The UK is reeling over its uncertain future after the High Court ruled Thursday that the government would need to seek parliamentary approval if it wanted to trigger Article 50 and leave the European Union.
Since the judges’ decision came out Thursday morning, a lot has happened:
- The value of sterling against the dollar spiked.
- Odds on a snap general election in 2017 have been slashed.
- Prime Minister Theresa May maintains that the ruling won’t change the government’s Brexit timeline.
- One Tory MP was so outraged by the government’s approach to Brexit that he quit.
- In the middle of all the chaos, Brexit was named word of the year by Collins Dictionary.
And what did the country’s newspapers have to say about the decision — was it reasonable, nuanced, and balanced coverage discussing the ruling as democracy in action? Not so much.
First up, the ever-reliable Daily Mail:
As you can imagine, the reaction from the legal profession to the UK’s biggest newspaper openly questioning the democratic process wasn’t exactly positive:
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling points out that the Mail’s attempt at casting aspersions on one of the judges wasn’t entirely successful:
But then again, headlines like this are probably not meant to appeal to those complaining about them on Twitter:
Next up, the Daily Express, with this subtle splash:
As ex-England footballer and BBC presenter Gary Lineker points out, the opening line of the Express’ front page article doesn’t pull any punches:
“Today this country faces a crisis as grave as anything since the dark days when Churchill vowed we would fight them on the beaches,” before adding: “Truly, November 3 2016 was the day democracy died.”
While you may have expected such a reaction from the Mail and Express, the Telegraph decided to go all in against the three judges too:
There is no explanation from the editors at the Telegraph for the blue filter used on the images of the judges, but Daniel Keleman, a professor of political science and Jean Monnet chair in European Union politics at Rutgers University does question their judgement in relation to what is going on in Turkey at the moment.
And finally we turn to Rupert Murdoch’s News UK titles. The front pages of the Times and the Sun used the same picture of a smiling Gina Miller, the 51-year-old Guyana-born, London-based investment banker who lead the case against the government. But the Sun chose to criticize the “loaded foreign elite,” which some pointed out was slightly disrespectful of its own proprietor:
Bold move as the Sun comes out against its own proprietor. Apparently foreign born millionaires shouldn't interfere in British matters. pic.twitter.com/m0PjdXB8B2
Miller and the judges who took the decision have also been targeted. Labour MP Diane Abbott claimed that Miller has received threats of rape and violence as a result of the ruling. Miller confirmed that she has been the target of “anger and hatred.”