If nothing else, Brexit has shown us just how fluid the meaning of democracy can be when the people who are entrusted with protecting it start wielding it as a weapon.
Firstly, may I just take this opportunity to express some sympathy for the Queen. For decades, she’s pottered about in her fancy houses, happy in the knowledge that she is a powerless tourist attraction. Then one day, Boris Johnson shows up and asks her to suspend parliament.
The prime minister demurely insists that he only wants the ‘proroguing’ of parliament so he has a clean slate to start screwing up the country in a method of his own choosing.
For the uninitiated, starting a new session of parliament means no unfinished business from the previous session can be carried over. Also, and by pure coincidence of course, on this occasion, a suspension will leave MPs just days to respond to whatever Brexit shenanigans Boris is cooking up ahead of October 31, when the UK will leave the EU if no new agreement is reached with Brussels.
It’s true that the outcome of the referendum is a concrete, bona fide democratic outcome that the country’s representatives have a duty to see carried out. But some of the tactics used in the aftermath of that result have been pretty shameful, and it’s not only Boris to blame. All sides have been playing the same game to make their case.
Remainers have been pushing for a second Brexit referendum to make sure the country still wants to leave. Cynics might suggest they’re more interested in reversing a decision they don’t agree with.
The leader of the opposition Labour Party refuses to come clean on his real feelings about membership of the EU, denying voters all the information they need to feel safe about choosing him.
In Brexit Britain, all sides are using the D-word, but seem to have different ideas about what it means, based on whichever goal they’re trying to achieve. Maybe we do need the Queen to sort it out.