springs to mind. I'm sure he'll be along to talk about Blighty and fluffybun and how the "pols" are so much more stupid than him. But let's not fool ourselves. These things are being discussed by extremely intelligent specialists - professors of constitutional law, etc. - and people who are full-time and highly motivated. And it is they who will decide how it goes, not someone who can talk a good game on chat-rooms.

Is it likely to go our way? We don't know, but I'm heartened to see that the Cabinet and Cummings look very much more relaxed and confident than we might expect them to be. Raab and Javid especially, but Boris also. Of course, they might be putting a brave face on it, but these things do show in the demeanour. Theresa May looked like an exhausted zombie in her latter days, and the stakes for these guys are much, much, higher. Boris has always wanted the top job, and he has been threatened with jail and an ignominious but short entry in the history books. He doesn't look like he believes that, though.

Again, it might be the case that the charade goes much deeper, and that now Boris no longer needs the Ulstermen he will cut them loose and broker a deal. That deal will look very much like the dreaded Theresa WA, so it means that we will have BRINO, and be tied in to Europe in a far worse situation even than now. If that's the case, then the next stage is Nigel's Brexit Party. I'm heartened by the fact that if that happens, it will no longer be a simple choice about Europe. It will be a major struggle of the people against the Establishment. Expect civil disobedience, albeit of a type that later middle agers such as myself can't play much of an active role in. If Boris reneges, he will not be forgiven, and we will have a far bigger transformation. I think both major parties will be utterly transformed. But if he always intended to renege, he wouldn't have purged his party of people who clearly supported May's deal in the first place.

So take courage. Unlike earlier years when we relied on the BBC and ITV for spoon-fed news, we have sites like this. We have all the social media and instantaneous reaction. We have the ability to bring up what politicians said in the past, and hold them to account; and we have a small army of intelligent highly pissed-off people who dedicate their lives to precisely that. Don't give up. Disseminate information, talk to people, and don't hold your tongue. Just letting them know we are still here rattles them. Vote, and support the best choices (mine are currently Boris, then TBP as my own "backstop"!) as best you can. It will be won through a million tiny efforts. Never give up.

It's OK, I won't say "I told you so".

SoD

I won't despair, the thing that changed in 2016 was that we now know that leavers are in a majority. The remainers may win this round, and then assume that is the end of it. However that isn't the case, this will go on and on until we leave. We just have to be much more careful about who we elect to be MPs.

Did you see the Sweaty judges have said the proroguing is illegal too?

So that's Paddies and Sweaties all kicking off at the same time. And if they can pull their trousers up give Daisy the sheep a rest the Taffies won't be far behind.

When Her Maj said, "Give me 3 good reasons why we shouldn't do Brexit?", I replied, "Ma'am, the prosperity of the UK, peace in the UK, and the unity of the UK".

Never listens to me, silly woman. You'd of thought being a descendant of Ap-Lake, Knight of the Round Table, would have caught her ear, but ney.

SoD

I like this article: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/09/the-roots-of-brexit/

Outstanding comments, DM and Whyaxe. Democracy was never guaranteed to work for long; at the time of the American Founding it had never been seen to lead to anything but factional chaos followed by tyranny. That it has taken this long for it to get to this point is a testament to the traditional civic virtue of the people of the West, which has taken a long time to wither away (but which has now all but vanished as the corrosions of secularism, post-modernism, radical individualism, and too-rapid change, both demographic and technological, have eaten away its foundations). As Bill Vallicella likes to say, there can be no comity without commonality -- and commonality has been willfully and methodically destroyed.

As for Brexit, see also this:

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/why-hasnt-brexit-happened-yet/

Conrad Black knows which side his bread is buttered, and layers it on thick.

The Brit pols know that having had their empire wrenched from them by Uncle Sam in exchange for a few dollars more in the Marshall plan, there's nothing but a right royal (or rather republican) shafting from the Don should a Trumpian "I win, you lose" deal between US/UK ever come to pass.

And the hoi-poloi think you all eat your children coz you ain't got no NHS, that is when your not stuffing your faces with chlorinated chicken and mutant ninja crop growths.

The Brits are more European than Europeans when it comes to collectivism, nationalisation, nanny state, Authoritarianism, et al. And Where'd they get it from? From the US!

No, not from your own system far from it, but from your Marshall plan that turned Blighty into the closest thing to pure Communism the world has ever seen, and tricked an entire generation of Brits - the Gaffer's generation - into believing Keynesianism and Socialism worked.

Painful though it would have been, being left in a pile of rubble is a very effective way of finding out what makes for prosperity, along with a long, slow read of Adam Smith. Instead Blighty got a dose of Socialist unicorn powder and it's empire pickpocketed while it zonked out muttering "We've never had it so good, maaaaan!"

After the total collapse of the 1970's a combined saviour and wake-up call arrived in Mrs T, and when betrayed she enshrined her model in the Single Market and the four freedoms to Blighty's 45 year benefit. But then yet again a gift flattered to deceive a nation of congenitally autocratic idiots and they can't get away from it fast enough.

But there is a glimmer of mindfulness emerging. It's taking time but real, deep questions are being asked, and although painful, that can only be good.

SoD

We will leave the EU and the threats from our so called allies will not be forgotten. When we leave we should agitate for democracy in the EU like we do in Middle East and other fascist countries.

you could do better trolling, SoD. The Marshall plan was largely about modernizing business and lowering trade barriers. And you're wrong about Mad King Donald. You chaps could probably own all the public lands in America by trading him St. Edward's Crown. Or maybe just letting him take a selfie whilst wearing it.

Oh, and by the way SoD, chlorinated chicken is delicious.

The chlorintated chicken story is generated by the French ruling class. They think that the Americans wouldn't recognise nice food if it bit them. France has more MacDonalds that any other country in Western Europe.

clorinated

Thank you David Morris and Whyaxe, in particular, for two lengthy but well thought out comments, and the rest of you for your contributions, er, well, except SoD who remains for the most part incomprehensible behind his Baroque writing style!

Boris Johnson has offered Tory rebels a way back into the party amid a growing split among Conservatives over his decision to kick them out.

In a sign that he will now try for a compromise Brexit deal, Mr Johnson has told Tory rebels he is ready for “spears in my back” from hardline Brexiteers and the DUP.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/11/boris-johnson-offers-tory-rebels-way-back-party-amid-growing/

Like Teflon Theresa when the peeps told her that "No deal is better than a bad deal" was not what they wanted in the last election, BoJo is squaring up to shaft you Brexiteers and the DUP second time round.

Problem for BoJo is if he lets the 21 back in he loses the ERG - and Gawd knows how many votes to the BP at the next election. If he keeps the 21 out he loses the wet end of the Tory party and Gawd knows how many votes to the Lib Dems.

Same for flip-flop Jezza and his three factions he can't decide who to please: The Northern rump of hard Brexiteers, Momentum nutters, and BBC Metro w*nkers.

Time for a Lib-Dem come back? The only factionless party in the political spectrum today?

Glorious.

SoD

A thought: -

Article 50 ...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withdrawal_from_the_European_Union

Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements

Ergo, a Member State may not leave unconstitutionally.

Therefore if BoJo doesn't do what he is constitutionally bound to do by parliament and ask the EU to extend A50 then Blighty will be attempting to leave the EU unconstitutionally. Which under the treaty is not legal and therefore amounts to not leaving at all.

If the EU were to allow Blighty to leave under such circumstances it would be an accomplice in such illegality.

What should the EU do if a Member State attempts to leave illegally? I've no idea what the breach of treaty terms are. But perhaps the EU would be justified if it wanted to assume the extension letter has been received even though it has not, because that was the constitutional intention of the Member State - a sort of of legal "specific performance".

That doesn't mean the EU has to accept the extension, it can agree or refuse, but does mean they can proceed by assuming it has been asked for.

If so, then BoJo might as well send the extension request letter and avoid prison because if the requirement of A50 to act constitutionally is to be honoured it's effectively been sent anyway.

SoD

Oh and btw, should the EU and UK both decide to end the treaty illegally as described, that is, by BoJo attempting to leave unconstitutionally by not sending the extension letter required by parliament and the EU being an accomplice by accepting the unconstitutional action and not inferring the constitutional action, then we will all - all citizens of the UK and EU and anyone else in the world - have cases in international law for damages resulting from such an illegal No Deal Brexit.

Messy. Gina Miller's knickers are no doubt positively damp at the prospect.

SoD

Loz, when the referendum was called sovereignty was handed to the voter. Boris is doing the right thing by honoring the result.

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