So the High Court ruled that Parliament must have the final say on invoking Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the European Union.
The outrage from the tabloids implies that the High Court have decided to annul the referendum, when the judgement does nothing of the sort. It’s hard to imagine Parliament going further than delaying A50 notification or putting conditions on it. Though the referendum was advisory in a strictly legal sense, politically the only thing that could reverse the result is a second referendum. The apoplexy of the tabloids is very telling; it’s as if they know that the Brexit they’ve lusted after for years might be slipping from the grasp.
The Daily Mail front page today is chilling. The sovereignty of Parliament, the rule of law, and an independent judiciary are cornerstones of our democracy. The Mail rejects all of those in favour of what can only be described as mob rule, and does so using rhetoric indistinguishable from the far-right terrorist who murdered Jo Cox. They are putting lives at risk here.
When it comes to incitement to violence and incitement to racial hatred, both of which are against the law, the rightwing tabloids have been sailing very close to the line for years, and have been allowed to get away with it. Has the Daily Mail crossed the line? Will anyone in authority have the guts enforce the law?
And as I’m writing this comes the news that Tory MP Steven Phillips, who is pro-leave but believes Parliament needs to be involved in the process, has resigned his seat to force a by-election. A clear sign that Daily Mail does not speak for all Leave supporters, let along the country as a whole.
What the High Court ruling has probably done is made a so-called “Hard Brexit” that never had majority support in the country far less likely. And that is almost certainly the real reason the tabloids are throwing their toys out of the pram.