Not the ‘will of the people’


48% or 52% of an apple?

 

To Damian Hinds, MP for E Hampshire and Secretary of State for Education

 9 April 2018

Dear Damian

You may remember that I never accepted the validity of the 2016 referendum. I gave my reasons in a letter to the (Alton) Herald immediately after the result and last November I added a further ten reasons in a blog post which I shared with you. Only one voice disagreed with me. This was on Twitter and when I asked the anonymous author to specify which parts of my piece they disagreed with, they said ‘all of it’, because I was a ‘remoaner’. At the other end of the intellectual spectrum the people who agreed with me included a professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, which is where Einstein and Gödel worked. I sent you his comment as well.

Since November the reasons I gave have been confirmed or amplified, and shocking new ones have been added. Several of these influences alone could have swung the narrow result, and indeed were claimed by their perpetrators to have done so; acting together there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that they were responsible for the unexpected outcome.

If there was ever a case for claiming that there was a democratically expressed ‘will of the people’ to leave the EU, there is none today, certainly not for the kind of outcome which is now unfolding, so manifestly damaging to our standing in the world and to our national prosperity, and so utterly different from that promised by the Leave campaign.

The minority of MPs who favour leaving Europe are not behaving remotely like people who believe they have won an argument. Jacob Rees-Mogg has now added ‘Stone age’ to the insulting epithets thrown at half the nation. We have been called traitors, saboteurs, enemies of the people, worse. We have been accused of being unpatriotic and undemocratic. The few principled MPs who have sought to debate the issue, and the senior judges who confirmed they were right to do so, have been vilified and threatened.

Why are decent MPs like yourself not standing up against these outrages? Why do you not protest when the Leavers claim falsely that the Remain campaign, of which you were part, lied as much as they did? Why did Theresa May sup with Paul Dacre, whose paper has the distinction of being black-listed as an unreliable source by Wikipedia, the evening before she announced a fixed date for Britain leaving? Why did David Davies hurry back from a crucial opening session to meet the same man?

To take only one of the perverting influences on the referendum result that I have listed, you will no doubt be hearing people say that Cambridge Analytica and the Russian bots – whose micro-targeted and unattributable messages played on individual susceptibilities deduced by means of highly-sophisticated analysis (sic) of illicitly-obtained Facebook records – could not have had made enough difference to voters’ attitudes to swing the result. That is not what Cambridge Analytica said when they were boasting of undermining the campaign of ‘crooked Hillary’ to people they thought were going to buy their services in another democratic election. That is what these people manifestly do, and the various Leave campaigns paid them huge sums (possibly illegal sums, but that is a separate issue) for something. If you haven’t watched the Channel Four documentary which exposed this new way of perverting democracy then I think you really must do so and make up your own mind as to whether it could have been ‘edited’, as has been claimed, to give a misleading impression. This is an abbreviated direct link to the video: https://goo.gl/bvo4VV

We have also been told to ‘get over it’ and that ‘we’re leaving’. I’m not getting over it, and we haven’t left yet. I am not a fatalist, and neither was Winston Churchill when people must have been telling him to ‘get over it’ after Munich. I am a patriot, a democrat, and, stubbornly, an optimist. The other day I took a phone call from Lesley’s old pen-friend, ringing out of the blue from France. When I mentioned Brexit she had one word – ‘Stupid’. I find that more cutting than all the infantile abuse of the Brexiters, and I am trying to do something about it by writing to you.

Sincerely as always,

James

As you will see from the addressee list, I am copying this email to a number of contacts and to the editors of The Times, The Telegraph, the Guardian and the Observer. I am also adding it to my blog, Generally Speaking

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