The Irish VP of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuiness, spitefully shuts down Nigel Farage’s microphone as he delivers his triumphant Farewell-to-the-EU speech on the eve of Brexit. Typical bad sportsmanship of Globalist elite types. And Farage and the rest of the British delegation gleefully walk out.
“We were told to leave with our British flags and that’s exactly what we did.”
Baroness Hale reads the British Supreme Court ruling.
Richard Ekins observes that the British people voted, and the British elite have found way after way to set that vote aside. The law in Britain, just like America, is whatever the elite community of fashion wants.
Youâ€™re surprised? Really? What are you surprised by? The specifics â€” that 11 non-elected, mostly public-school-educated judges, and doubtlessly Remainers Iâ€™d guess, should put the final nail into the lid of Brexit? Yeah, sure â€” that knocked me for six. Never saw that coming. Or was it the generality that surprised you â€” weâ€™re not getting Brexit after all? If itâ€™s the latter, I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s much hope for you.
What seemed to me fairly plain on 24 June 2016 â€” that they, meaning our liberal establishment, would never let it happen â€” became an absolute certainty by the turn of this year. By January it was either no Brexit or Brexit in name only. And yet Leavers still clung on, like a spider will cling to the side of a bath as the hot water rises beneath it. â€˜No deal is the default option! Itâ€™s the law!â€™ came the cry. Iâ€™m sorry, but have you not been watching? There is only one law. The law is there must be no Brexit. That is the whole of the law.
Even as late as last week, in his kind review of my book The Great Betrayal: The True Story of Brexit, Harry Mount suggested I was jumping the gun, making a rash gamble, because surely, surely, we were going to leave. Quentin Letts, a Leaver, reckoned much the same. Again â€“ have you not been watching, gents? Listen, when the newly elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, is able to tell the country that no matter how many times the people vote for Brexit, she would stop it, and be praised for her decisiveness and commitment to democracy instead of being pilloried, then I think we are in a different ballpark. The rules have changed â€” and there is only one law.
And so those 11 judges join the pantheon of left-wing heroes alongside John Bercow, Philip Hammond, that intellectually stunted hypocrite John Major and, of course, Tony Blair â€” all people who, in normal times, the deranged left would like to see swinging from lampposts. But the liberal left has found itself part of the establishment, in its affluence, in its loathing of Brexit, in its epic contempt for the people â€” and so has used every possible means whatsoever to thwart the wishes of the electorate. It took big money, big business and unelected institutions, the BBC hammering away with its relentless propaganda in the background, the civil service working copiously behind the scenes â€” everything co-opted to prevent us leaving.
This is not a conspiracy theory. It is not fake news. It is precisely what has happened. A liberal elite which cannot bear to be gainsaid has used every instrument available to it â€” lawyers (82 per cent pro-Remain), the BBC (probably 90 per cent pro-Remain) and, of course, parliament (75 per cent pro-Remain on 23 June 2016). And the ironies abound: it is the Leavers who were anti-democratic in wishing to bypass parliament, a verdict with which the justices happily concurred. A twisting of the truth until it was turned completely on its head.
“The British Supreme Court (a dubious constitutional innovation if ever there was one) appears to have killed Brexit stone-cold dead. Between the Court and the Fixed-Parliament Act, the Remainers seem to have had all the cards when it counted: the lawyers and political class have trumped the referendum.
Hard to see what happens next. Prime Minister Johnson is a Tory Prime Minister in theory only. Unable to deliver Brexit, which his Party only allegedly wanted, he seems destined for an early disappearance. But what does that mean for the Conservative Party? Most of their voters wanted Brexit. but their donors didn’t. The donors have won for now, but this Parliament has to allow an election sometime. Not sure I’d want to be a Tory officeholder then.
The whole sorry episode shows that when the voters want one thing, and the elites another, the elites win, eventually.”
Unlike a dissolution, which is governed by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, proroguing Parliament is a Royal Prerogative power exercisable by the Queen, (who, by convention, follows the PM’s advice). This doesn’t require the consent of the Members.
This effectively makes “Brexit” unstoppable. As David Jaroslav explains:
“Parliament is scheduled to return from recess on September 9. Now they will be prorogued from the . . .12th until two weeks before the exit date set in the Withdrawal Act. This formally ends the parliamentary session so all pending business dies unless there is a vote in the old session to carry it over to the new session. On October 14th there will be a new Queen’s Speech opening a new session and little to no parliamentary time for the Remainers to play games.
“Even if no confidence were tabled AND voted on the first day of the session (highly unlikely), the 14-day period for a new government to receive the confidence of the House would end right around the exit date, during which the current government would remain in office. If no confidence passed and no new government formed, there would then have to be a general election, but it wouldn’t happen until after Brexit, and again the old government would remain in office until the election concluded.”
Michael Barone finds the Transatlantic elite response to its political defeats in 2016 is identical to the response of the Bourbons to the Revolution in France. They are determined to learn nothing and forget nothing.
It was no coincidence that Donald Trump scheduled a trip to Britain, purportedly to inspect one of his golf courses in Scotland, on June 23, 2016. That was the day of the Brexit referendum, in which 52 percent of the electorate â€” 17.4 million voters â€” voted for their nation to leave the European Union.
Candidate Trumpâ€™s earlier endorsement of Brexit was criticized by elevated opinion as an unfriendly interference in another nationâ€™s internal affairs. Few if any of the scoffers had similarly criticized former President Barack Obama for urging Britons to vote “remain,” even threatening that if they voted “leave” they would go â€œto the back of the queueâ€ in seeking a free trade deal with the United States.
Thirteen months before Trumpâ€™s trip and the British vote, few thought there was any possibility of a Trump candidacy or a Brexit referendum. The shock of Brexit in June and Trumpâ€™s victory in November has not been fully absorbed by British or American financial, media, and political elites in all the time since.
30 Democrats in Puerto Rico with 109 lobbyists for weekend despite shutdown
As the gifted British political analyst Douglas Murray writes in National Review, â€œInstead of accepting the votes and trying to learn from them, elites have expended almost all their available energies trying to pretend that voters in 2016 were bad or duped. The past two years could have been spent trying to learn something or build something. Instead, the best minds of Left and Right have spent their time making claims of â€˜racism,â€™ â€˜Russia,â€™ and â€˜Cambridge Analytica.â€™â€
The unlearning continues. Here, the government (actually, less than one-quarter of the federal government) is â€œshut downâ€ over Democratsâ€™ resistance to Trumpâ€™s demand for funding the border wall â€” er, barrier â€” which he negligently failed for two years to obtain from the Republican-majority Congress.
Most Democratic politicians â€” and, polls show, many Democratic voters â€” favored border barriers before Trumpâ€™s victory. Now, they insist walls are â€œimmoralâ€ and ineffective.
The Guardian reports that Theresa May’s government is falling apart over Brexit.
Boris Johnson has resigned as foreign secretary, becoming the third minister in 24 hours to walk out of the government rather than back Theresa Mayâ€™s plans for a soft Brexit.
The prime minister hammered out a compromise with her deeply divided cabinet in an all-day meeting at Chequers on Friday, but after consulting friends and allies, Johnson decided he could not promote the deal.
Pressure on the foreign secretary had been mounting since fellow pro-Brexiter David Davis resigned as Brexit secretary on Sunday night, swiftly followed by his No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.
A Downing Street spokesman said: â€œThis afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.â€
Friends said Johnson had been finalising his resignation letter, but Downing Street announced his departure before he had completed it.
After the Chequers summit, it emerged that Johnson had referred to attempts to sell the prime ministerâ€™s Brexit plan as being akin to â€œpolishing a turdâ€.
As the flamboyant public face of the Vote Leave campaign, his departure will deepen the sense of crisis around May, and increase the chances that she could face a vote of no confidence.
Britain’s Guardian, the voice of Labour, has a very good, very long article by Sam Knight, paying tribute to Daniel Hannan as the key figure responsible for the recent referendum victory taking Britain out of the EU.
Hannan was part of a particular generation of young Conservatives deeply marked by these events. He was in his first term at Oxford, studying history at Oriel, when Thatcher resigned on 23 November 1990. Twenty-three days later, John Major approved an early draft of Maastricht. The sense of a mighty mistake being made has never left Hannan. By the end of term, he had founded the Campaign for an Independent Britain, or CIB, at the Queenâ€™s Lane cafe on Oxford High Street.
â€œI remember swearing what the old adventure stories would call a terrible oath to do something,â€ he told me. …
At Oxford, Hannanâ€™s screeds on Maastricht quoted Aristotle, Shakespeare and William Pitt the Younger. But he also had an eye for a stunt. Conservative ministers visiting the CIB were ambushed and photographed with anti-EU T-shirts, while Hannanâ€™s speeches â€“ as his writings are now â€“ were littered with arch, aphoristic observations. Lord Salisbury was able to run the British empire with 52 civil servants. Kingâ€™s College, Cambridge, has produced more Nobel prize winners than France. The worldâ€™s oldest parliaments all hail from small islands. Goldman Sachs wants you to vote remain. â€œA Hannan soundbite does stick with you,â€ said Littlewood. â€œHe does make you think.â€ …
[W]orking to another order of events, separated Hannan and the other Maastricht diehards â€“ even from fellow Tories who might otherwise agree with them. â€œThe view at the centre was these were the people who had kept the Conservative party out of power for years,â€ said Gove. â€œWhatever they are most passionately in favour of must perforce be at best eccentric, at worst electoral disaster.â€
One new MP in 2005 remembered being lobbied to support the move out of the EPP and asking an older colleague for advice. â€œHe said, â€˜You just cannot. It looks good. But you cannot give an inch to these guys because they will never, ever accept it. They will take and take and take until they have won.â€™â€ Several Conservative MPs I spoke to for this article compared Hannan and his set to â€œentryistsâ€ and â€œTrotsâ€ for their ideological purity, their quest to reassert what they regard as Britainâ€™s lost place in the world. â€œThey are grammar-school imperialists,â€ one MP told me. â€œA hundred years ago Hannan and his ilk would have been able to vent their rather bizarre beliefs bullying people in a nether-province of India.â€
Hannan says such insults have never bothered him. â€œIt passes by as the idle wind that I respect not,â€ he said. He simply regards himself as a different kind of a politician. â€œI think public life for me has a slightly didactic role, OK,â€ he said. â€œYou should be trying to shift the centre ground of public opinion.â€ …
In November 2009, though, the Conservatives abandoned their own manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Hannan called Cameronâ€™s office to resign from his duties in Brussels â€“ he was the partyâ€™s legal affairs spokesman in Europe. A senior aide picked up the phone. â€œI said â€¦ I just think youâ€™ve made the most terrible mistake,â€ Hannan recalled. But he promised to step down without publicity. The adviser thanked him, and asked Hannan what he planned to do next. â€œIâ€™m going to devote myself full time to securing and then winning a referendum on leaving the EU,â€ Hannan replied. The aide laughed down the line. â€œGood luck with that.â€
Hannan put the phone down. He was in his office in Brussels. The Macauley poem, Horatius at the Bridge, entered his mind: â€œWho will stand on either hand / And keep the bridge with me?
When asked “Where are you from?” almost no one would answer “Europe,” because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity. As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible — but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down. Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday’s election results.
Elites missed this because they’re the exception — the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who arenâ€™t.
Unhappily for the elites, there is no â€œTransnationalprofessionalistanâ€ to which they can move. (And who would trim the hedges, make the widgets, and staff the nursing homes if there were?) They have to live in physical places, filled with other people whose loyalties are to a particular place and way of life, not an abstract ideal, or the joys of rootless cosmopolitanism.
Even simple self-interest suggests that it may be time for the elites in Britain and beyond to sue for peace, rather than letting their newborn transnational identity drive them into a war they canâ€™t win.