1, We voted to leave, the Benn Bill is about preventing that from happening. If Parliament is going to treat our vote with contempt, why shouldn’t we treat their law with contempt?
2, Why should we obey the law? What makes the law any more legitimate that the demands of some gangster? The answer must surely be because it is decided democratically. Remainers therefore find themselves making oxymoronic arguments that invoke the legitimacy of democracy selectively: they claim the law is legitimate because people have voted for it, whilst simultaneously saying that the most voted-for thing in British history is illegitimate.
– If some things that are voted for can be disregarded then why not others?
– If they are going to pick and choose what votes are legitimate, why shouldn’t we pick and chose what laws are legitimate?
– If Parliament says ‘to hell with the people’s decision’ then why shouldn’t people say ‘to hell with Parliament’s decision‘?
3. ‘Democracy’ is made of two words, ‘demos’ (people) and ‘cracy’ (rule). From whence does power emanate in a democracy?
A. The authority of law comes from Parliament.
B. The authority of Parliament comes from the members of Parliament.
C. The authority of members of Parliament comes from their constituents.
At this point we can trace the source of power no further upstream because we have reached the fountainhead – the electorate.
So if two mutually exclusive things have been voted for we should ask ourselves which vote put the clearest proposition to the greatest number of people? Which one was debated most widely, most publicly for the most time? Which one was endorsed by the most electors? Clearly the referendum trumps a bill allowed by a partisan speaker, carried by a majority of 28 by the most discredited parliament in history and left completely unamended.
4, The counter argument is that the law is the law and must be obeyed. It’s not a bad argument, indeed it has a lot going for it, but the trouble with it is that it doesn’t allow us to condemn bad law. What about the racial segregation laws? Was it immoral to disobey those? Of course not! Technically Rosa Parks, Gandhi and Mandela were all criminals, but criminality is not necessarily villainy. To conflate what is law with what is right obliges us to tolerate rotten governors. We have recently seen Extinction Rebellion supporters carrying out ‘civil disobedience’ blocking roads and being arrested by the police. Many decent people have broken the law for the greater good.
5, Clearly MPs who voted for the Benn Act didn’t understand what they were doing, they were blinded by lies and manipulated by foreigners, so they should vote again till they get it right.
Obviously I’m saying this as a joke, it’s an absurdity, but the point is it is no more absurd than pro-EU arguments that are being advanced in seriousness!
6, British law prohibits ‘bad’ behavior rather than compelling ‘good’ behavior. The Benn Act turns this on its head. By its tenet presumably Johnson could sit in a room for the next two months, do absolutely nothing, and go from being an innocent man to a guilty man – an absurdity!
7, The Benn Act presumes that the law should be projected upon reality rather than vice verse. For example, imagine there is a husband and wife, and that one day, one says to the other “I don’t love you anymore“. In the eyes of the law nothing has changed, but in reality everything has changed. Sure there are a few legal documents to sign and date but the substantive act has already happened. To see Brexit in a purely legalistic way is to deliberately confuse substantive acts with technicalities. It is the will of the people that must be imposed on the law, not the other way round.
8, It is claimed that to ignore the Benn Act would cause a constitutional crisis. This assumes is that a constitutional crisis does not exist already. People making this argument favor the conjectural over the empirical and so deny the existence of any ‘constitutional crisis‘ that doesn’t confirm their prejudices. They have created for themselves a solipsistic parallel universe in which their attacks on Brexit are not a coup, preventing us directly electing our lawmakers is not an attack on democracy, and a treaty that locks us indefinitely into EU rule is a ‘Withdrawal’ Agreement. They hypothesise that all sorts of scary monsters are lurking just around the corner, in an unknown and unknowable future. But when a Theresa May grovels to foreign bureaucrats for permission to defer our independence, they chose not to see the real constitutional crisis – the victory of authoritarianism – that is right in front of them.
9, It’s not as if we are up against a rules-based entity here. EU supporters apply rules on a highly selective basis. For example:
A. When small countries breached the ‘Stability Growth Pact’ they were crushed but when France breached it nothing happened.
B. John Bercow allowed THREE meaningful votes on the Withdrawal Agreement even though Erskine May permits only one per Parliamentary session.
C. If the EU were a rules-based entity then after the recent euro elections why didn’t they look up in their brilliant rule book who the next President of the Commission should be? Well they did, and rules said it should be Manfred Weber, but France didn’t like him so after several days of haggling Ursula von der Leyen was imposed. She was then ‘elected’ with 52% of the votes in a contest in which she was the only candidate!
EU supporters are sticklers only for the rules that consolidate the power of institutions that already have power.They operate according to the Thrasymachus doctrine: “justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger“. They believe the EU to be good, therefore anything that advances the EU can’t be bad – even if it involves bending the rules and crushing democracy! Even if there was nothing questionable about this position it would still seem to disqualify them from accusing others of not following the rules.
10, If to ignore the Benn Act is a crime then so what? How could any punishment for this ‘crime’ be worse than remaining a subjugated vassal state?
11, Every week’s delay in Brexit will cost taxpayers £250m or £1bn per month. Only the Government can move a ‘money resolution’ to provide such funds and this was not sought nor granted. Therefore the Act to force a Brexit extension is unconstitutional and invalid.
12, Article 51 of the Lisbon Treaty obliges the European Commission to abide by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. However the Spanish Government’s recent treatment of the Catalonians contravened the following articles:
Article 1: The Right to Human Dignity
Article 6: The Right to Liberty or Security of Person
Article 11: Freedom of Expression and Information
Article 12: Freedom of Assembly and Association
Article 54: Prohibition of Abuse of Rights
I would argue that the following were also breached:
Article 21: Non-discrimination
Article 22: Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Diversity
And EU supporters say that Boris must abide by the Benn Act? Even while the European Commission ignores its own human rights charter? For EU supporters, it seems the only legitimate rules are the ones that advance their political agenda, the rest are optional. Fine if that’s how they want to govern their country, but again, it would seem to disqualify them from insisting Johnson abides by the rules.
13, Article 51 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that the expression of consent (to an international treaty) which has been procured by the coercion of (a state’s) representative, via acts or threats directed against him/her shall be without any legal effect.
14, If Parliament objects to Johnson refusing to agree an extension then they are free to pass a vote of no confidence in him. So why don’t they? What are they waiting for?