September 17, 2017

Times journalists can't tell their 'hard' from 'hard'

Sometimes it is the little off the cuff remarks that tell us most about the speaker or the writer. Listening to PMQs, we can learn more about about a Prime Minister's mindset from their passing comments than from the official scripted answers.

Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson have written a pleasant enough account of an interview with Caroline Flint. Not exactly probing, and they don't seem to have asked any other politicians for their opinions of her, but it's a relaxing read even if it's hard to see why it took two reporters to produce it (job sharing?).

One comment jumps out:
With Labour dominated by the hard left and the Tories pursuing a hard Brexit, the centre ground appears to have been hollowed out.
These are probably not Caroline Flint's words - apart from anything else, she would never have said that on the record about Labour. So they are the summary of the Times journalists.

They paint the two types of 'hard' as two political extremes: on the one side, the hard left, on the other side, a hard Brexit. Thus to them centre ground 'appears to have been hollowed out' (whatever that may mean).

So centrists are caught between hard left and hard Brexit. Is there any other kind of Brexit? A 'hard' Brexit would involve leaving the single market and the customs union. Which is precisely what we were told we would be voting for if we voted Leave in the referendum. So there is not hard Brexit and soft Brexit, there is Brexit and pseudo-Brexit.

The reporters take it on themselves to imply that 'hard' Brexit is somehow as extreme as the 'hard' left. As an alternative to the hard left there is the soft left. As an alternative to what these journalists call 'hard' Brexit, there is only non-Brexit, pretend Brexit.

The problem for these presumptuous journalists is that a record number of Brits voted for Brexit.

If it is only the Tories who are 'pursuing' the will of the people, then shame on the others.

Let's tell it as it is. Centrists are not trapped between hard left and hard Brexit. They are (apparently) trapped between the hard left and hard democracy.

But Rachel and Alice can't handle this 'hard' truth.

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