Trumpeted the Daily Express, melodramatic – and distorted – as ever.
‘The Judges versus the people’, around a blued (?) picture of the judges, said the Telegraph.
‘Who do EU think you are? Judges overrule the people as loaded foreign elites defy will of the British public and derail Theresa May’s Brexit plans.’ says the Sun. [Who should know a bit about ‘loaded foreign elites’ as their proprietor is one.]
And last but not least, the Daily Mail:
It might be worth a quick look at this esteemed organ’s support for the blackshirts, or Nazis on the 19th January, 1934: here:
It’s worth a pause to mention, ‘be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.’
All of this outrage rests on the idea that the referendum showed the ‘will of the people’ despite the fact that this ‘will’ was orchestrated by lies – mostly distortions and generalisations – that were quickly proved false.
I think this ‘will’ is better summed up as the understandable ‘wishes’ of a lot of people who feel abandoned and ignored that a lot more goodies (e.g. £350 million a week) would come to them – and that it was time for a change.
Very quickly those wishes were dented and we were left with a suspicion that there is likely to be less rather than more money sloshing around. We have already lost 15-20% of the £’s value, showing up in price increases in fuel, food and many other things to come. Even the right-wing press is starting to express alarm at rising fuel and food prices, while failing, of course, to connect these rises with recent events.
It’s also worth remembering that what is called the ‘will of the people’ represents a small overall majority – one sixteenth – of those who voted in the referendum. In fact that’s 38/36% voting for Leave over Remain, with 26% not voting. So this ‘will’ is in fact the wishes of 38% of the people for different arrangements than those they have now, without, I am sure, knowing any details of the new set-up, other than ‘more for me and my folks, please.’
One further point here, May and her team of rehabilitated Brexit ministers, continually say they cannot reveal their hand because ‘that’s not what you do in negotiations’. The real reason I believe is that they don’t have much of a hand, the rules on the single market are quite clear, and moreover they can’t agree on how to play the tiny number of cards they have. So, hiding their hand makes them look cool and covers their fragility and sounds more like Michael Douglas in ‘Wall Street’ than Del Boy in ‘Only Fools and Horses’.
Do you really believe that the 27 members outside the UK are going to keep quiet about the negotiations? No, it will be all over the European press within 12 hours of each meeting and then we’ll be left managing another PR disaster as French, German, Italian and Spanish headlines leak onto our front pages.
A snapshot in time, a fateful day, a surprising result. All these are true.
But now, if you visit today’s polls, you will find a rather different result.
Remain polls at 51%, while Leave is at 49%
So there is a change of opinion, at least according to BMG’s latest round of research, published in the Independent on November 3rd.
So you have to ask, why are the government insisting so vehemently that leaving is what the British people want?
Here are my answers:
There is a surge of righteousness and triumphalism from those who have long wanted to leave the EU among, largely Tory, MP’s. These MP’s feel vindicated in their dissent over Europe by the referendum. This “Great Britain” faction is replicated among the people who long for an imaginary time when we went our own way. I can remember such times, when we were ‘on our own’, during the 1950’s after the Second World War and they were dire. It’s also worth remembering that the EU is fundamentally an association that promotes peace and exchange between members in the form of commerce rather than the kind of threats and vilifications we’re already experiencing as our new form of public dialogue in the UK since June 24th.
More importantly, there is an appreciation, particularly at No 10, that with 70% of Labour constituencies voting ‘Leave’ this affords the greatest chance since Thatcher, to move the working class vote towards the Tories. This is the political prize that May is playing for. She believes, and undoubtedly has polling to support it, that many of these former Labour voters would vote Tory if an election were held. They would vote for a party that does not and has never supported them or their communities out of a desire to see their wish to leave enacted. She is playing for a long period of Tory domination, presumably with her as Captain of the ship.
So you can expect more privatisation of the NHS, less money for schools and public services and no Regional Development Funds as these will be swallowed up in ‘sweetheart’ deals to bribe huge companies to stay in the UK to avoid disastrous publicity. You can expect the kind of steady dismantling of our social fabric and hard-won rights and entitlements that characterised the Thatcher years. In years to come you may look around you as I did just before 1997 and say: ‘how did we come to this?’
And who will suffer most? Those in the regional communities who voted leave of course. It remains a potential tragedy that in their need to be right, to get their way, they may find that this way shrinks their possibilities ever more.
This appreciation also explains why Labour has been so mealy-mouthed about arguing for Remain or at least for discussion of our manner of Leaving. The Labour MP’s in many cases find themselves at odds with the majority of their constituents on this issue – and are afraid to speak their minds. Jeremy Corbyn has been featured at ‘jam-making’ as England burns with fury and dissent: Corbyn stocks up for a long hard winter.