The problem of losers’ consent inherent in the UK drive to Brexit

Perhaps the fundamental problem about Brexit is that of consent, and that arguably almost half the voting population do not consent to it. A major underlying weakness of the Brexit strategy being pursued, almost to destruction, by PM May was highlighted today just as Parliament gets close to voting on, and it is being assumed at present, reject her deal with the EU. That is that the government took a … Read more

Parliament makes a stand for democracy

Over the last two days there have been two important votes in Parliament on Brexit that have potentially reasserted the power of Parliament in relation to the executive. As the Brexit endgame is being played out, the issue of Britain’s independence, real or nominal, has become wrapped up with the nature and extent of democracy in the UK. These issues take us to the very heart of representative government in … Read more

The Brexit conflict still remains in deadlock with the clock ticking down

The political deadlock in the UK at Westminster as we reach Christmas seems as solid as ever, with no apparent solution about Brexit on the table except Mrs May’s negotiated deal with the EU, a crash-and-burn no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. It is therefore a good time to assess where we are in relation to this all-consuming Brexit conflict, while other urgent, important or necessary domestic initiatives are on … Read more

Brexit has led to a power struggle between Parliament and the Executive

What is essentially a power struggle between Parliament and the executive over Brexit has moved centre stage. Yesterday the government was defeated on the motion to hold the UK Government in contempt of Parliament, over its refusal to fully publish its legal advice on the deal. This in itself was a rare but very significant shift in the balance of power between the two arms of government in Britain’s unwritten … Read more

The Parliamentary vote on Brexit risks a constitutional crisis and instability

“Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”. Whichever way the crisis over Brexit this winter may go, there may be no real winners and a whole lot of anger. Not surprisingly, many people in Britain are very fearful of what may occur. The crisis in the UK over Brexit is moving inexorably towards its climax, a potential constitutional crisis. On 11th December, after a 5-day debate, the House … Read more

The political deadlock in Parliament continues

The turmoil that is Brexit continues but still with no clear way forward emerging. In effect there is political deadlock in Parliament and no political option has a clear majority. This division and confusion is replicated amongst journalists, who offer various solutions but no consensus, and the public, as can be seen in confusing opinion polls. Negotiations with the EU resume tomorrow on a proposal that most people already are … Read more

A response to identity politics needs to unite not divide

A characteristic of today’s western political divides has been the rise of identity politics, who you are politically and who and what you identify with*. In particular this has seen the growth of political tribalism that is different from traditional party politics and even cuts across it. Such people are often angry and hostile towards traditional cosmopolitan liberalism and seek to take back control, as with “America First”, exit from … Read more

To leave or not to leave the EU, that is the question

“To be, or not to be: that is the question”, said Hamlet in Shakespeare’s celebrated play, “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” The chemical-weapon poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK city of Salisbury comes neatly near to the year-point, 29 March 2019, when the … Read more

How the Brexit end-game negotiations cruelly exposes the UK’s weaknesses

As the UK cabinet finally and very belatedly gets round to talking about the crucial Brexit end-game, nine months after triggering Article 50, yet more data has emerged today to confirm what many of Gove’s dreaded experts have been saying for a long time, that the economic impact of Brexit on the UK is far worse than that for the other EU states, and thus Britain is in a very … Read more

At last the Brexit revolution is stymied

At last the Brexit revolution is stymied. More and more one can envisage that the “soft” Brexit option will occur and also the previously unthinkable “no Brexit” option has just got stronger. Yesterday evening, the UK Parliament voted through an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill compelling the government to obtain its consent before Brexit, thus preventing a “no deal” departure as demanded by the diehard Brexiteers. As argued before … Read more