I’m not really sure how to start with Brexit but anyway, here goes. Way back in 2016 we, the people of the UK voted to leave the European Union. It was pretty close, 52% to 48% but the leavers won over the remainers and well, that’s democracy, those with the biggest vote win.
Now as far as I know the referendum wasn’t legally binding in any way, just an indication of public feeling but the Prime Minister, who was David Cameron at the time, decided the referendum result meant we had to leave the EU and as he couldn’t go along with that because he didn’t want to leave the EU, he had to resign.
Now to a great extent that is where all the problems began. I assumed, rightly I think, that a pro leave MP would take over at 10 Downing Street, the obvious candidate being Boris Johnson but no, Theresa May won the premiership contest despite being on the remain side, just like David Cameron. Now clearly Mrs May didn’t think in the same way as Cameron. She was at heart a remainer but wanted to deliver Brexit in a way that she wanted, a way acceptable I presume, to her and fellow remainers.
Despite personally being on the leave side I think David Cameron would have been better going back to Brussels and saying, look, my voters are not happy about the EU, we need to take a good look at our membership, after all, 52% of people actually want to leave. Of course I’m not a politician so what do I know but maybe Cameron and the Euro people could have hammered something out, a way of staying in the EU which was acceptable to the leave voters. After all, I don’t mind being in the European Union, the idea sounds good, a community or union of nations who trade together and respect each others’ borders so that for example, in a recent road trip I was able to drive from Belgium, down through France and into Spain without ever stopping at any border controls.
The reality is a bit different though as we have to accept any EU ruling on anything, not only trade but also laws, measurements, monetary issues, immigration, farming policy, car emissions and all sorts of stuff. There have even been cases where the so-called European Court of Human Rights have overruled judicial verdicts in the UK.
I remember a case a few years ago where some east european guy who had no driving licence, drove a car onto the pavement and ran over and killed an entire family. The courts rightly deported this fellow but hang on, the European Court of Human Rights stepped in and said, wait a minute, you can’t do that, it’s against the guy’s human rights. OK but what about my human rights and the human rights of all my fellow citizens? Our human right to walk on the pavement without getting some crazy driver running us down. Isn’t that a human right?
Still, for me at any rate, Cameron had plenty of room to manoeuvre and to hang on to my vote and for me to accept staying in the EU.
Not so long after that, the Government suffered the biggest defeat in the House of Commons by any Government in UK history when members of Parliament rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal by a huge majority and later only survived a no confidence vote by 19 votes. The big problem with Brexit for me is that the majority leave vote only amounted to 52% which really means that the country is pretty much split on the issue. If the vote had been 60-70% to leave, I don’t think Brexit would be such a big issue but as we as a country are so divided then it is an issue.
Anyway after three years Theresa May had had enough, she resigned and finally Boris Johnson got the job. Aha, maybe we are getting somewhere now because shouldn’t he really have been given the job three years ago? Well, the first thing Boris decides to do is prorogue Parliament, that is shut it down for a while which wasn’t really a great idea. Supposedly it was so he could bring in a Queen’s Speech and start off a new term of Parliament with new ideas and new legislation. Of course the House itself wasn’t happy with that so various people decided to take the issue to the courts. The Scottish court decided it wasn’t right and the English court decided, sensibly in my view, that they shouldn’t meddle in politics.
The Supreme Court of the UK however wasn’t having any of that and declared the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen to close Parliament to be illegal and so here we are again, Parliament open for business again and still arguing about something the British public voted on years ago.
What has been interesting about the closing down of Parliament is how people are calling it ‘undemocratic’. Surely the referendum was about as democratic as you can get and now as Parliament is trying to block Brexit. Doesn’t that mean that Parliament are the ‘undemocratic’ ones?
I have to say that the whole Brexit story has been fascinating from beginning to, well I was going to say end but when will it end? The only thing I have ever seen that is even comparable was when I was a teenager and President Nixon sacked the special prosecutor in the Watergate case. That was back in 1973 and Nixon ordered the Attorney General to sack Archibald Cox but the Attorney General refused and then tendered his resignation. Nixon then ordered the Deputy Attorney General to do the dirty deed but he also refused and resigned. Nixon finally got the US Solicitor General to fire Cox which was finally done although eventually, Nixon himself had to resign.
Somehow though I can’t see Boris Johnson resigning.
So, what is the answer? Another vote? Suppose the remain voters won that one, would that solve the issue? I doubt it, after all it would be one for the leavers and one for the remainers. We could have a best of 3 vote though, couldn’t we? What about an election? Well, because the Conservatives have a minority Government that means that currently the Opposition parties can club together and defeat the Government, so they don’t want an election either.
I suppose eventually the whole thing will sort itself out, in the meantime I think I’ll take a quick trip to France while I still can!