Only very occasionally are those who do not agree with the rabid Europhobia of TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer given an opportunity to feature on her show, which is in reality several tedious hours of Brexiteer propaganda, and the harder the Brexit under discussion, the better. So it was mildly eyebrow-raising that former Attorney General Dominic Grieve was allowed on her show this morning.
The appearance was a masterclass in humiliation for Ms Hartley Dooda, who, like so many fervent Leave supporters, has difficulty with anything on the subject of the EU that cannot be described by deploying witless soundbites, often deployed very slowly and very loudly. It is fair to say that this, as Winshton might have put it, was not her finest hour.
The crunch point came when Ms Hartley Dooda decided to advance her favoured manner of departure from the EU - one without a deal. Grieve demonstrated that there is not so much a gulf as a yawning chasm between her level of knowledge, and the real world in which real politicians operate. Here’s the exchange between them - with Grieve going first.
DG: “I think Brexit has been damaging to our democratic institutions and our processes, in part because of some of the things which happened from doing the referendum campaign itself, some of them lies that were perpetrated”.
JHB: “Project Fear” [Ms Hartley Dooda conveniently bodyswerving the lawbreaking by both Vote Leave and Leave EU].
DG [unmoved]: “So I don’t think it’s been a very good exercise in democracy”.
JHB: “Why would a second referendum be any better?”
DG: [ignoring soundbite for a moment] “I think we’re probably in agreement for once that this process, and the desirability of trying to bring it to an end, is that we ought to try and do that, and our democracy will suffer if there is a continuing uncertainty. But if I may say so, as an advocate of a second referendum, that is exactly what I’m trying to do. Because if people who wish to leave the EU on the terms negotiated by the Prime Minister - and they are at the moment the only terms available for departure”.
We know who you are, thanks
This is where Ms Hartley Dooda intervened to her disadvantage.
JHB: “No they’re not. No Deal is the terms of departure”.
DG: “No, No Deal is not a term of departure”.
JHB: “It is” [proper journalism this is not].
DG: “No, it is not, because it is unlawful. I keep on making this point. No respectable modern Government which is adherent to the international rules based system can offer no deal departure as a viable option, because it violates other international obligations of the United Kingdom. And it is so fundamental a point that no respectable Government can do it”.
JHB: “You stood on a manifesto. You stood on a manifesto that stated No Deal’s better than a bad deal. You didn’t raise this issue with your constituents and say ‘Well actually, this promise in my party’s manifesto is completely illegal’”.
DG: “I did. I did. I have never adhered to No Deal being better than a bad deal. No Deal breaches our other international legal obligations, and specifically for Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement. They are incompatible. So if people want to have a No Deal Brexit, let us have a General Election. Let us elect members to Parliament who wish to violate our international obligations”. JHB is now smirking aimlessly.
DG: “And if you want to do that, that is a new world for the United Kingdom to move into. I might add a further step in our general disintegration as a nation [more smirking from Ms Hartley Dooda] and we probably won’t survive it as the United Kingdom at all. I am not prepared to allow it to happen, and if people wish to vote me out of office at a General Election, that’s a matter for them, but I will not do it”.
No Deal sounds fine when deployed as yet another witless soundbite. It fares poorly when it comes up against the reality of international law - and the future of the whole of the UK.
Once again, Julia Hartley Dooda’s rank ignorance is on show for all to see. And it shows that some people really shouldn’t be let loose on the airwaves.
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