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Taming This Brexit Beast Before It Devours Us All

07/11/2016 11:39

Gina Miller and three High Court judges have overnight become lightning rods for the rancid, reactionary poison of the Brexit crew - the chest-beating, Union Jack waving Little Englanders who believe the world has never been the same since Britannia stoped ruling the waves and we had an empire so vast that upon it the sun never set.

If we did not know it before we certainly know now that what is at stake when it comes to Brexit is even more important than either its economic or constitutional consequences, it is common human decency. Brexit, driven by xenophobia, anti-migrant bigotry, and an ugly British nativism that takes as its starting point the notion of Britain as no place for foreigners, constitutes an existential threat to the social cohesion without which society is plunted into a war of all against all. The eruption of right wing bile on the front pages of the right wing press in response to the High Court ruling leaving no doubt of it, legitimising hate speech and confirming Friedrich Nietzsche's admonition that, "When a hundred men stand together each of them loses his mind and gets another one."

The irony of the fallout from the High Court judgement on Article 50 is so rich you couldn't make it up. Howling at the moon over a judgement that confirms the sovereignty of the British Parliament from those who fought an EU referendum campaign on this very basis confirms the extent to which the issue has succeeded in turning the rational irrational and revealed the utter mendacity of the Brexit campaign.

As for those who hold to the referendum result come what may, claiming that democracy is being undermined, they must think the rest of us are fools. Ten people do not walk off the edge off a cliff just because a majority of them insist they should. Turning back from disaster is not about undermining democracy, it's about turning back from disaster. And Brexit is by now undeniably and inarguably a disaster.

Theresa May's tenure as Prime Minister will succeed or fail on the basis of her ability to sail HMS Britain out of the swamp that the last captain of the ship, David Cameron, steered her into. Thus far she is failing and failing badly, to the point where we are currently rudderless in the middle of said swamp without a compass, actual or moral.

As for Jeremy Corbyn, his role in the Brexit farrago has been woefully weak and incompetent. The charge that he only maintained a pro-Remain position out of pragmatism in response to a shadow cabinet that would brook no other position from the party leader is hard to refute given both his lacklustre performance during the referendum campaign, and now with his response to the High Court ruling. Taking the Prime Minister to task over her facile "Brexit means Brexit" mantra does not achieve much when your own position amounts to the same idiocy. At a time when millions of people across the country who were either always pro-EU or are now in response to this looming catastrophe, at a time when they are crying out for a leader to make a strong case for a second referendum the leader of the Labour Party has gone awol.

Brexit, it bears repeating, is the UK manifestation of the rise of the far right across Europe in response to the worst economic depression since the 1930s. And just as then, the political centre ground collapsed to open up space over which the ideological right and left found themselves contesting. Eight years on from the eruption of the economic crash in 2008 it is a battle that has been won by the right with the argument that the housing crisis, crisis in the NHS, low pay, and dwindling public services are a consequence of mass migration rather than austerity and the maldistribution of wealth and resources, along with a lack of investment from a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

Gina Miller and three High Court judges have rendered the country a massive service in firing a shot across the bows of this Brexit beast. It is now up to the rest of us to join what is now a battle for the right to live in a society underpinned not by xenophobia and the values of fortress Britain but by common human decency.

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