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Has The Speaker of the UK House of Commons Overstepped His Authority?

by John Brian Shannon

According to all known laws, traditions and conventions under which the UK House of Commons operates, the Speaker of the House serves as the Sovereign’s representative to the Commons and the Speaker is to remain 100% neutral on all political matters.

This requirement forms part of the job description and includes times when the Speaker isn’t in Parliament, including all hours of the day and night when he or she is anywhere about the country or the world.

It’s a clear instruction set that all present and previous Speakers are obligated to observe at all times during their term(s) as Speaker of the UK House of Commons.

“Speakers must be politically impartial.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
“Once assembled after a General Election, MPs, led by the Father of the House, go to the House of Lords where they receive a message from the Queen (or King) asking them to elect a Speaker.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
“On the day following his or her election, the Speaker-elect goes to the House of Lords to receive the Queen’s (or King’s) approbation from a Royal Commission.” — PARLIAMENT.UK
“The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons Chamber and the holder of this office is an MP who has been elected by other MPs.
“The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times. During debates the Speaker keeps order and calls MPs to speak.
“The Speaker also represents the Commons to the Monarch, the Lords and other authorities and chairs the House of Commons Commission.” — PARLIAMENT.UK


What’s All This, Then?

John Bercow, the presently-serving Speaker of the House of Commons has inserted his opinion, viewpoints, and political leanings into the House of Commons narrative (he’s a confessed ‘Remainer’ — which, admitting even that point is against the rules for the Speaker of the House of Commons) and worse, Mr. Bercow has expounded on his political views to mainstream media and to politicians and negotiators from other countries. Tres gauche!






On ‘Majoritarian Dictatorships’ Led by (the supposedly) Impartial Speaker of the House

Harry Yorke of The Telegraph titled his recent piece: John Bercow accused of running a ‘majoritarian dictatorship’

“A senior Tory MP has accused John Bercow of running a “majoritarian dictatorship” in the House of Commons, as he proposed radical reforms to limit the Speaker’s powers. 

Sir Bernard Jenkin, a member of the Commons constitutional affairs committee, has warned that the office of the Speaker has become “irretrievably politicised and radicalised” on Mr Bercow’s watch. 

Hitting back at Mr Bercow, who on Thursday appeared to liken Boris Johnson to a bank robber, Sir Bernard claimed that MPs needed to reform the role to limit the Speaker’s “enormous power.” 

It comes after the Speaker used a speech in London to launch a personal attack on the Prime Minister, warning that Parliament would step in if he tried to bypass a law on seeking a Brexit extension.” — Harry Yorke


Watch UK Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow as he speaks at the Sixth Annual Bingham Lecture on September 12, 2019 (Begins at 42:00)


The Speaker Asks a Question

“What conceivable moral force do the people’s elected representatives have in seeking to […] disregard a law enacted by Parliament?” (John Bercow, paraphrased)

I hate to break it to the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the House, Mr. John Bercow, but the moral force that he seems in question of is that ‘The Will of The People’ trumps ‘The Will of the House of Commons’ by a significant margin.

In fact, ‘The Will of The People’ trumps Parliamentarians by such a large margin, IMHO, it’s almost as if he’s just arrived from a different universe.

MP’s on either side of the House of Commons are nothing more than the formalized ‘servants of The People’ and the Speaker is nothing more than the formalized ‘servant of the Head of State’ (a.k.a. ‘the Queen’) and whatever dithering goes on in the House of Commons, whatever grandiose verbosity is employed superfluously in the House of Commons, whatever grandstanding goes on in the House of Commons, and whatever arcane debates occur in the House of Commons, ‘The Will of The People’ is far and away more important.

Let me remind him just how badly the UK House of Commons has ‘duffed-up’ the twice-expressed will of the people and the (far less important) will of the House of Commons.

  1. On June 23, 2016 Britons voted to leave the EU in a legally-held and UK government approved referendum.
  2. On February 1, 2017 British MP’s voted to follow the instructions of UK voters, voting 498 to 114 to pass the European Union Bill (voting to leave the EU) by a healthy margin of 384 votes.
  3. On June 8, 2017 the incumbent Conservative Party won a General Election on a pledge to deliver Brexit in an election where all parties ran on a platform of delivering the Brexit that Britons voted for in the 2016 referendum.
  4. On three separate dates Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement was voted-down by British MP’s and no other deal has replaced it.
  5. On March 31, 2019 the UK House of Commons failed Britons by failing to deliver Brexit on by the promised date.
  6. On April 12, 2019 the UK House of Commons again failed Britons by failing to deliver Brexit on that promised date.
  7. Subsequent to the third failure of Theresa May’s WA and two missed Brexit deadlines the EU ruled that Brexit would be delayed until October 31, 2019. Pathetic!
  8. On July 23, 2019 former Prime Minister Theresa May lost her position as UK Prime Minister.
  9. On July 24, 2019 Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the UK with a promise to deliver Brexit.
  10. On September 3, 2019 British MP’s voted to remove the right of the sitting government to choose policy and to offer legislation to the House of Commons for debate and consideration by the House, and give it to themselves — thereby giving themselves the power over how Brexit is to unfold. Unprecedented! Now the Brexit which they all promised their constituents (to get themselves re-elected in June 2017) cannot happen unless it meets one of their three criteria; 1) Unless the House votes to approve a No Deal Brexit, a No Deal Brexit is now illegal, 2) Brexit may only happen if a new Withdrawal Agreement is agreed prior to October 31, 2019 and the UK House of Commons and the EU Parliament approve it before that date, 3) A new Brexit date is set by the EU.

If they can’t agree a deal with the EU over the past 3-years, what makes them think they can get a deal approved by both countries by January 1, 2020? Hello!


Meanwhile, British Citizens Haven’t Done One Thing Wrong in All of This!

All these years later (1176-days, to be exact) Britons continue to wait for the Brexit they voted for, having done not one thing wrong and in the meantime, all the political meanderings, indecision, recriminations, grandstanding, showboating, one-upmanship and other political games played by British MP’s have cost the UK economy approximately £1 billion per month due to economic uncertainty, in addition to the average £10.5 billion annual net overpayment paid to the EU by UK taxpayers since June 2016 together totals an obscene £69.5 billion.

Heads should roll!

But quite unlike other professions, there’s no accountability.

Politicians talk about accountability and indeed, many MP’s do great work for their constituents and those MP’s are much to be admired!

But there are some to whom life is but a stage on which to hold forth and stroke their own egos, and those are the MP’s who’ve blown Brexit (so far) and are directly responsible for the loss of over £69.5 billion (and counting) since June 2016. To them, it’s all just a game, and those are just numbers on a page. Sickening!

There are real consequences for citizens in all this economic uncertainty which was/is caused by endless political dithering, arcane (and unimportant) political debates, and the ridiculous fixation on ‘getting a deal’ with the EU.

The People didn’t vote for or against a deal, they voted to Brexit.

And there is the fiduciary duty of politicians who run on a platform (to deliver Brexit) in a reasonable timeframe. And 3-years is not upholding their responsibilities to their constituents. Not even close.

What matters is MP’s delivering what they’ve promised in a reasonable timeframe. What matters not is the opinions of MP’s about Brexit nor the Speaker’s political musings.

MP’s need to understand that there’s no one else to blame for the obscene (and still accruing) £69.5 billion cost to the UK economy on account of their Brexit dithering.

MP’s need to understand that EU membership was never legal to begin with as (a previous UK Parliament) gave away (some amount of) sovereignty to a foreign country which clearly contradicts the UK’s constitutional framework and therefore the legal term ‘ab initio’ applies, which means that EU membership for the UK was always contrary to the UK’s constitutional documentation and therefore, the membership was never valid in the first place so MP’s should stop obsessing about how the UK could ‘legally’ leave the EU. (‘ab initio’ = as if it never happened)


Summary

According to the UK constitutional framework, the UK couldn’t legally join the EU, therefore, it was never really a member. So, just leave! You weren’t a real member anyway. Stop obsessing!

According to democratic process, leaving aside ‘ab initio’ for a moment — Britons voted for Brexit and British MP’s have a fiduciary duty to their constituents to deliver such service as they’ve been contracted to perform.

According to the economic impact to the country after 3-years of Brexit shenanigans and dithering, the shocking economic losses to the country (which I conservatively calculate at £69.5 billion, so far) should create enough guilt to motivate British MP’s to deliver the Brexit they’ve so often promised.

Remember; A promise is nothing but a lie until the promise is fulfilled.

And those living a lie don’t deserve their seats in the House of Commons and I fervently hope that any MP who worked to frustrate Brexit doesn’t win their seat in the next election, whenever that election may occur. And good riddance to them! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The People have spoken. Everything else is mere commentary.


Related Articles:

  • Tories bid to depose Speaker Bercow after Commons revolt (BBC)
  • Commons Speaker John Bercow to stand down (BBC)
  • Hero or villain? Bercow’s notoriety is a consequence of parliament’s crisis – not its cause — (The Guardian)

Here’s How Bad the UK Parliament Has Duffed-up Brexit

by John Brian Shannon


It’s 1169-days since the British people voted to leave the European Union:


Let’s take a look at how it’s going, shall we?

Unbelievably, the European Union is now fully in charge of what happens next on Brexit, and Jeremy Corbyn (who serves as the official opposition leader in the House of Commons) is now fully in charge of when the next UK General Election is held.

Honestly folks, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

It represents a failure of the UK Parliament by any standard. It’s a disaster of epic proportions and only in Britain could such a thing come to pass.

Every single MP in the House of Commons must hang their heads in shame for this utter failure to accommodate the wishes of the British people in a timely and responsible fashion.

And it’s completely beyond me (and beyond thinking people everywhere!) how every British MP hasn’t shamefacedly handed-in their resignation today (with the notable exception of Jeremy Corbyn who has played a bad poker hand better than anyone in history!) and moved-on to something more appropriate for them.

Some other career where things can be dragged-out over 3-years and where it would be acceptable to wind up with a worse deal than the existing deal.

Some other career where things like accountability to constituents, responsibility to act in the national interest, timeliness of service to citizens, a cost of tens of billions of pounds sterling to the economy, and national sovereignty aren’t at stake!


Let’s See How This Particular Disaster Evolved

As you may know, the term UK Parliament refers to the UK House of Commons where British MP’s along with the Prime Minister’s Cabinet and the Prime Minister, write, debate, and then pass legislation in the House of Commons that is sent to the House of Lords (a.k.a. ‘the upper house’) to be further debated (and sometimes amended) and then officially approved by the Lords. After passing both the Commons and the Lords, that piece of legislation is sent to the UK Head of State (a.k.a. ‘the Queen’) for Royal Assent (a simple signature acknowledging that to the best of the Head of State’s knowledge, due process in Parliament has been observed in regard to that piece of legislation).

This time-honoured process of drafting, debating and passing legislation in the UK is a tradition that began in the year 1215 when the first UK Parliament convened.

What I’m trying to impress on you, dear reader, is that we are where we are on Brexit only because of the UK Parliament — as there is no other person or institution responsible for the passing of legislation on behalf of all Britons.

The UK Parliament ‘owns’ this particular disaster and no amount of political spin is going to cover their Brexit errors. It is a failure of governance of epic proportions that will go down in history as one of the worst political debacles ever.

Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, prove me wrong! (I want to be wrong, get it?)


Brexit Timeline

  1. June 23, 2016: The UK people vote to leave the EU (BBC)
  2. July 13, 2016: Theresa May becomes UK Prime Minister (CNN)
  3. February 1, 2017: British MP’s overwhelmingly back Article 50 bill (BBC)
  4. June 8, 2017: Theresa May Loses Majority in UK General Election (NYT)
  5. January 15, 2019: Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffers worst-ever defeat (Guardian)
  6. March 13, 2019: Theresa May’s Brexit deal fails a 2nd time (BBC)
  7. March 29, 2019: Theresa May’s Brexit deal fails a 3rd time (VOX)
  8. March 31, 2019: The agreed Brexit date (& law of the land) is missed (CNN)
  9. April 12, 2019: The EU says Brexit delayed until October 31, 2019 (BBC)
  10. July 24, 2019: The UK gets a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson (CNN)
  11. August 27, 2019: UK opposition MPs agree strategy to block No Deal (BBC)
  12. August 29, 2019: UK Prime Minister Johnson prorogues Parliament (BBC)
  13. September 4, 2019: Bill designed to stop No Deal Brexit ‘will clear Lords’ (BBC)

So there it is!

It’s the shameful story of how an astonishingly simple order from the British people to the UK Parliament turned into £69.5 billion in losses over the past 3-years (so far!) and how EU negotiators easily beat the UK Parliament by merely getting out of the way to allow the UK Parliament to destroy the dream of Britons who simply wanted to restore British dignity and sovereignty, and how the panegyrists of the UK Parliament are on-track to beg for a worse deal from the EU than the UK already has.

Unless corrected soon, the present Brexit debacle will turn out to be the worst political disaster on planet Earth since the UK Parliament of a previous era sold the then-colony of America (to traitors, privateers & colonists) for 60-pieces of silver.

Generations Lived in the EU Without Benefit of a Referendum: But Our Generation Wants 2 Referendums! in 3-Years!

by John Brian Shannon

The first referendum was held in 1975 so UK voters could approve or disapprove of the UK joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 (a trading union) and Britons approved it in 1975. Although that referendum was held almost 3-years after joining, the generation that approved it was the generation that had to live under EEC rules.

Which strikes me as pretty democratic — even though I have a minor problem with joining *and then* holding a referendum 3-years later. But, good enough.

What isn’t democratic is politicians signing the UK up to a political union in 1993 and then waiting 23-years before holding a referendum to allow UK voters to approve or disapprove. (And let’s face it, it’s one thing to join a trading club, but a whole other thing to join a political union)

So, the generations that lived under the EU (political union) for 23-years didn’t get a chance to vote to approve or disapprove of it until 2016. Now, that’s not democratic at all.

Some of those people who lived under the EU without the benefit of a referendum aged-out and left this world without ever getting a chance to say whether they wanted to join the EU over 23-years. (About 500,000 Britons die every year; most are senior citizens) So from that you can extrapolate how many people didn’t get a vote on EU membership from 1993 – 2016. (It’s in the neighbourhood of 11.5 million)

Even with all those people gone, the first time all Britons got a chance to vote on EU membership (23-years late) they voted to Leave.

But I guess to some, the people who built the great UK we see today just don’t matter. Because with this generation… it’s all about you.

Which is why the UK is now hearing shrill calls for a 2nd-EU referendum — even though UK politicians haven’t even carried out the instructions of The People from the last EU referendum in June 2016! Which in the above context, seems ungrateful and unseemly.

The generations that endured the influenza epidemic, WWI, WW2, the Blitz, food and fuel rationing, and a decade and a half of a bleak existence in the immediate postwar era, and then the Cold War (remember practicing Duck and Cover! every week in school in case of nuclear attack?) didn’t get a chance to vote on EU membership for almost a quarter century.

Duck and Cover! was pretty sobering stuff for children — absolutely no wailing, no crying, no negative talk allowed — and no participation badges.

In the generations from 1910 through 1990 just staying alive seemed like a miracle sometimes, and luxuries were for a small number of movie stars and royalty. And now in 2018, some 12.5 million of those people are gone without a single referendum on EU membership in all those 23-years, let alone two referendums within 3-years. Which strikes me as very undemocratic.

Sure, 12.5 million of those people are gone and they don’t care about referendums or EU membership now. But millions of them aren’t — they’re still here — and they’ve chafed under the bit of the EU since 1993 without a vote on the matter.

So dear Remainers, please consider the people who suffered extreme hardship to build the great UK we see today, who did it in mortal danger, without luxuries, and without you, when you agitate for a 2nd EU referendum before the government has even implemented the results of the 1st EU referendum. The previous generations earned every right to enjoy the Britain they built before they leave this Earth.

It’ll be your turn soon enough… 23-years from now seems about right.