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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Brexit: Hard, Soft or Silly?

The debate in the House of Lords over the past few days has been instructive. Not only does it show the Liberal Democrats' brazen contempt for democracy; but even more apparent is the attitude of those peers who accept that a popular vote is valid, but that their superior understanding must somehow circumvent the decision that the people believed they were able to make.

It has to be assumed that people took their decision deliberately, though with a huge range of reasons  for their choice, and with different degrees of knowledge and understanding about the institutions and economic flows that were involved. The government has been right to act on this assumption. But Mrs May is well on the way to seeking an exit from Europe that will justify the fears of many of the peers that the withdrawal will be unnecessarily damaging to the welfare of the nation. The sentence "Brexit means Brexit" is sublimely meaningless. The word Grexit was coined by the press to summarise the possibility a few years ago that Greece might have to drop out of the Eurozone. It was then transposed into Brexit when David Cameron - in blatant arrogance - decided that he could scare the nation into voting to keep Britain in the European Union. He then gave the country a shameful exhibition of how the EU grandees brushed off his frail attempts to 'reform' the Union, which of itself was one of the most powerful levers for people to vote against the 'unelected' grandees of Brussels.

Cameron and his bogeyman, Osborne, were pushed aside and Mrs May filled the void: then she immediately took the lead of the arch-Brexiteers in the parliamentary Conservative party. This established a sense of negativism that can be hugely damaging: so the dissenting peers are being proved right by attitude of the government. This conflict, between the Remoaners and those pushing for a stupidly damaging form of exit, could very easily vitiate the actual democratic decision that was taken. Watch this space!

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