2020 is proving Brexit was never the problem of the last three years. The problem was politicians
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BY TOM HARWOOD
Last week saw as many as three impossible things before breakfast. The Prime Minister stuck to his own timetable on the Iranian crisis with no dip in popularity. Agreement was found to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Revised Withdrawal Agreement sailed through the House of Commons with a stonking majority of 99 votes.
Years of wrangling and chaos, party defections, national elections, largest defeats in history, carnivals and sound stages on Parliament Square, a city of tents on College Green, seas of national flags, and incredibly angry beret clad permanent protesters all went up in smoke. The conclusion was suddenly foregone.
It’s easy to miss how momentous this moment is – and what it means for the future.
The last week has proven that those who argued Brexit was never the problem – duplicitous politicians were – have been thoroughly vindicated. The dozens of smug left wing think pieces about how Brexit was a unicorn pipedream that vanished when confronted with the real world have been proven all wrong. The ‘Intractable Brexit mess’ was really not so intractable after all.
It is now easy to see why. The ‘Brexit mess’ was never about Brexit, it was about a rogue Parliament refusing to honour its promises to the people. It was about a rudderless Government repeatedly bowing to the demands of jumped up self-important politicians and well-heeled lobby groups. The Philip Lees of this world are now consigned to quickly forgotten footnotes.
It’s funny how quickly all of the political momentum behind the anti-Brexit movement has evaporated. The ‘People’s Vote’ imploded. The astroturf anti-democracy youth groups have vanished. Now the best the most fervent anti-Brexit euro federalist party can campaign for is an inquiry into the Brexit campaign.
I have a feeling that once the UK leaves the only inquiry that the public will be demanding is one into the behaviour of those who tried to prevent the implementation of a democratic vote.
Future generations will look back upon the bizarre non-Brexit period we suffered through and wonder what were these people thinking? Extension after extension, conspiracy theories that would make David Icke blush, and the relentless presentation of arguments that would have nullified every democratic decision since the Great Reform Act.
Thank god we’re moving on.
No longer a real and present threat, attempts to overturn democracy now look as farcical as they always should have been. Opposition politicians are finally saying what they should have committed to in the first place.
Free market conservatives must not let the country forget the chaos created by the political class. It’s entirely right for the public to maintain a healthy scepticism about politicians, their motivations, and their promises. Too many times those in the corridors of power have proved that they cannot be trusted.
The only way to make sure we limit the chances of another politician-confected crisis is to take away as much power from Governments of all levels as possible. Time to hand that power back to individuals.
Tom Harwood is an award-winning journalist and commentator. Follow him on twitter: @tomhfh