Thursday, 9 February 2017
Britain Heads Towards Brexit
So it's happening and with remarkable ease. Last night the House of Commons voted to pass the legislation for allowing Britain to begin the process of our leaving the EU. The Government has been authorised to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin negotiations to leave.
Despite all of the wrecking amendments of the remainers and attempts in courts, in parliament and on the streets the will of the people, as expressed in the referendum is now to be put into effect. Those who support our membership should blame the institution they are such fans of. It will not reform itself and so Britain finally had enough and voted to leave. Ironically our leaving may precipitate that change it so badly needs. It will be too little and too late.
Of course the Lords still has the opportunity to wreck or otherwise change the bill. It would be well advised not to do so. This blog has long argued that the Lords is an unconscionable anachronism in a democratic country and a national embarrassment. If it tried to block Brexit as an unelected body when a referendum and the elected House of Commons has passed the legislation it would more or less seal its fate. Sense has usually prevailed in the upper house at moments like this.
Meanwhile the Labour Party is tearing itself apart over the EU. Clive Lewis, the supposed great new hope of that dying party, resigned last night. Diane Abbott like the unprincipled coward she is, eventually voted for Brexit despite considering it to be a disaster. Labour is preparing for life after Chauncey, but it is not clear that there is life. Labour still remains clueless, divided and unable to set out a clear vision for the country and the people it purports to represent. Its position on Brexit, such as it is, is a classic of the form.
What matters though is that parliament last night recognised that the people are sovereign. At elections they lend their sovereignty to parliament to govern on their behalf. But ultimately it is the people via their votes who hold power in this country. They instructed parliament to leave the EU and to take power back from it. We will now be governed once again from our own parliament. This is how it should be. The Government will now negotiate the terms of the divorce.
Britain is leaving the EU. We have a golden opportunity to forge an exciting new future outside of that dying, sclerotic entity. Our leaving will probably precipitate its slow and agonising death too. It will be a mercy for the entire continent.