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Friday, 18 January 2019

Mrs. May-Day

Mrs May's withdrawal agreement with the European Union was a compromise between two opposite parliamentary and voter positions: (B-)Remain and (Br)Exit. Given that Brexit was/is an emotional debate, its parliamentary defeat even makes logical sense. It's safe to argue that any compromise by Mrs May's government will fail in parliament.

This leaves three options:
  1. let the voters decide, either through (a) a 2nd referendum, or (b) new general elections; or
  2. let parliament decide by an individual conscience vote.

Option 1(a) is a recipe for additional future referenda as any outcome will always be contested by the losing side of the Brexit debate. Option 1(b) may benefit Labour, the opposition.

The second option will leave the UK government out of control but this observation is merely a confirmation of what has already happened, ever since former PM David Cameron announced the Brexit referendum on 20 February 2016.

The trias politica concept argues that there should be a separation in powers in order to have a proper functioning democracy. In this concept, the government is the executive body, while parliament is the legislative body. The judicial body provides an independent legal review whether (government) actions are in accordance with the law.

Many governments apply this trias politica concept, albeit that some only apply it formally but not in substance. True application requires substance over form. In a mere formal application, governments use parliament as a rubber stamp and thus combine the executive and the legislative power. Often the judicial system has then become dependent on the government for its appointees.

Mrs May's fight to find a compromise suitable to parliament is honourable but doomed to fail. There is one exception: let parliament first vote on a Brexit without any EU deal. A parliamentary majority would probably vote against this government proposal given its potential catastrophic consequences.

The second vote would be on the type of Brexit deal: a limited EEA-Norway membership, or a full EU membership, including the unilateral withdrawal of the Article 50 letter.

Perhaps, the EEA-Norway model would win. It is, however, still conceivable that the UK would prefer to stay in the EU given the harsh impact of leaving. This might well be the worst outcome for the EU. See 2019 Euronews article by Ronan McCrea, Professor of Constitutional and European Law, for its arguments.

Should I Stay or Should I Go (1982) by The Clash
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

It's always tease, tease, tease
You're happy when I'm on my knees
One day it's fine and next it's black
So if you want me off your back
Well, come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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