Brexit: Trump and Queen Anne

A lot of Americans are supporters of Brexit, not least because we see many parallels with America’s revolutionary struggle. From what he has said, I think President Trump does too.  He doesn’t say much, but how can he really, Obama got pretty seriously criticized for his “back of the queue” remark. Rightly of course. These countries are supposedly all our friends, but hey, this is Britain, the cousins. Of course, we care.

So what has he done? Walked very softly and offered the use of one of our biggest sticks, the US economy itself. He hasn’t, in so many words, offered the United Kingdom completely tariff-free trade with the US, but that is the import.

That is just about all we can do, other than offer moral support, and advice from one of the world’s best negotiators. That too has been done, only to be spurned, sometimes contemptuously.

Some of the more sensible Britons have noticed as well. One of them is Freddy Gray and he wrote about it in The Spectator UK. Sadly behind the paywall, but if you have any free articles left, it’s pretty good.

Tune out all the noise around Brexit, and read what Donald Trump said today:

‘I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,’ he told reporters at a bilateral meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. ‘But I gave the Prime Minister my ideas on to negotiate it and I think you would have been successful. She didn’t listen to that and that’s fine, she’s got to do what she’s got to do, but I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart now. I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won … But I thought it would happen, it did happen, it’s a very tough situation.’

In fact, if you want to understand quite how bad Theresa May’s government has been, it helps to go back to January 27, 2017: the day Theresa May visited Donald Trump in the White House. Trump was very keen to offer May a trade deal there and then, but she demurred. She was more eager to get Trump to reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO.

As Steve Bannon, who was there, tells me:

‘President Trump tried to coach May during her White House visit. He told her to get on with it because time was her enemy not her friend. He also offered to do a bilateral deal with the UK. You could tell she didn’t really comprehend what he was trying to tell her. She seemed like a deer in the headlights.’

Westminster know-alls will tell you that it would not have been legally possible for May to enter into trade negotiations with Trump before our exit from the EU. Maybe so. But surely the mere offer would have been useful leverage, as the Author of The Art of the Deal might say.

One can’t help wondering who the real idiot is: Donald Trump? Or Brexit Britain?

My read is that Parliament has become an out of control tyranny, hell-bent on selling British sovereignty to the EU, probably for a hell of a lot more than 30 pieces of silver, the promise of a well-rewarded life of no responsibility, and at least part of the government and civil service are in league with them. Like most things, there is a precedent, the last time Parliament went this rogue, England got the Lord Protector, Cromwell. No sightings around Cambridge so seems unlikely this time, but maybe Queen Anne has something to offer. Cranmer seems to think so.

The last time Royal Assent was withheld from a parliamentary bill was in the wake of the union of England and Scotland in 1707/8, when Queen Anne declined to support the Scottish Militia Bill. And she did so on the advice of her ministers: “…the Tories had shown that their views in relation to the major issues confronting the nation – the Church, the war, the succession, and the question of union with Scotland – were out of gear with the nation’s interests.” Queen Anne deployed her prerogative veto to ensure (or enhance) the possibility of national peace and reconciliation: the last thing the inaugural Parliament of Great Britain needed was armed Jacobites intent on restoring the Stuarts to the Throne.

The European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill currently making its way through Parliament – at the behest of Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin – is designed to frustrate the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit (that is, a clean, global Brexit on WTO terms). It is thereby purposely designed to frustrate Brexit altogether, simply because it obliges the Prime Minister to seek an extension to Article 50 not quite in perpetuity, but certainly to a point which appears to mandate the UK’s participation in Elections to the European Parliament next month, and thereafter Brexit is delayed until a ‘deal’ is done which satisfies the EU. The Bill doesn’t prevent ‘no deal’ altogether (the European Council could reject the Prime Minister’s request), but it patently binds the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand. It is a profoundly flawed bill – not least because it appears to have been preempted by her recent request for an extension to Article 50 – but it is effectual to the extent that the Prime Minister must move a motion in the House of Commons to extend Article 50 the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

There has been some conjecture that the Crown may demur, as it did in 300 years ago; that the Queen may be advised by her minsters not to give assent to the Bill on the grounds that it is purely a creation of Parliament, not responsible government; that is, government responsive and accountable to the will of the people. As JS Mill observed in 1864: “Responsibility is null when nobody knows who is responsible… To maintain it at its highest, there must be one person who receives the whole praise of what is well done, the whole blame of what is ill.” The Prime Minister can sack responsible ministers, and the people can sack responsible governments, but who can sack both Houses of Parliament? How may those who voted for a manifesto which pledged to take the UK out of the EU (Single Market and Customs Union) mete democratic justice upon a fractious Remainer House of Commons aided by a partisan Speaker who has ridden roughshod over constitutional precedent; abetted by a compliant Remainer House of Lords intent on abdicating their scrutinising role to rush through a flawed, ill-considered and procedurally irregular piece of legislation?

Keep reading. This is, I think, legitimate. Freedom is always based on the interplay between various forces. In the US, it is explicit, in the UK implicit, and it is rare indeed for the Monarch to be involved. But this situation is rare, indeed, Parliament is not in good order, and is obviously violating the will of the people, and now the government is as well, but in a different way.

And frankly, for all the reasons His Grace listed, including her duty as head of the Church of England. Is this so different really, leading the UK into the at best Godless EU, compared to the birth of a Catholic heir that simulated the Glorious Revolution, bringing the House of Orange to the throne?

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13 Responses to Brexit: Trump and Queen Anne

  1. Nicholas says:

    Unfortunately, according to the Evening Standard, HM gave Royal Assent to Yvette Cooper’s Bill:

    There will be a lot of anger when this comes out, and those of us aware of the judicial review case are waiting to hear what, if anything, will come of it. There will be calls for a Republic now. If they were not praying for the resurrection of Cromwell before, they are now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      I’m inclined to think the republic is probably inevitable, if the Queen dies before Charles, if not the monarchy may have a chance. Doing the right thing here would have served it well. But who knows, what information she receives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        Truly, I have lost trust in the establishment, other than a handful of people, most of them belong to the centrist camp, which is no friend to Brexit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        The disestablishment of the CofE may not be that far off either. There is a lot of anger directed at the bishops.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Almost automatic with the establishment of the republic. Here’s the thing though, if the CofE finds some good leadership, it could be the best thing to happen to it in a long time. Established churches get too comfortable.

          Liked by 1 person

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