Sir Vince Cable, who’s likely to become the next leader of the oxymoronic Liberal Democratic Party, thinks Brexit may never happen because Parliament isn’t unanimous on the issue:
“I think the problems are so enormous, the divisions within the two major parties are so enormous… I can see a scenario in which this doesn’t happen.”
Allow me to translate. Sir Vince and his fanatically pro-EU party don’t want Brexit to happen and will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t.
Fair enough. That’s why we have political parties, to put forth an argument and defend it by political means.
Political no longer means reasonable of course: modern politics originally inaugurated in the name of reason has perhaps contributed more than any other field of endeavour to debauching reason to a point where it has become a whore to short-term expediency.
Sir Vince, miraculously regarded as the pulsating intellect of the left, proves this observation with room to spare.
If he used his brain, or indeed had one in any other than the purely physiological sense, he would have asked himself to think of a single issue in the history of Parliament on which the two major parties weren’t divided both between each other and within themselves.
He’d further inquire inwardly where in our constitution, unwritten and so much more effective for it, it says that issues of national import must be decided by unanimous vote. Had he asked those questions, Sir Vince would have exhausted his vaunted brain power so much he wouldn’t have been able to proceed to the really serious issues.
Such as, what is the nature of our constitution? How does democracy by plebiscite fit into it? After all, the nature of parliamentary democracy is such that people elect their representatives to make serious decisions on their behalf.
It’s understood that, even before the advent of comprehensive non-education, our masses weren’t able to figure out the pluses and minuses of, say, deficit versus surplus budgets. That’s why they relied on their betters to do it for them.
And of course now, when the masses can’t figure out the change after handing out a quid for a 74p item, the arguments against direct democracy (or indeed any other, but let’s leave that aside for now) become not just compelling but self-evident.
That’s why I was always opposed to a Brexit referendum: I have principled objections to that form of government. Given the wrong confluence of economic indicators and force majeur events, people would be perfectly capable of voting to sell themselves into slavery or to slaughter every first-born boy.
Yet my opposition doesn’t matter one iota. The powers that be, those that had been put into their posts by the electorate, decided that a referendum was just the ticket to decide whether we were going to keep our ancient constitution or surrender it to become a province in Greater Germany, otherwise known as the EU.
The powers that be didn’t make that decision because they desperately wanted people to have their say. They have a most refreshing contempt for the people this side of Notting Hill and Islington, a sentiment that was extremely rare before the triumph of modernity.
Both major parties, with notable exceptions within each, wanted the referendum because they were desperate to stay in the EU and were smugly confident the people would vote that way. Well, they didn’t.
Now what? Either we accept this method of government or we don’t. Since we demonstrably do, we therefore accept the result of a referendum whether we like it or not. “Tu l’as voulu, George Dandin”, as Molière said, meaning put up and shut up.
However, having lost the fair fight, spivs like Sir Vince want to steal victory in an unfair way. The possible tricks range from filibustering to coming up with quasi-legal snags, from using our predominantly pro-EU media to deliberately and mendaciously perverting the very concept of Brexit.
The concept is simple. It boils down to one word: sovereignty. Do we wish to retain it or vest it with the good offices of heirs to the post-war fusion between Nazi and Vichy bureaucracies?
There’s really no compromise possible: either our sovereignty lives or it dies. I think it should live, and I’ve presented endless arguments to that effect. Sir Vince and his jolly friends think it should die – but they don’t come out and say it honestly, much less put forth any arguments in defence of this proposition.
They just try to subvert the issue by sidetracking it into unrelated incidentals. Thus Sir Vince says: “People will realise that we didn’t vote to be poorer, and I think the whole question of continued membership will once again arise.”
First, Parliament has voted to turn Article 50 into law, which means we’re obligated to leave the EU within two years. At issue now isn’t just the debatable plebiscite democracy but the iron-clad parliamentary sovereignty, the cornerstone of our constitution.
Second, since the issue is sovereignty, it’s for richer or for poorer. Any decent person would rather be poor but free than rich but enslaved. Of course, as a socialist, Sir Vince is conditioned to think of life in purely materialist terms, and more power to him. But this line of thought is at odds not only with our constitution but indeed with the very essence of Western civilisation.
I sincerely doubt that the average voter, or even Sir Vince who reportedly needs two chairs to contain his giant intellect, is capable of analysing economic ups and downs with sufficient precision to figure out what causes what.
Our economy may well thrive post-Brexit, or it may take a dive. In either case, both sides will resort to the post hoc, ergo propter hoc post-rationalisation, and both will probably be wrong.
Because our economy is fundamentally unsound, Brexit or no Brexit, the phoney prosperity of the last couple of years will come to an end soon. Yet it’s emetically dishonest to tie this possibility, or indeed reality, to Brexit.
Britain could have conceivably kept her empire and much of its riches had she let the Germans have their way in their previous attempt to unite Europe. Yet Churchill didn’t suggest that option. Instead he said: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
Then the British thought that was a good offer. These days they listen to cardsharping nincompoops like Sir Vincent, who look for loopholes to undermine what the country fought so valiantly for 77 years ago: her sovereignty.