It feels like an astonishing U-turn. Only a few months ago, several Brexit-supporting papers were urging readers to ditch EU membership in favour of ‘taking back control’ and returning sovereignty to the UK parliament.
Our laws and policies must be decided by politicians in Westminster not Brussels, went the cry.
Over the past 24 hours, those same papers have had a near-meltdown over a High Court decision to allow the very same UK parliament to decide the terms of our departure from the EU.
In what seems like quite a reasonable and sensible approach to negotiating our way through this complex and contentious process, our 650 MPs will debate through our terms of exit before Article 50 is invoked.
But according to some sections of the press, this seemingly democratic process will actually signal the end of democracy.
The Daily Mail led the way, as it often does in these situations. Throwing in a contemptuous dig at one of the court judges for being ‘openly gay’ along the way, the paper called the decision a ‘war on democracy‘ and an ‘outrageous betrayal‘.
The Daily Express went even further, pronouncing ‘November 3, 2016 was the day democracy died’ and stating that the decision has plunged the country into its darkest crisis since World War Two.
The Sun called it a ‘Brexit betrayal‘, while UKIP’s Nigel Farage came out of the pub to demonstrate once again how marginalised he is by the British media establishment by penning not one but two editorials in national dailies in which he tried to claim that 17 million people had clearly voted to leave the single market and nothing more needed to be discussed.
Judging by the headlines and sentiments expressed, you might have thought that Brexit itself had been cancelled.
But Brexit is still going ahead. All this decision means is that, rather than Article 50 getting rushed through by a government that doesn’t seem clear on what it’s doing, it will happen following proper parliamentary discussion. Given the importance of the issue, this is the least that we should be expecting to happen.
But as usual, these papers would rather stir their readers into a frenzy than calmly and rationally explain the situation.
The papers were keen to highlight that the majority of MPs are ‘remainers’, stating that they will use this as an opportunity to overturn Brexit. But we live in a representative democracy. The MPs are there to represent their constituencies, not to vote according to their individual preferences.
Any MP who defies a constituency that voted to leave is pretty much signing their own political death warrant and parliament knows full well that if it tries to ignore this vote, there will be serious unrest. Many ‘remainers’ have already pledged to respect the decision of the public throughout the process.
These papers obviously don’t trust our MPs or our political processes. Which kind of defeats the whole point of voting for parliamentary sovereignty in the first place, when you think about it.
Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.