How charismatic populism is a threat to the survival of democracy in Britain

Today the UK Parliament enters upon an extended period of suspension, of prorogation, in the midst of one of the biggest crises the British state has encountered since the crises of the Stuart era in the 17th century. Such is the evolution of the current crisis over Brexit that we now have a struggle for power between the executive and legislature as happened in that earlier era. What has stood … Read more

A cliffhanger democratic crisis of Parliament versus a Brextremist government

This week in the Brexit democratic crisis has been powerfully dramatic, with cliffhanger votes in Parliament, the government taken to court by activists, demonstrations about democracy in danger, threats to act unconstitutionally by the Prime Minister, MPs being thrown out of the Tory party, an opposition Parliamentary alliance in the face of an arbitrary, undemocratic executive, and the government’s loss of its majority. The Brexit crisis is now seriously impacting … Read more

How Johnson’s prorogation tactic threatens democracy itself

Why has Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament shortly before Brexit caused such outrage? Non-UK readers might be puzzled but to many observers within the UK, in the midst of the struggle over Brexit that has fractured the nation, it is already being called a “coup”, an “attack on democracy”, and an “authoritarian” action from the leader of the Vote Leave movement who campaigned in the name of democracy. More thoughtful observers … Read more

The Vote Leave Brextremist faction takes power but can they pull it off?

The formation of the Vote Leave Johnson government was stunning in its audacity. Suddenly the politics of stalemate have been replaced by that of a terrifying, focused action. This was a hard right wing No Deal government preparing the decks for action, clear and determined on their goal, a No Deal Brexit. Whatever doubts one may have of Johnson’s leadership capabilities, his competence in government and his ability to manage … Read more

Boris Johnson in power at last prepares for No Deal Brexit

Battle has been joined. The Boris Johnson war cabinet has been assembled and the “Do or die” government is announcing its policy. The new Prime Minister has sacked most opponents and brought in a cabinet of hard Brexiters. He made a policy pitch for One Nation Toryism from No 10 yesterday but like Theresa May, that may or may not happen. The focus looks likely to be to achieve Brexit … Read more

One further small step for Parliamentary Sovereignty against authoritarianism

Once again Parliament has voted decisively against a No Deal Brexit without its consent, another victory for the overriding constitutional principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty against the threatened abuse of power by the executive. This time it was to make it very difficult to force through a No Deal Brexit by proroguing Parliament. This still does not prevent a No Deal Brexit but it makes it very clear what Parliament’s position … Read more

Can a No Deal Tory government be formed and will it last long?

With the election of a hard-Brexit supporting Tory leader, the question arises as to whether he will be able to form a government and how long it will last. In particular Johnson has refused to rule out a No Deal Brexit by 31 October and certain of his party have said that in that case they would vote to bring his government down. Two constitutionalists have said that he might … 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

Avoiding the slow-motion Brexit train crash

The slow motion train crash that is Brexit is gradually speeding up as the deadline for an agreement with the EU gets closer and yet the political situation in the UK remains deadlocked. May’s government has, after months of wrangling between ministers, finally produced a White Paper of an outline of a proposal for a trade negotiation with the EU, only to see it widely criticised as either unworkable or … Read more

Brexit risks – Bad things happen when good people do nothing

The Brexit risks multiply. As Theresa May and her team consider their options for Brexit, and lawyers prepare their arguments for next week’s Supreme Court hearing on Parliamentary sovereignty and the Brexit trigger, the clock ticks closer to the moment when Article 50 will be set in motion and the count-down on Brexit will start. More and more observers agree that we are faced with an enormous and unprecedented political … Read more

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