The UK’s official Opposition is the Labour Party, though on present showing you might not guess that. On one hand it has at once been utterly and indefensibly useless at challenging the Government over the EU referendum. On the other, internecine fighting and political blood-letting over its own leadership has gone out of control. These pose serious questions about Labour’s moral authority and its fitness to govern.
First the party’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, decided to prevent members who had joined within the last six months from voting. This was because the NEC is currently filled with Blairites. They want the elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn, out and think that all the new members are Corbyn supporters. That should speak volumes about how they regard democracy.
The Brexit mirror cracked from side to side under the weight of simple, sheer reality this week.
The fissure in the Brexit mirror began to appear when Norway’s Foreign Minister told the world that no, the UK could not re-enter the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) just because it fancied the idea. The UK was a founder member of EFTA but left as a condition of joining the then EEC in 1973. Re-entry, however, would require unanimous approval from the remaining members and Norway is agin the idea. It’s not the only one to show reluctance.
The first signs of widespread panic amongst the UK’s hard-right, swivelly-eyed Brexiteers have begun to appear. In our last Friday Politics we pointed out that Brexit, as promised by the triumvirate of swivelly-eyed-ness, Johnson, Gove and Farage, is dead. It can’t happen. Now that realisation has got through to those whose eyes are usually so swivelly they can’t read a Daily Mail headline.
The reality that Brexit could not be delivered became apparent even in the hours after the result. Why did David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, resign? He didn’t have to. He had fought a solid campaign and had been honourably beaten. He had said that he would not resign whatever the result.
Cameron probably realised that he could not deliver the result that had been asked for. His departure was the first indication that Brexit was already on life support. Continue reading “Brexit is dead.”
Who governs Britain is the question we must now answer.
One week ago, the British people voted in favour of leaving the European Union.
The voters gave their opinion. That is all they did. But by doing so they provoked a Constitutional crisis for the United Kingdom, which may yet turn into an existential one. The question is no longer about Europe; the question today is simply ‘Who governs Britain?’
On Thursday this week, the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will vote in a crucial referendum. For the first time in over 40 years, they will have the chance to express a view about the European Union (EU). To decide, in fact, whether they wish to remain a part of it or not.
(This post was updated on 24 September 2018. It seems just as apposite today, even though the Referendum this referred to was held and the UK voted to leave the EU. But the grasping tendrils of this thoroughly undemocratic, bureaucratic organisation still attempt to stifle our freedom.)
At root the question being asked in the referendum is this and only this: do the benefits of being a part of the EU count for more than the loss of sovereignty that it has entailed? Has it delivered democracy, powerful economic growth and security in sufficient measure to make up for its centralisation of power?