THIS WEEK? Unelected Lords and Ladies really try my Patience
CHANCES are that you may never have heard of a woman called Patience Wheatcroft.
These days she can be found in the House of Lords but on her way up the greasy pole she was an editor of both The Sunday Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal Europe.
In fact, she had the sort of distinguished career that most jobbing journalists can only dream of, so you would be forgiven for thinking this piece was originally written in green-with-envy ink.
But it wasn’t. The reason that Baroness Wheatcroft (as she now is) has got my goat is that she wants the House of Lords to stop the UK leaving the European Union.
She says she can see a way that the Lords could hold up a Bill if legislature is lodged relating to “Article 50” – the mechanism which will see us freed from the shackles of the EU once Theresa May pulls her finger out. Now, this will be very good news indeed to the Remainers – or, as they are also known, the losing side of the argument.
But it’s not very good news for democracy, is it?
Even the most ardent Remainer must surely see that defying the will of the majority of voters in the EU referendum is going to lead to trouble.
Worse still, if the Baroness was to get her way, it would mean the House of Lords – whose members are elected by precisely no-one – flicking two fingers up at the electorate.
And in that regard they’d be doing precisely what the European Commission – again, elected by precisely no-one – has been doing to the UK for years.
So what we’re essentially talking about here is the well-heeled elite who are entirely unanswerable to the great unwashed doing what they always do – which is pretty much what the hell they like.
When people talk about some imaginary rift in this country post-Brexit, it is normally from the mouths of bitter Remainers who refuse to accept the majority verdict.
But where there genuinely IS a rift is between the ruling elites of Brussels and Westminster and the poor bastards who have to pay for their games through taxes or risk going to prison.
Why should a Brexiteer who works hard and pays into the public pot have his or her vote turned on its head by someone who isn’t even elected into office?
And what would that say for democracy in this country? It would say it was smashed.
Baroness Wheatcroft is entitled to her opinion and as a peer she’s entitled to debate it at high office.
But preventing a Brexit because she wrinkles her snooty nose up at the will of the majority of referendum voters is simply not on.
In this case, Patience is definitely not a virtue.