Game Over?

You know what we need now? A massive extra shock to the system. I mean. Brexit? Meh! We can do far worse than that, can’t we? What’s this I see skulking unnoticed in the news.

Sneaking out bad news in between Christmas and New Year when we will be too drunk to notice? Or maybe just butthurt that the “snoopers charter” is illegal? (I mean, who saw that one coming?)

So here is the plan that the enemies of freedom* want to foist on Theresa May, who (to be fair) clearly has her doubts about it:

  1. Brexit happens.
  2. Britain withdraws from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) pretending that this is anything to do with Brexit, even though the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU at all. (In fact it is an older institution we set up to stomp on any attempted Fascism in western Europe after WWII. Gee, I wonder what  sort of person would want to undermine that?)
  3. Promises given that equivalent Human Rights will be put into British law as a Bill of Rights some time soon.
  4. Those promises turn out to be lies.
  5. A glorious Singapore style future ensues in which nobody cares that there are no Human Rights and not much Democracy either because at least the trains run on time. (Well, nobody will admit to caring anyway. It’s not safe to.)

Of course, this is not how that plan will actually go. (Least of all the bit about the trains running on time.) The best laid plans of mice and rats…

There are two ways it can actually go:

The “good” scenario is a story only about the UK as the idiocy is contained and dealt with here:

A majority of MPs stand up to the enemies for freedom and make the Bill of Rights an absolute prerequisite for withdrawing from the ECHR and then either the whole thing doesn’t happen or it all does and we have a Bill of Rights which provides a more or less similar level of protection to the ECHR. That second option would not be perfect. The enemies of freedom’s next step would be to pervert the UK Supreme Court but at least they won’t go down without a fight. On top of that we still get all the pain of Brexit but we do survive as a democracy so this is a “good” scenario.

The bad scenario sees British idiocy dovetail with global idiocy to destroy us all:

  1. Hard Brexit happens. The economy suffers. Factionalism and division increase with everybody looking to blame somebody other than themselves and hoping to get rid of Human Rights legislation in order to more freely persecute their groups of choice.
  2. Britain withdraws from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) pretending that this is part of Brexit.
  3. Promises that equivalent Human Rights will be put into British law as a Bill of Rights turn out to be lies. It dies a quiet, slow death like the Jenkins Commission did.
  4. Scotland leaves the UK saying that it can’t help us any more than it already has and that all it can do now is try to save itself. This leaves the Rump UK looking a lot like a one party state with no checks on the hubris of that one party.
  5. The Rump UK slides gradually into a sort of semi-Fascism akin to that of Spain under Franco. This is bad and it is also bad for business as it massively accelerates the post-Brexit exit of businesses and jobs from the Rump UK. The Rump UK slides first into recession and then into depression.
  6. Trump happens. Fills the US Supreme Court with the sort of people who will disregard the US Constitution entirely. Fake spat with Russia. Massive and genuine spat with China. Big fight with the UN. Whole thing spirals out of control. Trump withdraws the USA from the UN and NATO when it doesn’t go his way.
  7. The UN is hamstrung by lack of funds and support. Think of it as The League of Nations II. Sensing weakness, other nations keen to suck up to Trump, to avoid their responsibilities under international law, or just to save money, leave too.
  8. There is no international law. There is global chaos with wars, imperialism and piracy. China is in charge, insofar as anybody is, and anything is legal if you call it “counterterrorism” or simply if you don’t get caught.
  9. Obviously, international trade can barely function in this environment leading to a global depression leading to poverty, starvation, disease, even more war and (oh, I think I missed out one of the four horsemen, ah, yes) DEATH. Without much left of NATO, the EU survives largely because France’s nuclear capabilities make it still too dangerous to mess with. Meanwhile the Rump UK, already in depression gets hit harder than most.
  10. Democracy comes to be seen by many as a 20th century aberration, another failed experiment like Soviet Communism. Others see it as the high watermark of a dying civilisation. Democracy clings on in the EU, India, Canada and a few other places, but it is feeble and shows no sign of spreading.

So that really could be a situation where everybody loses including billions of people who never did anything as stupid as to vote for Brexit or Trump.

The strange thing is that anybody seems to want to push us that way. It is not like anybody benefits. China looks like the closest thing to a “winner” here but I don’t see them pushing for this. (Maybe they are asking themselves who they are going to sell their stuff to if the rest of the world is screwed?) Yeah, I know, Trump is completely insane but who are the enemies of freedom in the UK? What is in it for them? Can they not see that this is a fire that consumes them as readily as anybody else?

So, if you are in the market for a New Year’s resolution for 2017, let it be this:

Believe in Democracy, Human Rights and the just and impartial rule of law as truly global values that are every single person’s birthright. No state has the right to deny these things to its citizens (or to anybody else), even if it does trick them into agreeing to it in some sort of crazy plebiscite.  And the next time you hear somebody trying to tell you that Human Rights are a bad thing ask them how they think they will like it when it is their turn to be thrown out of a helicopter. Fascism always starts out trying to fight the “other” but it always ends up in a (literal or metaphorical) bunker murdering its own.

Don’t let 2017 be the year that The Enlightenment died.

* – Yes, I know “the enemies of freedom” is a vague and silly phrase, and that even Trump’s own cheerleaders use it thus rendering it both ironic and meaningless, but it is clear that there is something of an authoritarian hegemony forming that transcends political parties or national boundaries and it lacks a proper name. I am certainly not alleging an organised global conspiracy here (because those never work) but it is this vague confluence of vested interests that I am talking about.

Update: Since writing this I have become aware that there is something odd going on. It may be that I don’t understand the institutions entirely or it may be an attempt to play “bait and switch”. First up there are two courts. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). People talk about the “European Court” a lot, sometimes relying on implied context to distinguish them, other times probably not knowing which one they are talking about and sometimes possibly in a wilfully confusing way, so I am going to make no apology for being confused. It now seems that the plan, insofar as there is a plan, is to pull out of the ECJ but not the ECHR and to avoid stating this clearly. This may be part of a wizzo scheme to give both sides what they want but it sounds more likely to end up with both sides feeling betrayed. For me the ECHR is the line in the sand that can not be crossed without a tacit admission that the UK intends to abuse human rights like they are going out of fashion (because they are!). If I am right, the situation may be slightly less bad than I fear above. Even so, this is not clear and the Tories are not to be trusted on this.


January 1, 2017. #Brexit, Politics, Sensible.

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