Posted by Euan on 04/11/2016
I spent much of yesterday trying not to die of schadenfreude at the High Court verdict saying the UK Parliament as a whole is required to trigger Article 50 on leaving the EU. I understand the Government’s case put forward in court was that the unelected Prime Minister should be able to do it alone, acting by the divine right of power channelled straight from God’s storage cupboard via the Queen.
Apart from a deep satisfaction at a would-be dictator not getting their anti-democratic way, my main feeling was utter despair at the incompetents who rule over us (unelected). They clearly thought that they could just continue to make things up as they go along (and to be fair, they would have no reason to think otherwise given we live in a ridiculous country with an “unwritten constitution” instead of the modern 21st-century European democracy you would expect from our location on the world map) and they have been totally caught out – AGAIN.
In 2014 I campaigned for Scottish independence as a route to proper democratic accountability and better (i.e. kickoutable) leaders. The only circumstances under which I would have even considered voting No would have been if there had been actual likelihood of meaningful reform for the UK, and that would have required evidence of actual ability at the top. Just competence at matters of state. Apparently that was, and is now more than ever, too much to ask. I could not possibly vote to endorse the ability, and attitudes, of the “ruling class” in Westminster. It used to absolutely baffle me that anyone could look at that place and think “yes, I am happy with control of my future being in their hands”. Now I keep trying to remind myself that people vote with the information they have available, but that’s getting more and more difficult to believe.
With that in mind, how many people who voted to Leave the EU based on the “Take Back Control” message will be deeply unhappy with this? It’ll be further evidence for some that they never had control (hopefully inspiring a political revolution that will drive for ACTUAL REFORM of the UK. LOL J/K UKIP will be along in a minute to blame foreigners!) but surely there must be others who at least look at this latest crop of the ruling class and think “THESE people are in charge?!”,
Brexiteer Britain 2016: Mainstream newspapers openly call for dictatorship
Today the front pages look like this:
There’s a lot of white noise in the air at the moment, between the furious brexiteers who have been led to believe that this is in open defiance of the vote, and the ecstatic bremainers who have convinced themselves that all will be well after this (to grossly generalise and stereotype two “sides”) . In all the excitement, both groups seem to have missed that this was a legal decision and not a political one. Imagine if the court *had* ruled that the Government could trigger Article 50 without a vote in Parliament or even so much as a basic look at the details. In our glorious unwritten constitution, that would have set a precedent for the Government being able to override the rule of law whenever it feels like it. That would be the thin end of a very dangerous wedge. We’re still not out of the woods on that yet either, as the Government plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.
While we should certainly celebrate the fact that the court has prevented, or at least slowed, the UK’s descent into dictatorship, we should not lose sight of the fact that this was a legal decision, and has little bearing on the political decision to invoke Article 50 or not. A friend pointed out to me yesterday that the whole reason we’re in this mess in the first place is the self-serving incompetence of MPs. Does anyone seriously believe enough MPs will “defy the will of the British people” and vote to block Article 50, when the alternative is saving their own skin for the next election?
I’m reasonably sure that at least 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs will vote against Article 50 (as clearly instructed by their constituents, incidentally), but that’s unlikely to tip the balance. In the meantime, more and more voters in Scotland will be looking at the absolute shambles of a Government at Westminster and asking themselves “surely we could do better by electing our own leaders”.