The electors did not understand
The idea that those who voted to leave were largely ignorant and poorly educated white working class people who did not know any better is absurd. I can vouch from my own experience of talking to many people from a working-class background that they had absolutely no difficulty in understanding what the vote was about, namely, regaining sovereignty, being masters in our own house, controlling our own affairs, saying who should be allowed to come into this country – these are ideas which are, for the politically correct, all too well understood by electors in general.
But let us for the sake of argument allow that it was the less educated who disproportionately voted for Leave. Would that have been a bad thing? In 1984 Orwell put these words into the head of Winston Smith: “If there is hope it lies with the proles.” The reason for that was the ‘proles’ had not been seriously infected by the doctrines of IngSoc, the only political party in Britain in 1984.
So it is with the Britain today. The white working class has not been seriously infected with the totalitarian creed that is political correctness. They have a deep well of unforced unselfconscious patriotism and readily understand that mass immigration is invasion and that membership of any international political body results in the theft of sovereignty which allows a quisling political class to deform democracy. In reality they were the type of people most suited to vote leave for they were the people who experienced most directly the effects of mass immigration from Europe, the lowered wages, the creation of a cruel housing shortage, the transformation of the areas in which they lived caused by large immigrant inflows.
The claim that the referendum vote was narrowly won
The overall vote on a 73% turnout was Remain 16,141,241 Leave: 17,410,742. That gave a leave majority of 1,269,501. In percentage terms 51.90 voted to Leave and 48.1 to stay. England voted by nearly 54% to leave. It was a decisive if not utterly overwhelming victory. Had such a result been for remaining you may be sure the remainers would be calling it a comprehensive result. Indeed, had there been a very narrow vote to remain can anyone doubt from their behaviour since the result that the remainers would be saying “one vote more is enough?”
On the legal front it should be noted that there is no stipulation in the European Union Referendum Act that either a certain percentage of all qualified electors or a certain percentage of those voting must vote to leave to activate a Brexit.
The referendum was only advisory
Perhaps the most popular fraudulent claim by remainers is that the referendum was only advisory. Nothing in the European Union Referendum Act states that it is simply advisory. The only arguments which could be put forward to support the claim are (1) to claim that the absence of a clause placing Parliament under an obligation to act on the result should be taken to mean that it was only advisory or (2) that Parliament is the final font of authority in the UK and, consequently, any referendum is automatically only advisory unless it is made clear in an Act of Parliament authorising a referendum that Parliament and the government must act on the result of the referendum. The word Jesuitical comes to mind.
These arguments if taken seriously would mean that anything which is not specifically sanctioned or banned in the European Union Referendum Act can be read into the Act. This goes against English law in which things that are not specifically banned or made compulsory are taken to be legal.
In European systems of law what one may legally do has to be stated. It is the difference between negative and positive law. As the European Union Referendum Act is English law the absence of a clause stating the referendum was merely advisory means it is binding on Parliament and the government.
It is also true that during the referendum campaign none of the official leave and remain campaign groups made any play with the idea that the referendum was only advisory.
The claim that the prerogative should not be used to trigger Article 50 or sanction the terms of leaving the EU
The referendum was a manifesto commitment of the Conservatives in the general election of 2015. Parliament voted for the European Union Referendum Act in 2015 by 316 for and 53 against.
Once the holding of a referendum has been agreed by Parliament the rules of the game change for Parliament. Unless provision is made in the Act authorising a referendum for it to be only advisory or a clause inserted stating that Parliament shall vote on what action should be taken after the outcome of the referendum, MPs and Lords cannot claim that it is Parliament’s role to vote on the outcome of the referendum. The holding of a referendum whose outcome is not just advisory trumps the authority of Parliament because if it did not the reason for the referendum would vanish.
There is also ample precedent for the use of the prerogative by UK governments in connection with treaties relating to what is now the EU. The UK’s admission to what was then the European Economic Community in 1973 was done without a referendum through the use of the prerogative by Edward Heath and every treaty emanating from what is now the European Union has also not been presented to Parliament for its approval but given legal status by the use of the prerogative.
The position on who makes the decision on the renegotiation terms is also straightforward: it is a treaty matter and the negotiation of and acceptance of treaties is a prerogative power. End of story. Parliament does not have to come into it, although either House could pass motions asking the government to take note of whatever those wanting the new relationship with the EU to be less than Brexit.
The practical consequences of May’s schedule for leaving the EU
If Theresa May’s schedule for leaving the EU is followed the UK will have had 33 months of remaining in the EU subject to all the rules, regulations and obligations which existed on 23rd June plus any new EU laws passed between the 23rd June and March 2019. During those 33 months the UK will be suffering this:
- Be paying its contributions to the EU in full. The net amount (the sum the UK does not get back from their gross contribution) for 33 months would be around £24 billion. Moreover, the money that is returned to the UK by the EU in the 33 months (£12 billion approx.) has to be spent not as the British government decides but as the EU decrees;
- Have to allow citizens of the European Economic Area to continue to freely enter and work in the UK. Half a million or even a million new EU immigrants could plausibly come in before the UK formally leaves because of reports suggesting that an amnesty for all EEA citizens will apply at the point where the UK finally leaves;
- Be forced to put any new EU directives into law unless it is one of the rare instances where a national veto still applies;
- Be expected to enforce any existing EU laws including things such as the European Arrest Warrant;
- Still be liable to be taken before the European Court of Justice;
- Be unable to make any bilateral trade treaties or any other form of treaty which conflicts with treaties made by the EU;
- Be paying in work and out of work benefits to many EEA citizens in the UK;
- Be funding the children of EEA citizens in the UK through the provision of school places and healthcare;
- Be accepting citizens from the EEA for free NHS treatment;
- Be funding students from the EEA through subsidised fees and student loans;
- Be unable to give preference to UK companies when putting public contracts out to tender.
The great enemy of a true Brexit is time
The remainers can, like Mr Micawber, wait for something to turn up and unlike Mr Micawber they have every reason to believe that something might indeed save them in the two years provided by Article 50; perhaps another world depression or simply the UK being economically destabilised by the uncertainty of the long delay. That being so, what we need is an end to equivocation by those controlling the Brexit process and the fastest possible removal of the UK from the EU.
Could a really quick exit be achieved legally? That is debatable purely in terms of international law. It is true that The Vienna Convention on Treaties in Article 62 allows for the voiding of a treaty in a matter of months if there is a “fundamental change of circumstances” but that does not apply where the change of circumstances has been caused by the country wishing to leave.
But in the end leaving the EU is a political not a legal matter and the fact that the EU has provided a mechanism to depart in Article 50 shows that, flawed as that means of leaving is, the EU acknowledges that a member state may leave. The UK is not in the position that the Confederacy found themselves in in mid 19th century USA where there was no legal route out.
The matter comes down to this: do you honestly believe that the EU would wish to be seriously at odds with a country which is the sixth largest economy in the world and has a massive trade deficit with the EU, a country which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and which holds major positions on most of the important international organisations such as the IMF? Moreover, at the purely practical level, the UK is a partner in cross-border European enterprises such as Airbus and the consortium producing the Eurofighter.
All that being so, surely the odds are that if the UK sticks to its Brexit guns the EU will, after a good deal of huffing and puffing, let the UK go on reasonable terms. Truth to tell, the real danger comes from those in Britain in positions of power and influence who covertly or overtly wish to sabotage Brexit.