Referring Brexit to Parliament is a quaint constitutional nicety, not a (fecking) crisis…

Well, it looks like a sizeable chunk of England (well, the political chatterati bit) has, as we like to say in Belfast, went nuts. It’s a shame Brian’s sage advice was not heeded by the editors of the Mail and, my own old manor, the Daily Telegraph. So here’s hree brief thoughts.

Firstly, on the 50%+1 rule the Remain side lost. Nothing that happens in Parliament can ‘fix’ the result in favour of the 48%.

Secondly, having been so soundly beaten in English and Welsh constituencies, how anyone imagines Labour has a choice other than supporting or abstaining from any substantive motion that comes before Parliament, is beyond me.

Thirdly, as under the British system the Westminster (as opposed to the devolved institutions) Parliament is sovereign, it really can do what it bloody well likes on the matter.

If some Remainers really were able (as they seem to believe) to use the law to subvert the outcome of the referendum, there would be hell to pay (in England at least).  As Chuka Umunna noted on the night itself, Labour needs the country to unify.

To do that it needs to be on the right side of its own support.

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  • Superfluous

    It would be quite ironic for Corbyn to hand May a blank cheque for Brexit after rebelling against his own party’s PMs hundreds of times throughout the years.

    In saying that it might not be up to Corbyn what the bulk of the PLP does or does not do.

  • runnymede

    Mick – for the Commons you are probably right. But the Remainers’ plan has always been to use the Lords to obstruct progress on Article 50.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    In a FPTP UK General Election change the Blue colour of the constituency map to Purple (Kippers) from Midlands up to the Scottish Border ! If such a quick snap election has to be called by May to enforce the wishes of the British People concerning Brexit the Labour Party would get wiped out ! Absolutely Scary for British Politics ! https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36616028

  • Kevin Breslin

    If it were a nicety, then the UK government wouldn’t be appealing the result.

    But on the crisis issue you are absolutely right.

    If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah you’ll be a Man my son!

  • Superfluous

    The Tories just announced another round of benefit cuts. I’m not so sure all the single-issue working class protest voters will turn towards the most right-wing Government since Thatcher.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “the Remain side lost. Nothing that happens in Parliament can ‘fix’ the result in favour of the 48%.”

    That’s not really the point.

    Referring Brexit to Parliament is not just “a quaint constitutional nicety”. Most MPs were remainers. If parliament get to sign off on Article 50 being evoked then remainers are in a much stronger position to negotiate what kind of brexit we get.

    The referendum question was “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”

    Remaining in the single market and consequently maintaining freedom of movement still honors the referendum result.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Unfortunately it will not be about such issues ! You have already named it Sf “One-Single Issue” They will turn to UKIP with Labour destroyed !

  • Kevin Breslin

    Stephen Phillips MP, pro-Leave, quit Westminster over the government’s failure to have this nicety. Or have I misinterpreted this?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37872899

  • After all the hype of yesterday’s ruling, June’s referendum result remains the 17m-strong elephant in the room. I struggle to see how Brexit (hard or soft) can be avoided unless the Clarke’s and Lammy’s of the political class are intent on a major collision course with the electorate.

  • hgreen

    Corbyn and Labour seem to be starting to coalesce around the only sensible strategy left to pursue which is accepting the vote to leave the EU but remaining in the common market. Yep this will mean keeping freedom of movement which will upset the knuckle draggers but it’s the only sensible way out of this mess.

  • lizmcneill

    EEA means Brexit!

  • hgreen

    I think that’s what I said. Corbyn has said that they will support decision to leave the EU but will seek to remain part of the EEA.

  • mickfealty

    Erm, the PM was a Remainer. As for the centrality of Parliament, this via Chris Dillow (https://goo.gl/hxcsjz):

    Our system, which has been copied all over the world, is one of representative Government under which those who have not time to look into every detail of this or that Bill choose people who are honourable and with whose opinions they are in harmony to discuss these matters.

    That has been our system of Government for many years, representative Government in which the representatives consider and discuss all the points in detail. In a popular vote, the voter expresses an individual opinion.

    In a representative institution, the representative would be expected to consider the interests of minorities and see how the separate measure fitted into the whole.

    I believe that if we have a referendum system, minorities would not receive anything like such a fair deal as they have under the existing system.

  • mickfealty

    They’re minor dissenting voices. Even the SNP is playing this stage relatively positively.

  • mickfealty

    Working class people who vote in large numbers (C1s/C2s) no longer care enough about that, they’ve been in survival mode too long themselves for that sort of compassion.

    Best line I’ve heard is that some Tory strategists think UKIP is a Gateway drug for bringing Labour voters back into the Tory fold. I suspect something similar to that will eventually happen in Scotland, if they successfully get beyond the challenge of Indy2.

  • mickfealty

    Trying to stop it, at this early stage, would be a beyond towering idiocy. (Doesn’t mean they won’t try it though.)

  • hgreen

    All very droll. You ignore the 48% who voted remain and the fact that inequality and the state of public services is likely to get much worse under the tories with or without brexit. Plenty to play for.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Bit confused here Mick, it’s beginning to happen a lot and it’s obviously an age thing but perhaps you could indulge me.

    The second and third paragraph of your opening post appear to be contradicted by your third paragraph.

    Two paragraphs saying nothing can be done about the referendum result followed by a third stating that Westminster can ” do what it bloody well likes “.

    Obviously I’m missing something. : )

  • Korhomme

    Parliament voted for a law to join what was then the Common Market.

    St Theresa seems to think that, using the prerogative of the Queen in Parliament, she can undo this law. The judgement confirms that only Parliament can make or unmake laws.

    Legally this seems simple, even if the reasoning is long. Politically it’s rather different; St Theresa’s plan to keep it all a secret is now failing; she must explain herself to the House.

  • Superfluous

    I’m not sure how much of the cuts will actually effect people who do go out and vote – but I was thinking the 20k max per household might be encroaching on the much bigger territory of those who receive in work benefits (rather than the Daily Mail rage inducing outliers.)

    More interesting still, where does the Blair/Brown/Clegg/Cameron (the people who ran the country from 1997 until June) middle class go, when stuck between the hard Brexiters and Jeremy Corbyn?

    I think I’d rather have Corbyn over May – and I would have had Cameron over Miliband…

  • mickfealty

    It’s the cut between its legal power and the political consequences for that august assembly if it does choose to do what it bloody well likes you may be missing.

    Perhaps I should have made that clearer in the OP.

  • file

    Can some lawyer tell me why ‘The Queen on the application of 1) Gina Miller and 2) Deir Tozetti Dos Santos’ was the claimant in this case? Did she give her permission to take a case against her own government, or is this just a legal nicety?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Thanks, got it.

    Amusing cartoon in the Times today depicting the blessed Theresa wagging her finger at a High Court Judge whilst declaiming;

    ” The British people want British Parliamentary Sovereignty and British Law applied by British Judges in British courts…………..But not Yet! ”

    Sums it up well and I’m surprised they’re appealing. Given the eminence of the three judges involved in the judgement it will be amazing if it’s overturned. All an appeal will accomplish is to delay proceedings further.

    Unless of course that’s what they want?

  • eamoncorbett

    You probably remember the Major administration , it eventually turned in on itself after a long period of Tory rule , sleaze and corruption combined to bring it to an end as well as differences on Europe , I think any future Tory government will encounter similar problems towards the end.

  • The logical conclusion of the fanfare surrounding the court’s ruling, however, is that May may hit a hurdle or two getting approval at Westminster.

    Whilst out-and-out Brexit derailers are in a minority, there now could be a potential combination of players acting to give May’s Brexit negotiations a bloody nose, in the name of getting a better deal. Interested to see how Labour plays this.

  • eamoncorbett

    Are you sure the German government will agree to that scenario , they will have a major say in all this you know. Most articles I’ve read on Brexit seem to think that this option is on the table yet there is no evidence to indicate that this is so.

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    Yeh the SNP have not went on a moaning rant and hard done tae story for a week. Politics in Scotland is boring!

  • Declan Doyle

    Nail on head. Surprisingly 😉

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    If you take a close look at divolved Govs you may note they carry on with Thatcherite policies. And the Irish Republic is far to the right of Thatcher. Thatcher is the excuse for pretend lefties who have nothing to offer.
    Step forward Gerry Adams and Co.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s a legal nicety
    But not a lawyer these days 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You’re right Mick it is a total non-crisis and the fuss has only shown really how unhinged and hysterical the core Brexit camp is. Reminded me of the campaign itself.
    Parliament will obviously have to make Brexit happen, and the judgment makes no difference to that at all. It just makes sure procedures are duly followed.

    The important battle ahead isn’t anything to do with this judgment, it’s getting May to take on board something other than hard Brexiters’ opinions when deciding her aims for the negotiation.

  • Superfluous

    When I think of Thatcherism I also think of social conservatism, jingoism and a lean towards authoritarianism – not just Chicago School economics (which I’m actually a bit of a fan of).

  • Croiteir

    It is all a load of keek, imagine the scenario, May says we are going to do xyz, the parliament say hoorah, and go for it. Plan is excellent until it meets 27 countries that say “No, this is the plan, take it or leave it.” May says ok – can we talk about it?

    Westminster is not in charge, it is not setting at agenda. Europe is the master.

  • file

    but why is The Queen listed on the side of the claimant rather than on the side of the defendant, i.e. her government?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s kind of like how in American law they say “The People vs ….” in criminal cases, we have “R vs …”, R is Regina.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    … and generally references to “the Crown” etc are metaphorical in many aspects of the law. Goes back really to when the monarch really did wield power. We kept some of the language while modernising and democratising the practices gradually over the centuries. It’s very us.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    A very good point that tends to be lost in all this!

  • Kevin Breslin

    UK could use Westminster for internal reform badly needed before leaving the EU.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    May well do EC but I can only see one winner if that occurs and it will not be Labour (considering the mess they are in at present).

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sorry but the Parliamentary veto in my opinion means that hard Brexiters have lost, soft Brexit will endure however, the hard Brexiters will be relying on EU intransigence to recover.

  • Croiteir

    And there again it may not.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No, this judgment was only saying parliament, not the executive alone, needs to trigger Art 50. Soft or hard Brexit is an entirely different question. It’s a psychological blow for hard Brexiters but that’s all. It’s stopped them just slipping through a hard Brexit negotiating position on the quiet. But really that flush was busted anyway.

  • hgreen

    Why do you think the Tory press are crying like babies over this? This is the end of hard Brexit.

  • Oggins

    What type of reform would you suggest?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Reform of what?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Because they are hysterical idiots

  • Oggins

    @Kevin in relation to reform, and you said a very good point. Interested in both opinions

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well they are finding it difficult to go from rough and hard to soft and smooth… but I guess that may be a matter of taste.

    Speaking of which, these remarks I am making are in poor taste.

  • Declan Doyle

    The last two lines there sum it up in a nutshell.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Well, obviously (duh!) the union. The UK is no longer (if it ever was) serving members (except England) well. The latest democratic deficits are the location of Trident in Scotland, and the Scottish unanimous vote to stay in the EU

  • Declan Doyle

    Do u honestly believe; hand on heart, that the Union of UK nations is safe as it is? Thats a genuine question not a dig.

  • Mike the First

    Nail on the head with those last two paragraphs, biftergreenthumb. The hard Brexit camp has effectively abducted the 52% Leave vote to spuriously claim a mandate for things that simply weren’t even put to the vote.

  • Mike the First

    Why does this “17m” figure keep getting quoted like this?

    It was 17m versus 16m (and yes the former is a larger number than the latter, which is why we’re leaving the EU), not 17m in isolation with no-one supporting the opposite point of view.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    “May has already shown a talent for wrong-headedness, an instinct for the bad call, as seen with Hinkley Point, grammar schools, child obesity and Nissan subsidies. She appears unable to grasp the EU’s blunt insistence that access to the single market cannot be divorced from freedom of movement”. (From Observer Editorial).

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No. When has any unionist from NI ever treated the Union as safe? If it were there would be no unionism in NI. But yes Brexit raises new threats to it. We’ll see what happens. By far the 2 most likely outcomes are (1) the Union staying as is and (2) Scotland leaving but rest carrying on.

  • Korhomme

    There was an interesting bit on ‘From our own Correspondent’ in the Beeb recently. It was about the difference between ‘no’ in English and ‘nein’ in German. The example they used; if you are offered a biscuit in England, you might say ‘no’ but you mean ‘I could be tempted, so try a bit harder’ in the expectation that your initial ‘reserve’ will be overcome. In German, if you say ‘nein’ when offered a biscuit, you won’t be asked again.

    So the EU’s insistence means exactly what it says; it is not an invitation to bargain.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Are you talking about changes to the devolution arrangements, moving to some kind of formal federal thing, what?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “Very good point” comment was me agreeing that the EU has the whip hand in negotiations – we are not in reality free to choose the deal we want.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Exactly right. Sums up where we are. Key is to win argument to have a Brexit to suit all, not just the 51.8%.

  • Oggins

    Ooo, completely agree

  • Declan Doyle

    I am not so sure. Scotland leaving if it happens might trigger a rethink in the North. If there is no economic reason for the north to stay attached to the UK, it could remove the biggest obstacle to irish unity.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ha! Are you serious? You really think economics are why most NI people want it to stay in the U.K.? Prepare to be surprised if Scotland goes and NI doesn’t – because all the indications are it won’t change the equation in NI much if at all.

  • Declan Doyle

    I am not suggesting u are incorrect. To be honest i do not know what likely to happen. I am not convinced however that 100% of people on the Unionist side of the fence will always be 100% against unity no matter what the circumstances. We have approx two years of unknown territory full of as yet unknown events ahead of us. I have always believed that it would be around 2026 before we had a first unity poll even. it may come a lot sooner than that?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    If the union is no longer serving Scotlands interests, then the union must go. Completely. “Some kind of formal federal thing” would probably not solve the problem of, for example, Trident. Really, I don’t see the point in half-measures. The EU consists of 28 different independent (as far as it goes) countries. According to Wikipedia the Scottish economy (even without oil) would be the 12th largest. I don’t see any over-riding reason not to go for Independence.

    Of course there would be short term problems, but gaining control of our own destiny (again – as far as that is possible nowadays) would be worth it.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    She will be shown up for the chancer she is eventually. In the meantime she and her pals will have wrecked the UK. Hopefully, Nicola Sturgeon will find a way out for Scotland before that happens.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    And the Scottish nation’s vote was an unequivocal “Yes” to that. Despite that May want’s to take us out, against the majority vote of the people of Scotland, because the much larger majority in England and Wales decided so. This Union is dysfunctional, and should end.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Kind of difficult to see how the Brexiteers, who mostly want a ‘hard’ Brexit with complete control over immigration, and Scotland, Gibraltar, the City of London and possibly NI, who want a soft one with access to the single market and necessarily freedom of movement, can be reconciled.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Nicola is one of the smartest political operators around. When she decides to speak it will be relevant, effective, concise and to-the-point.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    “up to the Scottish border” is a significant demarcation. Scotland is a different country both in politics and basic social and ethnic* reality. This has to be recognised by the Westminster establishment, and appropriate concessions granted, or we leave the UK. Personally I would prefer the latter.

    *(By ‘ethnic’ I do not mean that you have to have one, or any, Scottish parents – many immigrants from England and elsewhere fit right in to the Scottish ethos – I’m just at a loss right now for a better word).

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    And you clearly have a sense of humour.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    But surely NI has strong ties to Scotland as well as to the union? Would it not be conceivable for NI to make some sort of alternative union with an independent Scotland inside the EU, which would allow the avoidance of a hard border with Eire?

    Do you think this is something worth discussing?

  • eireanne3

    “Some kind of formal federal thing” , as recently suggested by a Westminster committee, now appears to be far too little too late.

    The “Vow” , EVEL and the extensively diluted Scotland Act put paid to that approach.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Well, name me one other UK politician who has had even a simulacrum of being able to voice a vague ghost of having a plan for Brexit?

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    There is absolutely no chance of the tories making any progress in Scotland in the foreseeable future. Their last share of the vote was even smaller than their previous worst, and the prognosis is for even less. And Labour in Scotland are of course going the way of the Liberals – down the proverbial tubes. UKIP in Scotland barely register.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Yes. Rather well played (involuntarily) by the tories.

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    Her plan is for Independence and nothing else. The Brexit will be negotiated in appropriate conditions and Sturgeon will know nothing of it. She is of no importance I am pleased to say. There is no roll for nationalist fanatics in serious negotiations.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You may underestimate though how most Leavers do accept the result though and want to make best of it. I think that hugely helps. Big coalition of the reasonable now vs the hard Brexiters.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yes but don’t make the mistake of thinking Britishness in NI needs an external power source. It is indigenous and self-sufficient.

  • eireanne3

    The democratic deficit is due to a UK that exaggerates the power of a population-wise over-mighty England. Unionists in Scotland and Northern Ireland hitch their wagons to English numbers, expecting to drag everyone else behind them.
    No one in Northern ireland voted for English political parties, Theresa May or James Brokenshire. Scotland sent 56/59 SNP members as MPs to Westminster so very few Scots voted for Unionist parties. Yet decisions English political parties make in Westminster will shape NI’s and Scotland’s future.
    And all we have to try and influence matters is a chatline with Minister Davis!
    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/post-brexit-northern-irelands-status-quo/

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Independence and nothing else will do me. This ‘nothing else will also involve staying in the EU. Your description of her as a ‘fanatic’ gives me reason to doubt both your judgement and your sanity.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    I understand what you’re saying, but can ‘Britishness’ exist without real ties to the rest of Britain? Does it not then become NI nationalism?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yes: it is indigenous to NI.