There is a sleazy, international body of espionage against democracy – the “advisors” and campaign consults who care nothing for democracy, employ neo-fascist populist strategies to manipulate public opinion with data-mining techniques, and construct the iterative and blatant lies that Boris Johnson, Donald Trump in the USA, and Australia’s Scott Morrison and their administrations and Ministers live and breathe.

They are the agent-provocateurs of a brand of neo-liberalism, so extreme that it is authoritarian to the core, that serves the wealthy and corporate greed at the expense of democratic government, and bullies backbenchers who exhibit any recalcitrance about the disturbing antics of their leaders.

These “alt-right” ideological fanatics reflect a disturbing inclination to treat as “fake news” coverage by any media that is not at the centre in propagandising this surreptitious war against democracy, a core business of News Limited and the Murdoch empire.

The election of such a monstrous simpleton to the White House as Trump and the 2016 Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, where a mere 37% of the registered voters elected to vote leave in the referendum, are cases of how damaging and effective their strategies can be.

These strategies divide the nation, capture the terms of debate in the context of Opposition timidity and a false interpretation of democratic voting processes in referenda. The consequent chaos, racism [for that was a core element of the 2016 campaign – remember the lies about Turkey and foreigners taking jobs?] and fading civility are a deliberate ploy of the apparatchiks to control the outcome, promoting calls for the government to “get on with it” and the labelling of “Brexit fatigue” as a facile motive to leave the EU with or without a deal.

The essential condition of the Brexit debate lay in that almost universal misunderstanding of the function of referenda in a democracy. This is clear from the Commons debates, the failings in Cameron’s Bill, and in the passing of the legislation for the 2015 Act setting up the referendum. And the errors persist in, and perpetuate the present crisis. In the week before another deadline passes, the debate is dominated by mantras calling on all to “respect the result” that expressed the “will of the people”, something that statistically, logically, and politically did not exist. The 52-48% result merely indicated that the vote was split with a narrow margin of a minority of registered voters choosing leave outvoting those who chose remain. It provided no information to support a view in reasonable times that the people collectively wanted to do abandon membership of the European Union.

Its best indication – borne out by the subsequent polarisation of views on Brexit – is that no clear position was established and this raises serious questions about the morality of Theresa May’s and the Tories’ decision to push ahead with Brexit.

Meanwhile the back room conspirators put in place their plans for the transformation of democracy into a corporate model. This is characterised by deregulation of work and the environment for busines profits that is clearly demonstrated in Johnson’s omissions from Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. It is a package promoting “small government”, which is code for asset-stripping services, privatisation – code for selling them off to profiteering corporations, often foreign – and abrogating responsibility for the welfare of the people.

This latter offence against democracy is buried in the ideology – principally emanating from religious extremists from the US and used to justify ultra-right Republicans abuses in government – of blaming the poor for their poverty that is inflicted by a system that is at absolute odds with core democratic principles. These principles include equity, government support for the vulnerable, fairness, and justice for all. Insidiously, these offences are compounded by the neo-liberal mythology of free-trade, the cruel myth of “trickle-down” economics, a lie of the grossest implications, and the persistent denigration of the “nanny state”.

Brexit’s flight from regulation – a core element of Boris Johnson’s mendacious campaign against Europe – and his hubristic and unsupported claims of Brexit benefits for the British people must be seen in the offensive, calculated and ideological preparedness of Brexiteers to lump the costs on the British family of this foolish adventurism into the dark, conspiratorial world of Domenic Cummings and Steve Bannon. And the costs to the economy to small business and agriculture are there for all to see, for those not buried in their intractable but inarticulate beliefs that we must leave the EU.

They are consistent, though, these Brexiteers, in their dishonourable and self-deluded lack of respect for the citizens of the country. Their callous Brexit calculations – which they seek to hide – must be seen in the context of almost a decade of austerity, the punishment of the British people for the excesses of the moneyed classes, the profiteers, the speculators, and the corporations whose overarching mission is greed and accumulation of the national wealth.

These are characteristics of the poisoning of our political system where government becomes the handmaid of Greed, the protection of vested interest, the diminution of civil liberties, the death of truth, the proliferation of misery and poverty, the sell-off of public services for private profit. The Parliament harbours collaborators at the highest level who willingly conspire with the saboteurs, whose aims and objectives are the re-engineering of political, social and economic systems for extreme corporate greed. Brexit is at once a project of their authoritarian revolution against representative democracy and a smokescreen for its implementation.

We are let down by the timidity all those Parties and Party factions that claim to be progressive when politics and Brexit have become a battle for the future liberty in an age where technology, manipulation of information, and sophisticated propaganda techniques are fooling the people into giving up the benefits of an open society for the delusions of Brexit’s political, economic and social model for Britain. The lessons of mid-twentieth century Europe, which led to the establishment of the EU, have clearly been forgotten by too many and the spirit of Goebbels lives on.

James McDonald
[originally posted 27 October 2019 on Brexit Insider, a Facebook group]