Monday, May 27, 2024
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The Divine Right of Remainers


ONE is tempted to believe that Mrs May’s handlers have created a totally unacceptable Withdrawal Agreement to result in chaos, disagreement and an eventual reversal of Brexit by way of the losers getting their second referendum. Mrs May’s bizarre behaviour does not square with her being the architect of ‘her’ deal – she seems more like a brainwashed convert in the grip of a cult. Her repeated mantras and delusional affirmations of what all evidence shows to be plain wrong does resemble something quasi-religious.

‘There is only one deal and this is it’ is her creedal confession. No other deal was or is available, she intones. Perhaps the secular version of this is found in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when Winston, after due torture and softening up, proclaims that he loves Big Brother – although he has long known that Big Brother is a malign power suppressing and controlling society.

There is also a quasi-religious dimension to the refusal of Remainers to accept and implement the Brexit vote and its clear explanation by the Cameron government, of which May was a core participant, that a Leave vote entailed quitting the single market, customs union and ECJ. Remainers have reacted with total (single-minded) zeal to rebut this referendum result, although the referendum was called to give the people their say and to end the ongoing grumbling resentment about EU sovereignty and control.

The nearest historical analogy I can think of is 1688 when the Romanising policies of King James II and his doctrine of the divine right of kings got to such a pitch that Protestant William of Orange was called in to remove the Stuarts from the monarchy. A cultural and religious grinding of gears ended with a ‘taking back of control’ by the majority Protestant cause against a monarch deemed to be in hock to a foreign power.

Remainers do not offer reasons for their allegiance to EU controls; even the most intelligent among them simply assume it is a good thing – a matter of faith which is so obvious that we all should share it. Remainer Matthew Parris, in his dialogue with Leaver Matt Ridley, two high grade intellects, does not explain why the EU system and its ever-increasing handover of national sovereignty to an unelected managerial elite is such a good idea. It just is ‘greater than which cannot be conceived’ as in Anselm’s Ontological argument for the existence of God. Believe it. It needs no rational justification. Counter-evidence such as the fate of Greece is not revelant, the EU is a good in and of itself. Mr Parris offers no positive rational argument for the gradual ending of national Parliamentary democratic rule.

The EU is a kind of secular religion, and that explains the depth of bitterness displayed by the great and good, for example Chris Patten on Radio 4’s The World This Weekend on Sunday spitting out his insults against the fanatics wanting Brexit.

My analogy from English history is of course different from the experience of France and its historic revolution of 1789, and its Napoleonic history of severe and detailed government by management, the Code Napoleon, telling the people in detail what they may do. Now in 2018, France’s neo-Bonapartist, Emmanuel Macron, has run into another expression of popular resentment at being managed and administered and ignored by an EU regulatory machine which dictates France’s budgets and migration policy. The yellow vests have revolted. They have told Macron where to put his dirigiste management, ignoring the needs of the people. Anarchy and chaos threatened the country, and Macron caved in. He’s given the poorer people better tax breaks and said he would act to curb the scale of migration.

These are exactly the reasons that England and Wales voted for Brexit.

Italy is now ruled by a radical and un-cowed government telling the EU to back out of controlling its budgets and national life. In fact a Reformation type of movement is spreading all over Europe as nation states express their desire to take back control from a central European power agency.

If France is now breaking the EU budget rules, as well as the very neglected Italians, then it’s proof the system is bust, held in decreasing respect, and is now basing its authority on a thin authoritarian dogma: ‘Believe in Brussels, Big Brother will control you and look after you’.

Remainers are part of this secular faith: they should be opposed directly on this in rational and moral argument. The Tory MPs who failed to take their chance of doing this and failed to eject ‘Cardinal’ May from her power lack in rational and moral fibre, maybe awaiting the EU beatification they desire.

The truth is that is they who are out of line with the real ‘people’ and their brave vote, not just in the UK but across the length and breadth of Europe now.

The specious gaming by Blair, Robbins and other fellow Remainers to get a second, losers’, referendum is but another attempt to restore the divine right of the elite.

One question that needs to be put to the plotters for a losers’ referendum concerns the constitutional place of this practice of overturning referenda by powerful unelected activists. These seem to include the civil service, corporate finance and fundamentalist EU-loving politicians. Can we assume that all future referenda are to be subject to this process of managerial inversion, and is this to gain an official status in our unwritten, evolving constitution? Also, would it be permissible for a winning pro-EU referendum verdict to be reversed by a Leave group of powerful plotters, or is the elite always necessarily of the Euro-fundamentalist type? I look forward to the no doubt conflicting jurisprudential wisdom of our key lawyers on this, notably Geoffrey Cox QC, and our Attorney General, and Martin Howe QC of Lawyers for Brexit.

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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