I have posted earlier today about the possibility that the Surrender Bill might not receive the Royal assent tomorrow. Such an event is not the only circumstance in which the democratic will of the British people – to leave the EU – might be achieved. It might also be achieved if the EU decline to grant any further extension, in which case the UK leaves the EU on 31st October.
The Surrender Bill contains the form of a draft letter which the Prime Minister is supposed to write to Donald Tusk by 19th October.
The Surrender Bill does not prohibit the Prime Minister from other communications with Donald Tusk, and the prospect of EU declining to grant an extension (and thus seeing the back of the UK out of the EU at the end of October) might be enhanced if, in the meantime, the Prime Minister were to write to Donald Tusk along the following lines: Continue reading
We live in bizarre constitutional times. And tomorrow, Monday, 9 September 2019, is a particularly interesting day. Will the Surrender Bill obtain the Royal assent?
This question gives rise to issues which do not normally arise. Normally, the government controls the business of Parliament, such that bills do not get Parliamentary time without government support. Normally, the government enjoys a majority in the Commons, such that bills without government support are not passed. Normally, Parliament does not pass bills that defy the result of a referendum and are contrary to the election pledges of both major parties.
But these are not normal times. It is not unusual for the opposition to try to disrupt the business of the government of the day. That is true of both the main political parties, but is perhaps especially true of Labour Party oppositions; many Labour Party politicians resent Conservative politicians to the point of hatred. And it is not unprecedented for there to be groups of people who owe their principal allegiance, not to their own country but to a foreign power. The Babington plotters and the Jacobites in the 16th and 17th centuries owed their principal allegiance to Rome as the hub of Roman Catholicism, and in the 20th century the British communists owed their principal allegiance to Moscow as the hub of communism. Just as the Remainers now apparently owe their principal allegiance to Brussels as the hub of the European dream.
What is unprecedented is the unholy alliance between those two.
It is not the function of Parliament to Continue reading
Quite apart from all the other reasons why it is a bad idea, the Remainers’ Surrender Bill – intended to order the Prime Minister to seek an extension for Brexit from the EU, and to obey any instructions from the EU as to when, if ever, Brexit is to happen – breaches the fundamental principles of separation of powers.
It is not the function of Parliament to govern; that is the function of the Executive. There are very good reasons for that constitutional principle. For a slow-moving and public forum such as a legislative chamber to try to dictate the management of the State’s affairs is hopelessly inefficient. It is scarcely better than Parliament seeking to order the captain of the English cricket team what to do if he wins the toss, who to get to bowl and for what spells, and when to declare. Come to think of it, it’s worse than that. It’s like ordering the captain of the English cricket team to make these decisions according to the wishes of the captain of the Australian cricket team.
Plainly, the effect of the Surrender Bill, if it becomes law and not Continue reading
For various reasons, I have not posted so much recently. But I have a couple of moments now, and here are some recent thoughts:
We at the beginning g of September now, towards the end of the rainier winter on the Fleurieu Peninsula, but neither my rainwater tanks nor my dam (“Loch Phenelry”) are yet full.
If my croquet lawn is to flourish over the summer, I need some more rain.
Ever since the British government handed back (unnecessarily, in my view) Hong Kong to the Chinese, Hong Kong was doomed. Without any pleasure in saying so at all, I fear the protesters have no real prospect of succeeding. Hong Kong used to be a colony of the British, but was free, in that the government did pretty much what the people wished for, even though there were no elections. Now and for the foreseeable future, it is a colony of the Chinese, and not free: now the government does what the Chinese want.
For many people, that which is forbidden is all the more delicious.
For me, as for many other people, the best fruit is knowledge. There is a delight in Continue reading
Oh really? How easily they forget.
But it wasn’t just Grieve… Continue reading
… England has won the 3rd Ashes Test, making (I believe) the highest run chase in England test match history.
The Remoaners must be spitting tacks. Everything was supposed be be going to pot as a result of the referendum, and the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister was supposed to make the milk in everyone’s fridge go sour overnight.
Instead of that, the Brexit spirit seems to be doing rather well. England is not Continue reading
The question arises as to how to categorise the MPs who are determined to try to block a “no deal” Brexit.
Strictly speaking, of course, it is not a “no deal” Brexit at all, because both the UK and the EU are bound by the deal of the World Trade Organisation treaty terms, and in any event, both the UK and the EU are committed to the notion that all sorts of things, such as the free passage of aircraft, are agreed even if there is no comprehensive withdrawal agreement.
But moving on from that terminological inexactitude (we will live with it for the moment):
We don’t mean “mad” quite in the mental health sense. We mean just really, really stupid.
The car analogy has been made before. Telling the EU that under no circumstances will the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal deal is not dissimilar to walking into a second-hand Mercedes dealer and saying “I will not leave this forecourt without having bought one of your cars”. In those circumstances, the price of a second-hand Mercedes (and the EU is very much second-hand goods) goes up quite a bit. Or, put another way, committing that there will never be a “no deal” is tantamount to putting oneself over a barrel and asking the Germans to give one a very thorough Continue reading
What a cheek!
I suggested progroguing parliament back in March in order to get Brexit through.
If Rory Stewart did not like the idea, he should have said so then. Far too late now, on Peston, I’d say, to start suggesting that the idea is unconstitutional, or “just wouldn’t work”.
No excuse for him to say he does not read these pages. He should be Continue reading
POTUS Trump has been behaving himself since the wheels of Air Force 1 touched down.
Meanwhile, the Magic Grandpa has refused to attend the state banquet. The thing is, he is happier on a picket line, or a protest march, than in the corridors of power. So he would be an utterly disastrous PM. Especially since his friend John McDonnell would presumably become Chancellor of the Exchecher, and his avowed aim is to destroy economy as it presently is: he is still a Marxist who thinks Marx has not yet had a fair run and who wants the UK to rerun the Venezuela experiment.
The Tory wets would like Jeremy Hunt to be the next PM. A bright guy, for sure, but he also would be a terrible PM. In answer to the question, “How should the chicken cross the road?” he says: “Compromise. Stop half way.” Which might appeal to a parliamentary conundrum, but which would be serously unwise for the country, which is baying the answer: “Get on with it!”
If the Tories fail to elect Continue reading