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The Brexit “deal” whose perpetrators are lauding it with hysterical fervency in the hollow echo chamber of the elite bubble is not, as many claim, a betrayal. For once, commentators and journalists are guilty not of exaggeration but of euphemism. The unconditional surrender of fundamental British rights and interests that Theresa May tendered to the blackmailers and bullies in Brussels last week was much worse than the casual betrayal that is the common currency of politics. This was treason.
To give away tens of billions of taxpayers’ money, none of which is owed, to a foreign power is treason. To surrender control of this country’s frontiers is treason. To subject Britain to the jurisdiction of a foreign court of law is treason – and has been since the Statute of Praemunire in 1353. Overarching all this is the further infamy of having been expressly commissioned by the electorate to do the opposite and having given assurances that commission would be executed.
The accusation of treason, in this instance, is in no degree hyperbole. Review every instance of those hanged at Tyburn for treason between the 16th and 19th centuries and you will be hard pressed to find a single case, across four centuries, where the condemned traitor did as much material damage to this country’s vital interests as was inflicted by the Conservative leadership and her accomplices on 8 December, 2017.
This is becoming very serious – and for reasons not exclusively related to Brexit. For most of the post-War years – with a decade’s interlude under Margaret Thatcher – many British people have come to a painful realization regarding those who govern them. Whenever they see their leaders, accompanied by the weasel “officials” who hone the sharp edge of betrayal, flying off to negotiate with foreigners they know that they will not put Britain first; that they cannot be relied on to defend this country’s interests against foreign powers; and that, on the contrary, they can reliably be predicted to sell Britain down the river.
The explanations for the masochism of Britain’s posture towards the outside world have varied. Post-colonial “guilt” was an early diagnosis, allied with tortuous Cold War politics that gave free rein to fellow travellers in influential positions. EEC membership from 1973 seduced liberals into adopting a new identity and a new patriotism, with allegiance transferred to Brussels.
This supranational identity among the elites, but not among the majority of British subjects, accelerated as the original trading alliance metamorphosed – or, rather, cast off the mask and revealed itself as the political project it had always been. Finally, globalism supplied the environment in which subordination of national interests to supranational ambitions became perceived not as treachery but a duty. Loyalty to Britain rather than to the European project became snobbishly despised as the Little Englander narrow-mindedness of the lower classes, the uneducated, the amorphous masses in flyover regions left behind by high finance and high-tech industries.
The political class succumbed to a new Gnosticism. As a privileged elite they shared a gnosis, an insight into the sophisticated realities of a world obscured from lesser mortals. It does not seem to have occurred to any of those hubristic initiates that this was precisely the mindset of the Cambridge Spies. And, like Philby and Co, the need to impose on society the inspired prescriptions of an enlightened elite made the notion of government by popular will unthinkable. “Democracy” was to be praised rhetorically but eliminated practically.
Until recently the vehicle for this denial of the popular will was the cross-party consensus, beginning in 1965 with the abolition of capital punishment in the teeth of public opposition then moving on to the imposition of mass immigration accompanied by the legislative suppression of free speech, a trend that accelerated with every decade so that free speech is now known as “hate speech”. What finally blew this soft totalitarianism out of the water was the referendum device.
Governments could always evade delivering on their manifesto commitments after a general election because such manifestoes were so varied that only a limited number of electors would be alienated by the non-delivery of a particular policy. But a referendum is different, as the failing political class is about to discover. Dismayed but not unbowed by the unprecedented vote of 17.4 million Britons to reject the European Union, the political class quickly rallied to frustrate the popular will.
First they tried to conflate a referendum result with the outcome of a general election by slicing and dicing Brexit into innumerable options: “hard” Brexit, “soft” Brexit, ditto the Irish border (actually the 310-mile land frontier between the United Kingdom and the European Union), Norwegian model, Liechtenstein model – a whole variety of manufactured distractions that had nothing to do with the straightforward decision of the British people to leave the EU.
Judicial activism was then mobilized to obstruct the popular will while the Government, perversely led by a Remainer Prime Minister and Chancellor, delayed for nine months before even invoking Article 50, on the grounds that time was needed for “preparation”; how prepared British negotiators were has been made evident more recently. What no one in foreign diplomatic circles can comprehend is why, in equal negotiations between two sovereign entities, the British Government ever agreed to the loaded agenda, led by discussion of a non-existent Brexit debt, and now ending in unconditional surrender.
The Trojan Horse of a “transition” period was another ploy devised by Brussels and accepted by May and her gormless colleagues. Having subscribed to Clause 49 we could remain in “transition” for decades. Now, as Nigel Farage correctly expressed it, we move on to the next stage of humiliation. All this blood, sweat and tears has been expended to earn the right to hear the Brussels wide boys expound just how appalling a trade deal they will be willing to offer us. And make no mistake, it will be a real stinker. The sharks have sensed blood in the water and they are circling Theresa May whose supine helplessness is provoking their aggressive instincts.
Meantime – pathetic spectacle – the Tory “Brexiteers” are going through the “Rejoice! Rejoice!” routine like uncool dads trying to kickstart the school disco. Boris Johnson, whose commitment to Leave was probably inspired by the toss of a coin and who recently blustered that Brussels could “go whistle” for its Brexit bill, congratulated Theresa May and babbled about “taking back control of our laws, money and borders”. That is Tory-speak for submitting to the European Court of Justice for eight more years, shelling out £39bn and rising to Brussels and subjecting the whole UK indefinitely to “regulatory alignment” (i.e. effectively remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union).
Michael Gove, routinely described as one of the most intellectual members of the Conservative Cabinet proclaimed: “Theresa May has won.” Do these Tories, celebrating abject surrender, have no intimation of the reaction of mainstream Britain? We have just seen the Chancellor struggling to balance a Budget yet now the Government has signed up to throwing £39bn (chosen because it sounds less than £40bn, though the eventual bill will be much more) at the spendthrift kleptocracy in Brussels.
The circuitry connecting governors and governed in Britain has been severed. This betrayal will not be accepted: we are watching the Conservative Party committing hara-kiri. If Nigel Farage chooses to return to British politics, to build a popular movement to deliver a clean, no-deal Brexi, he could sweep the legacy parties like roadkill off the highway of history.