Britain can remind Brussels what democracy looks like
There has been much talk of a constitutional crisis and certainly there are constitutional matters to be considered in the process of leaving the EU, but the real crisis is one of democracy.
Parliamentarians should be hanging their heads in shame. Parliament votes to run a referendum, a ballot which gave an option of leaving the EU but never mentioned a deal, it simply said “leave”.
Many in Parliament didn’t like the result but none the less they voted overwhelmingly to trigger Article 50. They voted to repeal the European Communities Act and to introduce a date of leaving the EU which remains the law of the land. Furthermore, the vast majority of MPs were elected on the basis of manifestos that promised to leave the EU, the customs union and the single market.
And yet here we are, fifteen days before the exit date and Parliament has voted to remove the key negotiating leverage from the government, that is no-deal, and have effectively voted to advise the government not to leave on March 29 since this would require leaving without a trade deal with the EU.
To add insult to the electorate, the PM continues to flog her dead horse as the only alternative, a deal which would see the UK as a colony of the EU. The people of Britain will be dismayed if we do not simply leave on March 29. But they will be even more dismayed if we choose to make ourselves a satellite state via May’s withdrawal agreement, once the implications of this deal sink in. Trust in politicians will be zero among large swathes of the population, and belief in the democratic system of the UK will be dead. The impact of people no longer buying into the system will be unpredictable.
All the more reason why it is apposite that the people of Britain will have an immediate opportunity to express their satisfaction with our political class through the mechanism of an EU election. Any extension of Article 50 beyond May 23 will require the UK to participate in EU elections.
This was recently confirmed in a public statement by President Junker. But for avoidance of doubt, Leave means Leave have issued a pre-notification of legal action to the Deputy Prime Minister to ensure that the democratic rights of the people are not once more overridden by our self serving establishment.
Under these circumstances we will still be members of the EU on the due date for the EU elections and must therefore be given the opportunity to participate. Even if the government put forward a short extension to ratify a deal, it will be important that Britain is represented in Brussels, since we will face a prolonged period of further negotiation and, quite likely, control from Brussels.
If MEPs are in place for the new EU Parliament on July 2, it is possible that they will endure beyond our leaving date, a constant reminder to the EU of what democracy is.
As Parliament goes about its business in the next few days, the prospect of EU elections will no doubt concentrate some minds. Politicians should, quite rightly, be afraid of the judgement of the people. To reinforce this, a march to Leave to arrive in London on the 29 of March, will set out from Sunderland on Saturday.
Mimicking our fore fathers in the Jarrow march, a group of Brexiteers will enable people around the country – many who cannot afford to travel to London – to show their support for the simple concept that their votes should be respected and that we should simply leave the EU at the end of the month, in accordance with what Parliament promised.
14th March, 2019; The Daily Telegraph