Brexit: a test-piece
This is a test-piece with no further object than to see whether this website still works; and since the United Kingdom already possesses 60 million experts on the subject of Brexit, all of whom have been allowed to express their opinions with impunity, I may as well do the same (just to see whether this site works).
What strikes me is:
- The inability of so many politicians to distinguish between being opposed to Brexit and being opposed to a No-deal Brexit. Every MP recognises that the result of the Referendum must be respected, and that the UK must therefore leave the EU. But does that mean that we simply walk out without putting alternative arrangements with with our European neighbours in place before we leave?
- The Referendum left ‘Leave’ undefined. Surely Parliament is the body best qualified to interpret it, bearing in mind the interests and feelings of the 48% of the population who voted ‘Remain’. If, on the other hand, the Government claims that they are the ones who should define it, Government itself cannot govern without the consent of Parliament.
- The folly of launching major constitutional change on the basis of a bare majority. If it takes two/thirds of MPs to call a General Election, should a similar principle (though not necessarily the same arithmetic) not apply to something so revolutionary as leaving the EU (as it often does to changing the constitution of a golf-club?
- The absence of guaranteed/tangible benefits from a No-Deal Brexit. As Adam Smith pointed out, politics is about the ‘wealth’ of a nation, ‘wealth’ being broadly defined. Preparations for No-deal have already cost billions, No-deal itself will inevitably cost billions more. To what advantage? Too much airy-fairy nonsense is being spoken about such abstract concepts as ‘sovereignty’ (in relation to both the EU and Indy-Ref 2) and ‘running our own affairs.’ As the late Lord Hailsham pointed out, we already live under an elected dictatorship (and our current Dictator wasn’t even elected). No ‘wealth-case’ was ever made out for ‘Leave’. But we have to live with the result of the Referendum.
- What happens to the rule of law if we draw a wedge between the sovereignty of Parliament and the sovereignty of the people? We cannot return to the sort of democracy practised in ancient Athens, where the whole population met to deliberate and decide on all the civic affairs of the polis (city). The House of Commons is already crowded enough. The demagoguery that sets people against parliament is embarking on a dangerous course. Populism sails dangerously close to civil war.
- Why are members of Cabinet allowing the PM to govern as a President? They have clearly agreed to cut him loose, allowing him to do things his way, and to become totally identified with his own policy, while at the same time keeping a discreet distance from him and from it. Is this to ensure that when (or if) his bubble bursts their own careers won’t be blown to pieces?