Hah! Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has told the Prime Minister she cannot bring her Brexit Withdrawl Agreement to a vote for a third time if it’s ‘substantially the same.’
I see the logic behind his position and the parliamentary rule that underpins it. Bringing the same question back time and again is a recipe for political stagnation.
But a vote on a motion is not just about the precise wording of that motion. It is also about the context in which that motion is being voted upon. And that context is surely ever-changing. As we get closer to the (original) Brexit day of 29th March, decisions may be made elsewhere (at an EU-27 Council meeting for example) that profoundly alter that context. A vote last month is different to a vote this month because the context has altered.
I still think Theresa’s May’s tactics in this regard are rather anti-democratic and to be condemned, they shield the fact that she has failed to do any of the proper political work that a good leader could and should have done, such as the forging of alliances, brokering of compromises and obtaining some kind of ‘losers consent’ that could win the support of a majority in parliament and of the public.
But I do not think that anyone who is calling for a second referendum on leaving the EU should cheer for Mr Bercow’s ruling. Surely the entire campaign for a People’s Vote is based on the premise that a new context means that we might get a different answer to the same question, if it were asked again.
The door swings both ways on this argument of course. Brexiteers arguing that they should have another chance to vote on something already decided only reinforces the argument for a #PeoplesVote.
This short but compelling tweet thread by Richard Wyn Jones puts a name to the thing about Theresa May’s approach to Brexit that has made me (and I suspect, many other people) so angry. It is that, despite the small majority for leaving the European Union, there was no attempt to seek ‘loser’s consent‘ to the referendum result.
This is despite people like me beginning the Brexit process with the very clear intention of giving that consent. Continue reading “Loser’s Consent”
On the morning of 24th June 2016 I wrote a post on my blog entitled ‘Here’s What We Need To Do Now’.
Here’s What We Need To Do Now
The ‘we’ in that post were the Remainers. I recommended we refrained from moaning about racist, insular Brexiteers and instead adopted a conciliatory attitude. To accept that a bad decision had been made but then endeavour to make withdrawal from the EU work.
None of that happened, of course. Continue reading “Why Are We Following Panic Brexit?”
On Monday morning, the Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP was asked on BBC radio what the British Government’s vision of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland would look like, should the UK leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union. In a garbled answer about the power of technology to facilitate frictionless trade, he put forward this analogy:
There is no border between Camden and Westminster, but when I was mayor of London we anaesthetically and invisibly took hundreds of millions of pounds from the accounts of people travelling between those two boroughs without any need for border checks whatever.
He was presumbaly referring to London’s Congestion Charge. Journalists and social media users spent the rest of the morning mocking this wholly inappropriate analogy with the centuries old troubles in Ireland.
All this made me think about one of my favourite books, The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesteron. In that story, written in 1904 but set in 1984, a whimsical king named Auberon Quin (appointed by lottery, the population having long since given up on both democracy and hereditary monarchy) decrees that each London Borough becomes its own city state. He sets about creating coats of arms and other heraldic items for each. Continue reading “Hard Borders in London and the Napoleon of Notting Hill”
Well, this is interesting.
Due to a request under data protection law in Europe, Google can no longer show one or more pages from your site in Google Search results. This only affects responses to some search queries for names or other personal identifiers that might appear on your pages. Only results on European versions of Google are affected. No action is required from you.
These pages haven’t been blocked entirely from our search results. They’ve only been blocked on certain searches for names on European versions of Google Search. These pages will continue to appear for other searches. We aren’t disclosing which queries have been affected.
This is the first time this has happened to me. Continue reading “Google Search Links To This Blog Suppressed by Right To Be Forgotten Laws”
It has been a long weekend of second halves for me. I only saw the second half of the FA Cup Final on Saturday and the second half of the Huddersfield v Reading playoff this afternoon. And tonight I only watched the second half of the Sky News programme May v Corbyn Live: The Battle for Number 10. Unlike the football matches, this piece of general election programming made me rather angry for a number reasons. Let me count the ways.
- First of all, it was in no way May vs Corbyn. They did not ‘square off’ in any sense. There was no ‘battle’ or any exchange of words between them. The programme was a misnomer.
- And that misnomer provided cover for Mrs May’s political cowardice. That neither Mrs May nor Mr Corbyn have taken part in the party leaders’ debate is, as broadcaster Robert Peston described it, pathetic. Politicians seeking to lead us should put themselves into challenging, unscripted situations with their opponents.
- My annoyance was not only semantic. The substance of the discussion was anger-inducing too. Because, while it was slightly amusing to watch Mr Paxman try to skewer Mrs May by asking her the same question over and over again, it was not at all enlightening.
Continue reading “The Battle For Number 10: A Few Angry Thoughts”
The day before the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump declared that the result would be poll-defying “Brexit Plus Plus” election upset.
He was sort of right, in that he pulled off a surprise electoral college victory (although, since Hillary Clinton won the popular vote Mr Trump’s ‘plus plus’ suffix might be said to be inaccurate).
Americans would do well to remember that the surprise ‘Leave’ vote in the UK on 23 June was not the culmination of a chaotic political period, but the beginning of one. Continue reading “Brexit Plus Plus? Here’s What Happen’s Next, America”
Now Britian has voted to leave the EU, there is a lot of discussion about at the moment over when or if Article 50 will be triggered.
Spinning Hugo suggests that it may never happen. He points out that the negotiating position of the UK is far stronger while Article 50 has not been invoked… and it will be instantly worse once it is invoked. Since EU leaders have declared that they will not begin negotiations until Article 50 is triggered by the British Government, a stalemate has arisen.
This is a compelling analysis, but I am reminded of the the Unexpected Hanging Paradox:
A judge tells a condemned prisoner that he will be hanged at noon on one weekday in the following week but that the execution will be a surprise to the prisoner. He will not know the day of the hanging until the executioner knocks on his cell door at noon that day.
Using logic, the prisoner deduces that he will never be hanged. When the executioner knocks on his door on a Wednesday he is therefore totally surprised. Continue reading “Article 50 Will Be Triggered When Illogic Dictates”
As people try to make sense of, and come to terms with the result of the EU Referendum, it’s become fashionable to complain about old people. For example, the Independent has a piece entitled ‘How old people have screwed over the younger generation’ demonstrating how younger people voted in greater numbers for Remain over Leave, while older folk did the opposite.
Yes, the senior generations did impose their views upon the junior generations… but that’s only because they showed up to vote. Since the result was announced on Friday I’ve been looking for figures on turn-out, and found these numbers from Sky Data. Continue reading “Are Young People To Blame For Brexit?”
OK, so the United Kingdom as a whole has voted for Brexit. I am profoundly disappointed.
For those of us who voted Remain, here are some things that we should do and some things that we should not do. Continue reading “Here’s What We Need To Do Now”