How Boris Johnson has unleashed Brexit’s ‘demons’ | FT

How Boris Johnson has unleashed Brexit’s ‘demons’ | FT

November 12, 2019 68 By William Hollis


In what way can Boris
Johnson possibly be compared to Joseph Goebbels? Obviously, Boris
Johnson is not a Nazi in any way, shape, or form. But the astonishing
thing is that Goebbels, in a quite well-known
speech in 1933, said that the new
German state was one in which the
will of the people could be executed
by the government without the interference,
the unnecessary interference, of parliament. That’s what made this new order,
in a sense, really democratic. It’s a direct expression
of the popular will. And extraordinarily,
since the referendum, that is the way
many have spoken, and now the prime minister
himself has spoken in that way. And indeed he’s acted on it. He’s tried to remove
parliament’s involvement in the process of
resolving Brexit. He has rejected, or at least
argued fiercely against, the Supreme Court’s
intervention in that, and he now plans an
election whose campaign, whose theme is the people as
expressed in the referendum against parliament. And this is an
extraordinary transformation of British political discourse,
and in my view very dangerous. Well, it’s happened
because the referendum has injected a new element
into our constitution. Parliament necessarily
is involved in implementing the
referendum, but it can’t agree on how to do
so, and there is really no mandate for what is emerging
as the fallback position, which is a no-deal Brexit, which is
what they’re now fighting over. We’ve unleashed
demons here which are likely to be with
us for many years.