Last night, the Academy was quickly able to recognize, acknowledge and put right its mistake at a cost of a little embarrassment. Other, more important issues, are less easily rectified.
Southampton fans may point to their team’s disallowed goal at Wembley yesterday, a clearly erroneous decision by the linesman. But it is the Brexit referendum which is the clear parallel.
As a remainer and, yes, a remoaner also, it seems to me eminently sensible that there should be a second referendum when the results of the Tory negotiations are made clear, if they ever become so. This is not merely because my side lost, but because the subsequent machinations of the various political parties have made the 48% of those who voted without any effective representation on what is surely the overarching issue de nos jours. Merely a handful of Liberal Democrats, who were part of the coalition which approved the referendum, remain in the remain corner.
In our much vaunted parliamentary democracy, Labour and Tory are united in voting for Article 50 in the full knowledge of how this is being taken as a mandate for policies which had not been mentioned, unless specifically denied, during the referendum campaign.
And, reluctantly, I blame Corbyn.
The three-line whip which he imposed on his party, the majority of which are also in the remain camp, was an uncharacteristic decision by a man who is principled or nothing. His abrupt transformation into a Mandelsonian Machiavel, concerned with the minutiae of political wheeling and dealing in what we used to call smoke-filled rooms is not solely regrettable. He is no longer a man of principle, but a politician: exactly the reverse of why we voted him for in the first place.
Had he stood in the Commons and announced a free vote, he would have not only prevented the resignations of several members of the Shadow Cabinet and the unfortunate migraine of Dianne Abbott, but also applied moral pressure on May to allow her own MPs (the majority of whom are also remainers) similar freedom. We might even have seen our local Tory MP, Chris White – who is a remainer representing a constituency which voted to remain – casting his vote in accord with the will of his constituents.
Parliament would then be truly ‘representative’ of the people.
But it’s too late now. Too late even to apply moral pressure. Too late even for him to stick to his principles.
“These are my principles, and if you don’t like them, I have others.”
Today from the everysmith vaults: I am listening to The 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests by Dean & Britta. I have two versions: the album itself and a live show at the Y, Philadelphia recorded by those wonderful folk at nyctaper. You will not be surprised to hear that I prefer the show. But both are worthy of your close attention.