Written by Bryan Gould
This article was first published in BrexitCentral and we re-publish with their and the authors kind permission.
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What an extraordinarily depressing experience it is to be compelled to watch, at 12,000 miles distance, the contortions and machinations of the British political class as they set about their determined attempt to overturn the decision taken by the British people that they wish to leave the European Union.
The pages of publications like The Guardian are replete with articles by “constitutional experts”, exploring the various arcane ways in which so-called “democrats” could manipulate constitutional and parliamentary rules and practice so as to frustrate the will of the people by preventing a “no deal” Brexit — and all this supposedly in the name of democracy!
Let us be quite clear. The rearguard campaign to prevent a “no-deal” Brexit is merely a smokescreen for the real objective, which is to frustrate any Brexit at all and, in effect, overturn the referendum outcome. Despite protestations that they are committed to giving effect to the referendum, the Remainers’ actions tell a different story. They calculate that, if the EU can be persuaded not to budge on negotiations for a deal, there will be sufficient opposition to a “no-deal” Brexit to mean that Parliament will find a way to stop it.
The contempt they show for democracy is exceeded only by their arrogance – their conviction that they alone know best – and by their readiness to demonstrate that their true allegiance is not to British democracy and self-government but to the “ideal” of European union – and, in the interests of that ideal, that they are prepared to collaborate with the EU to ensure that no acceptable deal for Brexit is available.
Let us again be clear. A “no-deal” Brexit arises as a possibility only because the EU, in pursuance of their unspoken arrangement with Remainers, refuses to talk to, let alone negotiate with, a British government committed to withdrawal – a dramatic illustration of the extent to which, when we cannot even secure a position as a valid interlocutor on the issue of our own decision to withdraw, EU membership continues to mean a status of vassalage for the UK. The EU are encouraged in this unreasonable intransigence by the continued efforts from Remainers to convince them that the battle to overturn the referendum result is not over and could yet be won if a deal is placed beyond reach.
Defeated in the referendum and professing to abide by its outcome, they nevertheless demonstrate continually – and particularly to the EU – their determination at whatever cost to make it as difficult as possible. What are the British people to make of this demonstration of contempt for them by their supposed leaders? For many, the sense that they are not being listened to – which, many believe, lay behind the referendum result – will simply have been confirmed. Their confidence in democratic institutions and in their leaders will be further undermined.
Their sense of being mere pawns, manipulated under a cloak of democracy in the interests of the political class, will have been validated. What else are they to think, when so much effort is devoted by politicians to frustrating their wishes, and when what should be a reasonably straightforward proposition, that our EU membership should end, seems to be beyond our institutions to deliver and is not something that the EU is even prepared to discuss with those primarily involved?
Whatever we may think of a Boris Johnson Government, there must be some sympathy with its position that terminating our EU membership, in its essence, must surely be something that is within the remit and power of the UK government – deal or no deal. Whether or not there is a “deal” is as much the responsibility of the EU as it is of the UK. In the absence of any EU willingness to negotiate a deal, it cannot be the case that the UK is locked in – prisoners who cannot escape. A “no-deal” Brexit, when and if it happens, will have been engineered, not by Leavers, but by the absence of any alternative, brought about as a consequence of the Remainers’ collaboration with the EU to prevent an acceptable deal being agreed.
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From BrexitCentral: “Bryan Gould was Labour MP for Southampton Test between 1974 and 1979 and then represented Dagenham between 1983 and 1994. He held a variety of shadow cabinet posts under Neil Kinnock and was defeated in the 1992 contest to succeed him as Labour leader by John Smith, in whose shadow cabinet he briefly served before resigning in opposition to the party’s European policy. He had served in the British Diplomatic Service before embarking on his political career and on leaving Parliament in 1994 he returned to his native New Zealand, where he served for ten years as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato. He blogs at bryangould.com.”
Photo by muffinn