This article was first published in Moraymint Chatter and we re-publish with the kind permission of the author.
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No Deal Off The Table
Not quite. After the second ‘Meaningful Vote’, Parliament decided that the UK should not include ‘No Deal’ in its negotiating strategy. Now, any negotiator will tell you that if you go into a negotiation telling the other party that you will never, ever walk away from doing a deal, guess what? Yes, that’s right: the other party will screw you over. Not surprisingly, therefore, the European Union has held firm on refusing to amend the Withdrawal Agreement – an appallingly ‘bad deal’ according to Parliament, but a Parliament which also paradoxically and preposterously rejects ‘No Deal’. This negotiating madness has not been lost on the French President who said recently:
‘British politicians are incapable of carrying out what their people instructed. Their people voted for Brexit. Parliament has voted against the Agreement and No Deal. It’s a true democratic and political crisis’
President of the French Republic
The EU is content, therefore, to roast the UK into accepting a bad deal. After all, it’s a fallacy ever to think that the party on the other side of the negotiating table is somehow your friend, somehow on your side. The fact is that the EU is the UK’s adversary in this context. However, the Conservative government and the House of Commons are emphatically pro-EU, so the negotiations were always going to be about collaboration and collusion and ultimately, therefore, about the UK being screwed over by the EU. It wouldn’t have taken an archbishop to work this out from the moment the Conservative Party allowed the nation to be governed post the EU Referendum by a pro-EU Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Consequently, the Withdrawal Agreement was only ever going to be designed to deliver Brexit-In-Name-Only (BRINO). This is not surprising since the Agreement was prepared in Brussels by the European Commission desperate to maintain the integrity of the European Union and knowing that they were dealing with a British government of Remain-voting ministers who, latterly, were also instructed by Parliament never to walk away from the negotiations. You really couldn’t make this up as an exercise in unmitigated political incompetence and a pre-ordained failure of democracy.
‘The age of pure representative democracy is coming to an end’
British European Commissioner
2004 – 08
Indeed, incompetence barely starts to describe how the British political class responded to the EU Referendum result having in the past 3-years engineered itself and the Brexit process into the corner to end all corners. As the wee guy sitting here in my Study overlooking the Moray Firth and holding merely the influence of a single vote, one looks upon the Westminster ‘elite’ (a misnomer if ever there was one) with a mixture of disbelief, anger and contempt. You wonder just how a nation with one of the most admirable economic, political and social histories known to mankind could be reduced to little short of international humiliation.
The UK should leave the EU by law at 11.00 pm on Friday 29 March; the end of this week. However, owing to the catastrophic failure of the Conservative government and Parliament between them to prepare the UK to leave the EU on that date, Prime Minister May has had to beg the European Union for an extension to the Brexit deadline – which will mean breaking the law unless Parliament amends the law within the coming week; a tall order.
The European Union is now, as it has been for the past 40 years or so, in control of how the UK is governed. In this sense, one can only admire the success of the European Union elite in emasculating nation states (the UK in this case) consistent with their goal of creating a European superstate, the United States of Europe. Member nations are supposed to take their orders from Brussels; that’s how the European Union works.
‘We want more Europe and stronger powers to intervene’
Chancellor of Germany
On 21 March the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, told the UK that if the Withdrawal Agreement was not approved by Parliament at the third time of asking (what is it that the Conservative government doesn’t understand by the term ‘bad deal’?), then the UK must declare its intentions before Friday 12 April or leave the EU on that date. On the other hand, if Parliament suddenly decided that the ‘bad deal’ was in fact a ‘good deal’, then the European Union would grant the UK until Wednesday 22 May to pass the necessary legislation to put the Withdrawal Agreement (which is, in reality, a treaty) into law.
Democracy as a Recipe
On 21 March, as I listened to the unfolding political drama on LBC radio, I could sense that the social contract, which had been unravelling for months beforehand, was now being shredded by the incompetence of the British government and the brutal negotiating skills of the European Union. Between them, for 1,000 days of ‘negotiations’ (collusion really), the two institutions have treated with barely-concealed contempt the decision delegated to the British people in June 2016 in effect asking voters who should govern the UK? The British people chose self-determination. The British government, Parliament and the European Union together, however, prefer governance of the UK by a foreign oligarchy, the European Commission. This conflict is at the heart of the disintegrating social contract in the UK.
‘The EU is a non-imperial empire’
José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
2004 – 2014
The British government and the House of Commons have been unable to square away honouring the result of the EU Referendum with their own preference to have the UK subsumed within a European superstate. British politicians have tied themselves in knots trying to craft a fudge; half-in, half-out of the EU. The Conservative government had neither the guts nor the skills nor the will to take the UK out of the European Union and to bring Parliament and the country with them. Aided and abetted by the majority of Westminster politicians, the government confused the 52%/48% Referendum result with a recipe. They thought that leaving the EU should involve being kind of mainly in but 4% out of the EU; the difference between the Leave and Remain votes. The problem is that having confused democracy with a recipe, they’ve created the mother-of-all dog’s breakfasts and in so doing put a flame to the social contract (apologies for the mixed metaphors).
It’s difficult not to conclude that 40 years of EU membership has resulted in the British political class being vulgarised. Our politicians appear to have lost all understanding of how a sovereign democracy is supposed to function; they’re in thrall to the EU technocracy, to the idea that we’re all better off by having the affairs of Europe (including the UK) guided by Commissioners like Michel Barnier, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk sitting on some rarefied plane as if they’re Plato’s Guardians.
After a generation of being nodding dogs to the tens of thousands of regulations and directives being spewed out of the European Union into the legislative framework of the United Kingdom, British politicians have lost all understanding of the arts of government, statesmanship and statecraft. The result is where we find ourselves today: the UK humiliated on the world stage; British democracy on the brink of being sunk without trace; a nation of citizens at each other’s throats.
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[To be continued with the concluding part tomorrow in INDEPENDENCE Daily]