Brexit: Time for the British Parliament to practise Democracy
The British Parliament prides itself on being the champion of Democracy, so in the meaningful vote on January 15, it is time for it to live up to its claims
On January 15, we shall see one of two scenarios in the House of Commons in Westminster, London: the approval of the Withdrawal Agreement which Prime Minister Theresa May agreed with Brussels, or the failure of her Government to receive the backing of the Members of the House.
In the first case, an orderly Brexit goes ahead: there is a transition period until the end of 2020 (at least) in which things largely stay as they are and the period can be extended by a further 12 or 24 months. The agreement encompasses an open frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the rights of EU nationals in the UK or British nationals in the EU are protected.
In the second case, the agreement fails, is not ratified and then one of three things can happen: Theresa May stays as Prime Minister and goes ahead for a no-deal Brexit at 23.00 on Friday, March 29, or the Brexit process is suspended, or there is a Second Referendum.
Latest polls show REMAIN way in front
It is crystal clear from all opinion polls that today, the majority of the British population does not want Brexit because today they understand the issues at hand and are not so easily convinced by puerile slogans and barefaced lies, such as "taking back control" and "350 million pounds a week for the National Health Service". Back in 2016, on that fateful day (June 23) when just over 50 per cent of the population voted to leave the European Union, without having a clue what they were doing, the people of England and Wales made a huge mistake in what was merely a consultation referendum, not a legally binding one.
Today, according to the latest opinion polls, the REMAIN vote is now at least eight per cent ahead of the LEAVE voters or Brexiteers, mainly because a sufficient number of the elderly who voted for LEAVE have now passed away, and a sufficient number of younger people, an age group which favours REMAIN, is now eligible to vote. Besides this, people are now aware of the consequences.
One thing is to have a splendid June day with Union Jack bunting flying outside the pubs, reveling in everything British from sausages and chips to fish and chips, washed down with that luke-warm beverage called "bitter" or "real ale". On such sunny days, the British Banger indeed appears tastier than the Spanish chorizo, the French saucisse or the German Wurst. Another thing is to realize that the LEAVE campaign was based upon a vague idea that Brussels interferes too much, that the British/Northern Irish authorities should make the laws in the UK and that the EU Eurocrats went too far and too fast.
As unpopular as these notions may seem, and one understands certain points, stitching together a powerful and united trading block means necessarily that you lose some degree of autonomy, otherwise it is not a block, neither is it powerful, nor is it united. The consequences of leaving the club are manifold and massive.
Consequences of leaving the club
People now realize that a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster, because it is by now clear that third parties are not lining up to do business with the UK, in fact they are in general uninterested. The EU is also not going to stand back and allow Britain to renegotiate deals which are harmful to the 27 remaining member states, and so any leverage gained by the UK in any potential deals with, say, Australia (which has positioned itself as an Asian country operating in Asian markets - you can see Indonesia from Darwin), or any other country, will be neutered by counter-measures. Apart from this, the financial markets, faced with a no-deal Brexit, would collapse, wiping billions off the Stock Exchange within hours, possibly resulting in a sustained crash and financial disaster, with the Pound plummeting as the international community does not look favorably on the UK going it alone in a world of global markets and trading blocks. Fortunes would melt away into nothing overnight, markets would disappear. The result would be massive unemployment, of a dimension that the UK has never seen.
People now realize that leaving the EU, with or without a deal, would be massively damaging to the service industries and exports because the UK would now have to pay to do business (per capita probably about the same as it pays now but this time without any say in the proceedings) or else not pay and have tariffs imposed, meaning British goods would be harder to export and British people would pay more for imports.
Those supporting a no-deal Brexit should be charged with High Treason
And that is why the voting intentions have changed, that is why the people of the United Kingdom, taken as a group, do not want any form of Brexit. Looking at some Members of Parliament, it is patently clear that they do not represent the people of the United Kingdom. Anyone who is even considering a no-deal Brexit should face a deselection committee, because supporting such a scenario is paramount to High Treason.
If Theresa May's deal is, as she says, the "only deal" and if that does not satisfy anyone, then there is another alternative: No Brexit. The people of the UK find themselves on a cliff edge with a pistol in their hand. Supposing just for once, their Parliament did what it is supposed to do and allow the people to have their say? Without interference from plastics lobbies and so on, just a clear and transparent exercise of the D-word, Democracy.
After two years of political chaos and turmoil, the credibility of the United Kingdom has gone, the rest of the world looking on in a mixture of incredulity and shock, as the representatives of the UK run into the same tree time and time again, unable to find an alternative solution. Maybe because there isn't one. What we see is a Pythonesque scenario, with the Government manned by staff from the Ministry of Silly Walks.
If the people of the UK do not want Brexit, then why plough ahead into the unknown? If the young people, the future of the country, do not want Brexit, then why impose it on them?
Time for reflection this weekend before the British Parliament faces the biggest decision in its history: destroy the country for the foreseeable future, or do the right thing? No Brexit, no problem.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.