It is nothing new that politicians change their minds, I suppose. And neither is it a shock to learn that it is happening under our noses. But I do find it increasingly disturbing that the rhetoric being spouted about Brexit is not being challenge for the junk and twaddle it most clearly is seen to be.
Take one example, uttered by Liam Fox MP sometime during the week of the Brexit crisis in December 2018. The BBC reports him as stating that the developing events in Westminster could mean that Parliament would “steal Brexit from the British people” if the deal proposed by Theresa May was not accepted. This is not just twaddle, but it is disingenuous twaddle. He knows that this is twaddle too, which makes his disingenuousness all the more twaddle-some. And we know that he knows this, and he knows that we know that he knows this, and yet somehow it just gets said and nobody holds up their hands in visible horror. Instead, it is just one more appalling affront to the democratic process in the stable and secure (currently) nation.
All the while that such rubbish is spouted those who ignorantly voted to leave the EU in 2016 are reinforced in their annoyance at what is happening, and they are determined all the more to retain the divisive language that shouts, “You lost, get over it” at any passing remainiac. It is not that it is unfair to show such triumphalism, but it is exquisite idiocy to continue to claim that democracy is being undermined when the very people who represent us in the democratic process are being vilified for doing their job, a job that we, the people, asked them to do for us, and since the referendum as well.
Liam Fox is not just wrong, but he should be held to account for using such lies to continue the idiocy—especially as an MP. He should be challenged about his misuse of democratic rights such as freedom of speech when the words he uses are lies. Not only is it a legal inaccuracy (the referendum was advisory — how many more times must this be pointed out?) It is a rhetorical and philosophical deceit that he is knowingly perpetrating. How can a notion such as Brexit be stolen? It is an idea and ideas morph. The advice of the British people who voted in June 2016 was that we should leave the EU. 30 months further on, we now see it as being an impossible task and so, as pragmatists, the nation needs to review.
We are great at pragmatism. It is what keeps us afloat. And now that Brexit is threatening to derail the government, it is our dogmatism that is doing for us all. Pragmatism is not a failure, neither is it a deceit. Pragmatism reflects upon the context and considers new ways to act. Dogmatism is a sturdy and dangerous adversary to pragmatism. Where pragmatists seek to reconcile, dogmatists seek only to overwhelm. In a time when division is becoming politically palpable, and where it will take very little to ignite a violent outburst, dogmatism is the political equivalent of not putting the tin lid on the box of fireworks.
Please: can we have our democracy back?