The most startling contrast is with the 2016 Referendum in Britain when the British public were swayed by slogans on the side of buses and a fear of the Turks who might join Europe (and that Turkey was next to Syria). That, and the lack of an ideology in Britain to convey the tests of what living in a free society is, what a free society entitles you to, and the responsibilities to carry to sustain it.
The Contemporary adjoins the Narrow Marsh, the neighbourhood where much of the then radical campaigns and values of first the Luddites, and then the Chartists came, from some 150-200 years ago.
As Trump is being brought closer to being impeached, and more commentators are talking about his sociopathic behaviour, worth reflecting on the conduct of Johnson (that aura that smiles and never frowns) and Cummings, and how they. have had to withdraw on the proroguing of Parliament, which was found to be illegal.
Five Leaves Bookshop called this event in case Brexit was happening to say even if the UK left the EU tonight, those attending wouldn’t. Those who asked to attend, were also asked to read something. Readings on the themes of freedom and internationalism were read out in German, French, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Portuguese and Salopian – oh yes.
(I’ll post my contribution later, but it picked up on our love of egg and tomato sandwiches, how barbarity on the Internet has spoilt a wonderful opportunity and how a Five Leaves’ event gave platform to a Professor who shook up leftist views of George Orwell.)
Nice to be with fellow Remainers in big numbers again. And the biggest irony – all those media reports saying how close the vote on the deal was going to be in Parliament, when in fact the vote was for an amendment sending the deal back; and the mainstream media had not anticipated that. Melodrama had replaced analysis, and they were caught wanting. It was a big demo, and I never got to the rally.
The proposal to prorogue Parliament so that Boris Johnson did not have to account to Parliament in the. run-up to the proposed British Exit from the European Union was kept private. When the press said this weekend that it would happen, the Government denied it. They lied.
Why deny it? The prorogation takes away precious time for MPs to hold Government to account, as they press on with a proposal likely to lead to a No Deal Brexit. The leaders of the Brexit campaigns during 2016 referendum repeatedly said that it would be easy to negotiate a deal. It wasn’t. And ministers spent very few hours talking proposals through with EU officials. People voting Leave were entitled to believe that leave would be done with a deal. There is no mandate from the public for a No Deal Brexit.
The most remarkable interview that I saw on TV today was given by the BBCtv’s royal correspondent who said the Queen’s top officials had let their distress at the prorogation proposal, and the position it put the Queen in, be known. This was quite a strong signal, when the Queen is supposed to stay out of it. Nicholas Witchell went on to suggest that what was driving the concern was the imprecation of the proposal for the union between Scotland and England & Wales.
From the Daily Mirror – BBC Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell said: “The Queen has never during her reign refused to accept the advice of her ministers. “She is a monarch guided by precedent. Therefore she will have felt pretty boxed in – that she had no option.”She and her advisors, I have little doubt, will be frankly resentful of the way this has been done and will be concerned at the headlines which say ‘Queen suspends Parliament.'”
A border between England and Scotland will be pretty pointless. Whatever else happens, it may well be the outcome of the prorogation proposal.
A new Minister proposing a Brexit lead for councils might seem sensible, but it’s minuscule (quite correct, Jess Phillips) and ignores what has already happened. There are networks of emergency planning officers across the public authorities that have been looking at this. Nottingham City Council took a report (at full council) on planning for Brexit last year (November) at which a corporate risk assessment was required to be presented to the January Audit cttee. Like all of the new stuff from Gov’t. too little, very late and ignores what is already in place. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/03/all-english-councils-told-to-appoint-brexit-lead
The British Government now says that the current deal is unacceptable, and that the EU better come to terms with new demands, else the UK leaves on October 31st. Hmmm … Can the EU move? Can the UK be ready for new border controls on November 1st? How will the Irish border be managed given the EU will expect it and the UK signed up to the Good Friday Agreement? Whatever, there is no mandate for a No Deal Brexit. “We voted for Leave!” Except the vote was won narrowly with lots of reassurances that there would be a deal. Gove said it was going to be easy to negotiate a deal. Johnson said we should kinda copy Norway. I’ll accept “No Deal” if the UK votes for it. But it hasn’t yet. I want to Remain. I do accept that to Remain, we need another vote. It now seems that there is no sponsor for agreeing the existing deal brokered by Theresa May and the EU. So now the choice can be binary. Whatever, a People’s Vote will be needed.
Note: The EU may well regret our departure. But they have plenty of other things to do, they may well think the UK will miss them more than they will miss us, and they may not be able to persuade all the EU countries to support new negotiations, and they have low expectations of us as negotiators.