It has been a little over a month since Boris Johnson was elected as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and yet here we are, on the brink of one of the volatile political periods in modern times. While the revelation on Wednesday morning of his plan to pull forward a Queen’s speech to limit the time needed for MPs to block a No Deal Brexit sent shockwaves across the continent, MPs from across the house are continuing to meet to craft a plan to save Britain from the jaws of an unplanned Brexit.
Even taking the craziness of the past 3 years into account, this is no longer crazy. We are now well and truly into this outrageous territory.
Never before in the history of Parliament has a prime minister attempted to suspend the House of Commons; a move which will essentially create a vile and undemocratic autocracy definitely against the will of the people.
No Deal Brexit
For those who aren’t entirely sure of what a No Deal Brexit is, allow me to analogize.
Imagine you’re on a flight which, apart from a bit of turbulence and a slightly delayed and cold meal, is everything you could really expect from an airline. But then, out of almost nowhere, the passengers hold an informal vote on whether to leave the plane or stay – given the “outrageous conditions” of the flight and “limitless opportunities” if we were to ditch.
Except, this vote didn’t specify at all what the “limitless opportunities” were or if they even existed, and what the exit strategy or alternative mode of transport was. Yet in blind opportunism, the passengers have voted to leave the plane. Fair enough. But suddenly it appears that this whole leaving the plane business is a lot more complicated than people made it out to be. Apparently, you can’t just land anywhere you want, especially when none of the passengers can agree on an airport or country.
So, you’re still stuck on the plane circling in the sky, with regular brawls breaking out between passengers and some demanding another vote while others want to just get off. The captain has just been informed that fuel is running out, and it seems the only possibility to leave the plane is now to jump off without a parachute. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Brexit in a nutshell.
Saving the UK
While Johnson attempts to play Boris ball (which includes playing hardball with the E.U. to conceal the fact he has no plan whatsoever other), it’s up to the rebel MPs to save the country from the disastrous consequences of a No Deal Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn’s initial masterplan was to call a vote of no confidence to oust Johnson, install a temporary Labour government to see out the threat of a No Deal, then call a general election and possibly even a referendum. It was a tad overconfident to expect parties to accept the notion of Corbyn as prime minister, let alone Tory MPs.
However, much to the disappointment of many newly-converted Liberal Democrats voters, leader Jo Swinson cynically revealed her playing party politics card – seemingly happier to support an austerity-enforcing government nosediving into economic turmoil than a temporary Labour alliance to thwart a No Deal Brexit.
Her reasoning suggested that she believes that Corbyn will not be able to command a majority for the vote of no confidence, while in the same breath stating that she would do anything to stop a No Deal Brexit. The British public quickly pounced on Swinson’s duplicity, with thousands chiming in on Twitter pointing out that she has voted more times with the Tory whip than a lot of prominent Tory members, including on motions which cut welfare and benefits.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson rules out an emergency government with Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister – saying the best way to stop a no-deal Brexit is a new government “led by somebody who has respect right across the House". pic.twitter.com/hTpyoSuMg0
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) August 15, 2019
From a political standpoint, it is amusing to see a party with 14 MPs attempt to rile a party with the largest membership in the land, and a tad hypocritical to outrightly deny a plan which works to stop Brexit when it was her party that has banged on about remaining in the E.U. for the past three years.
After this plan gained little traction, meetings in the past few days have thankfully been more fruitful.
On Tuesday, 180 MPs signed a document to do “whatever necessary” to stop the U.K. from crashing out of the E.U., including setting up an alternative parliament if parliament was suspended.
In light of today’s shocking developments, meetings will now undoubtedly be accelerated and conducted with a new sense of urgency. With Common’s Speaker John Bercow condemning Johnson’s plan as nothing short of “a constitutional outrage” as well as Corbyn labeling it as a “smash and grab,″ it’s essential that these MPs can get the cogs turning, and fast.
In spite of the Lib Dem melodrama, SNP, Greens, and Plaid Cymru have backed the idea of an Autumn election, which would look to deliver some form of working majority to pursue some form of meaningful action regarding Brexit. A panacea almost.
Ever since Theresa May castrated Parliament in 2017 with her self-effacing snap election, it’s safe to say that the House of Commons is now being ruled by a group of warlords, each with a different agenda and ideals.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of Tory politicians and voters have rubbished Corbyn’s proposal, claiming that an election will do nothing but throw a spanner into the works, with the PM accusing the “collaborators” of causing chaos during crunch time for British politics. It doesn’t take a political expert to tell that these remarks are nothing but smoke and mirrors. With a whole host of domestic policy announcements in recent weeks paired with an early budget announcement promising millions for key sectors, it’s clear that an Autumn election is very much on the horizon.
With no majority and a parliament which will fight tooth and nail to stop prorogation, it’s become very apparent to the Brexiteers that the only way to force legislation is through a functioning House of Commons with an actual majority. And so it should be. But election or no election, the imminent crisis right now is to stop a No Deal, and a snap election will serve as nothing but a distraction until an extension to Article 50 is secured.
No Time to Lose
The legislation required to stop a No Deal will require a majority in the Commons, which means some Tories will have to vote against the government. While there have been some vocal Tory dissidents such as Dominic Grieve and Guto Bebb who have stated their distaste of Johnson’s latest movements, there have been some whispers amongst the blue backbenches that there are in fact many more MPs who are willing to stand against the tide.
With the past three years showcasing the very best of the “putting party before country” foolhardiness from the people holding the country’s highest offices, it’s about time we, the people, were put first. Because at the end of the day, it will be the people who lose their jobs, pay through the nose for fruit and vegetables, and be denied life-saving treatment. And that’s just the start.
Time is very much of the essence. With the clock ticking down, it’s clear that No Deal is a grave mistake which will echo across the generations. It’s about time egos and allegiances were put aside to save the future of the people of the United Kingdom before it’s too late.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.