No exit: quick notes on the temptation to look for legal solutions to political problems

Cautiously pessimistic

geldof-in

The aftermath of the Brexit vote has certainly been upsetting and ugly in many ways, so it’s understandable that some people have taken comfort from the recent High Court judgement that put an extra obstacle in the path to Article 50. But while this reaction may be understandable, it’s also misguided, and potentially quite dangerous.

The reasons why people voted Leave are many, varied, and complex, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just pick out one common “bad” reason – dislike of migrants – and a prominent “good” one – resentment of the power held by undemocratic, unaccountable, bureaucratic institutions. These motivations can be picked apart, and we should try as hard as possible to separate them, because the more closely they become tied together in equations like “resentment of the power held by distant, unaccountable elites = voting Leave = hating migrants”, the more dangerous the situation becomes.

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