In June 2016, over 33 million of us went to the polls in a historic Referendum, the highest public turnout recorded for any poll in this country. We all held passionate views as to why we should Stay or Leave the EU, for whatever reason, and we all placed our vote in the sure and certain knowledge that the result, whatever it may be, would be honoured by Parliament. It now emerges that, whichever way we voted, we have been stitched-up – not by politicians, nor by the media, but by faceless bureaucrats who were more concerned in preventing their gravy train being derailed.
Let’s not get into how or why the nation has become divided – how the previous Prime Minister ran away from the wreckage he had created, or how Her Majesty’s opposition has taken its title way too literally. Let’s also recognise the truly democratic way in which the vast majority of those who voted to ‘remain’ have accepted the result, and have been prepared to move forward despite having not wanted to go this way.
Instead, let’s reflect on how, last Wednesday, our Prime Minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and told us an historic Brexit deal had been negotiated, one that would not have everything that everybody wanted, but that gave the best of all worlds to all of us, and would help heal what has become a divided nation. That now appears to have become an event that might eventually spawn a movie which, if it does, must surely be entitled ‘Chamberlain 2’ or ‘how politicians never learn’.
Because, on Thursday morning, the person who had been politically responsible for the, this time 585, pieces of paper the PM referred to, resigned because he couldn’t politically support his own work. Like most of you, I looked on in some disbelief at what I was seeing, and waited for a more detailed explanation. Bizarre as this action appeared, that explanation never came – probably due to the complete ineptitude of our news media in this country, who were more intent on tearing a government apart, in their usual hyena-style feeding frenzy, than actually asking the obvious question – what exactly caused the former Brexit Secretary to do this?
Today, we finally have the answer, but not from a diligent investigative journalist with the scent of a Pulitzer Prize in their nostrils. It comes in an article written in the Sunday Telegraph by a Junior Minister from the Brexit Department who also resigned on Thursday – Suella Braverman. This article reveals the real reason for her resignation, and obviously that of both of the two previous Brexit Secretaries:
“Civil Servants would routinely return from Brussels with the fruits of their endeavours, often having strayed beyond Cabinet mandates or setting policy decisions in legally-binding text before ministers had even discussed them.”
In one stark paragraph, she refers to Article 132 in the document allowing the implementation period to be extended indefinitely – one of the main causes of the massive rebellion by MPs on all sides of the House:
“That was never agreed by ministers or Cabinet as far as I know. It never appeared in any draft agreements I saw. Yet the final version of the agreement clearly states the settled position between the EU and the UK to extend the transition period to an unknown date. No wonder this deal cannot command the support of the majority of politicians, Remain, Leave, Left or Right.”
OK, you may think ‘she’s a politician, they never admit to being wrong.’ But there are legalities that have to be observed; even though she does not name the perpetrators of this, apparent, betrayal, it would not be too difficult to identify to whom she is referring. And she should be aware of such niceties as she is a qualified lawyer. Nevertheless, she concludes:
“We have reached the point where concessions bear no reflection to the peoples’ choice in 2016; people who send us to Parliament, who trust the politicians to do the right thing. Where did these concessions come from? It was not the Department for Exiting the European Union, or at least their ministers past and present. This negotiation, rapidly acquiring the moniker of ‘the worst deal in history’ is the product of the civil service, not of politicians.”
For the last two and a half years, we mere citizens have watched from the sidelines in varying degrees of disbelief at the, apparent, ineptitude of our elected representatives. Instead, it would appear that what has really been going on is that a small group of unelected individuals who also bear the responsibility of being, and who are paid to be, ‘servants’ to all of us, have been clandestinely pursuing a completely separate agenda from the entire country, whatever view MPs or voters may hold as individuals.
The results are a document that is rapidly producing a constitutional crisis – a document that carries as much potential danger to the democracy of this country as any number of barrels of gunpowder secreted beneath the Houses of Parliament. We recently celebrated how, 413 years ago, that previous treasonable plot was thwarted just in time, with the perpetrators ending up in The Tower.
The question is: is this scenario really that different? And, if not, shouldn’t the result be similar?