Fooxit means Fooxit

Fooxit means Fooxit

Fooxit means Fooxit

Editor’s Note. This was broadcast by Sixteen Million Rising in their March 2017 Episode:                                 ( after 2 hours 36 minutes.

TM: “David, it has struck me that, as we are getting out of the Single Market, we must also leave UEFA. It’s only logical. If we don’t get out of UEFA, we will have to let more Europeans play in our football clubs.”

DD: “Brilliant, Prime Minister! You probably know that England has never won the European Nations Cup. England has also tried to keep Scotland and Wales out of the Cup for ages, but the bureaucrats aren’t listening.”

TM: “Thank you, David. That clinches it! We will exit UEFA and, at the same time, we’ll cut the number of European migrants. It’s the will of the people. And then Liam will negotiate a new deal for the Great British National Team, under which they will let us play in their matches but under our own rules.”

DD: “Of course, Prime Minister. But what rule changes should we negotiate?”

TM: Don’t you understand that “Fooxit means Fooxit”? We will negotiate a bespoke agreement for the British team to be exempt from off-side penalties.”

DD: “May I suggest, Prime Minister, that we should also insist that any “Own Goals” should not be counted against us?”

TM: “Yes, David…  And we must make sure that there are no foreign referees or linesmen present when GB is playing.”

DD: “You are a true red, white and blue patriot, Prime Minister!”

Categorised as General

Well spoken, David Davis!

This morning, when I saw that David Davis had called on peers to “do their patriotic duty”, my immediate reaction was to condemn him as “bloody arrogant”. It was as if he was implying that anyone who would like to see the UK remain in the EU was “unpatriotic”, which is naïve, insensitive and, for many – especially peers – insulting. If they bothered to listen to him at all, after being at the receiving end of Mrs May’s daily admonishments, I would imagine that many Scots would have writhed in disgust: they are visibly the most patriotic people in the UK but find no difficulty in reconciling their patriotism with a determination to stay within the European Union.

It was only when I was half-way through turning a large compost heap, marveling at the industry of the thousands of woodlice who were breaking down the piled-up vegetation into top quality food for our summer vegetables, that it struck me how excellent was the advice proffered by Davis. Was he not urging members of the House of Lords to put patriotism first in their deliberations, asserting the ultimate sovereignty of Westminster over the executive arm of government when dealing with the most fundamental decision to be taken by our country during our lifetime?

A patriot is a person who is devoted to his or her country, who is usually prepared to do things for the good of their country ahead of any personal considerations. The ultimate manifestation of patriotism is to be willing to sacrifice one’s life for one’s country.

Sadly, patriotism wasn’t very visible in the House of Commons during the debates on invoking article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in recent days. Some MPs bravely defied their party whips to express their conviction that the negotiating position set out in the White Paper would be hugely damaging to the country and to the livelihoods of British people. But many others, while acknowledging the potential damage, lacked the courage to challenge their party leadership’s position, and instead put themselves ahead of doing what they knew was for the good of the country. To make matters worse, instead of blaming themselves for the outcome, to which they had contributed against their better judgment, they heaped the blame on government ministers.

In so doing, they have greatly damaged not only their own credibility with their constituents but have also undermined public confidence in the House of Commons to put the general good of the country ahead of party games and personal ambitions.

And so, let us hope that members of the House of Lords will take to heart the good advice given by Mr Davis and follow their patriotic instincts without the slightest hesitation. This would almost certainly mean sending the Bill back to the Commons, incurring the wrath of the Prime Minister. But, in so doing, they would know in their own hearts that they had done what was right and, in the process, helped to restore public respect for Parliament as the ultimate guardian of national sovereignty.

Maybe, when each gets up to talk, he or she should start by citing their patriotic credentials.

Perhaps the time would then have arrived for Mrs May to elevate Mr Davis to the House of Lords.

Categorised as General

A Brexit Contradiction – The erosion of the democratic processes that Britain’s leaders claim to uphold

The “leave” victors of the EU Referendum like to depict it as a fine expression of Britain’s democratic values.

From a democratic perspective, its main design flaw was that it excluded from the electorate two important groups of potential voters who would both be strongly affected by the outcome – the 16 to 18 year olds (who had a vote in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum) and British citizens who had lived abroad (including in European countries) for more than 15 years. Had this anomaly been corrected, the result might have been different.

The campaign process started very democratically, with Cameron letting members of his Cabinet and Conservative party campaign for either “remain” or “leave”. The contest, however, quickly became bitter and was marked by atrociously misleading claims by both sides and a sharp rise in tensions, especially in relation to immigration related issues. One effect was an alarming increase in hate crimes, including the murder of MP Jo Cox. More seriously it provoked a surge in the use of vitriolic and threatening language which continues to strike fear amongst many people, including MPs, who support remaining in Europe, inhibiting their liberty to freely express their views.

One of the strange aspects of the EU Referendum was that, though its conclusions had no binding authority, this was not explained clearly to voters and, more seriously, was deliberately ignored after the vote by the Government. The executive arm of government liked to claim that it gave them an undisputable mandate to act as they saw fit. They ignored the fact that only 37% of the electorate had advised them of their preference to leave the EU. One could also say that 63% of the electorate chose not to indicate their wish to exit the EU.

Nor was the Referendum designed to provide guidance on how – or over what time period – to translate voters’ preferences into actions.

Paradoxically, those who vaunted the “democratic” credentials of the Referendum and stressed the importance of reclaiming sovereignty also did everything possible – not just once but twice – to exclude Parliament from any engagement in shaping strategies for handling the most far-reaching decision to be taken by Britain in the last 5 decades. After the Government’s case was overturned by the High Court and then by the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister offered Parliament the least possible say in determining Britain’s negotiating position vis-à-vis the European Union and a minimal opportunity to hold the Government accountable for results. She was disdainful of the nations and interest groups who expressed alarm over the economic and financial impact of her intention to withdraw from the Single Market, and recklessly claimed that “no deal was better than a bad deal”.

What we have seen this week has made a mockery of Parliament and its MPs – pushing them into a debate that was largely meaningless because it preceded the publication of the relevant White Paper, and minimised the opportunity for MPs to consult with their constituents on the way forward. Dissent, at least amongst the Tories, has been muzzled by a very strictly enforced 3 line whip.

We now find ourselves in a surreal situation in which our parliamentarians – and especially Tory MPs who, like Teresa May, represent constituencies in which the majority voted to remain in the EU – have been constrained to sleepwalk with their eyes wide open into approving the invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union even though they know this will lead to an outcome that will be bad for Britain and especially its young citizens. One can sympathise with them because they were under tremendous pressure from their party leader to fall in line and because they and their families would have been exposed to the menacing attacks of “leave” hardliners. But many of these MPs will be haunted for the rest of their lives by the knowledge that they betrayed the expectations of their constituents and their own beliefs under duress. They and their constituents must have squirmed and gasped in disbelief when they read in May’s Foreword to her White Paper “And another thing that’s important. The essential ingredient of our success. The strength and support of 65 million people willing us to make this happen”.

The Brexiteers told voters that they would free Britons from the rule of non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels. Instead, they are undermining the credibility of the bastions of British democracy and preventing Members of Parliament from freely representing their constituents.

This whole process has, in the name of reclaiming sovereignty, deliberately belittled public respect for parliament and those who represent us there.

Future of our Children

Categorised as General

Is May’s contempt for courts the main driver for our hasty and reckless exit from the single market?

For the last 7 months, Mrs May has kept us guessing about the meaning of Brexit. The Prime Minister herself clearly didn’t have a clue as to what it was all about because she kept changing the way in which she described it, almost as often as she changed the colour of her clothes. At first, we assumed that she knew what she was talking about when she solemnly announced that “Brexit means Brexit”. Over time, however, Brexit became “grey” and then “red, white and blue”. Speculation then arose as to whether she was opting for a “soft” or “hard” – later renamed “clean” – Brexit, but we were told not to use these inaccurate and divisive descriptions, because Brexit was “bespoke”. Before we had time to find page 225 of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary to see what “bespoke” might mean, we found ourselves tardily handed the definitive “shespoke” version – a  White Paper (described by the Daily Telegraph as being “full of white paper”), entitled “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union”. The title suggests that, somehow, we would be able walk boldly out of the EU’s front door, and, a few months later, be let in through the back door, provided we stayed in the servants’ quarters and kept our mouth shut.

It was difficult to understand why the Prime Minister dashed from hand-holding in Washington to Ankara to clinch a small weapons deal, worth less than 1% of UK-Turkey trade, with President Erdogan. Maybe, after she had lectured him on democracy and human rights, the “stony-faced” President whispered to her that the best way to quell dissent was to pretend that it did not exist and to gag those who dare say otherwise. So she blithely writes in her Foreword “And another thing that’s important. The essential ingredient of our success. The strength and support of 65 million people willing us to make this happen”!

She correctly says “The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly for us to get on with it”, but omits to mention that this was the result of an ultra-strict 3 line whip under which dissenting Tory MPs would be thrown out of her party if they dared to reflect their constituents’ views.

And then she has the effrontery to state “And let us not do it for ourselves, but for those who follow. For the country’s children and grandchildren too.”  She conveniently forgets that the majority of under 45 year-old voters opted for Britain to remain in the EU!

One of Mrs May’s credentials for her selection as leader of the Tory party was that she was a robust supporter of Britain remaining a member of the Single Market. In April 2016 she said: “We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India and nearly three times as much as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think that we could just replace European trade with these new markets.”

“In a stand-off between Britain and the European Union, 44 per cent of our exports is more important to us that eight per cent of the EU’s exports is to them.”

“Remaining in the European Union does make us more secure; it does make us more prosperous, and it does make us more influential beyond our shores.”

“I believe that it is clearly in our national interests to remain a member of the European Union”. 

About the same time, she made her position on the folly of leaving the single market very clear “So, if we do vote to leave the European Union, we risk bringing the development of the single market to a halt, we risk a loss of investors and businesses to remaining EU member states driven by discriminatory EU policies, and we risk going backwards when it comes to international trade.”

“But the big question is whether, in the event of Brexit, we would be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU and on what terms.”

Could it possibly be the fact that Mrs May is so determined to risk Britain’s prosperity and even the integrity of the UK by entering into negotiations with the EU without even trying to retain access to the Single Market is due to her personal phobia towards courts? This has probably been exacerbated by her recent defeat in Britain’s High and Supreme Courts, and by the December 2016 judgement of the European Court of Justice that parts of her pet “Snooper’s Act” were unlawful – upholding a legal challenge from David Davis, now her Brexit Secretary!

This phobia extends to her determination, once Britain withdraws from the ECJ, to also leave the 47-nation European Court of Human Rights.

She knows that as long as we stay in the Single Market, she won’ be able to withdraw UK from the ECJ; ergo, to silence that bee is buzzing in her eminent bonnet, she knowingly exposes all of us to “risk going backwards”.

Given her evident contempt for the institutions that enforce the rule of law, it is hardly surprising that the White Paper seeks to minimise the role of parliament and the courts in holding the government accountable for success in its negotiations!

Is this really the kind of strengthened democracy that “leavers” and “remainers” voted for?

Future of our Children

Categorised as General