LET us now hope for revoke. Yes, you read that right. The news that MPs are now plotting to foist outright revocation of article 50 on the country means we have surely now reached the acme of lunacy that has increasingly gripped Parliament since we voted to leave the EU those three very long years ago. When it comes to Brexit Derangement Syndrome, nothing can match its collective, kamikaze madness.
In future years much will be written on the psychology of these times: a horrible mixture amongst Parliament’s liberal majority of fanaticism, infantilism, moral corruption and above all narcissism. As judged by the collective behaviour of MPs – the selfies from inside the chamber, the grotesque virtue signalling over prorogation, the clapping and the singing – this is an institution in advanced moral decay.
Perhaps it has much to do the ancient culture of Parliament itself. After all, it has not been for most of history a democratic institution, as David Starkey discusses here, and throughout our history wider society had to fight hard to achieve representation.
It is now very clear that even that narrow window of the modern democratic era has in fact been closing for some time: the rejection by our elites of both faith and reason in favour of the narcissism of the self has led MPs to an ever more narrow and elitist interpretation of what the Burkean representative model of democracy means. After all, if all virtue resides within a chosen few, then the mass of people can be safely sidelined in favour of elite opinion.
Long before Brexit, Parliament either ignored or conspired against the people it was supposed to represent. For social conservatives in particular, the institution has become an arch-enemy, imposing unasked-for social change such as multiculturalism, mass immigration, divorce liberalisation and gay marriage on an often unwilling population. In short, Parliament has reverted to the age of rotten boroughs, to a tawdry, anti-democratic insiders’ club.
Whatever the tragedy that Brexit has become, it has fully exposed the fact that we really live in a shamocracy: some time ago I wrote in TCW that honouring Brexit really was Parliament’s last chance. For a very brief moment it looked like MPs got it, as they overwhelmingly voted to trigger Article 50. Since then it has descended to a state that none of us would have imagined possible. Matters have now surely reached its nadir, with the revolting sight of the increasingly fascistic Commons Speaker John Bercow laying waste to procedure in order to frustrate the democratic will of the people as expressed in the 2016 referendum. It regards the referendum result – the first, remember, that didn’t go the Establishment’s way – rather like the members of a refined gentlemen’s club would regard invasion by a group of chavs from the lower orders. It must be expunged.
Even if a way could be found to repair the seemingly irretrievable breach between people and Parliament, there is every chance that matters would once again degenerate at some future juncture. We therefore shouldn’t have to tolerate its ‘sovereignty’ for a moment longer: in an age of mass communication and education there is no reason whatsoever for the people not to be perfectly sovereign, triggering elections or referenda when we, not Parliament, wish to have them. A Swiss-style direct democracy with the checks and balances of a greatly curtailed representative Parliament is surely the best way forward. It is certainly the only way socially conservative voices will ever be heard again.
So, bring on an attempt at revocation when Parliament returns. Nothing could better illuminate the institution’s rotten, anti-democratic nature, and hasten its long overdue subjugation at the hands of the enraged people it has insulted for so long.