Alarming headlines – BREXIT legal challenge, High Court rules the UK Government cannot trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval.
This is not just another spat between Government and the people. This is a dangerous precedent in a Political world that is being challenged at its core and reaches out to every voter in democracies around the globe. For some it is the kind of brazen behaviour that risks exposing us prematurely to a new form of Politics. Representative Democracy extinction in favour of Direct Democracy representation by the individual and the demise of the traditional Elective representatives in the form of Members of Parliament (MP’s). Herald the Pirate Party in Iceland that has 22% of the vote and may well lead a coalition in what is a seismic event in the slow shifting tectonic plates of Political momentum.
Gina Miller is the lead claimant forcing the UK Government to seek parliamentary approval in order to trigger Article 50 (UK leaving the EU). A display of blinkered arrogance that risks exposing the UK to a Constitutional Crisis by riding roughshod over the very people’s rights she says she is protecting! The people have spoken and an elite group do not want to listen. This is little more than bad losers who want a re-run having an officious temper tantrum, ignoring for their own ends the fact that the very political process they champion has already been exercised, ripping away the right exercised by millions only months ago to a say in their own destiny and throwing it into a political cauldron.
Parliament chose to address the UK membership of the European Union NOT in its own lobbying and voting chambers. Instead, Parliament voted to exercise the full voice of the people in such a momentous decision through the democratic process of a referendum. The matter was debated in the most extensive way in the public forums during the referendum campaign, voted on and we have a decisive majority outcome. How can it possibly be democratic to now revisit the same process on the whim of a few losers and the opinion of unelected judges. This action throws it back into Parliament putting a couple of hundred MP’s in the most awkward of positons. They can do little to even equal the weight of the public debate other than cherry pick on issues that risk mutating out of recognition the voice of the people. Where in our democracy does it say Members of Parliament get two votes when the rest of the country only has one?
Parliament is where the peoples elected representatives are trusted to meet to uphold the will of their constituencies irrespective of their own personal views and to exercise their single vote for the people. This great system was born of an age before modern real time communications and high speed travel that has since mobilised and transformed our interactions. The current system has persisted because the people have tolerated its imperfections as it has maintained a fine balance over the years. Few would say it is broken, but the Gina Millers of this world cannot see beyond the end of their own instant gratification (another very modern infliction). They are going to cut off their own noses to spite their face in their own confusion of the issue.
The court ruling is not helped by the fact that it is handed down by unelected Judges versus the decision of Parliament to process the BREXIT vote through a referendum AND the vote of a majority of the UK. I do not contest the belief that the ruling reflects a clinically correct interpretation of the facts presented in the face of our current laws. Therein lies the quandary. Our judges are the grease in the wheels of our legal system making the laws work. Without that lubrication, clinical legal process risks acting like cement in a gearbox. The ruling is hiding behind the law and not taking to account the will of the people. Instead, the judges have shirked a key responsibility and in so doing, they risk a constitutional crisis.
The challenge now for the government is to decide whether to put their faith in our Democratically elected representatives and let Parliament vote or to challenge the ruling and risk ending up having to vote in Parliament anyway having further stoked emotions. For MP’s it will be their ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ moment.
The Government should accept the ruling and Parliament should expedite a swift vote underwriting the exercising of Article 50 to leave the European Union reinforcing our Democratic process. Any dissenting MP should resign their seats and save themselves the ignominy of voting against the will of the people and protect the integrity of the positons they hold, avoiding the temptation and NOT putting their own self-interests and egos first.
For the other way there lies perdition. A constitutional crisis arises IF Parliament have to re-vote and the outcome of that vote goes against the result of the referendum which was the Direct Democratic will of the people. This would be a breach of trust by our elected representatives that would call into question their very relevance. At best it would demand a general election, as by their own volition the MP’s are no longer representative of their electorate. At worst it would set of a series of events dragging the country into a social revolution with completely unforeseen outcomes other than economic uncertainty that would make the BREXIT process look like a picnic.
There is some inevitability in the direction of travel towards a Direct Democratic process, one that is better serviced in small steps, that does not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The UK already have official online petitions in response to issues of the day. Our digital Hyper-Connected society makes this inevitable. This has its own challenges, but those are for another missive. The change is already happening organically, with Peer to Peer (P2P) relationships circumventing traditional establishment in areas of finance, commerce, accommodation and transportation amongst others. For now we have to manage the turbulence as the old and the new converge.