Many times during the last two and a half years, I have wondered how democracy in the United Kingdom could survive the process of Brexit. I believe I have my answer, it hasn’t. Perversely it is the very people who constantly claim to support democracy that are claiming victory and the MP’s who have acted to enable this are seen as hero’s. Wether you support remain or leave, I personally was on the remain side of the fence, there is no doubting the facts.
On June 23rd 2016, the country had a referendum and the question was simple, ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union.
The vote produced a majority in favour of leaving the European Union. It really is as simple as that. That is how democracy works. Now you can say things like, ‘oh yes but only old people voted to leave and they will be dead soon’ or ‘they did’t vote for no deal brexit’ or even that the electorate were ‘too stupid to understand what they were voting for’, all arguments that have been used throughout this process. But, the simple fact remains the referendum produced a result in favour of leaving.
Parliament is elected to represent the views of the people and the precedent is that the elected MP is representative of the wishes of his or her constituents. Now this system is of course subject to the ‘Party’ ties, but ultimately to represent the people, the MP should represent the view of the constituents who have placed the member to represent them. If they don’t then they are not honouring their mandate to be there in the first place.
Great emphasis has been placed on ‘the honourable MP’s’ who have defied their party to vote on behalf of their constituents, and I don’t think they can be criticised for that action. But, very little emphasis is being placed on the scores of MP’s who have continually voted against the wishes of their constituents.
In simple terms, if the MP’s simply applied this rule, that they are so energetically keen to use when it suits them, of voting on behalf of their constituency then perhaps the outcomes here would be very different.
Leave 17.4M | Remain 16.1M
Leave 406 | Remain 242
By Constituency Party:
Labour – Leave 148 | Remain 84
Conservative – Leave 247 | Remain 80
The simple truth is that if Members of Parliament want to take praise and justify their actions based on representing the people, they should apply this ‘Honourable Sentiment’ across the house. This applies to both sides of the argument, remainers and leavers. You can rightly say, that historically MP’s have voted along ‘Party’ lines so therefore this is too simple an analysis and not representative of the historical actions of Parliament, and you would be right. The point is, you can’t have it both ways. You can have a Parliament that votes on party lines, you can have a Parliament that votes on constituents wishes, but you can’t have both and just choose to ‘Cherry Pick’ whatever best suits your argument.
The truth of why we are where we are today is simple.
MP’s supporting EU Referendum
Leave 160 | Remain 486
I don’t care wether you are a remain supporter or a leaver. If you think that the wishes of the MP’s are not a factor in why the United Kingdom has not yet honoured the wishes of the people, then you are choosing to ignore simple human nature. The vast majority of the elected MP’s do not want to leave the EU and are acting in their own interests to make sure we don’t. They will profess to be working to ‘protect democracy’, ‘honour the will of the People’ based on opinion polls or their own interpretation of what people voted for, but ultimately they are doing what they think is best for them or in some cases the country.
Many will agree that they should, they after all are elected by us to manage the country and we put trust in their judgement. What I find most disingenuous is that if this is the case, they should be truthful. They should stop the lies and tell the truth. They think they know better than the electorate and are going against the democratic wish of the people because they think we are wrong and causing harm to ourselves and the country. You may not like the view, you may disagree with it, as I do, but ultimately they would be telling the truth and that at least would be honourable, as opposed to the ‘will of the people’ argument.
I am sorry, but I find nothing honourable in the current actions of Parliament.
Where we are today will only produce one outcome. The voters will never again trust in the democratic process. Those that voted remain, will be saying, great we are finally getting there, we won. But I ask you, at what cost? The remain campaign has now almost successfully overturned a democratic vote and will continue on it’s path to achieve it’s aims by using unprecedented steps in Parliament and claim victory for ‘The People’.
I for one, as a remain supporter originally, should rejoice. I Don’t. I think the underhand way the remain supporting MP’s have acted in collusion with the EU, have weakened this country and demonstrated, not only their lack of judgement but their complete disregard for the people and institutions of the United Kingdom.
For clarity, lets just take a look at what position they have put our country in and what could happen from here.
We now (or very soon) will have legislation forcing our country to remain in the EU unless a deal can be agreed.
The EU have already said that the deal they have offered is the best they will do.
Parliament has already rejected that deal three times.
So putting aside the the possibility of an extension, which may or may not be granted and remember we have no say in that. Then if the the EU won’t change the deal, as repeatedly they have stated, then Parliament has no deal to accept because they have already rejected it three times and it can’t be voted on again without the Speaker changing the rules. (He has done this now on multiple occasions to assist the remain camp, so maybe I am wrong here and he will set another new precedent for Parliaments of the future). So as we can’t leave without a deal what do we do?
Clearly there is only one option left, revoke article 50.
End game achieved!
So that’s ok isn’t it, the remainers will say. That’s what we wanted. That’s what ‘The People’ wanted.
No, I am sorry it’s not ok. The precedent now set is a disaster for the democratic process in the United Kingdom.
What happens in the future when we have a vote?
Who will honour the result?
Why don’t we just keep voting again until we get the result we want? as will now be the case in Scotland and most likely Wales and Northern Ireland.
I fear that this episode in Parliamentary history, is potentially the most significant in our lifetime. So many procedures and accepted norms have been overturned that future Governments will have great difficulty in managing the country. Allowing for the fact that our ‘Two Party’ system will no longer be reality from the next election onwards, these new ways of disrupting the Government will be used with increasing regularity to hinder any action the Government wishes to take. Ultimately the end result will be far more damaging to the United Kingdom than any type of brexit, including no deal, would have made and will result in the break up of the United Kingdom.
We now we have the real prospect that Article 50 will be either revoked or a long extension applied and a second referendum will be held. This is because we cannot have a General Election, because Parliament won’t allow that, they will want to ensure that they have successfully tied the hands of any future Government with this law first.
At some point then we will have a second referendum and from the point this is announced, the anger will spill onto the streets. I’m not one for scaremongering and I have never been a supporter of ‘Project Fear’ type statements, but this is going to be real. When you tell people that their democratic rights as a voter mean nothing then they resort to other means. Peaceful protests will be hijacked by extremists on both sides and chaos will be the result.
Should remain win this time, why would the leavers accept the decision? In fact, I wouldn’t be so sure that remain will win, I honestly think that the anger being felt across the country will again make it a close run thing.
It’s difficult to set a timetable but it is extremely likely that within the next few years, possibly even sooner, we will see the following.
Scotland will push first for another referendum and leave.
Northern Ireland will push for a referendum on leaving the U.K. and the resulting violence returning will last for many years.
Wales will be given a referendum and whilst the result will be closer I think potentially would vote to remain in the U.K.
Under pressure from English Nationalists, England will also get to vote and following the brexit debacle only one result will happen. England will vote to leave the United Kingdom and will leave the EU.
Now I’m am not a constitutional expert so I cannot envisage the mechanisms for that, but ultimately if the people of England are given the same rights as other parts of the U.K. then a vote to leave the U.K. must be honoured.
Parliament has done itself a great disservice over the last two and a half years. It has succeeded it providing the evidence to the entire country that it cannot be trusted to represent it’s people. It will not survive this in it’s current format. Things will change, I suspect the break up of the United Kingdom is highly likely to be the outcome. At the very least, I would say that for the foreseeable future, we will be running with many more coalition Governments, as the factions will continue to increase, and those Governments will find increasing difficulty implementing policy.
John Bercow, as the current Speaker as the House of Commons, and those MP’s who have successfully, it would seem at this stage, overturned the referendum, will be remembered in history. Time will tell wether they will be remembered as the saviours of the United Kingdom or the people responsible for it’s demise.