But how is the world viewing us now? The ‘Mother of Parliaments’ and model of democracy - just take a look at this article.
But let’s step back a moment and calmly consider what is happening. For whatever reason Parliament decided to have a referendum. Anyone on any bus, in any supermarket queue or in any pub knew it was going to be close. One side was always going to run a more effective campaign than the other. That happens, as it did with the General Election in 2017. But having decided to hold a referendum, Parliament, all MPs and the Government, had forsaken their right to decide the policy. Of course, there are legitimate arguments about what form Brexit takes, but those seeking to stop it are bang out of order! We are a democracy, we have to accept the result of the ballot box. In failing to do so risks the very fabric on which our civilisation is founded.
But now we face another twist on how we got here. Frankly, I have always thought what Donald Tusk is now saying was probably what happened, and I do agree it was daft to even contemplate a referendum. It was a brazen political manoeuvre, like the one Harold Wilson made in the 1970s. But Wilson was a seriously adroit politician. He was in control and won, both by keeping the unions on his side and staying in Europe. This is different. Cameron does not have Wilson’s political skills or instinct.
There are, as far as I can see, only two possible explanations to Donald Tusk’s comments and neither are palatable. He might be telling truth, but what does that mean? It means he has broken what he himself described as ‘a confidence’. He is President of the European Council – an office of trust. And yet, at a crucial time, he chooses to break a major confidence. To break it any time is unforgivable and demeans his office, but why now? He is meddling in the affairs of this country and trying to influence them for what he thinks is for the good of the EU. Now, whilst his role is to protect and do his best for the EU, that isn’t possible, especially if no-one trusts you and why would anyone ever trust him again if what he now says is true?
Of course, he may not be telling the truth. The story is being denied, but then as they say on the street, “it would be, wouldn’t it”.
So, we are left to choose between the holder of the office of President of the European Council lying for political advantage, or breaking a confidence for political advantage. Neither sits easy. How can he ever be trusted again, let alone trusted with confidential sensitive information? I can’t help but wonder what the Queen thinks of it all. She has probably been privy to more sensitive and confidential information that anyone else alive, and it has remained confidential.
Frankly, if anyone was looking for another reason to leave the EU, Tusk has just provided it. When you cannot trust your allies and partners it’s time to move on.
And then we have the spectacle of Blair peddling his way around Europe undermining both the British people and Parliament with a whispering campaign using British Embassies. Not to make too fine a point, but it undermines democracy in itself. I have asked the question before, “just who does he think he is?” Andrew Neil challenged him in a recent interview about him undermining Britain abroad. I have never found his softly spoken, “now let me put it this way” approach convincing, but my, how it failed in that interview.
It was Blue Monday last week and one of the possible signs of having a mental health problem is having strange thoughts, which translated into street slang means being delusional! I will not be alive in 100 years time to see how history judges 1990 to 2030, but I doubt Blair or Cameron will fare well. Tusk will probably not even rate a mention.
The United Kingdom is currently in a unique position. We have always differed between politics of left and right, sometimes decisively, sometimes narrowly, but done so accepting democracy and the view of the ballot box. We are now divided narrowly, not on those traditional lines but as leavers and remainers. How can anyone successfully lead the country to where it has said it wants to go when the wreckers who asked us the question are doing everything in their power, and indeed beyond their power, to deny the people their democratic decision.
What Brexit should actually be is a fair debate, but both Parliament and the EU are undemocratically trying to stop that. My fear is not what will happen economically because of the British people’s decision on whether it turns out to be right or wrong, good or bad, but the damage done to the trust between the people and Parliament, and between world leaders. We know there are world leaders you cannot trust, we knew that in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain waived his piece of paper and said, “peace in our time.” Wasn’t one of the goals of the EU (the political EU as opposed to the trading Common Market) supposed to be trust between member states?
As I began this blog… it’s all going to implode. Tragic.