(The photo shows the author going to a meeting he was co-chairing in the House of Lords on ethics and peace policy, in 1993)
Many of us are perplexed, angry and hurt about the antics of the UK House of Commons and its apparent inability to do the right thing, which all right thinking rational and ethically good people realise has to be done about brexit – namely hold a second referendum to consult again the will of the British people over the entire brexit fiasco.
We now know that the Brexit 2016 referendum was a con from beginning to end. Cameron did not set a proper limit to the number of votes needed to change the status quo, which is unheard of in referenda of this kind. Was he not intelligent enough to think it through ?
Secondly, the vote leave and Leave EU parties running the leave campaign both broke the law and cheated considerably, yet apart from being fined, nothing has happened. The courts ruled that since the referendum was advisory only, it was not something that could be annulled. This is false legal reasoning if ever there was. It opens the way to prosecuting Theresa May and her cronies for then interpreting the result as if it was legally binding, when in fact it wasn’t, and someone is now doing just that.
Thirdly, this fiasco is all resulting from Theresa May’s triggering of Article 50 when the referendum had been only advisory, and being helped in this process by a whole bunch of supine MP’s who didn’t know what they were doing. Labour and Corbyn are as guilty as anyone else here. Only the SNP and the Liberal Democrats adn greens and a few others opposed this move, and have been consistent in their opposition throughout.
The Labour Party is also complicit in this entire fiasco, since under Jeremy Corbyn, who seems to have problems with integrity and intellectual clarity, he has been a secret closet Brexiteer all along, as witnessed in his disastrous refusal, to let his MP’s vote in favour of a second referendum last week. He seems to think it is more important to spend time on his allotment or to defend himself yet again for the millionth time against the charge against being “anti semitic”, than actually acting as the leader of the opposition and bringing the brexit process crashing down. A Labour leader of the calibre of the late John Smith, would long ago have brought brexit crashing to its knees, by getting together with all sensible opposition to it, all the SNP, all of the Liberal Democrats, moderate and right-thinking conservatives, and even Sinn Fein across the water (who could have come to parliament for a one off vote at his request to bring the Brexit project down in the interests of all the people of Ireland and the UK) and yet – instead, he has been colluding within the Tory led Brexit machine like Marshall Petain in the Nazi occupation of France.
Finally, he is rumoured to be thinking of stepping down, but it is too little too late. If he can swop places with Sir Keir Starmer immediately – and Keir becomes Labour leader and Jeremy deputy leader, we might finally get some actual opposition to brexit in the Labour ranks. This should happen today !!! but I suspect it wont. They will have to drag Jeremy off in a white coat. He is going against labour Party policy which is now to call for a second referendum – and is in complete defiance of the entire Labour Party except a few hard line Brexiteers.
But the Tory Brexit machinery led by the ERG and the hard right, now annoyed that their plan to steam roller brexit through on a third vote has been blocked by the speaker, are determined to just have a short extension and then crash out with a hard brexit anyway. Or to try to bring some kind of amended Theresa May deal before the house, after trying no doubt to get rid of the speaker and overruling or replacing him. They will no doubt try a “vote of no-confidence in the speaker” which will fail, and then might try to find some arcane legislation to accuse him of “blocking government policy” and having him unseated. They might try having him declared insane and dragged from his chair by medics. They might, if all else fails, have him assassinated. Or they might do something very clever. Maybe they can activate their long term CIA asset namely Donald Tusk, and demand he make such a ridiculous and unreasonable demand of the UK for an extension (to pass the Theresa May deal) even thought the Speaker has ruled it out, that it will miraculous galvanise the nation against eh EU and lead to a happy hard brexit after all. Brilliant move.. Its a serious point – are EU officials vetted for members of foreign intelligence agencies ? Are UK officials ? I thought I could trust Mr Tusk, and then he goes and does something that stupid which is bound to annoy every right thinking UK citizen who had hitherto been trying to get the UK to remain in teh EU. I mean, that has to be a set up, right ? Or it could be fake news ?
These are dangerous times. Bring back the inquisition anyone ?
I want to observe something about the very nature of parliament and ask, as a transpersonal historian, if this is one of the reasons we are seeing that Westminster seems to be incapable of doing the right thing. Why is it descending into a nest of vipers, factions jockeying for power, where the voices of the good are being drowned out by the wicked and the evil.
Make no mistake about my position, I am, as Labour MP from East Lothian, Rt Hon,. Pat Macfadden said recently in debate, a “Hard Remainer” – I know the damage Brexit has already done to our country, and will do far worse once implemented.
I am appalled that our so called government cannot see this, and continue to go along into the abyss without a care in the world. But then it is run by disaster capitalists for disaster capitalist, and has been aided and abetted by a disaster socialist who has left his brain down on the allotment.
Theresa May is to me the very embodiment of ignorance and folly embodied in a form that you would not expect it from. When I met her and we chatted I thought she was rather intelligent and rather nice, so my fury at her brexit policies is also matched and amplified by personal disappointment. I feel it personally, as if one of my old friends has been found out lying about me behind my back, and doing the complete opposite of what she said she would. You know the type ? It leaves and deeply unpleasant taste in one’s mouth and a feeling of nausea in the pit of once stomach. This woman makes mendacity into a professional craft.
She has one way of redeeming this situation. She should immediately sack all the hard brexiteers in her cabinet. Announce a total U turn. Replace them with soft remainers. And announce a second referendum, to be accompanied by, on the same day, a general elections, three months from today. She should ask for an extension from the EU for one year to allow that result to be followed up and whoever wins the General election can them implement the result of the second referendum. That’s fair. That’s honourable. She should announce that tonight and see off her hard Brexiteer tormenters. If they refuse to shut up then they can leave the Tory party and join UKIP. She should bring Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve into her cabinet instead of Andrea Leadsom and her hard cronies.
Sadly however she doesn’t have the intelligence to see this is the right thing to do. She continues to bleat on about implementing the will of the 2016 referendum as if it were some kind of divine mandate. She ignores, totally, wilfully, ignorantly, the fact that the 2016 referendum was illegally run and gerrymandered. She says it will cause a lack of belief in democracy if the referendum is rerun, without realising that it is the total opposite of the truth. Not to have a second referendum is itself to destroy any trust in democracy. The voters have the right to change their minds. And the majority of UK citizens never voted for brexit at all, and the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland didn’t at all. So her narrative is entirely mendacious, selective and deceitful. We need to march on March 23 in our millions to insist on a second referendum. We have to take to the streets now to shake the arrogance of this disdainful and anti democratic and anti-intellectual figure.
To help this process, I want to offer here some historical reflections, as a historian, (of joint UK and Canadian dual citizenship), living in France and directing the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy which was founded at the University of London back in 1991. My opposition to Brexit is based on a profound study of peace options for Europe and the UK, and an intensive study of European, British and world history for the last 500 years, and a conviction that the formation and development of the European Union is a vital peace project that the UK would be very unwise to abandon at this point in history.
I think the majority of UK voters have also now come to a similar conclusion, having seen what brexit is doing to our nation, how it is very likely to leave us considerably poorer and how also it is 100% certain to see the rupture of Scotland from there UK, as the Scots never voted to leave the EU int eh first place. The mistreatment of Scotland’s voice by the Theresa May government has been constitutionally disgraceful, and I cannot blame the Scots for continuously stating that if brexit goes ahead they will leave the UK.
What I cannot comprehend is why is parliament so rude to them ? What is the matter with the Tory MP’s that they cannot seem to understand English ? Is it the Scottish accent they cannot comprehend ? Have they got such contempt and hatred and ignorance for their Scottish brethren that they are daring them or bluffing them ? Do they think they will be able to prevent Scottish independence on legalistic grounds for ever and a day, even after brexit and therefore have no care to listen to the warning from the SNP in parliament, which represent the great majority of the Scottish people after all ? The UK parliament is rapidly losing its right to be the UK parliament, and when Scotland leaves the UK, it will no longer be so.
Likewise, on the matter of Ireland, there is complete ignorance and disdain being shown by the government to the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland who likewise did not vote to leave the EU. But by making a cynical pact with the DUP, they are trying to implement Brexit over the heads of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland and without consent. It is likely this policy will totally backfire and we will see a successful second referendum fought, on the basis of the Good Friday agreement, in which the majority of the people of Northern Ireland will vote to rejoin the republic in a united Ireland. The Tory brexit will have brought this about. That much is historically certain. But there will probably be a resumption of fighting and bombing and killing in Northern Ireland before it happens. As Chair of the truth and Reconciliation Commission for Ireland and Britain, this is yet another reason why I believe brexit should be rejected by all right thinking and intelligent parliamentarians as the toxic and poisonous sludge it is, every bit as unpalatable as the radioactive sludge the government is dumping into the Irish sea without approval of Ireland and against all international environmental standards. This is precisely the sort of thing the European Union exists to prevent happening, another reason why this nuclear addicted government wants to get out of the EU which provides an extra layer environmental legal protection for the people of Europe.
This environmental reason for remain is yet another strong argument in favour of the EU, and Caroline Lucas, the sole voice of the green movement in parliament, has spoken up tirelessly against brexit and continues to do so, as she knows the negative impact brexit will have on our environmental standards as a nation. In a parliamentary system based on proportional representation the green party would have far more MP’s than it does now, and their voice would be listened to more intently.
But is the house of commons somehow congenitally unable to do the right thing ? How sound a place is this House of Commons that now claims the right to destroy our friendly relations with the EU after decades of mutual congress and well being ?
I have as a professional historian made it my business to find out what I can about the history of the commons as an institution. Since living in France I have discovered some interesting facts which shed a new and interesting light on why the commons seems unable to do the right thing.
It was the brainchild of Simon V de Montfort (1208 – 4 August 1265) who was also the Earl of Leicester, and whose father Simon IV de Montfort (c. 1175 – 25 June 1218) was the most brutal and ruthless and disgraceful thug of a crusading type that went against every single law of mediaeval chivalry in his ruthless campaign of extermination against the Cathars of South Western France.
Last year I help organise the Mary Magdalene conference in Betete, and Alet les Bains and visited the site of Montsegur and other Cathar places and researched deeply the story of Simon V de Montfort and his campaign of mass killings against simply honest people that he waged from 1206-2017. These are things we are never taught in UK schools about the lineage of the “founder of English democracy”.
This elder Simon de Montfort was a total fanatic, and reminds me of the worst kind of Brexiteer. There was no arguing with him, he was outwardly courteous, but behind your back was planning for destruction and massacre. If he was reborn now he would definitely be in Theresa May’s Cabinet.
This first phase of the Cathar crusade lasted from 1209-1215 and including such horrific episodes as the cruelty at Bram. At Bram, Simon de Montfort decided to terrorise the Cathars of the town he had captured, called Bram, near to Carcassonne, so he chose 100 men at random, some Catholics as well as Cathars, and had their eyes gouged out, their lips cut of and their noises sliced off, and sent them in a horrible mutilated column with the leading victim, allowed to retain one eye in order to lead them, and sent them walking to another Cathar town to warn the inhabitants to surrender straight away.
Simon de Montfort was himself very anti semitic, which is to say he hated Jews. He hated them on religious grounds as well as racial and political grounds. One of the facts about the Cathars is that they were philo=-semitic. So his rage against the Cathars was partly explained by this, and so was that of his son, Simon V de Montfort (1208 – 4 August 1265) the founder of the English House of Commons. I have never quite gotten over the sneaking suspicion that for the De Montforts and their anti-esoteric crusades, when they talk about democracy they actually mean “mobocracy”. The de Montfort’s were also always both complaining above all against Jewish moneylenders who they regarded as the devils incarnate. Funny how the word anti-Semite is always hovering in the air in the House of Commons, isn’t it ?
Now from the standpoint of transpersonal history, which is the particular field of history I am interested in, this tells us a lot. Transpersonal history studies the long term karmic cycles of events. It analyses how karmic cycles can recur over long intervals, and how reincarnational possibility becomes worked out as people’s karma is enacted and perfected life after life, and in a different historical context. As a field of history it is still in its infancy, and at what could be called a “pre-scientific” phase, drawing on authors such as Jung, Marx, Wilber, Steiner, Assagioli, Toynbee, Sorokin, and many others. I have written a PhD thesis on the transpersonal history of the period from 1945-2001 and have published over 35 books with some bearing on these complex matters. I have tried to interpret Biblical, Koranic and Enochian, and now also Marxist literature from the standpoint of transpersonal history, for one thing.
So from the standing of transpersonal history what can we say about brexit and the chaos in parliament ?
That the house of commons is a nasty and unpleasant place, in which truth speaking is not required, and indeed mendacity and lies seem to be the order of the day – and it was founded by an anti-semitic thug who hated intellectuals and the refinements of philosophy, preferring the sword as the way of doing business. He hated esoteric Christians or anyone who tried to follow the inner light of Christ and he hated the idea of the equality of men and women in seeking the peace of Christ in a open handed and open hearted free spirited kind of way. He was contemptuous of spirituality seekers of wisdom period. Sound familiar ?
Since it was founded, parliament has done many other deeds of utter folly: in the English civil war period, it got embroiled in war against the Christian Anglican king and his followers (called royalists) which was totally unnecessary. It sent Cromwell into Ireland to ravage and destroy its ancient culture, and to murder priests and burn monasteries and their precious libraries. Its ignorant attitude to Ireland goes a very long way back indeed. Its cruelty to Scotland is also a matter of record. It permitted the clearances of hte highlands when people’s lives and homes were destroyed to make room for sheep. It outlawed the Scottish culture of the highlands and persecuted the Jacobites ruthlessly, and was behind the massacre of Glencoe. It thought it did a very clever thing by shutting down the Scottish parliament and then muzzling Scottish voices ever since. It has sent spies into Scotland to stifle any independent thinking ever since and as we now know, it sent its secret agents to report on the working of the SNP ever since it was founded. No doubt it is still doing the same.. Yawn..
It legislated further anti Semitic acts and expelled all Jews from England, and regarded all this as right and proper., adn only reluctantly let them back because it thought they would bring some money with them, not because it was the right thing to do. It also legalised and legislated or Slavery for several hundred years, and persecuted Indian independence fighters who were using non-violence under Gandhi with long stays in prison. It sanctioned the killings of Indian protestors such as at Amritsar by never punishing the army officer responsible. It very possibly colluded in launching world war one unnecessarily because it was going along with an elaborate trap devised by UK intelligence to embroil Germany in a world war, against its will, adn then had the gall to blame the Kaiser for everything afterwards, as two Scottish historians have recently discovered. World Wear one was declared without even a vote in parliament being allowed beforehand.
The House of common also condemned the Quakers to extreme forms of punishment for daring to speak truth to power, and asking for the right to worship in silent prayerfulness, and to refrain from killing, The first sincere Christian pacifists, they were persecuted by parliamentary legislation and many of them imprisoned and punished harshly and most cruelly. One of their greatest poets, James Naylor, has a red hot poker pushed through his tongue, on order of the House of Commons, for daring to speak words of visionary spirituality. You are not allowed to speak that truth to parliament from a spiritual place of enlightenment, as Naylor did, or you get a red hot poker through your tongue, literally. I see shades of Simon de Montfort’s treatment of the Cathars however over this bestial act.
The House of Commons also enacted countless acts and bills against the witches and wise folk, or cunning folk of England, and they were hung, drowned and burned at every opportunity, especially by the extreme parliamentarians of the Puritan period, because they and their Witchfinder generals literally believed the devil was amidst them and had to be burned out by torture and cruelly. All this brutality was sanctioned by the house of commons and bills duly passed to make it legal. Again, I see shades of the anti Cathar persecutions, for it was out of Simon de Montfort’s brutality against the Cathars that the Inquisition was invented in European history. For the first time the idea arose in the mind of man that it was better to torture and kill devout souls because they believed in a more spiritual or esoteric form of Christianity than you did, and by killing them, you are actually doing them and yourselves a favour. I see shades of the Nazi holocaust in the inquisition, and indeed, there are direct lines of intellectual descent from the Nazi persecution of the Jews and their extreme anti Semitism, and the inquisitional persecution of the Cathars. The same inquisitional apparatus that was invented to fight the Cathars was soon unleashed against he Jews adn Moos of Spain. Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, a historian, wrote the standard history of the work of this inquisition, but left out its original against the Cathars. This explains also why Netanyahu doesn’t quite know what is going on either.. he doesn’t realise that his mistreatment of the Palestinians is exactly what the Inquisition did to the Cathars.
So is it any wonder, I muse, as a transpersonal historian, that extreme right wing, anti semitic and neo-Nazi forces are now rallying behind Brexit as a cause worth using every trick they can think of to coerce on the British people and the good people of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, regardless of consequences ?
This is the same thought world as Brandon Tarrant who opened fire on innocent New Zealand Muslim worshippers and shot 49 of them in cold blood – in the name of white racism, Donald Trumpism and the right to brexit against all the universe. His manifesto proudly proclaims his allegiance to exactly ht same far right racism that underlies Trumps desire to build a wall against Mexico, and the brexiteers hatred of the openness, the liberalism, the freedom of movement, the sane social and Christian democratic decency, of the institutions of the European Union.
So where does that leave us now, on March 20 ? We should march on Saturday 23 March and demand a second referendum, a peoples vote. If 5 million people come out in to the streets it can show the sinister and dark forces that have attempted a coup against our democracy and our membership of the European Union, that we will not let them get away with it.
Am I saying that parliament is a dark and sinister force and we should bypass it ? Not exactly. I am saying that parliament and specifically the commons does have a dark past, and that it behoves us to learn about that and understand it. I am saying it has been a nest of vipers and liars and puritanical and arrogant schemers since it was first born in the light of day.
I am saying that the UK parliament in Westminster needs reforming in ways to make it genuinely more democratic and a system of proportional representation needs to come in whereby the number of MP’s in any given party are exactly proportional to the number of votes cast for the that party in any given general election. The current system is utterly corrupt and outdated. This idea to gradually reform parliament and make it properly modern and democratic is what the Liberal Democrats are proposing. They are also 100% opposing Brexit so they speak for me in Parliament at this time and they speak for common sense and wisdom in our political culture.
I am saying the parliament should rescind, revoke and delay the article 50 process and do so for long enough to hold a second referendum on this whole matter. And also, following that, or perhaps before it, to hold a general election. We will need perhaps 2 years to do both these things. Then we will know exactly where we stand on Europe, and if as I hope, the majority decide to vote in favour of Remain next time, we will all be a great deal happier and economically and psychologically more secure.
For the second referendum however, the terms should be changed. There must be a threshold set. All voters over 16 should get to vote, and strict policing should prevent outside interference by foreign countries such as the USA or Russia, or any other country that might get involved in the referendum. Our our intelligence agencies should work to prevent all outside interference. And every intelligence office should be required to swear an oath of political neutrality on the outcome and promise not to interfere one way or another. Groups and individuals found to have broken the law during the last referendum should be disqualified from taking part (like Aron Banks et al).
This time there should be a clean contest between honourable parties.
Is this going to happen ? Well, I am a philosopher and a theologian and historian, and a peace scientist and future studies expert, and I can say one thing confidently – if this route is not chosen, and brexit is forced down all our throats without a second referendum, then you can kiss goodbye to the UK, and probably to the Monarchy which will not survive its break up. You can say hello to decades of uncertainty, growing poverty, chaos and conflict, as lawyers and politicians fight over what used ot be a great and glorious country, the United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland, living in harmony with its neighbours and was a proud and upstanding member of the European Union. You can say goodbye to all that, and I for one, am not prepared to watch this country of ours, go down without a serious struggle for truth and justice, love and wisdom. As coordinator of Philosophers for Historians for Peace, and Director of IIPSGP in the UK and Europe you would expect nothing less from me, surely ?