The True Enemies of the People

Credit: Sheffield Tiger via Flickr

By Matthew Jordan

This week, the High Court ruled that Parliament will have sovereignty in the act of triggering Article 50. Unsurprisingly, this has upset some voters… who wanted to restore sovereignty to Parliament.

And it truly doesn’t surprise me. Around the world, 2016 has been plagued by anti-intellectual, right-wing populist politics, claiming pragmatism in the face of the real world, but actually being little more than the hypocritical ramblings of close-minded people.

This new movement, built largely on far-right policies, has been particularly driven by national printed media in the UK, showing similarities with Breitbart and Fox News in the United States. It often uses scare stories to warn readers of the ‘threats’ of the world, despite having no-to-little basis in reality for their claims. Over time these forces have come to feel more comfortable with expressing how they really feel, most recently publishing a wall of abuse aimed at the British lawmakers who ruled that the activation of Article 50, the start of an exit from the European Union, would require a majority vote in the House of Commons.

“ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE” the Daily Mail screams, channeling its founder’s own admiration for fascist works in an image eerily similar to a 1933 German headline, attacking judges for standing in the way of the people’s will. In particular, it decries one of the three as an “openly gay ex-olympic fencer” with the use of agenda-driven homophobia so clear it would make Mike Pence blush.

“LOADED FOREIGN ELITE DEFY WILL OF BRIT VOTERS” reports The Sun in a moment of strange self-examination. Yes, the newspaper owned by an Australian billionaire attacking the idea of parliament’s sovereignty deserves to be called out on their actions.

Wait. That’s not what they meant?

I could go on and on, speaking about the calls for Brexit opposition to be treated as treason or the vile torrents of misogyny and xenophobia directed at Gina Miller, the woman who initiated the lawsuit proceedings.

However, perhaps the greatest irony of the whole upset is that there is no real reason to be unhappy with the decision, provided you know how politics actually works. The decision guarantees that the methods of Britain leaving the European Union will be properly considered to find an option suitable for the British economy and for the British people. An exit from the EU is dangerous enough to the nation’s wellbeing, but the chance of a “Hard Brexit” in particular is much more so.

Overall, I can only hope that the fake patriotism that the right-wing media celebrates will only carry the new right so far. Demanding sovereignty may take power from one ruling body, but eventually someone has to take control. Lashing out at anyone who doesn’t agree with you will at some point leave you with no one who does. Kicking experts under the bus may provide just enough indignant rage in readers to win a vote, but sooner or later you run out of people who actually know what they’re doing.