Category Archives: UK EU membership referendum (2016)

Compared with this parliament of fools, Pinochet was a democrat

The British parliament, writes Dalrymple,

voluntarily called for a referendum on the issue of Britain’s EU membership, on the understanding that the government would abide by the result.

Since then, the parliament

has done everything possible to oppose, obstruct, delay, dilute, or straightforwardly annul the implementation of the result, which was unexpected.

Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats,

has said that if a second referendum were to take place, she would accept the result only if it were in the direction that she favoured—that of remaining in the EU. War is peace, freedom is slavery, liberal democracy is the unopposed rule of the leader.

Guy Verhofstadt, one of the leaders of EU-loyalist members of the European rubber-stamp parliament,

has sided with those who have striven might and main to overturn the result of a vote that no one can deny was democratic while simultaneously trying to cover themselves in the mantle of democracy.

In other words, says Dalrymple,

true democracy is the rule of the right-thinking, and the purpose of a referendum anywhere in Europe is—as under Napoleon III—to provide legitimation for a decision that has already been taken.

He adds:

By comparison with those who have attempted, and are still attempting, to obstruct Brexit in Britain, Augusto Pinochet was a democrat. When he lost a plebiscite, he stood down.

Verhofstadt

prefers as democrats those who, like the British MPs in the middle of a political impasse, refuse to hold elections in case the electorate gets the answer wrong again.

 

Motherfucker of parliaments

The political class has set itself against the people’s will

Dalrymple writes that the temporary suspension of Parliament by Boris Johnson

has been depicted, in the world’s Press and in Britain, as all but a coup d’état, the manœuvre of an incipient dictator, at the least an authoritarian measure.

It is, he says,

the opposite. It is designed to prevent a coup. The mirror-image of truth has largely prevailed.

Three years of manufactured chaos

Dalrymple lays out the facts.

Parliament agreed to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Although it had no force from the purely constitutional point of view, it was not intended as a glorified opinion poll and it was implicit that the winning side would decide the issue. No strong objections were raised in advance by those in favour of Britain remaining in the EU because they felt they would win with ease. Despite — or because of — the support of David Cameron and Barack Obama for the campaign for Britain to remain, those in favour of leaving gained 52% of the votes. Parliament, the majority of whose members were in favour of remaining, passed a resolution in obedience to the result; it would have been too brazen a defiance of the popular opinion that they had canvassed to have done otherwise. But having done this, they opposed both the deal negotiated by Theresa May and the withdrawal of Britain without any agreement. The EU had reiterated that it would not renegotiate the terms: it had no reason to do so, given May’s surrender on all fronts. Thus Parliament wanted neither the only deal then possible nor no deal.

The élite knows best

Parliament was

attempting to prevent any kind of withdrawal whatsoever, even in May’s extremely attenuated form. It set itself up against the will of the people as expressed in the referendum. Parliament was expressing its authority over popular opinion, presumably on the ground that it knew best what was good for the people on whose opinion on the question it had sought. If anyone could be accused of mounting a coup, albeit a slow-moving and indirect one, and of political authoritarianism, it was Parliament.

Suppose, says Dalrymple, that the vote had gone the other way — that 52% of those who voted had done so to remain.

Does anyone suppose for a moment that the disappointed leavers would have refused to accept the vote and manœuvred to thwart the will of the majority? A few might still have argued for eventual withdrawal, but would not have obstructed or threatened the continuance of the government as the remainers have done. Who are the democrats round here?

Those who demonstrate against Johnson’s manœuvre

do so because they claim to want Parliament to have its say. But Parliament has had its say for three years, without resolving the issue, and with a determination to thwart implementation of the resolution it had passed — because it never had any intention of carrying out the people’s wishes as expressed in the referendum.

Dalrymple notes that

to hold a plebiscite and ignore the result is now a European tradition, but to call it a democratic procedure is to twist the word beyond any possible meaning. Both the French and the Dutch publics voted against the proposed European Constitution by a wider margin than that by which the British voted to leave the EU, but got it anyway in a revised form, as a binding treaty rather than as a constitution. The political class thus triumphed over the population, banking on the fundamental apathy of the latter. But this a dangerous game.

Outraged dignity

The protesters against Johnson’s manœuvre

are not trying to defend parliamentary democracy, about which they do not give a fig: what they are protesting against is that the votes of those persons whom they consider ignorant, uneducated, prejudiced and xenophobic have a chance of being taken seriously, indeed as seriously as their own. This is an outrage to their dignity.

But as Dalrymple points out,

the educated are not ipso facto wiser than the uneducated, nor are they necessarily the stoutest defenders of freedom, a fact evident on many American campuses where opinion is free only as long as it coincides with the doxa. Among the greatest foes of freedom today are many of the educated. They are the anointed whose vision must prevail, and mirror-image truth serves that end.

He adds that

time is short, but ample enough for further betrayal.

The political class is a law unto itself

A real ray of sunshine: Philip Hammond is one of the leading Quislings

The anti-Johnson protesters are enemies of democracy

Dalrymple writes:

You would have thought, from the howls that greeted Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, that he had appointed himself prime minister for life. Our democracy was in danger, said the demonstrators, meaning that Johnson’s manœuvre had made it harder for Parliament to obstruct the wishes of the people as expressed in the referendum.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, he says,

was right when he said that the outrage was bogus: it was that of a spoiled child who doesn’t want to go to bed.

Plebiscitary democracy,

in which a government puts questions to the population in the expectation of getting the answer it wants, is dangerous. The modern European tradition is to hold a plebiscite and take no notice of the result if it is ‘wrong’. This is what the demonstrating ‘defenders of democracy’ want. If they had objected beforehand to the procedure, pointing for example to the absurdity of deciding so complex a question on the basis of a single vote decided by 50% of the votes plus one, they might have had a point. But they did not. They expected to win the referendum and only turned against it because of the unexpected result.

Parliament, Dalrymple points out,

has conducted a long rearguard action against putting into effect the vote that it called. The majority of MPs were opposed to Brexit, but instead of coming straight out with it, they prevaricated so long and so efficiently that they almost scuppered the whole process. Having canvassed public opinion in a supposedly binding referendum on a vital subject, to ignore the result can only strengthen the impression that the political class is a law unto itself.

The opinion of the populace solicited and ignored

Britishers who wish to remain in the European Union are demanding a second referendum, dubbed a ‘people’s vote’, as if, writes Dalrymple,

the previous referendum had somehow excluded the people. By the word people, they mean, of course, the people who agree with them: the others are not truly of the people, they are enemies of the people.

It is not certain, though it is likely, that the remainers would win such a referendum. If they did not,

the whole situation would be once more up in the air; but if they did, Britain would join the lamentably long list of European countries in which the opinion of the population had been solicited and then ignored, either simpliciter or by means of calling another referendum to get the answer right according to the opinion of the bien pensant bureaucracy.

Dalrymple notes that if this were to happen,

one of the main aims of the European ‘idea’ or ‘project’ would have been fulfilled: the abolition of politics in favour of technocratic administration by a supposedly wide and solicitous, but certainly self-appointed and self-perpetuating, class of bureaucrat.

The legacy would be

a deep and bitter division in the British population, and increased tension in other countries in which support for the European Union is far from rock-solid.

The purpose of Macron’s unified European army

Emmanuel Macron has admitted, Dalrymple notes, that if a referendum had been held in France, there would have been a larger majority than in Britain for leaving the European Union,

though this has not dampened in the slightest his ardour for ‘deeper’ union.

Perhaps, says Dalrymple, we should wait for the EU

to blow itself apart.

On the other hand, he says,

the political determination to keep it together, whatever populations think, is considerable and should not be underestimated. Macron’s unified European army is not to defend Europe from outside invasion, but to repress the population should it ever revolt against the EU élite.

Why Dalrymple voted for Brexit

Dalrymple spends part of every year in his house in Shropshire

Despite the fact that the European Union is far from being the cause of all the country’s problems, the outcome of the 2016 UK EU membership referendum steers Britain away from a potential monster, Dalrymple tells an interviewer.

Although no sensible person would liken it to the Third Reich or the Soviet Union, the EU nevertheless bears the seeds of an unfree state. It wants to force different peoples together in an artificial union. Dalrymple notes that Belgium is such a union: it holds together, more or less, but to do such a thing on a larger scale is to court major problems.

And the argument that the EU is the only way for Europe to play a role on the world stage can be swept aside. The EU has shown only weakness.

The European project, says Dalrymple, is little but misplaced megalomania.

 

The low intellectual level of people at the centre of power in Britain

Dalrymple writes that the title ‘director of communications in the administration of David Cameron’ is one that is

instinct with dishonesty. At least one knows what a second-hand car salesman does.

One holder of the office, a man called Craig Oliver, has written Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit. The book is, says Dalrymple,

one of the worst on any subject that I have read in a long time. It is a blow-by-boring-blow account of Mr Cameron’s referendum campaign, principally in the media of mass communication, to keep Britain in the European Union.

Dalrymple notes that

a very bad book may, in its own way, be highly instructive, as this one is. If mediocrity can ever be said to shine, then it shines from these pages.

Oliver,

though a journalist, has no literary ability whatsoever.

  • He writes entirely in clichés.
  • There is not a single arresting thought in over 400 pages.
  • Wit and even humour are entirely absent.
  • He seems unable to use a metaphor, almost always tired to begin with, without mixing it (‘We are likely to succumb on this if they get on their high horses and cry foul‘).
  • He has no powers of analysis.
  • He has no sense of history.

There is, Dalrymple concludes,

no plumbing his shallows.

Oliver was

at the centre of power for several years. Everyone around him, including the prime minister, comes off as just as uninteresting as he; though it has to be admitted that the author could make Talleyrand seem a bore.

The one outstanding quality that these mediocrities seem to share is

ambition. It is disconcerting for the citizen to be faced so starkly by the fact that ambitious mediocrity is now the main characteristic of those who rule him.

Dalrymple points to

the abysmally low cultural level of the British population, including of the most highly educated class, as this book amply demonstrates.

An elementary error of logic

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-22-25-43The campaign to leave the EU may, says Dalrymple (from 12:35), have appealed

to xenophobes. But it is an elementary error of logic to argue that if xenophobes voted for leaving, then those who voted for leaving were xenophobes. The fact that so many supporters of Britain remaining made this error suggests that education and the ability to think are not identical.

He notes that the implied corollary

was that there was nothing to choose between continued support for, and submission to, a corrupt and self-serving political élite on the one hand, and beating up foreigners on the street on the other.

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-22-32-08

The crumbling EU soft-dictatorship

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-09-45-45Dalrymple suggests that many of the 52% who voted for Brexit in the UK European Union membership referendum might have done so

because they feared that the ‘European project’ was the creation of a vast sovereign state to slake the thirst for power of megalomaniacs of the political class, impossible of even minimal democratic oversight, a giant Yugoslavia.

The leaders of France, Germany, and Italy have said that they want to push forward to closer political union. Dalrymple comments:

Consider the following. The French government, whose legitimacy no one will deny even if he denies its competence, is attempting some weak reforms of the rigid French labour market. This has resulted in months of conflict and continued violence. But at least the reform is the work, or attempted work, of a French government. Imagine if the reform were imposed by fiat of a European government despite the opposition of the French government and members of the European parliament.

Dalrymple: why I voted Leave

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-14-10-23Dalrymple explains in an interview (from 1:02) that in England, as in many other countries, there is a sense that

the political and intellectual élite has formed itself into a caste that is completely separate from the rest of the population.

Dalrymple voted Leave in the 2016 UK European Union membership referendum

for political reasons. The EU is a political project which will reinforce this tendency to have a small caste that is separate. You only have to go to Brussels or Strasbourg to see people who haven’t paid for their own lunch for 40 years, who’ve never seen anything except from the back of an official car. There’s no possible way of the EU being even minimally democratic, of having checks and balances.

Dalrymple points out that the founders of the EU

intended this from the very first. They knew better; they did not think the population should have any say. We can see this when referenda are held: the result is always against what the political élite wants — and the political élite takes no notice.

On the subject of the young English people who voted Remain, Dalrymple says that these youths

were of the part of the population that expects to benefit from our highly corporatist State. They expect to be, or will be, in the élite, which is why they are in favour of schemes that are in the interests of the élite.

Young middle-class British Remainers claim to be concerned about ‘the future’, but, says Dalrymple,

if you look at Greece, what future do young Greeks have? 50% of the young in Greece are unemployed. In Spain it’s 45%, in Italy 25%.

This does not worry young middle-class Britons.

It doesn’t worry them because they are not going to be among the 45% who are unemployed.

It does not worry them because they are

not of the youth-unemployment class.