Time and again in his short premiership, Johnson has demonstrated his disdain for parliamentary democracy. Now we will see the full consequencesby Jonathan Lis / January 10, 2020 / Leave a comment
While half the world was busy pondering a war between the US and Iran, and the other half a war inside the British royal family, late on Thursday afternoon the House of Commons completed its approval of the EU withdrawal agreement with a majority of 99 votes, ensuring our exit from the bloc on 31st January after 47 years of membership. Given the Conservatives’ vast majority, the vote was not in doubt, and the media virtually ignored it. That does not change the fact that it was the most pointless, reckless and destructive act of self-sabotage in our country’s history—and was delivered by the people elected to safeguard the national interest.
The days when Brexit votes produced water-cooler television moments belong to another era. Amendments came, fell and were forgotten. Some, like the amendments on workers’ rights, were of vital importance to the less well-off. Some, like the amendment on protecting rights for child refugees, were of vital importance to our basic humanity. None of it mattered. They all failed.
The bill will now pass through the Lords, where it is almost guaranteed a smooth passage. On an individual level peers, like MPs, do not believe this is the right course for our country, but will heave us along it anyway. Realistically, they have no other choice.
The government wants us to believe that Brexit is now over, our problems will now be resolved, and our brighter future can now begin. That is false. They know it’s false. And they don’t care.
Consider the years of drama it has taken simply to bring us to this point, and what has actually been achieved. None of the arguments deployed during the Brexit referendum focused on the withdrawal, but the future. Indeed, barely a single moment in 2016 was dedicated to any of the issues that have taken 42 months to resolve: citizens’ rights, the divorce payment and the Irish land border.
We now have 11 months to deliver Brexit effectively from scratch: a comprehensive trade deal encompassing goods, services, fisheries and agriculture, and a further relationship determining our level of integration within the EU’s political and security apparatus that we did so much to create. The EU has never negotiated…