Today however I am genuinely reflecting on his aphorism from "Beyond Good & Evil",
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into thee"I find the behaviour of our Prime Minister and of the Leader of Her Majesty's opposition beyond the pale. I am angry and upset by what appear to be their joint efforts to manipulate a genuine constitutional crisis to their own shallow political ends. However, in the spirit of the quote above I shall attempt to moderate my language. Intemperate language leads inevitably and inexorably to inhuman behaviour such as Friday's events in Christchurch.
1. We live in a representative democracy. This means we elect MPs whom we charge with exercising their discretion in forming and running a government. If we don't like what they do we get to change the cast of MPs at a general election.
2. We had a referendum in 2016 that narrowly approved leaving the EU. Please don't believe all the nonsense of the "biggest mandate in history"; 51.9% to 48.1% is marginal. We have had higher voter turnouts in nearly all the general elections between 1945 and 1992 (we just have a bigger population now and general elections are not binary choices).
3. The referendum was not constitutionally binding.
4. Since the referendum we had a general election explicitly called by Theresa May in 2017 to give her a mandate to deliver her version of Brexit. The British public did not give her that mandate.
5. The 'government' and its 'opposition' (and those inverted commas should drip with sarcasm) have utterly failed to govern or to represent over the last two years. Whilst I had some sympathy for Theresa May at the beginning of her tenure and some time for Corbyn's 'man of the people' act, I find them now both beneath contempt. Neither has shown any leadership. This is not the MPs fault.
6. MPs now have a choice:
- Sail over the cliff edge into the abyss of No Deal
- Some form of customs union with the EU (Norway+ or whatever)
- Or repeal Article 50 entirely and remain
The trouble with these two is the EU is under no obligation to accept any deal other than that which Theresa May has already obtained and had roundly rejected multiple times. So to propose a new deal at this stage risks no deal. We can only unilaterally repeal Article 50, we cannot unilaterally amend or postpone it.
I don't think that a general election would help as the two main party leaders are inept and there is no adequately funded alternative. Likewise why have another referendum unless you agreed to have another one again after that. The trouble started by having a referendum in the first place with a massive complex set of issues absurdly reduced to a binary choice.
So the choice is not "deal or no deal". It is slightly less catchy "no deal or repeal"
Sadly I suspect that the former is more likely.
What a fucking mess!