BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
These last days there has been much talk of defending British Democracy. Whether in reference to another referendum or to publishing the full legal advice in relation to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. There has been talk too of a constitutional crisis. Sir Keir Starmer warned yesterday of a no confidence vote in the Government should May’s deal fail to garner sufficient votes in Parliament.
Let’s look at the certainties, for in those certainties we can find some truth:
- Theresa May doesn’t have the numbers to get her deal through Parliament.
- Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have the numbers to force an election. (In this respect Cameron’s fixed term parliament ruling is a great blessing).
- Remainers don’t have the numbers for a Leave/Remain re-run of the 2016 referendum.
That means the only options left are renegotiate or no-deal. Therefore it seems unthinkable that the Prime Minister (or a new Prime Minister) will decide to go out on a limb (what some are calling all-out-civil-war mode) by calling a new referendum with a Remain option – purposefully ignoring the democratic will of the People as expressed in the summer of 2016 when the British People voted to leave the EU.
Either which route likely has an ugly outcome. A route must be taken and sometimes Democracy is ugly – per ardua ad astra. The chosen route must be the route which protects Democracy best. British Democracy – which many have described as a contradiction in the past – is nonetheless a shining beacon for Democracy the world over. It is worth far more than temporary economic setback – the lives cost securing it in the past deserve more attention than any project fear. The world, as well as our country, needs to see the will of the British People shining through.
Claiming that in two years the will of the British People has somehow expired – that it needs to be tested again on whether May’s deal is a good one or not compared to the status quo – is a weak argument and undemocratic. Indeed, if another referendum were to be held within the spirit of Democracy then it should be on May’s deal or a no deal, as that protects the democratic integrity of the original vote, which the Remain side (even with Government and Opposition support) lost fair and square.
If May’s deal gets voted down in Parliament, which is more than likely, then a renegotiation – even at the last minute – is worth a go and falls within the spirit of the democratic will. Even a negotiated no deal – where the bulk of the agreement so far (which neither side has any qualms over – on security and citizens abroad) gets incorporated into a smaller agreement than May’s – is a democratic option.
For the Prime Minister and her Ministers to be openly discussing “no Brexit” is a red rag to the bull of British Democracy. It simply cannot be tolerated.
No Brexit will light a tinderbox, which few likely identify within Remainer Westminster. It is the very worst option of them all and will result in mass unrest and a crisis this country has not faced for generations. All other options keep Corbyn out of power – no Brexit wipes out the Conservative Party and leaves Britain frail and defenceless against her enemies currently masquerading as Her Majesty’s Opposition.