The British crisis: MPs discover they have spines

In 1689 the Act of Settlement decreed that sovereignty lay with the King in Parliament.  By the turn of the last century the King had become a figurehead and Parliament reigned supreme.  Supreme over the executive as well.  More recently the executive has grown in power.  Why is that?  Because Parliament has allowed it to happen. In modern times, as long as MPs keep their jobs they have more or less voted according to Party, and if the Prime Minister disapproves of them their constituency party has fired them. By avoiding rocking any boats, the MPs collectively have empowered the Executive and diminished their own power.

Yesterday, MPs finally stood up to the government (that is, Boris).  The Commons voted 328 – 301 to take control of business for an anti-no-deal bill.  Even before that, one Conservative MP, Phillip Lee, quit the Tory party of his own accord, actually during Johnson’s speech, and joined the Liberal Democrats.  Clearly, principle is emerging, blinking in the light, from the thicket of inertia and amateurism. Corbyn, Labour leader, insisted: “There is no consent in this house to leave the European Union without a deal. There is no majority for no deal in the country … Get the bill through first in order to take no deal off the table”.  For the UK this looks like an overdue rebellion .

His authority temporarily shredded, the prime minister said he would hold a general election on October 15th, This will be a fraught affair.  It is quite possible that Johnson will get a bigger majority and will thereby be able to preside over the misery and chaos he dismisses as Project Fear. Prior to the referendum, neither he nor his Brexiteer friends ever had the foresight, thoroughness or intelligence to investigate and confront all the difficulties surrounding Brexit for the umpteen years the right wing was up in arms about the dastardly EU.  They just used emotion and shameless lies about it.  Now, many people “just want it over”. Contrary to some opinion the Brits are not a universally wise, educated and thoughtful lot (!).  Rather, put them down as gamblers, who don’t much like detail or having to think things through; they just want to concentrate on their own lives (and maybe avoid a Corbyn government).   My guess is that the Tories will increase in numbers in the House of Commons and that the British will have the excitement of a crash out of the EU, blaming the EU for being stubborn, of course.  Spoiled boys never take responsibility.

There.  I have done my reporting job.  Now I would like a nice, calm Epicurean day, without anxiety and without having to think about it.  I just want it over.



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