Our current position regarding Article 50 has been debated and voted on by more people on more occasions than anything else in British history:
1, In 2013 David Cameron promised a simple in/out referendum and was rewarded with a working majority in 2015.
2, Parliament quickly approved the Referendum Bill by 544 votes to 53.
3, The British people then participated in the referendum in greater numbers than any other vote in our history (17,410,742 to 16,141,241).
4, Following Gina Miller’s legal action the House of Commons voted to give the Government power to trigger Article 50 by 498 votes to 114.
5, Theresa May then asked the House of Commons to agree to a general election. They did and we duly voted in it.
6, Theresa May then spent 2 years negotiating a (terrible) deal with the EU which the House of Commons rejected by a thumping 432 votes to 202.
So we are where we are because over the the last 5 years our society has debated, deliberated and voted on this issue again and again. This is why, for all the histrionics, we are actually in a pretty decent position – in less that 50 days time we will again be able to vote for whatever laws we like regarding goods, services, labour, capital, VAT etc, and we will be able to strike whatever trade deals we like, with whoever we like, whenever we like. That’s not a problem, that’s a solution.
On March 30th we will be able to agree whatever we want with the EU – deals identical to existing arrangements if we like. The only precondition will be that they will have to be mutually and democratically agreed between them and us. What’s the problem with that?
If there is any ‘national crisis’ it is not us democrats who have caused it but the unrepresentative appointees in the House of Lords, Civil Service and European Commission (who frankly have always had a problem with democracy). The only genuine national crisis is this incessant attack on democracy by the old guard who have the most to lose from us being able to vote for a better future.
So on what grounds should this vast 5 year long democratic journey (that we have all participated in) be halted? What are their reasons for wanting to suspend the process at the eleventh hour?…
“But there could be traffic jams in Dover!”
Deliberate delays would breach three treaties: the WTO treaty, the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Lisbon Treaty, which requires the EU to behave in a neighbourly way towards adjacent states. Do EU enthusiasts really think the EU would use illegal bullying to punish us? If so, how can they urge us to remain in this body?
“There could be a hard border in Ireland”
Who is going to pay for it? The Irish aren’t. The British aren’t. Who does that leave – the Mexicans? And even if someone could be found to erect a hard border is that any reason to suspend a democratic process we have all participated in for many years?
“But there could be disruption to the procurement of some pharmaceutical products!”
You get your viagra on line without too much trouble right? The British are traders, it’s our job, it’s what we do, and what we have done for centuries. If there is any bunch of people who can arrange a steady supply of drugs it’s us; and if we can’t then frankly, we don’t deserve to live.
“Brexit is causing shrink-flation!”
Less Maltesers per pack? Shit got real! Ok, lets have a think about this… How about if you buy two packets of Maltesers, eat the same amount you would normally eat and then save the surplus for later on? Does that work for you? Can I live in a democracy now please? Seriously, how fanciful do these anti-democracy arguments have to get before we stop indulging them?
If some people are unhappy with the terms and conditions of Article 50 then tough, they had plenty of time to air their misgivings before we voted to enshrine it in law. Either they failed to do so or they failed to convince enough voters of the validity of their arguments. Either way we can’t vote to enter a legal arrangement, sign it, and then argue the toss about its terms and conditions.
Primarily the arguments for extending/cancelling Article 50 are conjectural. Apparently there is some lurid nightmare lurking just around the corner if we don’t turn back. But what could be more nightmarish that the realisation that this whole thing been a pseudo-democratic sham? That the outcome was fixed from the beginning in favour of conserving the power, status and wealth of those who already have it? It’s time to call out this endless wolf-crying for what it really is – psychological abuse rolled out on an industrial scale against an entire population.
EU supporters say Article 50 should be suspended/cancelled because there could be technical problems, but this argument is oxymoronic – what technical problem could be worse than the suspension/cancellation of democratically decided law? There is no problem-free path. The future will always present challenges that are unknown and unknowable. Given that. what is the best tool we have at our disposal for confronting them? Democracy. We will always be better off attacking technicalities with democracy than by attacking democracy with technicalities.
Illustration – ‘After Brexit’ by Hieronymus Bosch