We all remember how many Brexiters used 'Democracy' and 'Sovereignty' as one of their core arguments for voting to leave the EU. Their simplistic argument relied entirely on creating a caricature of the EU as deeply undemocratic and corrupt, and how it would be a triumph for democracy to retake political decision making in the UK. It didn't matter that many remain voters pointed out that the UK has a completely unelected head of state and an unelected civil service, not to mention that the 800+ member House of Lords is the most bloated unelected legislative chamber in the whole world. Many Brexiters didn't care that their vote to leave the EU would simply strengthen these institutions, as well as hand more power to the most ludicrously right wing and anti-democratic forces in British society. It is true that anyone with any knowledge about the 'vote until you get it right' Irish Lisbon Treaty, the TTIP corporate power grab or the appalling treatment of Greece by the European Commission, will know about the contempt for democracy that runs throughout EU institutions. However, out of all the countries in the EU, the charge that EU institutions are anti-democratic must have looked by far the most ridiculous, coming from the UK. In spite of all this, Brexiters bought the democracy argument in their millions.
Fast forward a few months and this professed Brexiter love of democracy and sovereignty has been completely reversed in wake of the High Court decision that Theresa May has absolutely no right to invoke article 50 and begin the process of quitting the EU without first gaining parliamentary approval. Suddenly, Leave voters are out in force condemning the ruling by a British sovereign court to let the British Parliament have a democratic say in the article 50 process. Many of them are upset that the British Parliament will probably try to undermine their anti-immigrant, economically suicidal 'Hard Brexit' pipe dream that they have been fantasising about. They wanted Theresa May to draw up a fanatically right wing Brexit strategy and then impose it on the British public without the slightest bit of parliamentary scrutiny, and now they are throwing their toys out of the pram because the high court has ruled that this would be anti-democratic. Furthermore, many of these are the same people saying they wanted British law made in British courts. However, if you are going to turn around and say that you are opposed to British courts having a say in the law as soon as they introduce a piece of legislation that you don't like, you can't of cared about the issue of sovereignty all that much in the first place, and we're clearly just using it as a catchy slogan to discredit the opinions of anyone who disagrees with you. It is quite extraordinary and utterly hypocritically how these people operate. If the concepts of democracy and sovereignty are useful to their argument then they won't shut up about them, but as soon as the concept of democracy starts to get in the way of their 'Hard Brexit' wet dream, they suddenly prefer dictatorial authoritarianism with no democratic scrutiny whatsoever. It's bad enough that Theresa May even tried to contest the case that she simply should not be allowed to bypass parliament and go ahead with Brexit on her own. In fact, there is little better way of demonstrating to the public that she is a savagely right wing authoritarian than trying to give herself the power to make huge decisions without any democratic oversight.
One of the most bizarre reactions to the high court decision comes from the UKIP leadership contender Suzanne Evans who has upped the anti-democratic extremism game. Although Nigel Farage has said that he will not be supporting Evans campaign to become party leader, he has made illusions to wanting to march on the high court, presumably so he can stay relevant. This is especially ironic given that since their inception UKIP have been the flag bearers for the democracy and sovereignty argument against the EU. I presume then that Evans won't have a problem with me reasonably assuming that UKIP are a party with no respect for democracy whatsoever. After all, Evans objects so strongly to the decision that she has called for the judges who made the decision to be sacked. Brexiters like Suzanne Evans want a dictatorial and right wing Prime Minister to go about the article 50 process with no democratic oversight or analysis at all, and if the courts say otherwise, they want the judges sacked. Against a backdrop of racist violence and far right propaganda coming from extreme Brexiters, the idea of sacking judges for daring to uphold democracy is extreme stuff. Saying that, relying on UKIP members to make appropriate statements is like relying on the world to stop turning, these were after all the same party who said that Brexit was achieved 'without any shots being fired'.
Unsurprisingly, the reaction from the right wing press in the UK to the court decision, was equally as inappropriate and hypocritical. The front page of the Daily Express for example contained a ridiculous assertion that ‘November the third 2016 was the day when democracy died’. As far as the fascistic journo’s at the Express are concerned, an unelected Prime Minister trying to completely bypass parliament is ‘democracy’ somehow. This is such an absurd piece of ‘Dictatorship is Democracy’ logic that it could easily fit into George Orwell’s famous dystopian slogans that ‘war is peace’ and ‘freedom is slavery’. That said, this headline is only weeks detached from an equally as terrifying express front page that tried to change the definition of democracy to include locking pro remain MPs up in the tower of London. Unbelievably however, the Express are by no means the worst culprits of this kind of democracy revisionism. In an article decrying the judicial decision, the extreme right wing hate publication, the Daily Mail, attacked Judge Terrence Ethron for being ‘openly gay’. Within Half an hour or so of the article going up on the Mail’s website, the newspaper proved they knew how disgraceful their line of attack was by removing the homophobic wording from the article headline. However, the main text of the Daily Mail article continues to expose details of the Judge’s personal life for what seems to be no other reason than to negatively highlight his sexuality. The unfortunate thing about this deeply irresponsible ranting from the right wing press is that millions of gullible idiots will simply lap up the drivel they’ve red in their preferred propaganda rag, and actually believe that this ruling in favour of parliamentary sovereignty is the attack on democracy that the right wing hacks are telling them that it is.
The UK is rapidly becoming a very intolerant place where the ideology of Brexiterism is held supreme by a number of extreme right wingers, and other considerations like parliamentary sovereignty, democratic scrutiny of the actions of the government, judicial independence and freedom of speech are continually being slung onto the scrap heap. Within a matter of months the Brexit camp has gone from singing the praises of democracy and asserting the sovereignty of the UK parliament, to a cacophony of anti-democratic shrieking because the High court has ruled that the UK parliament Is sovereign and should have a vote about whether the Brexit plan Theresa May and three Brexiters eventually manage to cobble together is good enough to justify invoking article 50 and beginning the process of quitting the EU. Of course, people voted for Brexit for all manner of reasons, not just because of the ‘democracy’ argument. However, for those who did somehow buy into the Brexiter democracy argument, then this anti-democratic wailing from Brexiters like Nigel Farage or Suzanne Evans, must surely be a massive ‘you’ve been fooled’ sign, that is pretty hard to ignore.