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Agreeing to disagree

Inevitably, a parliament that can agree on nothing can agree on a two-week delay. Hilariously, it’s the EU that protects us from longer delay – they disliked the last time Brits voted on them too much to want a repetition in the EUro-elections two months hence. Admirably, the DUP refuse to panic (I thought they were a luck from the start.)

Labour was whipped to vote for a second referendum (kudos to their shadow minister who resigned) whereas the Tories were not whipped, but it still failed. The idea will be debated again on April Fool’s day but the omens (not least that one 🙂 ) seem good.

May’s offers to resign get steadily more precise and shorter term. Each one brings the series nearer its end. Each one reduces her authority while she remains.

As for me, I still like deadlock. If ever there was a time for a monarch to say that, as parliament is unable to act, “we” will be its regent and just do it, now is that time, but perhaps the decision of making no decision at all would be most convincing of all. We on this blog want less government; here’s a chance to experience it

Comment away – you know you want to. 🙂

17 comments to Agreeing to disagree

  • Alsadius

    The Queen doesn’t need to act as regent at all – the legal status quo is No Deal, and that’s also the best of the options left on the table. All she needs to do is withhold assent to any especially obnoxious alternatives, if they pass in the first place. I’ll accept May’s deal, and there might be one or two others on the list that are still true Brexit which I’d be okay with. But a flat-out cancellation of Article 50 might be a good opportunity for Her Majesty to be indisposed for a couple days until the deadline passes.

  • The Pedant-General

    That would be a proper constitutional crisis though – it would not actually be the crown exercising a veto in law, but it would be seen to be in practice. I would worry that to use the veto, in more or less any way at all, on this issue would turn remainers into republicans.

    We don’t want to go down that road.

  • the legal status quo is No Deal (Alsadius, March 28, 2019 at 10:15 am)

    True, but (IIUC), thanks to the one vote that passed yesterday, it is now slated to be no-deal-departure on April 12th, not tomorrow. Part of me feels it would be a positive kindness to Parliament not to let it expose itself so for another fortnight. Another part of me wonders if our arguments for limiting government’s control of our lives will be strengthened by the spectacle if it does. Like Brexit, it’s worth it – provided we get there. 🙂

  • Confused Od Misfit

    Were is Oliver Cromwell when you need him!

  • In the thread of the prior post, Paul Marks (March 28, 2019 at 8:35 am) asks an interesting question

    It was not voted on yesterday – so when was the “Canada Option” voted on?

    As to why it was not voted on,

    – could the fact that it was Speaker John Bercow who chose which 8 of the 16 Brexit alternative proposals were considered yesterday be relevant?

    – the “Contingent preferential arrangements” proposal (Marcus Fysh) was perhaps a very general way of suggesting ‘Canada or similar’ but it would have seen us contribute to the EU budget – which I assume Canada did not have to do to get their deal?

    At this late stage, negotiating a fresh deal is impractical, but the EU-Canada trade deal is a known quantity. For anyone whose worries over no-deal were sincere, not a ploy to block brexit, an obvious offer would be to say, “Pro tem, let’s you treat us like Canada and we treat you as Canada does the EU. This deal will be cancellable by either party at short notice (three months notice, say?), but meanwhile it will serve as a convenient stop gap in which we can discuss things.”

    Like Paul, I think someone (David Davis is IIRC the minister Paul refers to) should propose that “indicative vote”. The EU would either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and ‘no’ would indeed be indicative of their true aim in this negotiation!

  • Mr Ecks

    Her shite WA BRINO can’t pass even after JRM has sodomised himself. Can’t keep can kicking. Either revoke or rigged re-vote or No Deal. Or a GE–which the DUP would bring on even if her shite went through.

    Increasingly direct action seems more attractive. Certainly if they try revoke or rigged re-vote then it kicks off.

    No Brexit No Council Tax.

  • Mr Ecks (March 28, 2019 at 11:52 am), Jacob Rees-Mogg’s latest stated position is that he will vote against the deal unless the DUP are on board with it. (He thus shows loyalty to allies, while making his condition something that is already an essential part of continued resistance.) Your (anatomically-impossible) description therefore seems an unjust metaphor to me. Harsh language is not direct action – but even if it were, best reserve the harsher terms for use on our enemies.

  • Confused Od Misfit (March 28, 2019 at 11:05 am), it is in part because the continent has had many dictators, whereas we only had the warning experience of Oliver Cromwell (who conveniently died), that our political culture is worth preserving from EU political culture. It is because of that that the attempt to make us vote again or forget it produces a political crisis here, whereas in the EU there would have been no such crisis. The only part of Oliver we needed was the warning. He taught the English that a sufficiently powerful state could ignore their opinions.

    I apologise for this pedantry. I appreciate you were making a joke.

  • Ellen

    Alsadius, the Pedant-General –

    What good is it having Royals if they can’t do anything? There are fables about King Log and King Stork, but surely there must be some kind of middle ground.

  • Stonyground

    It appears to me that our elected representatives have no clue how to do their jobs. If the rest of us were as incompetent as they are we would lose our jobs.

    It is also amusing to keep hearing a radio ad for the government website where we can get up to date and accurate information about Britain leaving the EU and what it will mean to us. Seeing as the government don’t have a clue what they are doing, I would have thought that a government website was the last place to go for information.

  • Sam Duncan

    “No Brexit No Council Tax.”

    This idea seems to be gaining some traction. Apparently it’s been seen written on walls and bridges across the north of England. I’m not sure I see the connection (personally, I’d leave out the “Council” bit), but whatever it takes to get these buggers to listen…

  • Alex

    Some commenters in these here parts left comments just after the EU membership referendum saying that the UK would not leave the EU. They were laughed at. I didn’t laugh at them but I didn’t think the government would behave quite this badly. I think they’ve been proven right, sadly. This is all a big show. Democracy is dead in the UK.

  • “No Brexit No Council Tax.” … I’m not sure I see the connection … (Sam Duncan, March 28, 2019 at 4:26 pm)

    I offer the wild guess that it is to do with what can be withheld by unilateral action (like the TV license). Payroll taxes are computed by one’s employer and deducted at source (and a sizeable portion is classified deceitfully; “employers” national insurance, for example is an old scam to fool employees into thinking the government is getting money on their behalf from their ‘greedy, exploiting’ employer, not from them). Not paying petrol tax when filling one’s car seems likewise outside the bounds of straightforward personal action. Etc., Etc. Is the statement merely rational in targeting something that could be withheld in a passive-resistance way by individual choice?

  • Tom

    What would be the immediate effect of the DUP leaving the coalition?

    Would parliament still stumble on, or would there have to be a general election?

  • Paul Marks

    Niall – it is, as you know, much worse than a two week delay.

    The delay will be till late May – and then the legally binding “Withdrawal Agreement” will KEEP us under the rule of the European Union, in short “Brexit” will be show to NOT mean independence, “Brexit means Brexit” (NOT independence).

    Any Member of Parliament who votes for this legally binding and Orwellian named “Withdrawal Agreement” (which is NOT about withdrawing from the European Union), is showing that were not interested in getting out of the European Union – they were just interested in getting Mrs May out of Number 10.

    I do not trust myself to speak further in this comment – as I am rather vexed with a lot of “principled” Members of Parliament.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Strange as it may seem, this is how parliament should work. As non-whipped votes take place you experience the true parliament in action ((c) 1265, de Montfort), as far as I am concerned MPs should be voting every five minutes long into the night and coming up with “deals”.

    The mess is made into an issue because of (a) party affiliation, which is still active despite whips, (b) the general pomposity of MPs who think they know better than the people who voted for them, (c) ulterior motives as always, (d) stupidity and misunderstanding which is unfortunately too common.

    Parliament does work if it is solely guided by MPs interest, which in turn should be guided by the people they represent. If MPs were just members of special interest groups rather than a catch-all party, then they’d vote without whips according to the issue at hand, an MP declared to be pro-EU and elected as such would obviously vote that way for any EU legislation.

    What we have are mainly monkeys wearing a special colour rosette, and some are exceptionally stupid monkeys at that, this time will go down in history to show what parliament should be doing, not what we are used to which is a grand sheep herding exercise, hopefully it will open eyes for some.

  • Paul Marks (March 29, 2019 at 8:17 am), remember the warning example of Farage: after the polls closed on June 23rd, he said, it “looks like Remain will edge it”. We are in very grave danger, but Theresa May, Donald Tusk and Emmanuel Macron do not know what will happen next – and neither do you or I know. When even the BBC concludes their 10 o’clock news report with LauraK reminding us that both major parties committed emphatically to our leaving (in 20 minutes as I type) then our enemies are not without problems – cold comfort, but all we have tonight.