The Prime Minister has fully embraced the anti-democratic philosophy of the European Union, says Graham Stringer MP
President Donald Trump is not known for his use of understatement, but his assessment of our politics being 'in turmoil' is well below the mark. The last few weeks have been calamitous for parliamentary democracy. Mrs May’s Conservative government has decided to defy the will of the people expressed in the Brexit referendum. This is a coup against democracy that has led to a sequence of ministerial resignations which shows no sign of ending.
The Prime Minister has fully embraced the anti-democratic philosophy of the European Union expressed exquisitely by Jean-Claud Juncker, the President of the European Commission: “If it’s a yes we will say ‘on we go’ and if it’s a no we will say ‘we will continue’”. Juncker made this statement when the French had rejected the Lisbon Treaty (then called the European Constitution). The Irish and the Danish have been made to vote again when they have rejected European treaties. Democracy is regularly side-lined in the interests of the EU project led by its fat cat bureaucrats.
...what sane person would agree to pay £38 billion while not knowing what it was for?
Many of the 17.4 million people who voted for the unconditional and unambiguous proposition to leave the EU are likely to lose confidence in democracy itself. Indeed many of the people who voted remain may well draw the same conclusion. The Prime Minister’s proposal to accept all the rules of the European Union without being able to change them and the effective control of the European Court of Justice is not a fudge, it’s a sell-out.
Extraordinarily, if this isn’t bad enough, we’re to pay £38 billion for the right of the 27 countries left in the European Union to sell us nearly a £100 billion worth of goods more than we sell them, while accepting the prohibition on our service sector (80% of our economy) to sell into the EU. This must be the worst deal since the Russians sold Alaska to the USA for 2 cents per acre. By all accounts the European Commission won’t even accept this embarrassing policy.
The Prime Minister and her Chief Whip have not done their homework on the parliamentary arithmetic: in the unlikely event of the European Commission agreeing with them, the House of Commons would not. There are sufficient Conservative Brexiteers who would rebel and vote with the Opposition to kill the deal. This would, in practice, be a vote of no confidence which would likely lead to a general election and the United Kingdom leaving the EU with no deal. No deal is, of course, self-evidently better than a bad deal.
May started off these benighted negotiations by exposing her weakness: what sane person would agree to pay £38 billion while not knowing what it was for. Any competent negotiator could have advised her that you start negotiations by showing your strength. Better to have informed the European Commission that the British people, by a significant majority, and the House of Commons by a majority of 400 had decided to leave the EU. From 29 March 2019 we would cease paying into their budgets (we have no legal obligation to pay after this date) and we would stop collecting their trade tariffs.
Of course we would be ready and willing to make a deal that went beyond World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in constructive talks with goodwill on both sides. This would be mutually beneficial. It is worth noting that the majority of our trade currently takes place according to WTO rules.
The driving force behind the Brexit vote was for this country to take back democratic control of its laws, money and borders. At a less grandiose level it was to get rid of petty and unnecessary regulations which for instance, for no sensible reason, imposed rules which reduced the power of the vacuum cleaners we were allowed to buy. Again May fails to deliver.
In a continuation of Project Fear she orchestrated multinational plane and car manufacturers to make doom-laden statements. This merely confirmed Jeremy Corbyn’s long-held criticism of the EU that its primary purpose is to support multinational capitalism and repress democracy. The scaremongering itself was without credibility; are Airbus going to try fly their planes without their British-manufactured wings? No business with heavy capital investment in this country moves because of a less than 2% change in costs; which is much less than currency fluctuations.
The only solution to this mess and to bring the Government and the Commons back to reality is for Conservative MPs to ditch May and elect a Prime Minister who respects democracy. So far they have shown themselves to be paper tigers when the time demands red-blooded defenders of democracy. In the immortal words of Oliver Cromwell she should be told: “In the name of God, go!”
Graham Stringer (pictured above) is a regular columnist for Manchester Confidential and the Labour Member of Parliament for Blackley and Broughton. In the 2017 General Election he gained 28,258 votes - a share of 70.4%. He was elected to Parliament in 1997 for the now abolished constituency of Manchester Blackley. Prior to this he was the Leader of Manchester City Council from 1984-1996. He is one of the few MPs to have scientific experience, as a professional analytical chemist.