Monday, 18 November 2019

Will a zombie parliament be replaced by one with more life?

Attorney-General Cox was right, though he was panned in the media for saying so. His reasoning was wrong: a parliament in a representative democracy has no duty to follow slavishly where a referendum, especially a corrupted referendum with a narrow majority, leads. But it does have the duty to take a firm decision in the best interests of the nation when faced with imminent economic suicide and/or losing the trust of our friends and neighbours. This last parliament had several opportunities to revoke the Article 50 letter, the clearest course and one leading to the brightest future politically, socially and economically. It could have resolved to pass the buck again to the British people, this time better-informed than in 2016, in a referendum. It could have adopted Mrs May's agreement with M. Barnier, negotiating on behalf of the EU27. This would have cut off the UK from the wider benefits of membership, but would have enabled membership of the customs union while an orderly free trade settlement was reached. Finally, it could have adopted the poorer withdrawal agreement negotiated by the current prime minister, which took out workers' rights and restricted the customs union concession to Northern Ireland, but would at least provide some financial certainty.

For a variety of reasons, none of them praiseworthy, it did none of those things. If it had not collectively decided to take the honourable course of self-immolation* the UK would have drifted to what the fanatic isolationists describe as "a clean break" but which virtually every other thinking person regards as an economic disaster: leaving the Union without an agreement.

From the end of November** on voters will be able to replace these zombies with beings with more genuine life and less concern for personal and party gain.

* The sacrifice is mitigated by the prospect of returning after a successful election, or the cushion of resettlement money if they are unsuccessful.

** Postal ballots will be hitting the doormats any time from 29th November. If you are in the  Neath Port Talbot area and  need a postal vote but are not already registered, please email ( or telephone (01639 763330) Electoral Services to request a postal vote application form.

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