On Thursday, I was interviewed by a mainstream Swiss newspaper. Switzerland, of course, is not a member of the EU. The reporter’s first question went something like this: "My country is a democratic country. We always enact the result of our referendums. We greatly admire your country, especially your House of Commons. Please can you explain why it is refusing to enact what the people decided? Your MPs who do this seem to us to be enemies of the people."
I try to avoid that phrase "enemies of the people", because it has the ring of Communist denunciations of anyone who opposes them, but what other words fit?We need to go back to fundamentals to understand the magnitude of the breach. Parliament, government, the Crown have no natural right to impose their will on individuals - the divine rights of the sovereign having been out of fashion since the Enlightenments. No, we have a Social Contract, under which we permanently suspend certain of our individual natural rights to collective authority. That deal works two ways - as individuals we accept the rights of those to whom we have granted our authority to govern, necessarily at times acting contrarily to our individual wishes. As a parliament and government, they are obliged to comply with our collective democratic will, be this in the form of an election that produces a government or a Referendum that mandates a clear solution.
If Parliament breach this Social Contract, if Parliament truly becomes the 'Enemy of the People' as that Swiss correspondent suggests, then how can they expect we individuals to continue to grant Westminster our authority? Their behaviour breaches principles of democratic accountability for which our forbears have shed blood. Jefferson captured exactly the mood;
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.I pray the ninnies, unicorn-chasers, naive credulous fools, babblers, mirror-gazers and assorted half-wits on the green benches recall their duties next week.