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