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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Brexit: Patriot Games

"He has put himself at the service of Britain. By proroguing Parliament he has appealed to democracy. He remains virtually the only dictator of modern times who, in the last resort, uses his power to defend democratic principles. Britain will undoubtedly go through great turmoil. In the end the will of the people will prevail. Those who had faith in Britain even during the dark days of the war can have faith now."

Of course, the quotation above is not about Boris Johnson - not de Pfeffel but de Gaulle; and it's not from now, but from the Paris rioting of 1968 (1). All I've done is alter a couple of terms.

In the same article, the writer - eminent historian AJP Taylor - says:

"I once heard a French historian say: "When English people are discontented they form a committee. When French people are discontented they make a revolution." I thought this rather exaggerated, but he turns out to have been right."

And so the piqued Top People have resorted to getting an opinion - a ruling on policy, not on law - from the "Supreme Court" as part of their subversive campaign. Committees, Parliamentary motions, legal rulings, appeals - as in "The African Queen", the very deckboards of the Constitution can be torn up and fed into the flames in the reckless dash towards antidemocratic servitude. The People must be kept down, at all costs.

Again and again, I read - and hear from friends - that releasing us from the EU is somehow a Conservative plot. Yet ten years before we finally entered the EEC (having been held off by de Gaulle while he nailed down the Common Agricultural Policy in favour of French farmers so that it would be unavailable to British ones as well), Professor Taylor clearly understood that getting us in was a Tory policy:

"The Common Market is, for the Government, an end in itself, which will automatically provide a solution for all ills. Conservative economic policy has been a failure. Instead of prosperity and expansion, there has been stagnation and the pay pause. [...]

"Once we are inside, Dr. Adenauer and President de Gaulle will reveal, in a kindly way, the secret of expansion. This is the height of absurdity as well as of evasion. For, just as the Government nerve themselves to take the plunge, expansion is ending in the Common Market countries.

"The move into the Common Market has been, from first to last, a confession by British Ministers that they did not know what to do. Originally it was a scheme for smuggling through devaluation of the pound, and hence reduction of wages, without anyone noticing. Now it is not even that. Entry into the Common Market is not a policy. It is a substitute for a policy. Its consequences, its implications, are never explained. [...]

"What else can a puzzled voter do except doubt and turn his back? He receives no guidance and much confusion from the Government. He receives equal equivocation from the Labour Party. Here too the same refusal to decide. The same refusal to state clearly the issues involved for and against. The failure of the Labour leadership to come out clearly against the Common Market has been the greatest lost opportunity of our time. It is this failure more than anything else which keeps the Government of Mr. Macmillan in office." (2) (emphases mine.)

As to the "Supreme Court", that child of Blair's constitutional vandalism - it should go, and the Law Lords return.

________________________________________

(1) AJP Taylor: "Will Germany be the Next to Explode?" The Sunday Express, London, June 2 1968
(2) "Macmillan Has Not Found The Answer Yet", The Sunday Express, London, July 15 1962

8 comments:

A K Haart said...

Very well said.

Sackerson said...

@AKH - thanks!

CherryPie said...

It was a Conservative minister that signed us up to being bounded to the EU as we are today. He did not ask the public...

He is one that is currently bleating about Boris and Brexit in general.

Boris is a Conservative minister trying to uphold a democratic vote for Brexit...

Hmm... So releasing us from the EU is a Conservative plot?

The real issue is not about Brexit it as about Democracy as opposed to Autocracy.

I believe in democracy and will accept a democratic vote no matter which way I voted. Paving the way for further discussion...

Sackerson said...

@CherryPie: though a democratic vote to stay in the EU - and accompany them towards their goal - is a vote to end all votes.

Sorry to be thick - which Conservative minister do you mean?

CherryPie said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maastricht_Rebels

CherryPie said...

Is history repeating itself in reverse?

Sackerson said...

@CherryPie: If you mean John Major you have identified a very deceptive man, one who reportedly described himself as being able to "talk to the man in the four-ale bar" while at the same time having been a Chief Whip and so Master of the Dark Arts.

re your second comment, you may like AJP Taylor's piece about Top People:

Why don't these "Top People" think for themselves?
The Sunday Express, London, October 31 1962

https://www.brugesgroup.com/media-centre/papers/8-papers/802-professor-a-j-p-taylor-on-europe-the-historian-who-predicted-the-future

- in a sense it's not history repeating itself but instead remaining unchanged.

CherryPie said...

The real issue now (as always) the battle between democracy and autocracy.