Beware the tyranny of Parliament
THE BRITS hate tyrants.
They had a civil war to get rid of one in the 1640s; in fact, Charles the First had his head chopped off. As the constitutional monarchy developed over the following centuries, the burgeoning parliamentary democracy grew into what the country lives in and by today.
The nation has spent stupendous amounts of blood and treasure down the years fighting and destroying tyrants from elsewhere. Some directly threatened homes and freedom (Philip the Second of Spain, Napoleon and, as Guernsey knows only too well, Hitler) whilst some did so but more indirectly and from afar, such as the Soviet Union or Saddam Hussein.
The British sense of freedom (of speech, of worship, of assembly) is all wrapped up in a loose understanding of ‘democracy’ and down the decades fulfilment and delivery of ‘all that’ has been left to Parliament. In fact the average Brit has taken it all for granted for a long time.
But on 23 June nearly three years ago, Parliament abrogated to the British people its responsibility in the nation’s democratic equation on one specific major issue. They (not Parliament) got to decide on whether or not the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland would remain a member of the European Union.
And then the majority of both Houses of Parliament, civil servants, big business, universities and some traditional media – what one might term The Establishment – had the shock of their lives. How dare the uppity peasants upset the comfortable apple cart.
The unelected, unaccountable panjandrums in Brussels were fair put off their Bordeaux and cognac by the disgraceful ingratitude of les Rosbifs. They started plotting punishment (‘pour encourager les autres’) just as soon as they realised they could not revert to their usual Plan B when faced with a member state whose referendum result was not to their liking (as happened in Ireland, the Netherlands and France) which was to hold another referendum (and presumably another one after that...) until they got the answer they wanted.
So a weak UK Government attempted to make Brexit a reality. It faced the potent opposition of Labour, Liberal and Scottish Nationalist parties turning the whole thing into a tribal, party political scrap. Indeed, Her Majesty’s loyal (Corbyn-led) opposition has played the whole thing solely for party advantage, with sights set on securing the downfall of the hated Tories, letting the country they wish to govern take the hindmost.
It faced the potent opposition of an EU running scared but acting as if it holds all the aces (and a Germany running even more scared since it will be picking up the bill for the loss of UK contributions as it battles with zero growth in its domestic economy, France in the mire of social dislocation and Italy in recession).
It faced the potent opposition of the remoaners of the Establishment sabotaging any effort being made to negotiate leaving the EU, usually hypocritically starting with the lie, ‘Of course we respect the result of the referendum but...’. Saboteurs line up to do their bit, from former prime ministers to, only this week, a biased and inconsistent Speaker of the House of Commons.
There is an apparent loss of national confidence in just how important a country the UK is; how as the fifth largest economy on Earth it can take the pearl out of the oyster of globalisation if only everyone pulls together as one nation.
We are all being treated to the unedifying spectacle of the Prime Minister going on her knees to EU leaders begging for more time (for what I wonder – just to prolong the agony?) when after nearly three years, a remainer-packed Parliament has nearly pulled off its objective of keeping the UK in the EU.
17.2m. people voted to take back control. The Brexit vote came from many different views: from those on immigration to juristic power, from the lack of accountability in remote lords and masters in Brussels or Berlin to simply the opportunity to give the London-based Establishment a good kick up the bum. But a wish to base control back in a democratically-elected, UK-based government was clear.
In Brexit terms, that means: control of borders, supremacy of judges, and competence to negotiate its own trade deals around the world and not be subject to what suits France and Germany.
So there is now a situation where Parliament is pushing for a Brexit where the UK will stay in a Customs Union or Single Market.
That will mean those three characteristics of ‘control’ go out of the window – and that will be a direct imposition of the will of those in Parliament who lost the referendum upon the British people.
Some 1,470 people (820 of whom were not even elected by anyone. I should know – I’m one of them) will have forced upon those who won the referendum (17.2m. Brits) precisely what they voted not to have.
They will say that we will be leaving the EU (and thus the referendum direction is honoured) but of course the people will still be bound by all its rules and diktats, thus the country will have left in name only, have no say or vote on any of the rules that will govern them going forward – and they will have paid £39bn for the privilege.
Brino: Brexit in name only.
Monsieur Barnier in Brussels hasn’t needed to do a thing; he has just said ‘no, no, no’ and left it all to the remainers and the UK Establishment to do his job for him.
A ‘no deal’ next Friday? Germany and France (from car makers to fishermen and farmers) are terrified of that, yet Parliament passes a motion that such a situation is not to be allowed.
How’s that for throwing in your negotiating chips before the arguing has come to an end. And if the UK behaves like this in negotiating at this stage, how on earth is she going to get on when the trade agreement is negotiated? A successful one of those is how UK business will secure the stability for jobs and profits the country needs, but it must not be forgotten that the EU member states need one as well, and quickly.
Justify a delay to allow a second referendum? And after the enhanced social divisions and bitterness that that will create (not to mention a total loss of faith by the British people in what a vote actually means), whatever the result the losers will ask for another one.
Or is all this just the near-fruition of a plan to ensure that the UK stays in the EU? It surely is by many, whatever they may say. But not from the Prime Minister it isn’t. Inept she has been – a poor communicator she is – but no one can doubt her stoic, steadfast application to the task in hand. She is certainly not doing all this for personal advancement. But for so many other players on the pitch, this is working out just fine – remainers have a chance of never leaving, hard Brexiteers have a chance of going out with no deal, the Irish have assumed the upper hand and get to give the former colonial master a good kicking, and as for the poor British people... well, the action of many seems to be asking: what have they got to do with it?
Parliament left a decision to the people, didn’t like the answer it got so seeks to stay effectively in the EU by the back door. Brexit will not mean Brexit. The country will indeed be in a worse position than staying in the EU since it will have regained none of the controls the country voted for but will have lost any vote or influence in Brussels or Berlin whatsoever. There’s a name for such a country: a vassal state – and Parliament (connived at by the Establishment in full cry) will have delivered it, in the face of the will of the people.
And that is tyranny.
And the Brits hate tyrants.
Beware the tyranny of Parliament.