Teresa comes a cropper!
You must remember the scene – it's the Poseidon Adventure and Gene Hackman, having led his odd band of fellow travellers to the main passageway which runs the length of the ship encounters another group of survivors, led by the Purser, and they are gong towards the bow. Gene pleads with them - explaining that the bow is under water and the only way out is via the engine room where the hull is thinnest.
His exasperation as the Purser's group insist they are going the right way is a absolute classic in frustration at man's stupidity in the face of an alternative and ultimately better reality.
So is it with politics at present
I am getting more and more discouraged by the performance of politicians as we approach the triggering of Article 50 which begins the process of extricating the UK from the EU.
Firstly, how did we get in this mess.
Did you know?
The referendum wasn’t legally binding, but there’s plenty of scope for argument about whether politicians should feel obliged to implement the result anyway.
"The [EU] referendum was an advisory referendum”
Dominic Grieve MP, 10 October 2016
“This was not an advisory referendum”
John Redwood MP, 7 November 2016
Given that the meaning of the French Revolution is still contested, it’s no surprise that there are arguments over the EU referendum.
The word “advisory” crops up a lot in the debate at the moment. Here we’ll look what people mean when they say that the referendum was, or wasn’t, advisory.
Start with the law
The referendum was not legally binding. There’s no one source that can prove this statement true (although here’s a respectable one). That follows from the fact that the European Union Referendum Act 2015 didn’t say anything about implementing the result of the vote. It just provided that there should be one.
The EU referendum result is not legally binding so in theory Parliament could ignore the will of the people by deciding to stay in the EU. This is because Parliament is sovereign and the EU vote was an “advisory referendum”, as opposed to a “binary” referendum which has a fixed outcome.
In other countries, referendums are often legally binding—for example, because the vote is on whether to amend the constitution. The UK, famously, doesn’t have a codified constitution.
Why then are politicians of all parties so adamant that they are implementing the will of the people? What are they afraid of?
Following the referendum no day has gone by when some politician somewhere has not mouthed the mantra that we must respect the result of the referendum. They are correct. That result must be respected. But, for how long and in what manner?
No-one is speaking about this and it is wrong, very wrong.
The fact it you can have as many referenda as you like. Thanks to Dave Cameron the genie is truly out of the bottle.
However, government by referenda is bad government. You have only to consider how few there have been in the UK (Referendums in the United Kingdom are by tradition extremely rare due to the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. As of 2017, only three referendums have been held which have covered the whole of the United Kingdom: in 1975, in 2011 and most recently in 2016.)
Why then has the result of the EU referendum achieved cult status. A new religion has sprung up! Why is there no real debate on the outcome? Why are politicians doing “duck-speak”? (George Orwell – 1984 Duck-speak is a Newspeak term meaning literally to quack like a duck or to speak without thinking.)
I honestly wish I knew.
Now we have Nicola Sturgeon throwing an enormous spanner in the works with a call for another Scottish Independence Referendum. The PM is in the very illogical position of defending the UK position on the EU Referendum whilst denigrating the Scots for doing the same thing!
David Davies in testimony before a select committee admits the government had no real plan to leave the EU and are making it up as they go along.
This is beginning to make Donald Trump's administration look competent – and that is no mean feat.
I'm thinking, what would old Churchill make of all this? Now, he was probably not one for joining Europe, but he would understand the importance of maintaining a position of principle in the face of everyone else – no matter how the numbers stack up.
The majority are not always right, and when the majority is paper thin and mostly contrived (the franchise was not inclusive by any stretch of the imagination) then real politicians should get their heads above the parapet and call spades spades.
Only the Lib Dems are even close on this one. The Labour Party are all over the shop. The Tories are obstensively together, but watch this space.
I see a blood bath coming and coming soon.
Here's a thought – could that Remainer Teresa May be playing a very clever game. Could she secretly be hoping the Scots et.al. force her hand and make her accept a “soft” Brexit which she may have wanted all along.