Monday, November 07, 2016

Triggering Article 50

Whenever I'm confronted by some great email extravaganza, first rule is to stand back and try to understand what the fuss is all about. Is it a genuine conflagration? - or a lobbyist generated fuss over not much at all. That's how I feel about this Article 50 thing. It's an important issue. We all realise that. But I cannot see some great constitutional issue behind the rumpus. To me it looks more an argument about a legal technicality. Let us stand back and consider what's actually happened.

On 23rd June, a majority of the voters of the UK, (and the voters of Wales and the voters of Powys) decided to leave the EU in a referendum. None, or at least very few thought their decision was merely advisory. They thought their votes counted. After all, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron had told them he would be invoking Article 50 straightaway. That's all clear enough. But we have a significant number of 'Remainers' who did not accept the result, and who have been looking for ways to frustrate it, who see delay as their friend. We know 'delay' means 'death of Brexit'. So we are finding our inboxes full of 'ever so reasonable' emails imploring delay, creating unnecessary uncertainty. Suddenly Article 50 is not just triggering the 'leave' process. There's an effort to make it part of the negotiation, including the type of deal which can be negotiated. Which it is not. Nor will be. This is how I see it anyway.

Like many I'd assumed that Article 50 would have been invoked fairly quickly. Not how Theresa May operates. She decided to do it when best for the UK and the EU (no rush but before end of March). She also decided to just do it, because like me she thought the people had known perfectly well what they were voting for. Some judges have disagreed. The Prime Minister hasdecided to appeal against the judges call.  She thinks her position is correct. We will see. Personally I think there's a case for forgetting the appeal altogether, accepting the judges position, and putting forward a one clause Parliamentary Bill as soon as poss. It would say no more than that Parliament instructs the Prime Minister to invoke Article 50. I think that is about all the judges actually asked for. Though we know there will attempts to attach all sorts of amendments to the simple bill, because the real reason behind this has nothing to with the principle of consulting Parliament. It's an attempt to frustrate the will of the people - to reverse the referendum result. This would be a very dangerous game to play. Too dangerous for most Parliamentatians I suspect. I think that both the Commons and Lords would vote to invoke Article 50, and we could move on to the next big hurdle, debating the Great Repeal Bill. If the Article 50 debate were to be defeated there would be a mighty kerfuffle, and may well have to be a General Election. Would cause a lot of uncertainty, would damage both the UK and EU's interests. The blind fury it would cause amongst voters may well also deliver a much stronger Mrs May and a greater drive for reduction in the wholly unreasonable numbers of peers. Whatever I see us invoking Article 50 in 2017. Those are my initial thoughts on the Atricle 50 noise. Always willing to edit in the face of well argued challenge.


Angela Ramsell said...

Glyn, I can see your point of view and it seems to stem from fear of upsetting a baying minority mob, rather than your (and all MP's) obligation to act in the best interests of the country and to comply with the Code of Conduct. You and Mrs May seem to be using the phrase 'the people' have spoken - well they do not speak for me, nor the 48%+ who took the time to vote, not those who were denied a vote; in effect, only some of the people want this and it is a minority. I know several people who have changed their minds from leave to remain also.
Your 'threat' to slash the numbers in the Lords seems entirely undemocratic and highly hypocritical given that you (Tories) recently increased the number of Lords to further your agenda!
Overall, I have felt entirely UNREPRESENTED since 24th June and surely, the continued opposition from Remainers like myself is not only permissible, but necessary? If only Parliament had listed to the peaceful, reasonable objectors to the Iraq War, the world might be a better place? History will judge all of us and our legacy to future generations cannot be a collective act to plunge the UK into utter chaos and isolation.

Joel Stobart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glyn Davies said...

Sorry Joel, I thought you made a very good point. Pity you felt the need to couch it in such offensiveness.

Richard from Machynlleth said...

This is a strange post.

The Leave campaign argued and argued for British Parliamentary Sovereignty, and now, when a case is brought to ensure that Parliament is Sovereign, the Leave campaigners and related media totally lose it and start calling High Court judges enemies of the people.

The obvious point is surely that the 48% need representation too. That doesn't mean MPs opposing a Brexit bill, that means debating what Brexit actually means, the detail of the plan entirely absent from the referendum campaign. Imagine the opposite situation Glyn ... the UK votes 52% in favour of remaining in the EU and the Prime Minister announces a "Hard Remain"—we join the Euro, cede our military to the EU and lobby for more integration. All *swear word* hell would break lose.

Personally, I'm in favour of parliamentary debate on the deal, with a national conversation involving all MPs and Lords in their constituencies, plus even a second referendum, not on in/out but on the detail of the bill, maybe three questions ... 1. Leave single market yes/no, 2. Total control on immigration yes/no, 3. If you had to choose between the two?

Isn't that really power to the people?

Glyn Davies said...

I agree Richard that there should be Parliamenary debate (and votes) on the process of the UK leaving the EU. I don't think this has ever been in any doubt. The current issue is simply about triggering the negotiation period - no more. There is a disagreement between the Prime Ministers office and senior judges about it needs a definitive vote in Parliament at this stage. This dispute will be resolved in the Supreme Court in December. My post suggests that the Govt might consider just giving MPs and Peers the opportunity to vote immediately to resolve the dispute to everyone's satisfaction. And congrats on being one of the first people to contact me using civil language. Glyn

Angela Ramsell said...

Hi Glyn, just wondered if you didn't find my language civil (genuine question) as I was the first to comment. I am very dissatisfied, as you know, but hope I was not rude or abusive? Angela