All these subjects have exercised me during the last couple of weeks. But they all come down to Brexit in the end, right? And with a mere two days of debate in the Commons remaining before the ‘meaningful’ vote on Tuesday, the media is full of it – and, to add an unvoiced fricative, full of shit too.
So here’s my two penn’orth.
I am a Remainer and a Labour voter. As such, I am against even a soft Brexit. ‘Remain and reform’ was and remains my preferred policy. While I respect the result of the referendum, which does not mean that I either agree with it or believe it should be implemented, I do not respect the referendum itself, which was a crass proposal in the first instance and won with a combination of lies, illegal funding and dubious digital media.
What did impress me during the referendum was the Leave slogan. “Take Back Control” was and is a good line, and watching Cumberbatch in The Uncivil War the other night, one was surprised at the length of time it took for Dominic Cummings to arrive at it. It’s a nonsense of course, but it means all things to all men and thus appealed, if not to all men and women, at least to 52% of them. It appealed to nostalgic Little Englander Tories in Surrey and austerity-hit working class voters in the north, who had been told by successive governments – from Thatcher onwards – that the EU was the problem.
The irony of course is that parliament is now taking back control over the executive, and this is, in no small measure, the result of a precedent-breaking decision by Speaker Bercow.
He’s growing on me, is John Bercow. Preening popinjay perhaps, but he is showing himself to be a man who respects parliamentary democracy both in principle and in practice. In the face of the growing power of government, there is not a huge amount he can do, but what he can, he does.
One of the revelations of the recent shenanigans in the Commons has been the fact that many parliamentary votes are meaningless, having no force in law. They are, at best, “advisory”, nothing more than a demonstration of feeling.
Which is of course exactly what the referendum was. True, promises were made during the course of the campaign. But primarily by those who promptly resigned from positions which might give them any power over such a decision. Where are you now, Dave?
So what will happen on Tuesday and on the 29th of March?
My prediction is that we will find ourselves in, to coin a meme, an existential crisis.
The phrase is widely used, and almost always misused. But it means one thing:
Today from the everysmith vaults: In these strange times, it's time to dig deep into the depths of the vaults. Today's esoterica is the Captain's Bat Chain Puller.