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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Enemies of the People

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Traitors? Terrorists? Corrupt bankers? Even more corrupt politicians?

No, just three British judges.

November 3rd 2016 marked a historic day in British legal history. The High Court ruled that the British government cannot trigger Article 50 (by this point probably the most well-known legal provision on the continent) without first consulting parliament. Now, this really is a fascinating development and much can, and already has, been said about it but unfortunately, my two months studying law hasn’t quite given me the fine-tuned expertise to fully analyse it. This is why I’m going to leave the legal stuff to the professionals. I’m also not going to give an emotive, Eurocentric plea for the UK to see sense. I’ve already tried that actually, but it didn’t seem to wash with the likes of good old Nigel Farage. An interesting fact, which I feel says everything you need to know about this character, is that after his successful propaganda war in the UK, he went on to wreak havoc on the other side of the Atlantic by joining Donald Trump’s campaign trail (I really am hoping that by the time that this is published he’s ‘just runner-up’ Trump and not ‘new commander in chief’ Trump). So now that we’ve established what I am not going to talk about, I’ll get to the actual point of this article – the British press.

Over the last year the British press has been absolutely dominated by the now infamous six letter ‘B’ word.  Thankfully for the UK’s international image, the world hasn’t been paying too much attention to its headlines. If they had, the Pound would be faring even worse than it currently is.

What so many Europeans still ask is ‘How did Brexit happen?’. Euroscepticism has been around for years but no one had ever taken it too seriously. So what was the driving force for its growth in Britain? The answer is quite simply, the British press. The newspapers have by any standards always been particularly vicious, but after David Cameron’s announcement of the EU referendum the naïve notion of an unbiased publication became an absolute fantasy.

November 3rd marked a historic day in legal history, but also one in media history. It was the day that the miniscule remnants of credibility still possessed by the mainstream British press were lost. If you think that I’m sensationalising, have a look at the best of the headlines published:

“The judges versus the people” – The Daily Telegraph “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE” – The Daily Mail “The judges who blocked Brexit: One founded a EUROPEAN law group, another charged the UK taxpayer millions for advice and the third is an openly gay ex-Olympic fencer” –  The Daily Mail

Openly gay? I mean what next? You soon may even have a female prime minister? Or something really wild like anti-discrimination laws.

I’ve left the best for last.

“Three judges yesterday blocked Brexit. Now your country really does need you…” – The Daily Express

The Daily Express really does put the icing on the cake because it not only hijacked the most famous poster slogan in British history, but also went on to form some Pulitzer worthy paragraphs. My favourite being:

“Today this country faces a crisis as grave as anything since the dark days when Churchill vowed we would fight them on the beaches.”

As if this wasn’t enough exaggeration for one article it goes on even further to make its most melodramatic statement yet.

“Truly, November 3 2016 was the day democracy died.”

I’m still trying to convince myself that this isn’t satire. Within one article it managed to compare a judicial decision to both World Wars and pronounce the death of democracy. Who doesn’t see the obvious correlation?

These headlines give just a taste of the venomous atmosphere in the UK. Whether you’re a Brexiteer or a Remainer, pro or anti regarding this judicial decision, is completely irrelevant. Any British person with any feeling of national pride or patriotism (which ‘supposedly’ was the main reason for leaving the EU) should be ashamed that this is what their press has become.  Brexit has left a country divided and the media is capitalising on it like never before.

If people would get only half as angry at journalists for the melodramatic muck that they spew out, as they get at judges for doing their jobs in a professional and well-reasoned manner, then the country would be in a far better place than it is right now.

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