TODAY we add the editor of the Sunday Telegraph to our Brexit Roll of Honour. Allister Heath has been consistently clear and steadfast in his political and economic analysis since the 2016 Referendum vote.
On Wednesday, after MPs voted out No Deal, he wrote: ‘There have been many bad days on the road to the Great Brexit Betrayal, but this was the most devastating so far.’
He proceeded to write the speech that wasn’t made – the type of convincing rhetoric we so desperately needed to hear from a Boris Johnson or a Jacob Rees-Mogg, but didn’t. Here is exactly how they should have started. Delivered with passion, it would have got the nation and Parliament listening:
My question to those who voted to halt No Deal last night, and who will wreak yet more havoc in the coming days, is this: do you not see how, by discrediting and ridiculing our democracy, you are undermining our greatest asset? Why do you think our cold, rain-sodden country with its broken infrastructure and second-rate trains has been so successful for so long? Our stability, our freedoms, our prosperity, our rule of law: all are predicated on our extraordinary political traditions. If we trash them, if our elite declares democracy to be a pathetic sham, we’ll have nothing left.
History and geography have been kind to us: we’ve ended up with a remarkably responsive political culture. We avoided the indignity of invasion, coups, fascism, communism or revolution; we never gave up on private property and the sanctity of contracts. Even moments of rupture, such as Clement Attlee’s election in 1945, didn’t break the system.
Why risk doing so today? Yes, a real Brexit would be disruptive, but exploding our reputation for straight-dealing, for fair play, for respecting procedures, customs and rules would shake the foundations of our society, annihilate trust and prove immeasurably more damaging. The UK would become like France or Italy, unstable countries where populists increasingly rule the roost, where the public loathe their rulers and vote against them at the earliest opportunity.
My question is: Where were they? Why is there no politician able to say what a journalist can write?