Brexit: Now What?

Once again the position of this Blog is simple. Recall Article 50 and scrap the whole thing. Brexit is a mess. Nobody can agree what it means, nobody can agree what they want, nobody knows how it will work, nobody knows whether there will be benefit or cost. Moreover everybody sees it as an end of uncertainty, when it is in fact a beginning of a never ending era of trade negotiations and arguments which could last a generation.

But all that now takes second place to the real crisis at hand. Our model of government has broken down. Through an apparently harmless collection of Acts, Judgements and procedural manoeuvres, our constitution has entangled itself into an unfathomable muddle between Executive and Legislature, leading to such confusion as to make our Union, once a model of calm and reliable democracy admired across the world, something close to ungovernable space. Parliament may be sovereign and it is certainly the Legislature. But as the last three years have shown beyond all doubt, it cannot govern. And the time when it pretends it can is over.

As a matter of priority parliament has to reinstall authority to the Executive by repealing the Fixed Term Parliament Act and restoring Prerogative powers to the Prime Minister as political Head of State, but with a more coherent specification of what these powers are. They must include the management of the country and its relationship with the world, as existed before 2010, at the very least. Legislation must come to parliament for approval, as must the budget. Parliament certainly must retain its power to sack the Executive, but the Executive must have the power restored to dissolve Parliament and ask the people to elect a new one. This notion that you can run a country by telling the prime minister what letters to write and to whom is plain silly. You cannot govern by giving the Executive a to do list and then refuse to support it.

Neither can you govern with every member of the House of Commons pursuing their own agenda in detail. I hate Brexit. But I hate also schools having to feed hungry children in the holidays and at weekends, foodbanks, extortionate housing costs, homelessness, knife crime, the list goes on and on. And none of this will be fixed while the people charged with fixing it are in a state emotional overload arguing about the critical differences between a custom’s union and the custom’s union. And arguing not just for an hour or two, but day after day, month after month and year after year. With no end in sight.

I shall never, ever again, vote Tory because it is this so called broad church party made up of narrow and unreconconsilable factions, which has run us into this mess. The FTPA, Brexit, offered in a referendum without knowing what it was, austerity without end crushing public services, an outsourcing gravy train to giant monopoly corporations which unaccountably go bust, the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor, are all things support for which I will never give. But I do care that I once lived in a country where reliable government was a given. We have to get back there.

Finally let me leave you with this. It is said  that this is a Remain parliament. Maybe. But if we had not tinkered with the constitution it would have gone long ago. Put another way, the 1935 parliament, which was extended until 1945, was an Appeasement parliament. Had it been invested with the powers of our current legislature, we would, for certain, have lost World War II.

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