BREXIT: WHAT IS PARLIAMENT’S ROLE?


juncker-no-democratic-choice

The Irony

It’s ironic really. Parliamentarians have spent the past 40 years ignoring resolutely the latent wish of 17.4 million of their constituents, namely that the UK should leave the European Union. Having voted emphatically to invite the British people to express their wish, one way or another, in the form of the EU Referendum, those same parliamentarians are now up in arms about the government’s preparations to extract the UK from the EU.

The Suspicion

Quite possibly, given the history of this matter and the unabashed weight of opinion within the political class, a majority of MPs (and Peers of the Realm for that matter) is determined to subvert the Brexit process. Is it surprising, therefore, that folk like me who voted Leave are deeply suspicious of the machinations now afoot both inside and outside of Parliament to undermine the Brexit process? This subversion is being dressed up as ‘parliamentary democracy’. However, one wonders what happened to parliamentary democracy for the past generation as the British political class chose to coalesce around the European Union, offering no voice at all to what turned out to be the majority of the electorate? Parliamentarians need to work very hard indeed to persuade us Leavers that they now merit our trust to do what is right for those whom they govern.

For the Love of the European Union

The Lisbon Treaty was and remains ultimately a charter for tyranny. The Treaty – which defines and describes everything that is the European Union – has, as intended, pushed its tentacles into every nook and cranny of EU member societies. Within those societies, generally speaking, mainstream politicians and national establishments eat, sleep and breathe the EU, again as was always intended. The evident reality is that most politicians and the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats who serve and support them across Europe and in the UK swear by The Lisbon Treaty and all that the EU stands for. That’s why the political class and the Establishment bet the farm on the British people voting Remain. It was in their interest, and not necessarily ours, for the UK to remain in the EU.

Damn the Citizens

The essence of the workings of the European Union is to cut voters out of the picture and vest unbalanced and unchecked power in the hands of a relatively small cohort of politico-bureaucratic elites whose centre of gravity is the European Commission – which itself operates with the visceral backing of the European Court of Justice (sic). It’s this voter-free environment that the politico-bureaucratic elites love so much. Indeed, when one looks at the extraordinarily gilded lives of the European Union’s elites, can you blame them for wanting to exclude you and me?

Keep Ahold of Nurse

Of course, things didn’t quite go as planned on 23 June. The British people saw through ‘Project Fear’. The central philosophy of the founding fathers of the EU – the likes of Jean Monet, Altiero Spinelli et al – was indeed to strike fear into the citizens of Europe that if they didn’t indulge in a group hug, ultimately in the form of a European superstate, then Armageddon would ensue: ‘always keep ahold of nurse (aka the EU), for fear of finding something worse’ – with apologies to Hillaire Beloc. Of course, from the security perspective it has been NATO which has preserved peace in Europe since the end of World War II, not the European Union. Notwithstanding, in the run up to the EU Referendum, the government, political class, Establishment, big business and much of the mainstream media, with the BBC in the vanguard, sought to strike fear into the hearts of the British people. Vote Leave and we’re all stuffed we were told, right up as far as triggering World War III and the collapse of western civilization. Honestly, is it any wonder that the pragmatic, healthily cynical and freedom-loving British people decided, on balance, to stick up a couple of fingers to all that nonsense and direct the government to get us out of the European Union?

What About the Remainians?

I’m torn between wishing to see our parliamentary democracy restored, whilst not wishing to see the desire of the majority of British people for the UK to leave the European Union thwarted. It is the case, I accept, that the government should be held to account by Parliament. However, for all the reasons I’ve stated, on the matter of the UK’s membership of the EU, the majority of MPs have clearly played fast and loose with democracy for decades. Why should they be trusted on this matter now?

Post-Referendum analysis indicates that the principal reason 16 million people voted for the UK to Remain in the EU was out of fear of the consequences of leaving the EU – in line with the expectations of the EU’s founding fathers and its proponents to this day. Those fears, whilst not founded in the short-term (the value of the over-valued pound excepted), must be addressed one way or another by the government. But it’s one thing to assuage Remainians’ largely economic fears; it’s another thing, however, to permit the subversion of the democratic will of the British people to see its government regain the UK’s sovereignty, freedom and democracy unfettered in any way by a foreign oligarchy.

So What for Parliament?

So where does this leave Parliament? The key thing here, perhaps, is to allow Parliament to debate the factors affecting the definition of Brexit, ie the terms and conditions on which the UK will negotiate its way out of the European Union, but not permit Parliament to vote on the matter. It doesn’t take an archbishop to figure out that if Parliament was asked to vote on virtually anything defined and described as Brexit, it would vote the matter down. That’s precisely why we’re in the mess we’re in today: because of the chasm between the views of the majority of the British people on the European Union (loathe it) and the views of the political class (love it). Right now, Parliament doesn’t deserve to be trusted with voting on the government’s definition of Brexit, because it’s institutionally opposed to Brexit: fact.

So, in my opinion, as a Leave voter and one of 17.4 million citizens who was abandoned by Parliament for almost half a century, let Parliament debate Brexit until the cows come home; but in the end, it is for the British government to get on and get the UK clean out of the European Union, per its mandate from the British people.


Postscript

I acknowledge that Parliament will be expected to vote on ‘The Great Repeal Bill’, but this is quite different to MPs voting on the set of policies which will define what the UK looks like after it exits the European Union. I don’t see how such a specific Brexit package could be put before Parliament prior to ministers and others negotiating the UK out of the EU – for two reasons: one, Parliament is likely to veto any Brexit package; two, even if Parliament approved a Brexit package it would then, by definition, handcuff the UK’s negotiators.


Post-postscript

Dear Ms Sturgeon

I see that the SNP is on the Independent-Scotland march again. Your case for another referendum is predicated on the (allegedly) overwhelming number of Scots opposed to Brexit. Interestingly, more Scots (2,001,926) voted for Scotland to remain in the UK than those (1,661,191) who voted for Scotland to remain in the European Union. In other words, as far as the Scots are concerned, staying part of the United Kingdom is more important to them than the UK staying in the EU. Put yet another way (in case you’re struggling to get this) Scotland’s union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland means more to the Scots than does their aversion to Brexit. Why then clamour for another referendum, Ms Sturgeon? Is this a further example of your lot, the political class, inhabiting an alter-universe to the rest of us mere mortals? Who’s pulling your strings? Not Alex, surely?

Yours

A Xenophobe

Meantime, ‘Scotland: Could it Become Greece Without the Sun?’

17 comments

  1. getahead · ·

    Moraymint thank you for your continued input to the cause. I’m sure (I hope) that right will come through in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thank you. It’s not over until the fat lady sings, of course …

      Like

  2. All those MPs bleating that the UK didn’t vote for ‘how’ we should leave the EU should remind themselves that they had the opportunity to phrase the Referendum question but missed a trick. Westminster passed the Referendum Act as a simple In/Out question – they should be berating themselves, not the PM and her Brexit ministers.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. John Bickley · ·

    Well said MM.

    It’s amazing how the Remainers and their Establishment lackeys downplay & ridicule the Leavers’ vote for Brexit (or as Abbott believes, Leavers are racists & thick).

    The ballot paper couldn’t have been clearer. Even ‘Call Me Dave’s’ £9m propaganda leaflet made it clear that the government would enact the will of the people (never believing of course we have the temerity to vote Leave). The UK voted to Leave the EU, no if’s, no but’s, no one leg in, one leg out. We want a trade deal, period. Any other bi-lateral agreements will be done because it suits the UK, not the unelected, unaccountable EU Commission.

    Remainers believe Leavers were lied to & conned and if the vote was held again would vote to Rermain, however as you rightly point out many millions of Remainers will now realise that the sky hasn’t fallen in and they were lied to & conned by Remain; many of them would vote Leave if there was another vote.

    Be sure of this, the Remain crowd will try to pull the usual EU stunt of getting the UK to vote again & again until we give them the answer they want. This is why UKIP needs to sort itself out (something I’m determined to help with as a member of the NEC). Our MEPs have screwed around for the last three months and need to get behind a new Leader and take the Brexit fight to the Remainers and hold the government’s feet to the fire

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moraymint · ·

      Excellent, thanks John.

      I’m glad you made the point about UKIP. It’s frustrating for people like me to see UKIP in its current shape. There is no effective opposition to the government. The Labour Party is a joke. The SNP in Westminster is pursuing its own agenda and is irrelevant to the people of England and Wales – and half the people of Scotland for that matter. The Liberals are dead in the water.

      We need UKIP to get its act together very quickly indeed. Moreover, the country – the UK – needs UKIP to provide a home and a focus for the millions, if not tens of millions of British people who are utterly disenchanted with the Tories and the Labour Party in particular. Politics generally needs UKIP to ‘hold the government’s feet to the fire’ as you say. After all, had it not been for Mr Farage and UKIP in the first place, the wishes of 17.4 million British voters would never have seen the light of day – which is Orwellian when you think you about it.

      Liked by 2 people

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  5. reallyoldbill · ·

    As ever Mr Moraymint, an eloquent and succinct summary of the situation. I find it preposterous that there should be such a clamour by parliamentarians for oversight BEFORE triggering Article 50 when there were no such demands BEFORE negotiating our membership of the (then) EEC, or signing up to the EC and eventually, via Maastricht, the EU. All the “oversight” then was by way of a vote on the eventual outcome of the negotiations. What is it about reversing that process that suddenly requires PRIOR oversight by parliament? (Rhetorical question of course because we all know the answer – vested interests). Even were that not the case, who in their right minds thinks that disclosing negotiating positions before difficult negotiations even take place, which a parliamentary debate would inevitably do unless they are now suggesting debates be held in camera, which hardly strengthens their claim to be defending democracy, is a viable tactic? I would suggest only those who are cynically hoping to derail those very negotiations. MPs had a vote on allowing the referendum – that was them exercising parliamentary oversight of the process. They now have no choice but to abide by the decision clearly made and democratically expressed by the people.

    If we really needing convincing that membership of the EU has eroded democracy then the hypocrisy inherent in such a demand by parliament, despite the clear precedents above, should neatly do it. Demanding that we respect the “sovereignty” of parliament when for the last 40 years the institution, along with the entire political class, has been busy undermining just that is indeed irony at its best. I am starting to wonder if our current system of “representative” democracy is really fit for purpose in today’s world. Just how are the majority of , certainly English and Welsh, MPs representing their constituents? They are merely representing themselves. Many of the most ardent Remain supporters sitting for English and Welsh seats are clearly, as evidenced by the referendum results in those constituency, at odds with their voters. Perhaps now we can see why the promise by the current government to introduce recall by constituency associations for sitting MPs was so conveniently abandoned? But those constituency associations still have a powerful role to play: those where a majority of constituents voted for Brexit should write to their MP pointing out that this is the case and that selection for the next election is not an automatic and pre-ordained right for a sitting member where they choose to ignore the views of those who elected them. That might just concentrate a few minds!

    Let us hope, for the sake not just of democracy but also social order in the UK, that the High Court (and probably eventually the Supreme Court) realise that we cannot as a peaceful, law-abiding nation tolerate a situation where parliament is actually opposed in its actions to the democratically expressed will of the people, and strike down this unnecessary, ill-judged and undemocratic action before it. I shudder to think of the consequences should the electorate see their wishes on such a vital subject as restoration of national sovereignty once again be ignored by the political class and their craven supporters. Having waited for 40 years, a whole generation, for the opportunity to express that wish, such a betrayal will not easily be forgiven or forgotten. Patience has its limits and so, frighteningly, does peaceful protest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks Bill, and your reply is a cogent essay in its own right. Spread the word!

      Like

  6. Cheshireman · ·

    Spot on, as always, MM.
    One unfortunate aspect of Ms Sturgeon’s posturing is that I can see a growing section of the rest of the UK who are getting fed up with what they perceive as ‘whingeing Scots’ who are never satisfied. Having just seen the First Minister on the news, I can see what they mean.

    How on earth she can claim that Scotland will be better off going from a Union where they punch above their weight into one where their voice will be lost is totally beyond me.

    She’s in danger of making English MPs look trustworthy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      I live in the hope that the more she carries on like this, the more preposterous she and her political party will become …

      Like

  7. Robert E Lee · ·

    Farron, Clegg, Miliband, Corbyn et al curdle my blood. I don’t think they belong to the same species as right thinking people. As an ex-pat I was in a tiny minority voting for Brexit. Our birthright and Sovereignty mean more to me than 10 cents in the pound on the exchange rate.
    The implosion of UKIP is a choker.
    In the words of Private Eye, the Brexit scenario is set to “run and run,” regrettably. Why are some of our countrymen set on sabotaging our heritage? It’s beyond my comprehension.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Yes, I’m also starting to get bad vibes about the propensity for Brexit to morph into a lengthy fiasco. It’s early days yet, but Mrs May and her government had better get cracking – and some – early in the new year if this issue isn’t to turn into a economic, political and social disaster …

      Like

  8. Old Goat · ·

    All you say is palpably true, and most of us are heartily sick of the prevarication. Get ON with it, Mrs. May.

    Reposted on Going Postal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks Old Goat …

      Like

  9. Douglas Brodie · ·

    Well said Moraymint. It is quite right that MPs should be denied a vote which could thwart the political reality of the EU referendum result. MPs of all parties (bar Ukip) have been sidelining the electorate for decades on our wish to get out of the EU. It was only pressure from Ukip and a political miscalculation which finally allowed the electorate to have their say. As you say, the margin of the Leave vote would probably have been much wider had it not been for fear created by the mendacious Remain campaign propaganda. It would be intolerable if the people’s majority decision were to be usurped by these MPs.

    Fortunately Theresa May and her team seem clear on where we are going despite all the talk of “soft Brexit”, a false concept put out by the Remainers as if it had always been a possibility. At PMQs this week she said: “The UK will be leaving the European Union. We’re not asking ourselves what bits of membership we want to retain.”

    The similarities between the EU campaign and the ongoing climate change campaign are striking. Both are obsessively and ideologically supported by the establishment (and the left generally) even although the arguments for both causes are very weak. If only we could have a referendum on “climate change”, I’m sure the establishment would lose that as well!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Malcolm · ·

    As always, a well written article, that I totally agree with!

    It is also interesting to note how the ex Conservatives in UKIP are working flat out to bring the party to the floor. They cannot have us plebs having somewhere to put our votes.

    Street lights and piano wire are going to be required soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moraymint · ·

      Noted, thanks Malcolm! Sometimes, I do get a little anxious at the prospect of political argy-bargy morphing into something more serious if the politicos insist on getting their own way …

      Like

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