Yesterday, a referendum was held in Catalonia, in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, to decide whether the region should become independent of the Spanish State. To try to prevent this legitimate expression of speech, the Spanish State has used every device it can, finally unleashing its National Police and Civil Guard — whose reputation for brutality is notorious — to prevent people casting a vote. It’s the sort of thing one does not readily associate with a modern State which allegedly, conforms to the rules of membership of the European Union
Should we be surprised to have witnessed the scenes of extreme violence and brutality inflicted on the citizens of Catalonia this Sunday? No, we should not.
I remember Spain under Franco. It was a Police State. The Civil Guard, Spain’s paramilitary police force, were universally loathed. And so they should have been; they were the cudgels of the State, answerable only to Generalissimo Franco.
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.”
In the little white-painted town of Santa Westminstera, havoc had broken out. The town was ruled by two gangs of ruthless bandits. But both of these had begun fighting amongst themselves. The rule of the bosses had collapsed and anarchy reigned.
In an adobe house in the main street huddled one of the last remaining families.
Little Angelina was cuddling into her grandfather’s chest.
‘Oh papacito, what will become of us?’ she sobbed.
The internationally known UK law firm of Mishcon de Reya has moved to block any unconstitutional attempt to trigger the UK’s early departure from the EU.
In a piece by Owen Bowbott, The Guardian newspaper today reports that Mishcon de Reya ‘has retained the services of senior constitutional barristers, including Lord Pannick QC and Rhodri Thompson QC’ to act in this matter.
We do not yet know the opinion of these honourable gentlemen, but we can assume that it will be broadly in line with that of Geoffrey Robertson QC, another leading Constitutional lawyer. Robertson made it clear, in a recent interview with the Business Insider, that ‘Brexit’ would require an Act of Parliament.
When is a referendum not a referendum? Answer — when it is a politically convenient device used by a slippery Prime Minister in trouble with half his MPs.
The EU Referendum held on the 23rd of June was phony. It has no legal consequences. That in turn means that it has no effect. Whoever becomes leader of the Tory Party and thus Prime Minister of Great Britain, will, if she or he wishes to cause the UK to leave the EU, have to follow the normal Parliamentary procedure for the making of law. It could take years for legislation to pass, if it is not blocked from the start by the majority of pro-EU MPs.
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?’
In the UK, Parliament is the ultimate authority. All power is held by it. While technically, sovereignty resides with the monarch, in the UK this is ceded to and implemented by a group of elected representatives called Members of Parliament.
The UK is NOT a plebiscitary democracy; it is a representational one. Elected Members of Parliament make decisions on behalf of the electors they represent.
This makes no provision whatsoever for the implementation or otherwise of the result of the ballot. This in turn means that the referendum vote has absolutely no authority over Parliament. It is not even ‘advisory’, in any legal sense. It is nothing more than a high-falutin opinion poll.
Finesse might be David Cameron’s middle name. He was a long-time and successful PR man before entering politics, and, having been one myself, I can assure you that this is a training that makes you grasp every opportunity to show how good you are. And of course, how stupid, incompetent and generally just bad your enemies are.
Now I freely admit I have not been impressed by Cameron. I’ll grant, though, that this may come from a general aversion to repulsive English public-schoolboys, especially when they’re wearing Scottish names. I feel they are betraying the old country somewhat.
And finesse never seemed to be one of Cameron’s aces. He’s a smooth-talker all right, and has nice taste in suits. But the word I would have chosen to describe him hitherto would have been ‘vapid’.