Well, what a coup for the Remoaners, eh? What a day for our wise and wonderful political establishment. What a moment of unalloyed pleasure for Jean- Claude Juncker and his chums in the EU Commission. The judges have spoken. Despite Theresa May's promises, Brexit doesn't necessarily mean Brexit after all.
You thought we'd taken an irrevocable decision to leave the EU? Think again. Thursday's ruling in the High Court is but the latest example of a fierce rearguard action by the referendum losers to frustrate the wishes of the majority. If they can't actually stop Britain leaving, they are determined to ensure such a soft and feeble exit that we'll still be firmly within the orbit of Brussels.
They have one justification – if such it can be called – for such an outrageous affront to democracy. They think most voters are racist, ignorant and as as thick as yesterday's porridge. They argue, in some cases quite sincerely, that they know best, that it is their duty in the interests of the country to override the wishes of hoi polloi. Hence all those calls for a second referendum.
And we shouldn't be surprised. After all, doesn't the profoundly undemocratic EU specialise is obliging European electorates to vote again if they come to the 'wrong' decision first time?
That's what happened to the Irish in 2001, when they voted against the Treaty of Nice. One year later they were obliged to have a second referendum to reverse their original decision. The same thing happened to the Danes, when they had to vote twice on the Maastricht Treaty. French voters, meanwhile, rejected Jacques Delors' European Constitution, only to see it revived, almost word for word, in the guise of the Lisbon Treaty – a Treaty that was then ushered through the French parliament without so much as a nod towards the principle of democratic consent.
No wonder Britain's europhiles think think that they too can subvert the wishes of the majority. And with the wretched decision of the High Court they are well on the way to succeeding.
Unless the Government can overturn that verdict in an appeal to the Supreme Court, Theresa May will be unable to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin formal negotiations to Leave. The whole process will be in the hands of a Parliament overwhelmingly in favour of Remaining. And a wrecking campaign will begin in earnest. We might as well not have held a referendum at all.
So what persuaded the High Court to reach such a conclusion? In the words of the Lord Chief Justice, the Government's ability to trigger Article 50 without the approval of MPs is 'contrary to fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of Parliament'.
Oh, really? But didn't Parliament itself vote for this referendum? Wasn't the referendum a central part of the Tory election manifesto? Isn't it the case that a such a referendum trumps the power of Parliament? And if Parliamentary sovereignty is inviolable, where was the High Court during the long years of EU membership when MPs were busily signing away the very principle of Parliamentary sovereignty and subordinating British law to the rulings of the European Court? Haven't these judges read the Lisbon Treaty, which gives the European Court powers to strike down decisions made at Westminster?
As is so often the case, the judiciary does itself no favours when it becomes embroiled in matters of political controversy. Remember the ludicrous whitewash of Lord Hutton's inquiry into the conduct of the Blair Government before the Iraq War? And how the Leveson inquiry into the Press phone-hacking scandal opened the way to political censorship of Britain's newspapers? The judges will deserve all the obloquy coming their way if this latest ruling succeeds in wrecking Britain's exit from the EU.
In the meantime we are in uncharted waters. If the Government fails in its appeal against this ruling, Mrs May will surely have no alternative but to call an early General Election. And the issue will be as simple as it is profound. Who truly governs Britain? Us or them?