From the BBC this week:
The Lib Dems’ motion said that if the party became the government at the next general election, it would revoke Article 50 – the law that ensures the UK leaves the EU.
Earlier, Ms Swinson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “If people put [the Lib Dems] into government… the stop Brexit party, then stopping Brexit is exactly what people will get.
“Everybody can see we are stuck, that Brexit is in a mess. There needs to be a way out of that.”
Moving the motion in Bournemouth, Sir Vince said: “Brexit will make us poorer and risks breaking up our United Kingdom.
“We must stop it and we will.”
He added: “Jo [Swinson] is ready to steer us back into government as our new captain.
“And now, I am full of confidence and hope for our party and for our country.”
The Liberal Democratic party pledges to cancel Brexit. Of course they do. They probably won’t win the next general election, but still, it’s a brazenly authoritarian pledge to make. It’s a dictator’s declaration, a clear two-finger salute to democracy and majority rule.
Jo Swinson speaks of her love for democracy just like the rest of her fellow MPs, but in reality she seeks to be a dictator and her Lib Dem colleagues want to be a ruling oligarchy. Or rather, she and they see establishing such a government (and granting themselves such power) as a temporary evil necessary for the preservation of good society.
To their minds, only an idiot or a xenophobe or else someone who had been tricked into thinking otherwise could possibly disagree with EU membership being nothing but a force for economic and social good in the UK. Therefore, it’s justified to overrule the choice of 17 million voters and treat them like second-class citizens because, as morally or intellectually deficient people, they’re undeserving of an equal say in how the nation is governed; they have no moral or intellectual claim to such a privilege.
That’s usually how human beings rationalise treating other human beings in ways they wouldn’t want to be treated themselves. They reduce them to lesser beings, they find a way to see them as a morally or intellectually lower group of people who are thus undeserving of equal rights or treatment.
Rather like how white intellectuals rationalised slavery during the 18th century. The primitive existences of Africans were seen as proof that black people were incapable of governing themselves and being citizens in a civilised society (we can’t give blacks equal rights! They’ll only hurt themselves and others, and drag society down!).
Jo Swinson and her kind see the EU referendum result as proof positive that the common man is incapable of governing the nation and therefore must be excluded from the process. (We gave the common man the chance to steer the nation and the fucking idiot has driven us towards a cliff!). Swinson and her fellow MPs are, of course, convinced that they know the ‘correct’ course on which the nation must be and are ready and willing to ‘take the helm’.
That the leader of a mainstream political party is prepared to establish oligarchical government just to stop the UK from leaving the EU, demonstrates that she, like most other MPs, have become convinced that functioning, peaceful, prosperous society is simply impossible without EU sovereignty over the British people. In their minds, it’s an absolute. It’s all or nothing, life or death. And that’s what is driving their extreme political behaviour.
Brexit has been referred to as a divorce by the media. Going with that analogy, the political class in the UK is behaving like a teenage son threatening to kill his mother unless she stops trying to divorce his father. The son has convinced himself that happiness is impossible without his family unit remaining intact. Never being happy again is an intolerable situation in his mind, so he resorts to a shameful and wrong course of action that ordinarily he would never dream of doing.
The political class and a significant minority of the UK has convinced itself that exiting the EU would turn the UK into a squalid society of ignorant, xenophobic little-islanders happily cut off from European culture. Being forced to live in such a society is an unbearable thought to them and would be an intolerable situation, so they’re resorting to political behaviour so extreme that it ordinarily wouldn’t even be an option because it would be deemed unthinkable.
But times have changed. The minds of MPs like Swinson are in the grip of absolutism, as is much of the public mind. The unthinkable is now very much thinkable. What four years ago would have been considered extreme action is now considered the only sensible option; those who would have been condemned as political extremists are now cheered as strong, smart leaders who just want to do the sensible thing and put a stop to all the Brexit ‘chaos’.
Just as the son in our analogy abuses his physical power over his mother to prevent her from doing something she wants to but he doesn’t want her to, British MPs are abusing their parliamentary powers to stop the voting majority from doing something they want to but which MPs (and a significant minority of the public) don’t want them to.
The fact that the political party which has pledged to cancel Brexit (and thus casually overrule the sovereignty of 17 million voters) is named the ‘Liberal Democratic’ party is a reminder that we live in a political age of corrupted language where words mean nothing and anything. Liberal means illiberal. Democratic means undemocratic. Democracy means dictatorship.
The only way to intellectually navigate this kind of environment and come out on the other side is to keep your eyes fixed firmly on what is being done rather than what is being said. Politicians continue to talk pretty words about democracy, but what they’ve done with it over the last three years – and what they’re intending to do with it – is ugly. Very ugly.
Democracy can morph into dictatorship much easier and quicker than people think. Especially when a significant portion of the population is actually willing to vote themselves (and everyone else) into living under some form of economic/social dictatorship just so they don’t have to change their passports.
Jo Swinson has promised to clear up the ‘mess’ of Brexit and bring order back to politics and society. She’ll keep everything just the way you like it and a new peace and prosperity will naturally follow, all you have to do is simply vote her into power and let her use that power as she wishes.
This is the siren call of the wannabe dictator, and hers is not the only one. And from what I’ve seen, the British public has little capacity or desire to resist it. We can only hope I’m wrong.