Wednesday 19 June 2019

Brexitwatch: the speech he never made

It is almost three years since the Brexit referendum. The man who called it, then Prime Minister David Cameron, promised that whatever the result, he would stay on as PM, but he broke that promise, resigning within hours. Just imagine if he had kept it. How much heartache and division, how many job losses he could have spared us from, and how much money he could have saved us.

All he needed to do was make this speech:

'Good morning. I am surprised and disappointed at the result of the referendum, but I promised that whatever the result I would stay on as your prime minister, and I will keep that promise.

I congratulate the Leave Campaign on their victory. Those who campaigned for the UK to leave the EU must clearly have had a credible plan for how this could be achieved without damaging our country, because without such a plan, no responsible politician could have advocated such a course of action.

So I am convening all those MPs who campaigned for Leave into a grand committee to come to an agreement on what they suggest as the way forward. Their plan will then be put to parliament as a whole.

In the meantime, there are many other tasks that our country requires its prime minister to perform in many other fields of policy, and I am now going back into 10 Downing Street to carry on with that work. Thank you.'

Would that really have been so hard?

Saturday 15 June 2019

Brexitwatch: does the Tory Party face richly deserved extinction?

Is the Tory Party heading for richly deserved extinction? At the Peterborough by-election the Tories saw their share of the vote fall by 25 percentage points. At the European elections, they won just 9 per cent of the vote. At the local elections they lost more than 1,300 seats. Donations to the party have fallen by half.

And the latest Private Eye reveals the picture is even worse. Although the party appears to own a lot of property, such as Conservative clubs and buy-to-let properties, very little is owned by the party centrally.

Almost all of it is in the hands of local associations and trusts, and those local associations are starting to abandon the parliamentary party, with shedloads of local officeholders backing the Brexit Party at the European elections. Now the fear is that local branches will start giving up on the party, affiliating with Nigel Farage’s lot instead, and taking the property with them.

Is this one of the reasons why we are getting unadulterated pandering to the party’s worst, most reactionary instincts from those trying to replace Theresa May.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Brexitwatch: could Theresa May finally do the right thing?

At the very last gasp, could Theresa May finally do the right thing? The charge sheet against her is a long one. Just about every major decision she faced - red lines, triggering Article 50, telling the truth about Brexit - she got wrong. Above all, she always put the interests of the Tory Party before the interests of the country.

Now she has stepped down as Tory leader, but she is still prime minister, and, in a little-noticed development, she has said she will not resign from that position until she is convinced her successor has the confidence of parliament

Could this be significant? At the moment, the overwhelmingly reactionary membership of her party seem determined to pass over the merely deluded candidates and go for the totally mad or bad - say Dominic Raab, who fancies himself as a dictator and wants to shut down parliament, or Boris Johnson. Whereas May always put party before country, we can be sure Johnson will put Johnson before either. It is hard to see any of the no-deal headbangers commanding a majority among MPs. So might May try to stay on or might she leave the UK a parting gift?

In her closing days, she did seem to discover a bit of backbone and a determination to stop a catastrophic 'no deal' departure from the EU. At the moment, she is on course to go down in history as our worst ever prime minister, but could she at the last gasp go from zero to hero by revoking Article 50 and saving her country? (My post of March 22 explains how this would work.)

Sunday 9 June 2019

Brexitwatch: the 'will of the people' is to be found in parliament not the Brexit referendum result

Regular readers of this blog will know I reject the ‘will of the people’ argument for Brexit (see for example my post of 15 December 2016), that the result of a crooked referendum that promised a deal that could never be delivered is a reason for leaving the EU.

But let’s go with it for a moment. So the ‘will of the people’ in June 2016 was that we leave the EU. But then who elected our current parliament in 2017? ‘The people’.

Under our system, no parliament can bind its successor so the ‘will of the people’ expressed by the general election supersedes the ‘will of the people’ of the referendum, and the squeals of ‘betrayal’ from the Brexit fanatics are the usual hypocritical bunkum.

MPs are under absolutely no obligation to implement a Brexit they consider damaging to our country. Indeed, it is their duty to reject it.