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Saturday, 9 March 2019

If Parliament destroys Brexit, I fear for Britain

If Parliament destroys Brexit, I fear for Britain. 

As the Telegraph reports today
The explosive memo advising the cabinet as Theresa May battles to win Tuesday’s second meaningful vote - warns that supporting any amendment re-tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tories Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles could pave the way for a bill to change the day of our EU exit and bind the Government into a permanent customs union.
May's moronic 2017 election left her too weak to sack the saboteurs within her government who now seek, with a cross-party cabal of anti-democrats led by Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles, to destroy what vestige of control May has left of the Brexit process.

It is little consolation now that Boles, Letwin, Hammond, Rudd, Gauke, Clarke and Hancock will have no future in the Conservative party - over 70% of whose members are committed to Brexit.

If a Remainer Parliament robs government of the ability to govern, with the complicity of the poisonous narcissist in the Speaker's Chair, I fear a rapid spiral into the situation described by the academics Betz and Smith
The system works because everyone behaves by the rules. On either side of the bargain—the governed and the government—mutual obligations are observed in service of the common interest, which is the stable continuance of a non-tyrannical political order. Here we come to the disquieting part of the continuing Remain campaign, a campaign that seemingly supersedes party loyalty, not to mention national loyalty, which is its willingness to throw away the rulebook. Only a brazenly confidant, or foolishly out-of-touch, political class would chance this. The bet on the future is doubled.

The object of all these machinations has been to corral the British population into a Hobson's choice between Brexit-In-Name-Only and no-Brexit. It is no secret now. The plotters, finally, so close to the bell calling time on Britain's membership of the EU with a deal or without one, have declared it openly that they will not permit to occur what is the current legally mandated outcome of events. They will instead tie the government in knots, prevent its preparations for No Deal Brexit, and if necessary, crash it.
The consequences of this sabotage of the most significant vote in British history by 17.4m electors is likely to be dire
Historical parallels are inexact at the best to times but one doesn't have to look too far back to see where the corrosion of democratic legitimacy can and probably will lead. It leads to extreme societal polarisation, and a miasmic concoction of fear, radicalisation and violence. We can see this in the condition that is currently afflicting France and its yellow jacket uprisings. We saw it in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s when the country slid into the anni di piombo – the years of the bullet. And, most insidiously, we saw it in the actions of the Latin American governments and their so-called dirty wars, in which sections of the population fought each other openly and covertly.

We have for decades studied why things fall apart, how a stable, essentially self-policing, productive society can turn into an ungovernable tumult roiling with rage. We know that this happens at first very slowly, a creep-creep-creeping to the limit; and then very fast indeed after the limit has been passed. We also know that no amount of free beer and pizza parties will swiftly return a society deranged by the shattering of the social contract by its own elite back to normality.
One can imagine how the nightmare could unfold. It could possibly start slowly enough; bricks through the windows of government offices around the country, through the windows of MPs offices, then Molotov cocktails. Remain MPs from Leave constituencies who have been complicit in this undermining of the democratic process may need police or army protection to visit their own constituencies, and then, as the powers over-react in a crackdown, as always seems to happen, a cathartic explosion of anger and violence that will roil and sweep across many parts of Britain.

Sir Bernard Jenkin also warns from whence a breakdown of order will come
The Government is expected to speak with one voice. Parliament’s role is to scrutinise the work of Government, pass laws and control money. These democratic principles have retained the confidence of voters through two world wars, the general strike, hyperinflation, Mrs Thatcher and Mr Blair. They are being carelessly trashed by a weak government, which is willingly being held to ransom by those determined to stop Brexit. The final step will be this government choosing to allow MPs to undo the vote of June 2016 altogether.

And when that moment comes, we mustn’t forget that it wasn’t Leavers, Remainers or even a divisive referendum that brought us there: it was our elected representatives thwarting democracy.
I loathe and hate rioting and disorder, and I deprecate more deeply than I can describe the deep and painful divisions in our land that Brexit has caused. But a betrayal of democracy by a British Parliament next week in the manner feared will be the grossest insult to the people, and one I fear, if Betz and Smith are right in their analysis, that won't be borne. 


Dioclese said...

Excellent post. I have said for some time that this will end in riots on the streets that will make the poll tax protests look like a picnic
I was ejected from a Tory party AGM last night for attacking a government Remainer whip - see over at my place. So much for free speech and democracy...

DeeDee99 said...

The DUP should withdraw the Confidence and Supply Arrangement with the CON Party and bring the Government down.

Domo said...

And they'll be amazed when that ukip loon ends up in number 10

wg said...

I am sure that any insurrection will begin in a very downbeat manner; I don't believe that the UK population will immediately succumb to violence.

I have an extreme antipathy towards my local council - pro-EU to the extent that those of us campaigning for a vote on the Lisbon Treaty were openly sneered at and humiliated in my city.
They, and our city's politicians, are still giving lectures that assume that the overwhelming Leave vote in this city can be overturned and ignored.

My first thought was to withhold my council tax - cancel my direct debit and wait for the proverbial 'red letter' before I paid my dues.
The consequences though - all too predictably - is that the hardship would fall on the most needy, the destructive non-jobs would be maintained, and the blame would quite easily be placed on the would-be fighters for democracy.
And we have seen all too well how our councils can create chaos and blame it on some imagined austerity.

Once again, the fear of 'letting the other guy in' will stop people voting for an alternative - although, I think that Brexit is a big enough issue to overcome that fear.

Those of us who have made our choice must come together and make whatever scenario work.

Bernard said...

Your "deep and painful divisions" started forty years ago and gradually grew. The 'Common Market' was not a particularly bad idea, but the morphing into a political union without our consent now needs 'painful amputation'.
Preferably economic pain for the EU rather than the UK.

DiscoveredJoys said...

I expect that the immediate method of avoiding a democratic meltdown is to accept a WTO exit on 29 March (even if you think a 'closer' relationship with the rEU can then be negotiated) followed by a General Election. It been too late for some time for and earlier GE or a Second Referendum, and delaying the A50 process significantly, or Remaining (shudder), doesn't get around the basic breakdown in democracy.

We are very close to the point where future historians will write simply that the government of the day was unable to carry out the instructions it asked for. Everything else descends from trying to square that circle.

Do I, and countless others, have to wear hi-viz jackets and drive everywhere at 20 mph to make a point?

Dave_G said...

Skip the bricks.

And I can't believe I would countenance such talk but I've said it before and I say it again. From someone who is a self-confessed armchair warrior I am actually worried (rather, my wife is) that I am being compelled to contemplate civil unrest to keep our democratic process 'clean'.

'Seething' doesn't even come close. I only hope someone is monitoring the tensions around this country because if they fail to do so - and act in the responsible/democratic way - they are about to unleash trouble like they've never seen before.

Mr Ecks said...

Domo--best thing that could happen despite all the lies and nonsense talked about him.

I agree with you Radders on this one. But there seems no talking to these arrogant Bliarite middle class proggie shite MPs. CCHQ have filled the HoC with hier-to-bliar shite and the consequences of stupidity and outright evil are always bad.

Lets start with a council tax strike and go from there. And make a compact with ourselves NOT to stand by while bluebottles try to throw their weight about with any democrat/Brexiteer. One of the reasons TPTB fear the RoP is that they stand as a tribe who work together.

I hope the DUP/ERG can find the courage/skill to talk the crap out until 29/3/19 or bring her down with a GE. Which would be a farcical disaster for both Labour and Tory. A campaign led by their two worst ever leaders--not to mention both are traitors campaigning for treason. Wonderful.

Martin (retired - not that one) said...

Well, that would be conclusive proof, to the rest of the EU, that the best way to wreck a once-peaceful country would be to hold a referendum on EU membership then. The utter shambles here already has boosted popular support for the EU across the twenty-seven.

Stephen J said...

@Mr. Ecks:

I read today in my inbox that the blue party is doing everything it can to defeat Bank's campaign to deselect proven treacherous parliamentary candidates.

In Jimmy Grieve's Beaconsfield a 58 year long member has had his "no confidence" motion at their AGM thrown out because CCHQ claims he is no longer a member.

Of course the fact that he wasn't sent the renewal notice as in the previous 57 years, so that they can attest that his membership has lapsed... is mere coincidence.

Effin' shysters.

Dave_G said...

@Martin - ..boosted popular support for the EU across the twenty-seven.

Seriously? 27? Italy? Greece? Spain? Hungary? Austria? Poland? France?

or did you forget the /sarc tag?

Anonymous said...

A response to a letter posted in the weekend FT. Make of it what you will:
Britain should strengthen ties with Europe even after its exit.

"The participation rate of UK students in Erasmus schemes is among the lowest of all the major EU countries.“ Because the english mentality is insular and limited and thinks it is the center of the universe.

"after the Brexit dust settles relations between the UK and the EU will probably be largely unchanged.” The EU sees that the UK can never ever be trusted, so get with the programme : The EU is the dominant power. UK finally realising that the EU is the dominant power in Europe, no state can escape its power and reach and that Brexit will be on its terms.

The UK will be accommodated but never prioritised above collective interest of EU. The EU has been both tactical and strategic. The EU has hard power and deploys it to pursue its interests and safeguard itself when faced with an existential threat.

The EU is central in governing transnational relations in Europe. This was particularly important given the depiction of the EU during the UK referendum as weak and on the verge of collapse. European non-member states, including the departing UK, must reach an accommodation with the union. Hence, the Brexit process unfolds on the union’s terms. This was demonstrated over and over again in the negotiations, notably by the insistence that there would be no negotiation without notification and that the negotiations would be phased, beginning with the withdrawal agreement. Demonstrating the difference between being in the club and outside was essential. Put simply, there could be no privileged status for a former member state.

The EU Membership Matters goal was systemic but reinforced by the apparent unwillingness of many in the UK to come to terms with what third-country status might mean. Far too many in positions of influence in London felt the UK could retain those policies and institutional privileges it liked and jettison what it did not want, the “cherry-picking” or “cake-and-eat-it approach” to exiting the union.

The union’s commitment to ensuring that membership must matter also fed into the treatment of the Irish Border in the negotiations. Going into these negotiations, London would have comfortably expected to outgun Ireland in the negotiations given the asymmetry in size. For the EU, however, a key goal was to demonstrate that it will protect its members and will not privilege the interests of a departing state over a member state. This was not the only reason for solidarity with Ireland but it was part of the motivation. The EU’s other strategic goal was to safeguard the union as a rules-based system held together by treaties, laws and institutions. Across all EU institutions, Brexit was insulated from the day-to-day functioning of the union with task forces in the council and commission and a Brexit steering group in the European Parliament. The withdrawal of the UK was not going to permeate everything the EU was doing. The EU wants to have a close and sustainable relationship with the UK as a valued neighbour but that relationship will never have a higher priority than the strategic goals identified here. UK interests will be accommodated to the extent possible but will never be prioritised above the collective interest of the EU itself.

The European response to the UK’s exit is very revealing about the nature of the union at it approaches the third decade of the 21st century. It is a political community with some state-like characteristics not just an arena for transacting business, although it is a formidable negotiating machine. There have been many problems with the UK’s approach to its exit from the EU but underlying all of the political machinations is a deep, conceptual failure.

Although the UK was a major player in the union, it leaves without ever fully understanding what it was a part of.

Brigid Laffan, IRISH Times

Stephen J said...

I would say that the republished article was just what one would expect from the FT.

As far as the original publication goes, that in the Irish Times, presumably it is merely a contributory newspaper article in the general cocktail that is a general election, this one just happens to be the one where Verruca gets his chance to meet the electorate and fail miserably.

That's what I make of it.

Raedwald said...

.. and from a piece in the Sunday Times written by an anonymous senior civil servant

"Myth 1: the civil service is independent. The civil service was founded on the pillars of political neutrality. Civil servants are meant to ensure that their own political persuasions do not affect their work. Crucially, they should accept those from all political leanings and points of view.

It has become clear to me that the vast majority of civil servants support “remain”. From my own observations I would estimate this number to be well over 90%. This is worrying in itself and far from representative of the 52% of the population who voted for Brexit.

Most horrifying, however, is the sheer disdain and utter contempt that my colleagues display towards people who voted to leave. I have lost count of the number of insulting and derogatory terms that are used in my own department and elsewhere to refer to the 17.4m people who voted for Brexit: “racist”, “stupid”, “uneducated”. Anti-Brexit jokes and snide remarks are dropped casually into everyday office conversations."

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr R-W, the above was rather clumsily positioned and posted. It is not a re-published article from the Irish Times but rather an extract from the comment thread in response to a letter to the FT editor. It was posted by someone who purported to be Brigid Laffan of the Irish Times. The sections in inverted commas are extracts from the original letter followed by Laffan's responses (assuming it is her, as she posted it under a nom de plume but then signed off as Laffan). A quite extraordinary, indeed fanatical and in places delusional rant e.g the 'dominant power' / 'no state can escape its power and reach' / 'hard power' projection nonsense (though I suspect there are those in the EU 'Commissariat' who would like such capabilities and to use them).

You are right about the FT, it still has some good content - but its editorial team have long lost any sense of objectivity in relation to the EU generally and Brexit in particular.

Dave_G said...

@Anon - "The participation rate of UK students in Erasmus schemes is among the lowest of all the major EU countries.“ Because the english mentality is insular and limited and thinks it is the center of the universe.

...or, maybe it's because, as Raed often points out, there are very few EU Universities in the Global top table of places to learn.

Who wants a degree from some unknown, no-name EU Uni when they could get one from the UEA (in climate studies) if they wanted to remain annonymous and irrelevant.

Stephen J said...

Yes Dave_G, when I was a mere stripling in my first job (the civil service), I met a colleague who said that he had studied for his degree in Moscow.

Myself and colleagues thought that this was a very backward concept, the view of the USSR amongst most normal people being that it was a basket case.

Well, Russia has moved on somewhere else, but never mind, one is able to avail themselves if they have ambitions to study in some second rate EU crammer under a "Monet Professor".

Dave_G said...

@r-w - somehow I suspect the Russia education system is a lot better than is generally known. I'd be interested to see comparisons between theirs and ours.

Certainly their technological prowess isn't to be snottered at.

The media/.gov organised campaign to demonise all-things-Russian must influence perceptions?

Cascadian said...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.".......another period of revolution in France might yet rouse the patricians and presstitutes to fear for evrything they possess.

The patricians had one job-prepare yUK for seperation from EU-they failed dismally, now the populace will pass their judgement on whether they consent to be "led" by the "Parliament". A parliament where clear democratic directives are ignored.

Span Ows said...

anon 00:27 "The UK will be accommodated but never prioritised above collective interest of EU. The EU has been both tactical and strategic."

Indeed. I know these aren't your words but WTF did the author of these words think? Does he think Leave voters expected the EU to prioritise the UK after we leave? Did he think anyone - ever - would think this?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Sorry but this in the realm of fantasy.

There will be no bricks thrown, and no riots.

The readers of this blog, and other blogs like it, will fume rage and spit. How many people is that? A few thousand at the very most, and we're not the rioting type.

Everyone else will shrug and say "we knew they'd never allow it" and carry on with their lives.

Of course we'll trust politicians even less, general cynicism will increase even more, and the Tory party will be destroyed for a generation at least.

But that's all.

Saito said...

You might not like the outcome but you can't argue against the fact that Parliament has taken back control