Britain is in even greater danger than the threat of Brexit.
The mixture of hatred and bigotry that has been released since the referendum is threatening the nation’s internal wellbeing more than anything else for several hundred years.
For purely Conservative Party reasons, David Cameron committed one of the biggest blunders in modern political history by trying to force a bundle of hugely complicated international issues into a simple, binary question, where it could never possibly fit.
Then he failed to ensure that the normal constitutional safeguards for protecting minority interests were put in place.
He also failed to follow the basic rule for referendums or plebiscites in any democracy, that fundamental changes to a country’s constitutional position cannot take place unless supported by more than 50% of the enfranchised electorate.
The result of the referendum was a confused “Leave” vote by only 37% of those entitled to vote ( who were only 27% of the population), which is being falsely presented as “the will of the people”.
Brexit in any form will be very damaging for the UK. Cameron and May knew that before the referendum. When the vote blew up in his face, Cameron also knew that he would be blamed by history for such a monumental piece of stupidity. So, he fled Downing Street and Parliament as fast as his legs could carry him.
What his successor, whether May or anybody else, should have said was “David Cameron messed up and failed to tell the country convincingly what harm a leave vote would cause. No conscientious leader could follow through on the result, because the concept and the machinery of the referendum were badly flawed from the beginning, and to implement the result would cause dreadful damage to our national interest. We will look at all the issues again and decide what, if anything ought to be done.”
But, instead of honesty and good leadership, we are faced with a prime minister who has no purpose in life except to BE prime minister, incompetently sinking into the political quicksand and dragging the country down with her. The stupidity and ineptitude coming from the Westminster is breath-taking. Its venality is exceeded only by ministers’ approval of the hatred and growing persecution of good people by thugs and media rabble-rousers, masquerading as patriots.
We have a grossly dysfunctional government. We could say “What’s new?”, but the difference this time is that the putative alternative government, Her Majesty’s Loyal Parliamentary Opposition, is equally useless. Jeremy Corbyn simply doesn’t have any of the leadership qualities required of a potential Prime Minister. The disarray in the Conservative government is matched equally by the confusion and infighting in the Parliamentary Labour Party. As bad as her government is, May would win a much larger majority in a general election any time soon, simply because there is nobody credible to pull votes away from her.
Immoderate people will talk of revolution. Some Brexiters in social media, ignorantly inflamed by Thursday’s High Court judgment, have already called for the army to stage a military coup. The feelings of impotence that many of us feel over the situation can easily lead to anger and violence.
But we simply must rely on democracy for the answers, or our civilisation will be lost. We know that the majority of MPs and of the Lords are instinctively opposed to Brexit and want the UK to remain a full member of the EU. Once the Supreme Court confirms the High Court’s judgment (as I believe it will), the government will introduce a bill into Parliament, which, if passed by both Houses, would authorise ministers to serve notice of our withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
It is being said that, despite their consciences, most of the pro-EU parliamentarians will still vote for the bill, because they believe that it is “the will of the people” and that they must “respect the referendum result”. In other words, they intend to abdicate their duties of national leadership in favour of the entirely false concept of “the sovereignty of the people”. It is likely that they are being threatened by the party whips and by their constituency parties. It may be, as many people have suggested, that they have been frightened by threats of civil insurrection by Brexiters if they don’t get their own way. My answer to the last point is that our civilisation is lost anyway if elected representatives are cowering under threats from thuggish minorities.
I believe that massive lobbying of MPs and the Lords is necessary, both individually and in groups, by millions of people, to demonstrate that they would have huge popular support if they resisted the unconstitutional pressures from the government and the bullies. We should be asking them, firstly, to oppose the Article 50 bill in the Parliamentary voting and, secondly, to come together in a temporary, centrist grouping in the national interest, to support a leader in Parliament from among themselves as a potential replacement Prime Minister, who would form a new government.
It would be necessary to achieve this without a formal confidence vote in the House of Commons, because that would trigger a general election under our constitutional conventions, which Theresa May is likely to win by default. I confess that I don’t know how to do that, but if you do, or if you know somebody who does, then please tell us!
Kevin Beach, 05 November 2016 [Oh, what an auspicious date!]