As promised earlier (here), I am now taking a closer look at the editorial in today’s Daily Telegraph, quoting extensively from it because it is behind a paywall. The title says it all:
That is a fair and just verdict to which all can subscribe who have watched the proceedings and debates in the HoC this week.
The article was published after yesterday’s votes in the HoC and the events there inform this article. It is the unvarnished truth, unpalatable to the Remainers of all stripes:
“Today brought a very significant moment in the history of Brexit, as the Commons voted to request a delay to leaving the EU. The British political establishment is humiliated.
The Commons has voted many times to say what it opposes, including the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement, a no-deal Brexit and a second referendum. It even voted against holding indicative votes to find out what MPs prefer instead (a cynic might say that they are wary of their own judgment). The basic problem is that the Commons has no earthly idea what it is for, and by voting for delay it signals to the EU – and the voters – its indecision and incompetence.”
Count me in amongst the cynics! And yes, the incompetence of MPs was clear to all who sat and suffered, listening to the debates. The description above is true and well-balanced. Being cynical, I’d also say that the Remainers, in the end, were frightened of their own ‘courage’ – or perhaps they had an inkling that their constituents would not be happy with their decisions …
“Consider what happened to an amendment calling for a rerun of the Brexit referendum: despite previously suggesting that it was in favour of the idea, Labour decided to abstain.”
And consider that all those ‘champions’ for a 2nd referendum or a ‘people’s vote’ showed yesterday that they prefer to keep their hands clean and leave that decision to the benign leadership of the EU: ‘it wasn’t us, guv, the EU made us do it’. Cowards!
“[…] does it not bother these so-called democrats that an extension hands power to the EU to decide the UK’s fate? European leaders will sit in judgment over our Parliament, waiting to see if it is capable of rescuing the Withdrawal Agreement, which might mean a short delay, or has no alternative whatsoever, which might mean a delay lasting years.”
That is what is so galling, that is why so many of us are incandescent with rage about the posturing peacocks in the HoC who put ego before Party before Country. The debates this week provided ample proof. for that. Then there’s the constitutional aspect which has been overlooked by most political pundits so far, thanks to the smoke-and-mirror production in the HoC. This is a crucial point:
“As a tired Government looks to put its deal to yet another vote, step forward John Bercow. Parliamentary convention as laid out by Erskine May says: “A motion or an amendment which is the same, in substance, as a question which has been decided during a session may not be brought forward again during that same session.”
Who gets to decide if the motion is “substantively the same”? The Speaker. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if Mr Bercow had a reputation for impartiality, but he does not, and a political row could easily turn constitutional.”
It could – if some MPs were to find their round dangling objects or even were to discover they had a spine and stood up to the Speaker. Some of them did so yesterday, to no avail (report here). For Brexit’s and our sakes, I hope these few will do so again, next week. If the Nation were to conclude that Brexit is not just destroyed by weak and feeble MPs but by the manipulation of the Speaker, then he better watch out.
The DT editors conclude with this sobering observation:
“Proof, again, that Brexit is not only about Europe. It is a stress test of Britain’s political institutions, to see whether or not they are capable of effective representation. They are currently failing that test in the most embarrassing manner.”
Just so. There’s nothing to add to that except to say: I concur.