Watching the Tories debate Brexit is like witnessing the Greek philosophers at the peak of their intellectual powers

The EU is the only thing stopping Europe returning to the Jurassic period –  if we leave, within six months every house will have a stegosaurus in the garden

Mark Steel@mrmarksteel
Wednesday 08 June 2016 12:04
Boris Johnson speaking to journalists in London
Boris Johnson speaking to journalists in London

Isn’t it an honour to witness the intelligent beautifully structured debate the Prime Minister has created about the European Union? The most impressive part is those subtle touches – such as declaring that, if we’re not in the EU, there’ll be a war and we’ll all die.

This must be because, when the Germans prepare their armies to invade France and blow up Portugal, someone from the EU points out that exploding a nation is contrary to rule 53(4) of the EU Unprovoked Atrocity Act and they have to call it off – otherwise they’d face very stern sanctions on their butter imports.

Next week, David Cameron will announce the EU is the only thing stopping Europe returning to the Jurassic period, and if we leave, within six months every house in Britain will have a stegosaurus in the garden.

Then Michael Gove will respond with a balanced and nuanced reply, insisting the EU is planning to take over everywhere from a secret island like Christopher Lee in The Man with the Golden Gun, and even worse, bananas will be forced to be triangular and our toasters be reclassified as an insect.

Classical scholars must be struck by the parallels between the quality of this debate, and arguments between the Greek philosophers at the peak of their intellectual powers. You can imagine Plato posing the problem of how we can never define an object exactly, as every example is different from other objects that go by the same name, making it impossible to be precise about what anything is. And Boris Johnson would reply: “Yes, but on the other hand the Germans are a bloody menace. And the French.”

One of the joys of this campaign has been to unearth the full extent of Boris’s powers of persuasion. Every day he pops up on the radio to delight us with thoughts such the following: “Look, huh it’s really perfectly as was intimated by the paraphernalia contained, when one considers inter alia rather expurgated if I may say so the bloated incandescence we witness indeed as implicit in your in your in your ha ha your very question if I may be permitted to continue… was it not Bismarck or and let me say I have the greatest respect for Britney Spears, who sine que non as one of our more perfunctory antediluvian songstresses it seems to me perfectly, er er er er, perfectly clear the Hun are trying to steal our marmalade.”

What to believe about the EU referendum

Michael Heseltine called him “reckless and irresponsible”, which translated from Tory grandee language is “you’re asking for a right slap”. And this is with six weeks still to go.

By the last week of the campaign, Iain Duncan Smith will ask in Parliament: “Mr Speaker, does the Honourable Member for Worcester want some? Does he? Because if he does, Mr Speaker, I can assure him I’ll give him some.”

Luckily, both sides within the Conservative Party have found an issue they can unite around, which is that something has to be done about the Human Rights Act.

If there’s one outdated ridiculous law that needs scrapping from British life, it’s the daft medieval idea that humans should have rights. A pile of liberal nonsense! That’s why one of the people responsible for creating it was Winston Churchill, the traitorous politically correct ponce.

It’s a charter for criminals and foreign enemies, the Conservatives agree, and that was Churchill all over. “We will give young offenders day trips to the beaches, we will give Jihadists a poetry weekend in the hills,” he used to say.

In any case, that generation could afford to fret about human rights, as they were living in the calmer days of the 1940s, a carefree innocent time when there were no unpleasant characters in the world and everyone spent all day skipping.

Groups that insist the Human Rights Act has been an essential piece of legislation include the families of those killed by the Lockerbie bombing and victims of child-trafficking. That’s the trouble – we’re always giving in to soppy liberal pressure groups like them.

The Conservatives want to replace the Human Rights Act with a British bill, because human rights for all seems to upset them. They should go further and insist on a British Bible. Jesus may have prattled on about loving thy neighbour, but he also lived in peaceful times; there’s no reason we British should be bound by the do-gooding criminals’ charter he seemed to fancy.

The Human Rights Act has been adopted, at least in part, by 160 countries, so a separate British one would have to include the same main parts. But it would be free to cut out daft sections such as the one Theresa May exposed, when she wasn’t allowed to deport a criminal because it would upset his cat.

The judge and everyone else connected with the case assured everyone the cat was nothing to do with the decision, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is we must get rid of those parts of the Human Rights Act that don’t exist in the first place, and be determined to abolish all the sections we’ve made up.

The EU may well be anti-democratic and wasteful, but if we vote to come out it seems we’ll be run by a Conservative Party led by characters who delight in tearing up agreements. There’s probably a European Statute on Refraining from Burning Witches they can pull out of, and a clause in the Lisbon Treaty that says asylums shouldn’t make a profit from charging people to squirt vinegar at the mentally ill.

This is why we should be grateful to people like Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith, because every time they say something about Europe, they make it clearer which way to vote in the referendum.

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