Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Rebel amendment defeat is yet another painful bellyflop for Boris Johnson

Posted by hkarner - 21. Oktober 2019

Date: 20-10-2019
Source: The Guardian by Polly Toynbee

Prime minister was stopped dead in his tracks from bulldozing deal through parliament with no scrutiny

‘Boris Johnson richly deserves to become the next Tory leader to fail over Europe.’

The prime minister nose-dives again, yet another painful bellyflop among the many in his 88 short days in power. He takes the same humiliating punishment he inflicted on his predecessor in order to snatch her seat: she was gracious, but you could see the inner smirk.

Today he was stopped dead in his tracks from bulldozing an EU deal through parliament. An act that would cement Britain’s fate for decades to come was insultingly put to parliament without time for scrutiny, with no Treasury economic impact assessment, and its 553-page legal text only handed to MPs in the morning as the debate began.

No wonder many, like Sir Oliver Letwin himself, who back the deal in principle, balked at signing up blindfold to such a pig in a poke with no time for deliberation. Will Boris Johnson refuse to send the letter asking for an extension, will he break the law? If so, the law will break him, again.

If anyone was hoping for some great historic parliamentary moment, this was no resounding debate on the nature and future of Britain to ring out through the ages. Instead you could hear the flapping of pigeons coming home to roost to this house that had created such a disastrously flawed referendum.

MPs never defined what Brexit meant, leaving it open to anything from the softest to hardest exit. Thoughtlessly, no threshold was set for how big a majority was needed to make such a monumental change. No one thought to require consent from all four nations. They were reckless about the constitutional consequences of the clash between the power of a plebiscite and the authority of representative democracy, fatally pitting people against parliament.

Slapdash from the start, everything about a referendum cynically devised as a quick fix for Conservative party internal strife has returned to haunt them. Boris Johnson richly deserves to become the next Tory leader to fail over Europe.

His opening bid was shamelessly devoid of detailed exposition of what his deal will mean, neither technical enlightenment for anxious just-in-time traders and manufacturers, nor any illumination as to the future of Britain’s role in the world.

All we had was his cloyingly bogus talk of “our European friends” from the man who has done most in his mendacious writings to lie to Britain about Europe. His thin, tawdry stuff did nothing to elevate the strange Tory Brexit obsession with any vision beyond a mere “getting it done”.

In his wooing of MPs, his deception unravelled as he promised Brexit hardliners a rosy future of red-tape freedom and deregulation, while guaranteeing Labour defectors all EU rights would be preserved in perpetuity. Well-earned deep distrust from all sides will do for Johnson time and again.

Here’s the curiosity of his position. He calls in MPs, beseeching them to change their minds: many have, one way or another, as circumstance and evidence changes. Why wouldn’t they? Both he and Theresa May swore blind no prime minister could ever permit a hard border to split Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, yet both now vote for exactly that. How so?

Yet outside parliament hundreds of thousands marched and rallied to demand the public’s right to change its mind with a referendum to confirm any deal. The will of the people is no more immutable than the will of MPs. Indeed, only one poll out of 74 this year has found a majority for leaving the EU.

In these three and a half years every one of us has found out much more about what Brexit means, yet Johnson calls it “undemocratic” to let voters express their changing will, as if people are frozen forever in that one minute on one fateful day in June 2016. Public mind-changing is illicit, yet he begs members of parliament to shift their deeply held opinions.

Though this was no great occasion, just another grinding turn of the Brexit wheel, honours went to Keir Starmer, calm, forensic, analytic and polite but deadly in his demolition of this deal and the damage in prospect.

Ian Blackford, SNP leader in the Commons, was eloquent and rational in his proof that Brexit will mean the end of the union. Why, he demanded, is Northern Ireland allowed to reap the benefits of staying in the EU customs union and single market when Scotland’s plea for that same treatment was dismissed out of hand?

The fury of the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, from his remain-voting province, crying out, “We are cut off from the country to which we belong!” shows how far Tory MPs of little England no longer cherish a United Kingdom. Out of Europe, it becomes clearer by the day how diminished in size, status and sanity the remnants of the UK will be.

As for the great Brexit rift, the marchers who poured in from all over the country called for the only hope for some resolution: the cure for a bad referendum on a nebulous abstract question is another one to set the question straight on a clearly spelled-out exit deal whose terms can be scrutinised.

Leading MPs had to be escorted from parliament with police protection today, for fear of assault. Yes, it’s come to that. Parliament has failed, so the best use for the delay demanded by parliament on Saturday must be to ask the voters to decide for them.

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