By Anne Marie Waters
25th September 2019
It continues. This is becoming more and more alarming, and the established elite more and more remote. The Supreme Court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament was unlawful, and MPs have gone back to work; many of them with the sole intention of preventing Brexit.
The fact that we are still debating this is a sign of the peril we are in. Supreme Court rulings, Parliamentary manoeuvring, and a Labour leader whose official policy it is to sit on the fence; all of it to determine whether or not we ought to leave the EU. Something that we were told was decided over three years ago.
Since the result, it has been relentless. The media re-writing of history began the day after, with the sudden introduction of ‘hard Brexit’ and ‘soft Brexit’, or ‘this isn’t what people voted for’. Since then, it’s been a horrifying pantomime. Here’s the story so far…
Following the formation of Theresa May’s Government in 2016, David Davis and Michel Barnier were appointed to thrash out the details of our departure from the EU. The House of Commons voted in December to trigger Article 50 by the end of the following March. But it wouldn’t be that simple.
In early 2017, the Supreme Court ruled on a matter raised by Gina Miller, a business owner, who argued that the Government couldn’t trigger Article 50 without Parliamentary approval. So, Theresa May introduced legislation, and it was passed. Parliamentary approval was gained. May subsequently sent a letter to Donald Tusk triggering two years of negotiation; the UK would leave the EU on the 29th of March 2019. Except it wouldn’t.
A disastrous (from a Tory point of view) general election soon followed – one in which May lost her already slim majority. A deal with the Democratic Unionist Party allows her to govern, but on thin ice, and beholden to the DUP.
Along comes June 2018 and the ‘Chequers agreement’ is produced. So little did it satisfy the Cabinet’s Brexiteers that both David Davis and Boris Johnson resigned from the front bench. It mattered little, because the EU didn’t accept it in any case, partly because it sought a ‘special relationship’ that would give Britain far too easy a ride, and encourage other countries to consider life outside the bloc. That would never do.
The notorious Withdrawal Agreement was a published a few months later. This included an equally notorious transition period, one that could (and likely would) last indefinitely. This one was happily accepted by the EU (which should set alarm bells ringing). The same deal was rejected in Parliament not once, not twice, not even three times, it would go on to be voted down four times.
As March 29th 2019 – apparently ‘Brexit day’ – approached, so unpopular were May’s exit proposals, that the first extension to Article 50 was requested. The new ‘Brexit day’, desired by Theresa May, was June 30th 2019. However, following some to-ing and fro-ing about the date, October 31st 2019 was eventually settled upon. ‘Brexit day’ is once again looming, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has found his hands tied since the moment he set foot in Downing Street.
Fast forward to September of this year and Johnson announces that the Parliamentary session is to come to an end in mid September, to be opened again with a Queen’s speech on October 14th. This, Remainers in Parliament argued, restricted their ability to debate Brexit (despite the three years they’d just had to do so).
Parliament afterwards busied itself with passing a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, and rejecting the possibility of a general election.
Now, the latest. The Supreme Court has ruled that Johnson had no legal right to suspend Parliament at all.
That’s where we are.
This has been an entirely unprecedented period in British politics. The gap between Parliament and the people has never been wider. Parliament is openly defying a democratic mandate and is in total opposition to the voting public.
This cannot continue indefinitely, but while there are so many vested interests in its continuance, that may tragically be the reality. Remainers will stop at nothing, politicians believe they are untouchable, and the people at the bottom of the ladder watch as their vote is rendered void.
There is only one answer, do what it takes to get out now, then clean up the House of Commons permanently.