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Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way! Brexit 2.0 is Eleven Days Away

by John Brian Shannon

I have a question:

Why did almost one-million people protest in London on Saturday?

Apparently, almost one-million people turned-up to protest Boris Johnson’s Brexit 2.0 deal which was scheduled to be passed later in the day in the UK House of Commons.

But because it’s unwise to anger one-million protesters milling about on London’s streets… the vote was postponed until Monday, October 20th. Smart thinking!

Can you imagine the security nightmare and the damage to shops, double-decker buses, personal vehicles, and (possibly) to life and limb had the vote gone ahead and be approved with one-million hostile protesters waiting just outside the House of Commons?

A million revellers could cause a lot of damage — and played across the world’s TV screens, the entire scene would’ve made the UK look like a country that hadn’t yet come of age and still didn’t understand how democracy works.

I noticed some UK news outlets were trying to play-down the number of protesters, with some saying “thousands” or “tens of thousands”. But why do that? We all know that 16-million people voted against leaving the EU in 2016, and it’s probably safe to assume that 1/16th of them are still unhappy about the outcome of the EU referendum.

That’s how democracy works: Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.

But the time to expend all your effort to get the result you want, kids, is in the run-up to a vote, not after the fact.

And let’s face it, in a country of 66-million people you could raise one-million protesters against Vegemite-on-toast if you were as well-financed as that particular Remainer cohort.

I can hear the shouts rising to a crescendo: “Taxi Drivers Against Vegemite!” and chants of, “Vegemite, OK!… Toast, OK!… But No Vegemite On Toast!… HEY! HEY!”


I have a message for yesterday’s anti-Brexit protestors:

Are you aware that on June 23, 2016 Britons voted to leave the EU (the 1st ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit) and that British MP’s voted 498-114 to leave the EU on February 1, 2017, and that on June 8, 2018 Theresa May won a General Election a.k.a. the 2nd ‘People’s Vote’ (as a General Election is the purest form of a ‘People’s Vote’) an election in which all parties campaigned on a promise to deliver Brexit?

And, are you aware that the EU’s own Jean-Claude Juncker, the EC’s Donald Tusk, the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier, and every single head of government in the EU27 have agreed that the new Brexit deal proposed by PM Boris Johnson (Brexit 2.0) is the best way forward for the EU27?

If you think you’re working for the European Union when you’re protesting against Brexit 2.0, you’re not. EU leaders have accepted this deal. And they wouldn’t have accepted it… if it didn’t work for their EU27.

If you think you’re working for the UK, you’re not. A majority of Britons still want Brexit to happen according to recent polls.

If you think you’re working for democracy, you’re not. How can you be working for democracy when you’re seeking to overturn the democratic choice of The People?

You need to stop and think; Why are you trying to overthrow something that a majority of Britons voted for, what the UK government itself proposed to the EU, and what the EU/EC accepted as the best way forward?

So, who or what are you working for?

My guess is that 1/3rd of you are professional (paid) protestors who travel all over Europe protesting anything that pays your travel expenses (How do I know that? Because I see the same faces protesting in Paris, Berlin, London, and Dublin, and not just on the topic of Brexit!) another 1/3rd of you are associated with a UK political party that once voted for Brexit but since it now looks like it might actually happen they don’t want any part of it, and the last 1/3rd of you are simply poor losers since the 2016 referendum.

To the first-third I say: Enjoy!
To the middle-third I say: Support democracy instead!
To the final-third I say: Grow Up!

By the way, I strongly support your right to peaceful democratic protest. That’s not the issue here. Brexiteers are trying to understand you!


If I’m wrong and it’s simply a generational thing, then, please consider this line of thought:

The older generations built the country you now live in.

They did it with blood (wars) sweat (labour) and tears (several recessions) and they did it (mostly) without cars, air conditioning, computers, the internet, TV’s, the Chunnel, scheduled airline service, or hundreds of other things that we all take for granted these days.

Since the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht when the UK illegally joined the EU in 1993 (according to the UK constitution it is illegal to hand any amount of UK sovereignty over to any foreign power) Britons weren’t given a vote on EU membership.

And the first time that they did get a vote on EU membership, they voted to leave — mind you, that opportunity took 23-years to arrive! Which is hardly democratic.

If you study demographics or are equipped to do a Google search, you can see yourself that approximately 500,000 Britons die every year (mostly from old age) so you can extrapolate for yourself how many older people have died since the UK joined the EU. (500,000 per year x 23 years = 11,500,000 UK deaths since joining the EU)

Therefore, eleven million Britons died waiting for the chance to vote on whether they wanted to join the EU, or not. But nobody asked.

Surely most of them would’ve voted against EU membership as it contravened the UK constitution, nor did they want to be ruled from a continent that caused two world wars, and later, the Cold War (a consequence of WWII) which was also costly for UK taxpayers in blood and treasure.

In fact, all they ever wanted to do was to recover from war, from postwar poverty, and rebuild their broken lives and broken country.

Everything you see in the UK was built by them. Every road you drive on, every bridge you drive over, every airport you fly out of to Spain or Malta for your annual holidaymaking, and every major building in the country. And so much more.

So, who are you, who’ve yet to accomplish anything like that, to try to take away from what’s left of them and their families, the opportunity to have a real vote for or against membership in a foreign political bloc?

And while I agree that it was a fine thing for the UK to join the EEC in 1973 (the EEC was a trading union, not a political union like the EU) it’s even better from a democratic perspective that Britons were able to vote on EEC membership within 3-years of joining.

Nothing wrong with trying it out for a couple of years so that Britons could see if it was a good or bad thing for them! In 1975, UK citizens voted enthusiastically to join the EEC and it did a world of good for both the UK and continental Europe.

In any event, Britons voted to leave the EU in 2016, the UK Parliament voted to leave the EU in 2017, and the UK held a General Election where all parties ran on a platform to deliver Brexit (and a pro-Brexit party did win on June 8, 2018) and EU and EC leaders have approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit 2.0 deal, and now a relatively small number of British MP’s suddenly have ‘cold feet’ after campaigning for Brexit in 2016, 2017 and in 2018.

So, again, who are you… to try to overthrow the will of the UK people as expressed in 2016, the will of Parliament which voted for the European Union bill in 2017, the will of the present UK government which won an election in 2018 based on their promise to deliver Brexit, the will of the EU leaders and negotiators, and the will of the leaders of the EU27 countries?

Who are you? And why do you hate democracy?

Please tell us in the comments below — we’re genuinely interested to know.

As always, abusive comments won’t be published.

Brexit: Boris Johnson Welcomes the EU to The Last Chance Saloon

by John Brian Shannon

In an article penned by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and posted at The Sun website on October 5th, the Prime Minister invited EU leaders to sign-on to his Brexit deal that would allow all parties to move past the economic uncertainty plaguing Europe for the past 3.5-years.

Obviously, the Prime Minister is compelled to try to reach a deal with the EU because it’s in the interests of the UK, it’s economy, it’s people, and those UK businesses that depend on the EU market.

Not that the EU is the only game in town, mind you. There are other countries and blocs that want to trade with the UK in a post-Brexit world, but continental Europe happens to be conveniently located for the UK business community, and there will always be longstanding links between the UK and the continent. (Deal or No Deal)

Signing even a minimal Brexit deal would signify success for both sides which could help redeem those UK and EU politicians needing redemption after dragging 514-million Europeans through the (economic) mud over the past 3.5-years.

Boris’ plan is as good as any that would ever be proposed, so the logical thing for both sides to do is to sign and ratify the deal in their respective Parliaments so that millions of Europeans can get on with their lives.

But no matter how reasonable the Boris Brexit Plan is, my guess is that it won’t be signed — and even if it is, all it would take to tank the deal is for one of the EU27 Parliaments or the UK Parliament to fail to ratify the deal.

Which leaves a successful Boris Brexit Plan signing and ratification at 1-in-28 (that’s a 3.57% chance of a signed and ratified Brexit deal). Yikes.

So don’t get your hopes up. After all, these are the people who’ve done everything to deny the democratic will of the UK people, dithering and delaying Brexit since 2016 and thereby costing the UK economy £69.5 billion alone due to the accompanying economic uncertainty during that time.

FYI: Today marks 1200-days since the June 23, 2016 EU referendum

Let’s hope that EU27 leaders and UK Parliamentarians decide to grab the ring of destiny and end the present economic uncertainty for the benefit of 514-million Europeans.

In a Case Where No Clear Law Existed on Prorogation, the UK Supreme Court Finds the Government Guilty

by John Brian Shannon

 

Until today’s UK Supreme Court decision… there existed no law whatsoever in the United Kingdom (nor anywhere else in The Commonwealth of Nations) as to how long and under what conditions Parliament could be prorogued by a Prime Minister.

Of course, the UK Prime Minister doesn’t act alone when proroguing Parliament as (according to House of Commons rules) the PM can prorogue Parliament only when he or she is acting in concert with the Privy Council and in agreement with the UK Head of State (which position is presently held by ‘the Queen’).

As all Commonwealth of Nations countries are based on the Westminster parliamentary model, every country in The Commonwealth is now directly and measurably affected by this new precedent, and this case will have far-reaching implications in every country that practices Parliamentary democracy.

So how can it be that where there was no existing law (until today’s precedent-setting decision by the UK Supreme Court) that a British Prime Minister could have broken a law that didn’t (yet) exist?

It seems counter-intuitive to say the least.

And aren’t Supreme Court judges in parliamentary democracies placed in their highly-esteemed court to adjudicate existing laws only?

How can one be guilty of breaking a law, when there existed no law forbidding that action or practice beforehand?


OK, so the UK Supreme Court Judges Have Created a (New) Law: Can They Do That?

Apparently they can.

Yet, passing legislation (laws) is the primary remit of the House of Commons (definitely not the primary remit of the UK Supreme Court) and the government is charged with the task of drafting laws for the United Kingdom, to debate them in the House of Commons, and to forward formalized legislation to the House of Lords for their consideration.

Then, the House of Lords returns the approved legislation (sometimes with minor changes as determined by the Lords) to the Prime Minister so they can seek Royal Assent for the legislation, which is the final step before that legislation becomes law.

The reason legislation needs to be approved and signed by the Sovereign (a.k.a. ‘the Queen’) is that the Sovereign holds the post of the Head of State for the United Kingdom, its territories and possessions worldwide, etc., and ultimately, the Head of State more than any other person or level of government is personally responsible for the actions of his or her government, its military, and its citizens. (A rather important point that people easily forget!)

Only a Head of State can be held personally liable for the actions of his or her country; A Head of Government cannot; A Supreme Court Justice cannot.


What’s This Prime Minister To Do Now?

As the responsible person on behalf of the country the Queen must notify the Speaker of the House to order Parliament to resume sitting at their earliest convenience, which is tomorrow morning.

There can be no defying the UK Supreme Court (ever!) — and whether the UK Head of State, the UK Head of Government, or individual British MP’s or Lord’s agree or disagree with the Supreme Court is entirely irrelevant. The UK is a country of laws, and for now, the law says that proroguing the UK Parliament (at least in the manner it was done, and in the absence of any specific laws on the matter) was illegal.

And sadly, the endless and heretofore pointless debates on Brexit and General Elections must continue ad nauseam.

The so-called will of Parliament seems to be that the more debate and less decision-making the better. And another Brexit extension will simply ‘enable’ them to further duck their responsibilities, election promises, and party manifestos.

Yes, it’s a dysfunctional Parliament, I get that.


What is Advisable for PM Boris Johnson, Henceforth?

As the primary purpose of the Prime Minister and the government is to draft legislation (laws) for the country, I suggest he do exactly that — beginning with a new set of laws for proroguing Parliament (which might sound a little cheeky coming on the heels of the UK Supreme Court decision) but we got to this point by NOT having clearly written laws on the matter.

I humbly suggest that the government draft a new law to instruct how the Prime Minister, his Privy Council, and the Head of State must proceed when they next intend to prorogue Parliament.

  1. For prorogations of any amount of days fewer than 15-days, the UK Prime Minister should have the discretionary power to prorogue Parliament at any time, for any reason. He or she shouldn’t be required to provide any reason in cases where prorogation lasts less than 15-days. It’s important to note that future PM’s would be obligated to adhere to this legislation should it pass through the House of Commons, through the House of Lords, and receive Royal Assent from the UK Head of State. (This course of action is well within the government’s remit, and would merely set in place the clear laws on prorogation that should’ve always been on the books)
  2. For prorogations of longer than 15-days, the UK Prime Minister should present sound reasoning for his request to prorogue Parliament to the Privy Council, the Head of State, and the UK Supreme Court. Under no circumstances short of nuclear war hitting the UK or an asteroid wiping out half the Earth, should a UK Prime Minister be able to prorogue Parliament for longer than 15-days WITHOUT Privy Council approval, Head of State approval, and UK Supreme Court approval.

This way, a future Prime Minister won’t ever again find himself in the embarrassing position of having broken a law that didn’t exist. Which is exactly what’s occurred in this case.

So now, every enemy of the UK, every ‘frenemy’ of the UK, every Briton who wishes ill-will for the UK, and every mocker of Parliamentary democracy in the world will be certain to make good use of today’s ruling to embarrass the UK government.

In the largest possible context, the present situation has been enabled because the UK House of Commons and every successive government since the first British Parliament in the year 1215 — whether Whig, Tory, Labour or Conservative, failed to create the necessary legislation to enable the government to function properly as it relates to the prorogation of Parliament.

Which is why it needs to be corrected as soon as possible — notwithstanding Brexit, no Brexit, or delayed Brexit.