Our leaders show no sign of leadership as crisis engulfs the country. Time for People’s Vote
Friday, 16 November 2018 3 Comments by Claire
Last night I heard the prime minister’s second speech in two days outside No 10 Downing Street.
As a constitutional crisis the like of which I have never seen in my lifetime unfolds before my eyes, and:
- as Mrs May stares into the gloomy abyss into which her Brexit plan has disappeared
- after an unprecedented NINETEEN cabinet members have resigned in disagreements over Brexit
- after media rumours that the required 48 signatures have been submitted to the chairman of the right-wing 1922 committee, enabling a vote of no confidence in the prime minister to be called
- as it is now patently obvious that Mrs May’s Brexit agreement will not make it through a parliamentary vote…
... One might have thought that Mrs May might be preparing to fall on her sword.
But no, far from it!
Her speech last night outside No 10 was full of defiance.
And I might add guff, bluster, denial and actual delusion.
Basically, while Rome was burning, Mrs May was shrieking from the roof of the citadel: “Hey everyone, everything’s fine!”... even as the flames singed her clothing.
As I write, the latest speculation is that Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, will be the next resignation, after he more or less rejected the job offer of Brexit Secretary yesterday. A vacancy caused by the departure of Dominic Raab, who apparently couldn’t stomach the withdrawal agreement he helped to negotiate.
On Wednesday, it looked as though Mrs May’s last minute EU endorsed agreement had just squeaked through her cabinet after a five hour meeting.
But yesterday, it quickly became apparent that major trouble was afoot. The sudden and dramatic resignation of Raab, quickly followed by Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, were followed by leaks from Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
The Times reported that shockingly, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, had been unable to give assurances that people would not die as a result of ‘no deal Brexit.’
It seems impossible that the withdrawal agreement will make it through parliament. Those against it (for varying reasons) include:
- Green MP, Caroline Lucas
So, let’s look at Mrs May’s Brexit plan a little more closely. Why is there such opposition to it?
Well, Remainer MPs (and this is the position I concur with) are concerned that we are recklessly quitting a successful trade partnership with the biggest and most powerful trading bloc in the world, and according to the government’s own impact assessments, this decision will leave the UK country economically much worse off.
The UK has already plummeted from being the fastest growing economy in the G7, to one of the slowest, since the referendum in 2016.
Under May’s Brexit deal, we are in a position of having to accept the rules and regulations of the EU, without having a voice or a vote to influence or change them, as we have done up until now.
Unfortunately, many of the things that the EU legally protects (and we take for granted), including human rights, workers rights and environmental standards – have not been committed to by this government.
Warm words have been uttered, but policy/lawmaking has not matched these warm words and there are currently major holes in these areas, as it seems to suit this government to write policy that benefits big business. And not its citizens.
Could this be because big business often funds the Conservative Party, on the proviso that laws and policy go its way, I wonder?
The SNP wants to remain in the single market for trade reasons and free movement of people.
The DUP is concerned that the Northern Ireland aspect of the plan has tied its country into a UK customs union to avoid a hard border with Southern Ireland (which will remain in the EU).
A hard border could compromise the peace process. But Northern Ireland would be in a deeper customs union arrangement than the rest of the UK.
The Brexiter MPs are angry that there is no time limit on this customs union and the UK cannot unilaterally opt out of it. They are also angry about a range of other issues which they claim relates to so-called ‘sovereignty.’
Essentially (and worryingly) most Brexiter MPs seem to want to simply leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement, which many business leaders, say would be catastrophic.
And don’t forget Mr Hancock said such a move could cost lives.
We hear from the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg, Boris Johnson and David Davis, that the EU has more to fear from a ‘no deal’ scenario than the UK. But just like most of their rhetoric, it is an untruth.
The latest untruth tripping from Mr Davis’s lips is the claim he made on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today Programme where he said there was time for more renegotiations, despite two and a half years of negotiations where Mr Davis himself was mostly at the helm!
There are now just a few weeks left until March the 29th and the UK is set to leave the European Union.
If we crash out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement we would be set to lose a whopping eight per cent of GDP, compared with the EU’s loss of 1.5 per cent. It would cost each household £6,000, or the country £140bn, according to the IMF.
The Brexiters criticise May for failing to adequately “prepare” for no deal. But the notion that the UK could ever successfully manage the upheaval that would result – punitive tariffs, medical shortages, grounded flights, chaos at ports and on roads – is absurd.
We also keep being told by Brexiter MPs that we can trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. But this is another lie. There is NO OTHER COUNTRY that trades on these rules alone. Economies are generally organised into trading blocs.
And the EU is the biggest and most successful with 500m consumers. It‘s the top trading partner for 80 countries.
Let’s also not forget that despite all of International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox’s boastfulness, in two and a half years, just one measly trade deal has been brokered, with African countries. And that’s one that critics have dismissed as a rollover of an existing EU trade deal in any case!
Brexit is costing the UK an eye-watering £500million a week - or £26 billion a year, according to research by the Centre for European Reform.
A far cry from the set of abject fallacies put about by Mr Gove and Mr Johnson, during the referendum campaign, promising a dividend of £350m a week for leaving the EU - a campaign promise the Leave side famously declared on a Vote Leave bus.
An untruth that in my view, they should be held to account for by the criminal justice system.
Messrs Rees Mogg, Johnson and Davis and their colleagues, despite pretending otherwise, share a frightening hardline right-wing ideology that promotes a shrunken welfare state and a business tax haven, that will benefit the most wealthy and leave the least wealthy in dire poverty, without access to proper public services.
It is a similar ideology that Trump signs up to. And it’s stinkingly corrupt.
Aside from looking like total fools to the outside world (and we really do) to sum it up, thanks to the blinkered idiocy of our political leaders who tried (and are still trying) to outwit Mr Farage in 2016, our parliamentary system is now in crisis and the way ahead seems impossible to navigate due to the totally divided nature of parliament, let alone the government, which has its own implacable divisions.
Trying to marry these divisions while keeping within the rules that 27 member states must abide by, is in short, not possible.
And it never was.
It. Never. Was.
We’ve been lied to.
From the very start.
But finally, the game is up.
The time has come for our political leaders to be honest with us. They should always be honest with us of course, but that mostly seems beyond them for some reason.
So I am now calling on Mrs May and East Devon MP, Hugo Swire, along with his Devon parliamentary colleagues, to be honest, admit that the country is now in a constitutional crisis. And actually do something tangible to save it.
After all, they caused it. And some of those involved are being investigated by the National Crime Agency (Arron Banks).
This government cannot possibly seriously consider dropping out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement, without wreaking appalling damage to the economy and to the lives of its citizens…it would be unforgivably irresponsible…
... And there is no appetite in the Commons for such a disastrous outcome.
So the only way out is a People’s Vote.
Put Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement against a Remain option, back to the electorate.
As Dr Wollaston has pointed out. Based on the principle of informed consent, it is the only democratic and responsible thing to do.
And Mr Swire really needs to stop focusing what is the best option for his career during this tumult and instead help move things forward and do what is right for his constituency and the country.
We need action. And the time for action is NOW.
Pic: Outside the Houses Of Parliament in July on the day of David Davis’s and Boris Johnson’s resignation. With tireless anti Brexit campaigner, Steve Bray.