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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Melanie Phillips: The Predictable Brexit Crisis Has Now Arrived


Mrs May has now presented to Cabinet the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU. As feared, it is a proposal that would leave the UK not only remaining bound to the EU but at a far greater disadvantage than under its current terms of membership. It is therefore totally unacceptable.

There were reported ructions in Cabinet. It is bound by collective responsibility, but that doesn’t mean individual Cabinet ministers have accepted the deal.

Since its faults are overwhelmingly obvious to Remainers as well as Brexiteers, it is extremely doubtful that it will get through Parliament.

Then what?

Will Cabinet ministers now resign on a point of principle? Will Parliament vote for or against no-deal? Will Mrs May be forced to resign (way, way overdue)? Will there be a general election? Will the pressure for a second referendum become irresistible?

No-one knows.

So here are a few points which need to be made.

  • The British people voted to leave the EU. They expressed no view on the kind of deal they wanted or whether they would want to leave without any deal at all. They simply voted to leave.
  • If Parliament votes against May’s deal, the UK must leave the EU with no deal if the result of the referendum vote is to be honoured.
  • Most MPs reportedly believe no-deal would be a disaster of the first magnitude. This is absurd for reasons outlined elsewhere, such as here and here. It would be far from desirable; there would be problems and privations, some serious, some not. But disaster? No. It’s simply not in the EU’s interests for trade and other arrangements with the UK to go down the tubes.
  • No-deal was always the only deal that would be in the UK’s national interest in the medium to long term. This case now needs to be made very strongly indeed.
The following arguments also need to be made against a second referendum.

  • As a lightly disguised attempt to reverse the Brexit decision, it would be an anti-democratic kick in the teeth for the British people.
  • Worse, May has now explicitly threatened to reverse the Brexit decision. In her statement, she said the choice was now between accepting this deal, leaving with no deal or “no Brexit at all”. So she is now threatening, in terms, that the government might decide to ignore the referendum decision and thus reverse the Brexit vote.
  • If a second referendum were to be held, what would be the question? Since all prognoses are bitterly contested, on what superior information base would the public reach a fresh decision? There is none. It would be referendum groundhog-day all over again – but this time with far greater hatred on all sides and a catastrophic deepening of national divisions.
  • The assumption that the status quo ante is still an option is false. If the UK were to decide to remain in the EU after all, does anyone seriously imagine that the EU would allow it to do so on the same terms as now? It would use the UK’s craven surrender and patent weakness to impose fresh conditions to bind it much more tightly into the EU – almost certainly with forced membership of the euro for starters.
The stakes could not be higher. Individual MPs must now choose whether they will enable Britain to become again an independent self-governing nation, or not.

If Conservative MPs don’t now ensure the UK leaves the EU, their party may simply implode and /or be destroyed by the fact that, after such a betrayal and such a demonstration of jaw-dropping ineptitude and incompetence, no-one will vote for it ever again.

And for all who care about democracy, if Parliament doesn’t now honour the referendum decision the alienation of the people from the whole democratic process will have untold political and social consequences for the foreseeable future.

The only legitimate deal now, in the UK’s national interest, is no-deal.

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, broadcaster and author - you can follow her work on her website HERE

2 comments:

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...
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" ... jaw-dropping ineptitude and incompetence" have said it all since Day 1.
This is a constitutional issue, the Lords having declared the European Communities Act a 'constitutional statute' in 2002. A simple majority in a referendum should not determine constitutional issues.
Now we have the UK trying to have its cake and eat it too. The Europeans have bent over backwards to accommodate the UK but there are limits.
This is gonna be one hell of a SHAMBLES.

Brian said...
Reply To This Comment

I disagree with Barend, simply for the reason that the E.U. like the United Nations, is a ever growing incompetent, subsidised bureaucracy that democratic nations have ever had to cope with. The E.U. is a corrupt “Nationalist” regime inward looking, and dominated by two major powerful players concerned principally with their own interests. In a sentence “Hitler’s final Reich” has been realised.
Britain was taken into the EEC because quite simply, their politicians were not good enough or capable to deal with the plight of that country. It was riddled to the core, with socialism, subsidized nationalized industry that was still based on a Victorian Empire outlook; and a lack of courageous leadership. The lure of a centralisation state was easy to sell to a people who had won a war, but lost the peace. It was a very handy escape hatch, engineered in the vain hope that someone else will foot the bill.
That was one of reasons I left and finally settled here, in N.Z; only to now find that, over the last three decades our elected and non-elected batch of politicians are prostituting themselves to minorities. More importantly they are surrendering our constitution and sovereignty on the altar of the U.N. without any consultation or vote of the people.
We are falling into the Communistic trap that “Big is not only better, but also a socialistic Utopia”!
.A Hard Brexit will be the right medicine for Britain; it is what makes a nation a nation, a copy of the situation of the 1940’s when resilience, courage, and unity saw them emerge strong enough to set in motion a “victory at all costs.
Brian