The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, this week described the vote by UK MPs to dam a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances as, “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the best way.”
It’s worse than that. The complete Brexit fiasco has sunk our democracy, main the nation to catastrophe.
Sure, Brexit is the iceberg, our Parliament is the Titanic, and we’re heading for one almighty crash.
There isn’t any band enjoying, there isn’t a re-arranging of the deckchairs.
As an alternative, on the final minute, MPs have been discussing modification after modification, voting on the identical déjà vu deal over and once more, and traipsing out and in of lobbies, while an imminent and crushing Brexit impression is simply days away.
The nation is now near a state of emergency, with a authorities minister admitting that he’s the world’s largest purchaser of fridges, in order that very important medicines could be stockpiled as they are going to be briefly provide if we default to a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Companies throughout the nation are in a state of panic and misery as the federal government has all of a sudden introduced new tariffs that might be utilized to exports and imports if ‘no deal’ occurs.
Dover and different Channel ports are bracing themselves for months of disruption if we depart with no deal.
And actually, all that’s simply the tip of the iceberg.
- How on earth did the nation spend three tiresome years navigating itself to this?
- And is there now any fast and straightforward emergency escape from the chaos that now confronts us?
The reply to the primary query is difficult, however in a nutshell, the journey to the place we at the moment are began off as being totally undemocratic.
If democratic rules and safeguards had been utilized from the beginning, we might not now be in such a calamitous state of affairs.
And the reply to the second query is sure, there’s a fast and straightforward approach out of this. (However you’ll should learn on to seek out out what it’s).
The assault on our democracy started when, in 2015, Parliament accredited a referendum on EU membership which, as a result of it was advisory solely, didn’t have the identical checks and balances of a legally binding vote.
Then the federal government responded to the referendum end result as if it was a legally binding choice, however on the similar time, not permitting our Parliament the standard scrutiny and oversight that ought to have adopted an advisory-only referendum.
If the referendum had been legally binding, then Parliament would have set a minimal threshold for Depart profitable – simply as Parliament did for the 1979 referendum on whether or not Scotland ought to have its personal meeting.
On that event, ‘Sure’ gained 52% to 48% – identical to the EU referendum.
However ‘Sure’ didn’t win, as a result of Parliament had set a minimal threshold of 40% of the citizens having to vote for an meeting earlier than Scotland might have one.
Lower than 40% of the Scottish citizens voted for an meeting, so on that event the ‘Sure’ vote failed.
Solely 37% of the citizens voted for Depart within the EU referendum. So, if the identical guidelines had utilized because the 1979 referendum, Depart wouldn’t have gained.
In any occasion, Depart shouldn’t have gained with solely 37% of the citizens voting for it.
Most democratic nations the world over which have referendums wouldn’t permit such a minority vote to win such a serious referendum.
Certainly, even your native golf membership wouldn’t permit 37% of its members to vary their structure.
However there’s worse.
We now know that the Depart campaigns solely gained – by the slimmest of margins – due to mendacity, dishonest and regulation breaking.
- They overspent what’s allowed beneath electoral regulation by a big margin.
- Plenty of stolen private knowledge have been used to focus on potential voters in unlawful methods.
- The Electoral Fee is suspicious that tens of millions of kilos given to the Depart.eu marketing campaign originated from a overseas supply – which might be unlawful.
- There at the moment are a number of ongoing felony investigations into Depart campaigns and campaigners (none towards Stay).
And right here’s the rub.
If the referendum had been a legally binding vote, then beneath UK regulation, such illegalities and irregularities of such magnitude would have resulted within the referendum end result being annulled by the courts.
However because the referendum was an advisory train solely, it escaped such authorized scrutiny – despite the fact that the referendum end result was handled as if it was legally binding.
The courts can’t annul an advisory vote in the identical method that a legally-binding vote may be annulled when critical irregularities might have affected the outcome.
It might all have been so totally different.
Following the referendum, the brand new Prime Minister, Theresa Might, might have appointed a Royal Fee to discover and determine which type of Brexit was viable after which requested Parliament if it needed to try this Brexit.
As an alternative, Mrs Might was in a rush to set off the Article 50 discover by bypassing Parliament, utilizing the traditional and arcane ‘Royal Prerogative’.
Gina Miller’s authorized problem stopped that.
The Supreme Courtroom confirmed that the referendum was solely an advisory train and that the choice to go away the EU needed to be taken by Parliament.
Nevertheless, Parliament wasn’t given a chance to determine whether or not the UK ought to depart the EU.
The then Brexit Secretary, David Davis, erroneously suggested Parliament that such a Parliamentary choice wasn’t essential, as ‘the choice’ to go away had already been taken by the referendum.
A ‘determination’ that the Supreme Courtroom had already dominated that the referendum wasn’t able to making.
Mr Davis advised Parliament that, because the ‘determination’ to go away the EU was already made, all that Parliament was required to do was to provide the Prime Minister authority to inform the EU of an ‘intention’ to go away.
Parliament was introduced with one of many shortest payments ever, ‘The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Invoice’.
When Parliament handed this Act to provide energy to Theresa Might to inform the EU of a choice that had but to be made, the world was led to consider that Parliament had voted to go away the EU.
Nothing of the type had occurred.
Parliament has by no means truly debated and voted on the precise query of whether or not the UK ought to depart the EU.
- So, because the referendum couldn’t decide to go away the EU, and Parliament didn’t make the choice, who did?
That thriller was unravelled in June final yr, at a ‘permission listening to’ within the Excessive Courtroom relating to the validity of Article 50.
That listening to established that the Prime Minister, Theresa Might, solely and individually made the chief choice for the UK to go away the EU.
Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Inexperienced unusually made their judgment citable and dominated that the choice to go away the EU was contained within the Prime Minister’s Article 50 notification letter of 29 March 2017, to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.[∞ Link to judgement]
In that letter, the Prime Minister said that ‘the individuals of the UK’ had made ‘the choice’ to go away the EU, although the Supreme Courtroom had dominated that the referendum was advisory solely and never legally entitled or able to making any choice.
She then erroneously suggested Mr Tusk that ‘the choice’ to go away the EU had been ‘confirmed’ by the UK Parliament.
Parliament had solely given the Prime Minister permission to provide discover to the EU of an ‘intention’ to withdraw from the EU. That’s under no circumstances the identical as a selected determination to go away.
Had Parliament been requested following the advisory referendum to debate and particularly vote on whether or not the UK ought to depart the EU, a invoice to this impact would have required a plan, influence assessments and proof from all of the Brexit committees.
Parliament has just lately been requested twice if it needs to go away the EU on the phrases negotiated by the Prime Minister.
The Home of Commons has twice voted NO with historic majorities.
Parliament is deadlocked as a result of the chief tricked us all by asking Parliament the improper query following the referendum.
The query put to Parliament following the referendum ought to have been the identical one which the UK citizens was requested:
‘Ought to the UK stay a member of the European Union or depart the European Union?’
Asking Parliament as an alternative if it can give permission for the Prime Minister to inform the EU of an ‘intention’ to go away is by no means the identical as a debate and vote on whether or not we should always stay or depart.
Now, Parliament is alarmed that we’re simply days from crashing out of the EU with none deal, which just about all politicians – and companies – agree will trigger chaos.
On the final minute, this week Parliament voted by a big majority that the UK should not depart the EU with no deal.
However the Dutch Prime Minister, who in contrast that to, “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the best way,” was depressingly proper.
Parliament has no energy to cease the UK leaving and not using a deal.
Our Parliamentarians have been led right into a cul-de-sac by a crafty authorities, which has acted dictatorially relatively than democratically, and in their very own slender pursuits, relatively than that of the nation.
The one method to keep away from a ‘no deal’ exit is for Parliament to both ratify Theresa Might’s deal, or revoke Article 50.
Extending Article 50 will merely push again the influence of the iceberg, and doesn’t take away the potential hazard.
(Though a delay would give time for a brand new referendum on Brexit, so ‘the individuals’ might determine whether or not they settle for ‘the one deal on the desk’ or to stay within the EU in any case. Nevertheless, up to now, Parliament has voted towards having one other referendum).
- So, what’s the straightforward approach out of Brexit that was promised at the beginning of this text?
Because it’s been demonstrated within the Excessive Courtroom that it was the Prime Minister alone who made ‘the choice’ to go away the EU, she additionally has the facility to undo what she has executed.
Probably the most smart and honourable course for the Prime Minister to take now can be to revoke her Article 50 discover and order a Brexit Inquiry.
She will do that completely on her personal with none statute or Parliamentary approval.
The Inquiry must discover how our nation:
- was taken on an undemocratic course to calamity;
- on the ‘determination’ of a minority of the citizens;
- in a non-binding vote, that was solely gained by illegalities and irregularities;
- of such breath-taking proportions, that had the referendum been a legally binding vote, it might have been annulled.
Sure, Brexit is a titanic sham.
• Because of Liz Webster for her help on this text.
This entry was posted in Present Affairs, Democracy & Citizenship, Politics & Public Coverage, The EU and tagged Article 50, brexit, David Davis, democracy, EU Withdrawal Invoice, European Union, Gina Miller, Theresa Might, Titanic. Bookmark the permalink.