Will Hutton manages to equate his own views with reality and truth:
Britain is a country of the European Enlightenment, or so I have thought. For decades, we have muddled through without a written constitution. But the impact of a referendum that went against majority opinion in parliament, along with a desperately weak parliamentary opposition, a weaponised rightwing media and lack of mass support for the rule of law, has shown how vulnerable our civilisation is to know-nothing populism and a profoundly dysfunctional democracy.
Enlightenment values – tolerance, respect for the importance of fair debate, checked and balanced government, objectivity and impartiality, recognition of international interdependencies – are being trashed. Matters could get very ugly, very fast. It is not just Europe we are leaving, but an idea of Britain.
The Enlightenment was much more about insisting that people should be left alone to get on with what they want to do than anything else. Freedom of religion, of commercial occupation, these are enlightenment values, no?
Ever since the referendum, I have been filled by a growing sense of foreboding as a series of catastrophes in the public sphere has unfolded. Britain is being recast, but not for the better. How our democracy works, the chance of there ever being a liberal, social democratic government, how we relate to our EU neighbours, the prospects for our economy and even Britain as a home for Enlightenment values, all are now in question.
Liberal social democratic government means, here, that we all tug our forelocks as we do what Will Hutton tells us to do.
We think we know who she is. Yet her right remains untamed and dominant, obsessed with Ayn Rand individualism, deluded by dreams of a new British empire and keen to create a fantastical, low-tax Britain, as a European Hong Kong.
A European Hong Kong means we get to tell Willy to fuck off and we go do our own thing. Which sounds rather more enlightenment to me.
It would actually be interesting to run the vote along these lines, wouldn’t it?
All those in favour of Willy ruling say Aye!