Sunday, 3 November 2019

Brexit: Descent Into Hell


Despite what I posted on The Leave Alliance yesterday, I don't think leave voters need it spelling out.  If you're going to dabble with the Brexit Party in a marginal seat then you risk throwing the game. That message will sink in and the Brexit Party will struggle to poll 9% and return zero MPs.

As it happens I think the big story in this election will be the fall in turnout. It's less to do with the timing as it is the overall mood. Online and off the mood seems to be one of exhaustion. Parliament foisted this on us because they couldn't get their act together. Peter Hitchens seems to have nailed it down.
The grimmest horror story I have ever read tells of a man in despair who hangs himself efficiently and lethally. After a brief, painless moment, he awakes to find he is still very much alive, in exactly the same place he was in before he tried to end it all. Well, almost exactly. It is a lot darker. Dawn never seems to arrive, and things are stirring in the shadows that he does not much like the look of. But what is quite clear is that he has not solved his problems at all.
So it is with our Parliament and our political class. Too weak, irresponsible and cowardly to put their names to the compromise with the EU that was always going to be the outcome, they have sought oblivion by placing all the responsibilities on someone else – in this case, you and me.
They hope that in yet another national poll – the fourth since 2015 – they can somehow escape the moral and political debts and obligations they had before the General Election was called. It is as if an Election was some sort of cleansing ritual, in which a flurry of votes washes away the wicked past and leaves MPs born again and free from all the stupid things they have done (or the things they have stupidly not done) in the past few years. But it is not. The debts all remain. They will be collected. The compromise still has to be accepted, and the consequences undergone. They will all pay.
He doesn't elaborate on what form this will take. Hitchens doesn't seem remotely interested and I sort of don't blame him. If I had to vote I'd be forced to vote (with no enthusiasm) for the default option of the Tories simply because there isn't a viable alternative. The Lib Dems are led by an adolescent social justice activist and Labour is too dreadful to even contemplate. Leaving aside the allegations of antisemitism and Corbyn's associations, there is a greater danger - greater even than their economic agenda.

With Halloween having been and gone without seeing our departure from the EU, remainers spent much of Saturday gloating and mocking the lack of riots widely anticipated by a number of pundits. But of course the public are not entirely stupid. They know who and what is responsible for the delay and yet again leavers are showing more patience than any reasonable person could have expected from them. As much as we've had to endure insult after insult, they keep rubbing our noses in it.

If Labour somehow wins the general election then we are looking at a re-run of the 2016 referendum. They'll call it a confirmatory vote but in essence they are going to make us vote again, rehashing all the same tired arguments driving voters away in droves. And that's really what remain wants to happen. They're not after a positive mandate. They just want a fig leaf of legitimacy to sweep it all under the rug. My hunch says they would probably succeed.

I know that should there be another referendum I will have neither the time, resources or energy to commit to it having already invested the last five years of my life in getting us to where we are now. In that time I've not only had to fight the remainers but also the ERG and now The Brexit Party. I'm done. I have no more I can give to this and if Labour goes ahead with this I probably won't even bother to vote. At that point we will have established that voting really is a meaningless ritual to confer legitimacy on an establishment that will never yield to democracy.

I am now fairly convinced this won't see riots or blood on the streets. There's be a few small protests but nothing seismic. Remainers will take that to mean that we don't really care all that much, failing to recognise that waving placards is more their MO than ours. But as Hitchens has it, the "moral and political debts" won't go away. They will simply fester.

For a time they will have evaded the economic harm of Brexit but the real question is how we move forward with a politically demoralised country. How does any politician ever look a voter in the eye ever again? How can they ask for our votes when we know our votes only count if we vote the right way?

Part of the reason we voted to leave in 2016 was the sore point of the Lisbon treaty which never went anywhere near a referendum. We remembered. And we will remember this. For all that MPs play the victim now and wail about the toxicity of politics, they really ain't seen nothing yet. We can look forward to a darker and more volatile politics than we have ever known. For a time they'll think they've got away with it, resuming their inane political habits but those political debts will continue to mount.

As much as Westminster is in a state of terminal dysfunction, one gets a sense that much else is disintegrating. This from the Shropshire Star is illuminating.
A man who drove at a group of girls, punched one in the face, then kicked a police officer in the chest while being arrested has been spared an immediate jail sentence. Youssef Abi, 32, appeared before Shrewsbury Crown Court on Monday to be sentenced for common assault, dangerous driving and criminal damage. He was speeding, drinking alcohol and was unable to keep his car on the correct side of the road while driving a group of teenage girls from Wolverhampton to Rhyl on February 29, 2018. The court heard the girls feared for their lives and begged Abi to let them out of the car.
When they finally got out of the car on the A53 between Shrewsbury and Shawbury, he drove at them and swerved at the last moment just missing them. He then punched one of the girls in the face when she wouldn't get back in the car. Abi was also aggressive towards a passer-by who intervened and smashed her mobile phone, then kicked a police officer in the chest while he was being put into the back of a van. Kevin Jones, defending, said Abi was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after hearing that another family member from his come country of Syria had died. He was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years.
Though this is just one case it's consistent with a long evolving trend of relativism in this country where you can get away with just about anything just so long as you play victim. Victimhood is currency. It would seem that the British political and legal establishment is in the midst of a moral collapse. We are failing to uphold even basic standards. 

To have a functioning society both politics and the law need to act by consent and to have moral authority. Both institutions seem to be in a race to the bottom in debasing themselves to the point of perversity. Having lost both moral authority and consent to govern you then have an ungovernable society which can only lead to heavy handed authoritarianism in response. Pretty soon the relationship between the public and the state is adversarial and sour and a breeding ground for extreme politics.

For all that the left have spent the last five years calling anyone with even mildly conservative views a fascist, should they succeed in overthrowing the vote of 2016, they are about to learn a whole new definition of the word that will shake them to the core. Because if the state will not stand up for the the majority view and majoritarian values, using its own position and authority to suppress and subvert the majority, imposing its own warped and debased values, there will most certainly be a furious backlash.  

If politicians think there is an anti-politics mood now, the moment they overthrow the vote of 2016 to replace it with their own kangarendum is the moment they crucify what is left of our democracy and rule by consent. By that point it won't even be about Brexit. Brexit will remain a feature of public discourse but by then it will becomes clear that simply exchanging the personnel in Westminster is not enough. The British public will have an appetite for destruction.   

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