22nd June 2016The second was the morning of the result. It was a glorious June alpine day, and even at 6am the sun was blazing and I had the big wooden double windows at the front of the house thrown open. I wrote this as I watched the valley below start its day, unaware of the earthquake, and with the scent of new cut hay from the meadows perfuming my coffee and the joyous sound of birdsong as a backing chorus mocking the shellshocked BBC broadcasters.
On this penultimate day I'd like to offer a few reflections and pose a few questions, largely those arising from two events - last night's TV debate, and an unnoticed 10 minute broadcast by Roger Scruton.
I've long admired the work of Roger Scruton, particularly that which I perceived as acting against Totalitarianism and towards the growth of an effective and empowered citizenry. Roger has also long had a view that the purpose of our democratic structures is to homogenise and deradicalise populism; if legislation were enacted immediately on the back of public sentiment, we would have had capital punishment after the murder of Lee Rigby. Roger holds the abilities of MPs and of Parliament in high regard. What I think he's missed is that we no longer trust our MPs, for instance, not themselves to use say the murder of Jo Cox to introduce repressive and Totalitarian measures. MPs are sadly not so well informed or so altruistically disposed as Roger would have them - and we ordinary people not so radical nor so ill-informed that MPs are required to act on our behalf.
So Roger's 10 minute Sunday broadcast ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07flhwb ) against petitions is a diatribe (if one can call such gentle disapprobation) against direct democracy and in favour of representative democracy. People are not capable of making wise choices when given simple binary choices; things are more nuanced, more complex and only our informed and deliberative Parliamentary system is capable of dealing with such matters, including the Referendum, says Roger.
He's wrong, of course. And it pains me to say so. He once valued Burke, and I would direct him back to Burke's little platoons; the smaller the realm of decisions to be taken, the higher the quality of those decisions. The more local the associations, authorities and interests with which we interact, the better the knowledge and the choices. MPs are now a part of a global cabal, a political class that views the world internationally, alongside global corporatism and global finance. They are not therefore well placed to make decisions in the interests of our shires, our towns and metropolii.
And that was demonstrated last night in the BBC debate with a participative audience of 6,000 ordinary people to whom Roger would deny the vote. They were no less well-informed than the experts on the podia, and far better represented the interests of the British people.
Leave or Remain, whatever comes out of tomorrow, I'd always, always trust my future to the votes of all enfranchised Britons whatever their station in life than to a political class no longer wholly trusted or wanted by those voters.
24th June 2016
I'll be posting later when my wits and thoughts are collected - at the moment I'm still reeling. I stayed up for the Newcastle / Sunderland results - and when it became clear the picture had changed, snatched a doze and stayed with it. Now I can only say the feeling of lightness as an ugly and enervating succubus has been taken from our backs is wonderful, but with it now comes a duty of responsibility. We must re-weld our people - all our people - back into one nation. We must do it without hate or rancour, and those brave enough to vote Leave are well placed to show their privileged 'Remain' brethren who have either suckled at the dugs of the beast or been its dags how it's done.
I remember the memorial service of Ralph Harris, Lord Harris, at the church in Smith Square just over the way from the EU Kommandantur. God, he would have loved this day. He wrote:
Liberty carries with it individual responsibilities. Responsibility for yourself, and hopefully your family and as far as possible your neighbours. But it does throw responsibility onto our own shoulders. Well, that's what living means; it doesn't mean shrugging off responsibility and taking soft options.
I have confidence in my land and my people and that things have not quite yet gone so far that we cannot rescue the greater part. God bless you all.