Brexit, of course.
A million people marched through central London today to call for ‘A People’s Vote’ on the question as neither government nor Parliament are coming up with any sensible conclusions on the future of the U.K.’s relationship with the European Union after a referendum in 2016 produced a majority for the former leaving the latter.
This referendum was called to settle few hashes in the leadership struggles inside the Conservative Party. The government spent public money to urge people to Remain and gave further public money to politicians of their own party to persuade people to vote Leave.
It was, of course, a foregone conclusion that Remain would prevail…how could people vote otherwise? Membership of the E.U. was a given, just as that the sun would rise in the morning. The government was playing an internal party game at the expense of the nation….but they knew how the game would end.
Or, as one might say in relation to the giant pistons of the mighty C.P.R., they thought they did.
Yet of those who went to the polling stations, Remain had forty eight percent of the vote and Leave fifty two.
And then began the how-de-do!
The Conservative leader retired from public life in a hurry to be replaced by the home secretary, who had campaigned for Remain but announced that she would be working to leave the E.U. She called an election, where the Conservatives lost their majority and had to depend on the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party….representatives from Northern Ireland who quickly claimed their pound of flesh in terms of advantages for their policies.
The Labour party was in turmoil. Somehow the membership had overcome the power of the members of parliament and elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader, a left winger who called for policies to restore equality in society and who opposed armed intervention abroad. Labour M.P.s mounted coup after coup, but failed to shift him, taking their eye off the Brexit ball completely while they fought for power inside the party.
Not tthat the Conservatives were much better and Leavers and Remainers fought to control the party….leaving the negotiations with the E.U. to a series of ministers who were stabbed in the back by civil servants working to an agenda set by a prime minister determined to keep the U.K. within the sphere of influence of the E.U…..never mind the result of the referendum.
In effect, the country was being led by Humpty Dumpty, who explained the use of language to Alice thus…
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone. “It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more or less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
So Leave meant Remain….and while the political parties contemplated their navels the E.U. and the U.K. prime minister cooked up the deal worse than death.
It provided for a transistion period in which the U.K. would be subject to E.U. law while being unable to participate in making decision making, would continue to pay into the E.U. budget and would be obliged to accept an agreement on the irish border which, if accepted, would cut off Northern Ireland’s trade from that of the U.K. Only then would talks on trade commence.
Man, according to Talleyrand – forerunner of so many modern politicians as being aptly described as shit in a silk stocking – was given the gift of language to conceal his thoughts. By the reaction to the withdrawal agreement, once it emerged from the undergrowth of Brussels, it appeared that the concealment had not been very effective.
The Democratic Unionists, who kept the Conservative government in power, were distinctly unchuffed. No separation from the mainland was to be contemplated….you could almost hear the sound of a piss and vinegar band playing ‘The Sash‘ in the corridors of power.
In passing I must say that it is a marker of the decline of standards in society that even Orange Lodge members no longer wear suits and a bowler when marching….though they keep the white gloves.
The agreement was presented to the House of Commons…and was rejected. Then the Attorney General was sent to Brussels to wiggle the wording….which, while for some reason describing himself as a codpiece, he did, but the wiggle did not seduce the Northern Ireland M.P.s. The wiggled codpiece was in turn rejected.
Enter the Speaker of the House of Commons.
In my time we have had as Speaker people who were, variously, a blackmailed homosexual, a tailor, a chorus girl and an expenses fiddler. They all upheld the traditions of the House, aided by the traditional costume…though the chorus girl and the expenses fiddler refused to wear the wig.
Currently, ‘as any fule kno’, we have Mr. Speaker Bercow, who more closely resembles an ink monitor at St. Custards than the custodian of parliamentary practice, while his procession through the Palace of Westminster could be characterised as’ a rough beast, its hour come at last’, slouching into the Commons to commence business for the day. I can’t call him shit in a silk stocking as he wears a lounge suit and, I trust, socks.
The Speaker’s role is to regulate the business of the House in accordance with the House’s standing orders, though Mr. Speaker Bercow seems to treat Erskine May, the authoritative guide to parliamentary practice, rather in the manner in which Little Jack Horner treated his Christmas pie…
He put in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said ‘What a good boy am I’.
He is unpredictable, which doesn’t make for sensible proceedings in the House which, since the government controls most of the time available for debate, makes the task of M.P.s who wish to find more acceptable solutions than that of the current agreement even more difficult.
Remember too that most options open to M.P.s are not binding on the government…and the E.U. negotiates with government, not Parliament.
If, that is, that the E.U. negotiates at all. Its pattern, proven down the years, is to issue a diktat which member states must obey.
Some member states.
Fance can run an unacceptable deficit for years…Ireland could not…nor could Portugal.
Ah, but France is special….the force behind the founding of the E.U. was to prevent further wars between France and Germany…they are the powers which count in the E.U.
Let me tell you…there is no chance of war between France and Germany.
Remember those French highways lined with trees?
The trees have been cut down. The German army can no longer march in the shade. Further…the mayor of Paris has banned diesel vehicles from the city, so no tanks driving down the Champs Elysees.
War…forget it. But France still has preferential treatment.
In dealing with the E.U. you must first recognise that it has no obligation to give up any of its advantages. You must resist any urge to engage with it. You form your own plans, refuse to accept its rulings and face it with a fait accompli. Any other way leads to ruin.
That is, if you genuinely want to leave its embrace.
Clearly, the U.K. government was quite happy to accept the caresses of the E.U. and so went along with whatever it required until meeting the roadblock of the refusal of the House of Commons to accept the agreement.
The prime minister blames Parliament for the lack of prgress with Brexit. The people are urged to blame Parliament too…thus the march through London.
Though not holding their views I am happy to see people motivated enough to travel to central London to express their opinion. My problem comes with the general lack of awareness of the realities of a parliamentary system where the government controls debate…..and with the speakers at the end of the rally.
Self seeking shits in silk stockings….Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, ready to mount a coup of his own. Tom Watson, whose willingness to believe in a fantasist’s allegations of child abuse led to at least one innocent man’s life being ruined.
Jess Phillips…. loud mouthed opportunist and opponent of Corbyn.
Here we have two using the movement to further their own ends.
Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, whose coalition with the Conservatives enabled draconian measures to be applied to the unemployed and the disabled seeking the support that a civilised society should provide.
Anna Soubry…too extreme for even the Conservatives and now member of a so called independent group of M.P.s which has avoided the need to declare their finances by forming themselves as a company, rather than as a political party. A company…in Parliament….it beats cock fighting.
People who sincerely believe that the U.K. should remain in the E.U. should take a look at the company they keep…the company that is using them.
Brexit is too important an issue to be used for personal advancement. Its resolution will form the future of the country.
I left the U.K. over thirty years ago…I cannot claim that I should be entitled to vote for issues that will affect the future of citizens of the country but I am deeply concerned that people are not being enabled to form a judgement based on fact…are being misinformed…are encouraged to demonise those whose opinions differ…are, in effect suborning the British values of tolerance and compromise.