Forget about Boris Johnson’s comforting words reassuring us that MP’s will have sufficient time to do something about avoiding a no-deal Brexit, the prorogation of parliament is an affront to democracy. In delaying the Queen’s speech until October 14th, Johnson is doing nothing less that bypassing democracy. In shutting up Westminster, he has effectively forced Parliament to either accept any potential deal that he obtains or be forced into a no-deal.
I want to reiterate to colleagues that these weeks leading up to the European Council on 17/18 October are vitally important for the sake of my negotiations with the EU. Member States are watching what Parliament does with great interest and it is only by showing unity and resolve that we stand a chance of securing a new deal that can be passed by Parliament. In the meantime, the Government will take the responsible approach of continuing its preparations for leaving the EU, with or without a deal.
Following a more than dubious referendum, the UK voted by a small majority to leave the EU, but not how and when. The British people were certainly not asked to vote to leave the EU without a deal. In using the Queen’s speech to delay Parliament, Johnson is denying elected members the opportunity to scrutinise the government’s actions and to express their will in opposing a no-deal Brexit for which the government has no mandate.
It is, according to Johnson, business as normal. There is so much he wants to do for the country he loves, that he is obliged to wait for the Queen to deliver her speech, in order to get on with things. In the context of Brexit, the times are anything but “normal.”
Johnson’s move, of course, is more personal than anything else. He wants to be remembered in the history books as a Churchillian prime minister who, in a time of unprecedented political and social crisis, defended democracy by defeating the enemy single-handed. In doing so, he has just told Westminster, the “mother” of parliaments, to “shut the f*ck up!”
Democracy is too precious a tool to be tampered with or disrespected. Too many people all over the world are giving up their lives in its name, whilst we in the West, are being bored by it or not appreciating the true value of its worth.
If Johnson is so bent on delivering the will of the people, he should do nothing less than ask the very same people what their will now is. I was convinced that a second referendum was not the political solution to the UK’s philosophical dream, that it would create even more divisions. Now, after having seen one political leader failing to control a democratic process and another who ignores the democratic process altogether, I feel that a second referendum, with the option to remain, is the only way out of the impasse.
A second referendum can no longer be a binary choice of leaving with or without a deal, where going against the will of the people Anno 2016 would have been dangerous and only serve as proof that the 2016 referendum should not have taken place at all in that form. What has changed is that democracy has been tampered with and in enforcing a no-deal that wasn’t asked for, the will of the people has been distorted.
Watching Boris Johnson taking the UK’s destiny into his own hands without a proper mandate has made me realise that the UK needs an escape route, one that will protect it from the irresponsibilities of a handful of conservative politicians who have not prepared the route they are forcing the country to embark on.
We are far away from the world of Plato where Philosopher Kings were considered to be the only individuals capable of inventing new laws to govern the cities. Modern-day elected members of parliament serve their people and carry out political programmes that are presented to the people who elect them during election campaigns. Boris Johnson is right when he says that the government should deliver Brexit in the name of democracy, but he has no mandate concerning the nature of the Brexit he is going to deliver.
Winston Churchill is Boris Johnson’s hero. Standing firm for democracy is the motto where a “no deal with Hitler,” is reincarnated in the form of a “no deal with the EU.” The consequences of standing firm do not matter because the Blitz spirit is still very much alive. The British have done it once before and can do it once again without the blessing of the untrustworthy French.
The 2016 EU referendum was all about, “taking back control.” To paraphrase one of Winston Churchill’s more famous moments, “Never, in the history of UK politics, has ‘taking back control,’ been wished by so many, but carried out by so few.”