In the face of Prime Minister Theresa May’s determination to make the British people lie in the bed they’d made for themselves, Gina Miller and her People’s Challenge group took the government to the High Court. The court ruled that any move to trigger the UK’s withdrawal from the EU must be approved by Parliament, and the ruling was greeted with howls of anger and accusations that the judiciary was attempting to derail the democratically expressed will of the people.
Journalist Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian (Guardian online, 3 November 1916), said:
There are times when MPs need to rise above their party interests, their own interests and the views of their constituents. That may risk being voted out, but they may earn more respect by standing up for the national interest as best they can determine: that’s what representative democracy is for. In times of war or national crisis, defending the country from grave error, at whatever personal cost, is their duty. Brexit is the greatest threat to national wellbeing since the war, and this will test the mettle not just of individual MPs, but of the nature and purpose of a representative democratic system.
If we accept that the press, from its earliest days, has always been influenced by factors other than the wish to report the news and to inform the public, then it seems to me that the most important challenge for the press today arises from the search for an economically viable yet credible way to adapt news output to the demand for an online presence, in the face of criticisms about ‘dumbing down’. Both present huge problems: the lowering of standards is difficult to overcome, and probably reflects changes in society – one could argue that the people get the press they deserve; the move to ‘online’ is also inevitable, and is likely to be very difficult to regulate. Read more…