By Russell Bruce
The crisis in EU negotiations within May’s dysfunctional party and government rumbles on and on. The inability of presenting solid proposals to the EU is accompanied by a determination to prevent the Westminster Parliament from having a final say on a deal about which nobody can even get the remotest idea of what might or might not emerge.
We saw the disdain dished out to Scotland last week. Now May is planning to treat the Westminster Parliament with the same distain. When they came for the Scots I did not stand up … you know how this goes.
A two-year programme of negotiations was supposed to end in October this year. A mere four months away. Meanwhile 27 European governments and EU negotiators are thunderstruck, amused, bemused in incomprehension at the inability of the UK government to agree with itself.
An agreed plan was to be ready this autumn so EU member parliaments could study the detail of the deal during the following six months prior to voting on it. Were those to be meaningful votes? Wallonia voted to block CETA, the EU Canada trade deal. So no assurance that a deal, if there will be one, would pass though the parliaments of 27 member states and various regional parliaments though not Scotland’s.
The focus today is on MPs. Will they have the backbone to stand up and ensure they have the right to reject a bad deal or a no deal scenario? According to Westminster lore parliament is sovereign, not the monarch or the executive. May is demanding sovereign powers over an unpredictable outcome that will have cataclysmic consequences for the UK economy including the economy of Scotland.
Charles 1 (1600-1649 reigned from 1625 until his execution) insisted he was only answerable to God – not parliament. That did not end well for him. Does May too believe she is only answerable to God?
Boris Johnson last week bumbled assurances of plain sailing out of the EU then admitted ‘meltdown’ would be a ‘temporary inconvenience’ to the economy.
The vote on whether there is a meaningful vote at the end of the process is said to be very tight with both sides believing they will win. Labour MPs in Brexit voting constituencies are being targeted by government whips, using, it is reported, strong-arm tactics. The vote later today at Westminster is nothing to do with whether the UK leaves the EU or not but how it leaves. If Corbyn cannot ensure all Labour MPs vote against Tory government executive power demands he has no future.
The meaningful vote is TODAY. The one at the end of a process on how the UK disengages from the EU will have no meaning unless the government is defeated in a few hours time. If a handful of Labour MPs throw away parliament’s right to have a final and meaningful say in the months to come they are voting for the reinstatement of Charles I powers.
So strongly do a handful of Tory MPs feel on this issue they claim they are willing to bring down their own government if need be. We will see if they follow through this time. There is no expectation Scots Tory MPs will prove other than a flock of sheep bending over to the will of the whips.
Today is another test of Westminster’s disregard for an inclusive democracy. If it cannot achieve that for the rights of all the nations and peoples of the UK they are not worth a shit.
Later Scotland will have its say. Our parliament and our people will not be bound to a union of unequals that demands such intolerance, lack of choice and voice. If MPs do not speak up today they deprive the people and the great, great granny of parliaments a voice on a process that will end in a multitude of unintended and unknown consequences.
UPDATE 16.20 Westminster just decided it wasn’t worth a shit. Government won giving May Charles I divine right of Theresa power for an unknown Brexit outcome.
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