What began as something carrying with it a touch of potential malevolence (darkness coming to meet the darkness, a quietly perplexing speech to the Conservative Party Conference) — backed in part by heinous suggestions that pregnant women be forced to show their passports at hospitals or that those suggesting the UK should remain the EU be charged with treason — has quickly descended into seemingly unconscionable farce.
Four months after a vote to leave the European Union, those advocating that the country leave the Union have finally decided on what will be best to do: export more biscuits. Not only that, they want a dangerous Gary Lineker fired because he has committed the sin of asking people to be a little more tolerant.
And though there is — or, perhaps, was — space for a Brexiter to have a reasonable reaction to the High Court decision, i.e., that this was a question to look at “the residue of monarchical authority that is now exercised by ministers, and the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty”; that it was only sensible the court came to the conclusion that “As soon as individual rights protected by domestic law are affected, Parliament must be involved,” the initial wave of reaction to the decision almost seems to undermine the very case for Brexit itself: one MP derided the decision by saying, “Unelected judges calling the shots. This is precisely why we voted out. Power to the people!” The Daily Mail ran the front page featured above. And despite protests and calls for the Justice Secretary to at least make a statement, the spokesperson for the Prime Minister saw all this and found nothing worth commenting on.* An odious and perpetually slippery politician called it a “betrayal” and the beginning of an attempt “water down what people had voted for.” In an editorial out today, a newspaper that the city of Liverpool justifiably doesn’t like wrote —
THE Brexit saboteurs of the Commons and Lords must be faced down and crushed.
It is not their blind devotion to the EU we mind. It’s the fork-tongued deceit.
Their ever-so-reasonable concern for “knowing a few more details” of Theresa May’s strategy before backing an Article 50 Bill is entirely phony.
This is the rhetoric some are choosing to deploy for what in otherwise logical circumstances would look like a Norway-styled European Economic Area-styled access to the single market. To pursue this kind of rhetoric for these economic ends is not logical. To follow the logic of this kind of rhetoric through on the basis of inference would suggest a world free from Parliament, a world free from Mark Carney (of course Michael Gove thinks that the man who prevented the UK from entering into a recession as the result of voting for Brexit is a ‘dart-throwing chimp’), and — instead — a world of Parliament-free economic calamity and rhetorical bile (let alone racist attacks) — because that’s how some people happen to feel.
That doesn’t have to be the case.