Parliament Rebels

And so we are witness to an incredible scene in Britain as the Parliament rebels against the government and most especially the people. Not sure I’ve ever seen this before, a putatively elected representative assembly actively and openly seeking to undo what the people expressly said they wanted it to do, and the government is attempting to do.

Theodore Dalrymple explains more on City Journal:

You would have thought, from the howls of outrage that greeted Boris Johnson’s temporary suspension of Parliament, that he had appointed himself prime minister for life. Our democracy was in danger, said the demonstrators against it, when what they really meant was that Johnson’s maneuver had made it harder for Parliament to obstruct the wishes of the people as expressed in the Brexit referendum. Jacob Rees-Mogg was right when he said that the outrage was bogus: it was that of a spoiled child who doesn’t want to go to bed.

Whether the referendum was a good idea in the first place is another question entirely. I think that it was not. Plebiscitary democracy, in which a government puts questions to the population in the expectation of getting the answer it wants, is dangerous. The modern European tradition is to hold a plebiscite and then take no notice of the result if it is “wrong.” This, of course, is the worst of both worlds, but it is what the demonstrating “defenders” of democracy want.

If they had objected beforehand to the whole procedure of the referendum, for example—to the absurdity of deciding so complex a question on the basis of a single vote decided by 50 percent of the votes plus one—those who now decry what Johnson has done might have had a point, but they did not. They expected to win the referendum and only turned against it because of the unexpected result.

It is obvious to all—except perhaps the demonstrators—that Parliament has conducted a long rearguard action against putting into effect the vote that it, led by former prime minister David Cameron, called. The majority of Members of Parliament were opposed to Brexit: but instead of coming straight out with it, they prevaricated so long and so efficiently that they almost scuppered the whole process.

In normal circumstances, Members of Parliament are not obliged to vote according to what the population wants. They are representatives, not delegates with a clearly laid-down mandate to fulfill, and governments have to make hundreds of decisions without reference to the electorate’s wishes, except in a general way. But, having canvassed public opinion in a supposedly binding referendum on a vital subject, to ignore the result can only strengthen the impression that the political class is a law unto itself.

Do read the rest, as usual, it is outstanding.

Which is exactly my thinking. I’m not much of a fan of referenda, but when the legislature calls one, telling the electorate that it will be binding, it is very bad for the legislature to recant just because the people disagree with them. The Parliament is sovereign only to the point that the people expressly allow, and when you ask the boss what he thinks, you pretty much have to go with his thinking.

What this is, of course, is the members of Parliament rebelling at being required to do their jobs and take responsibility, just like a bunch of snowflake students. Well most probably were a few years ago.

The Remainers and rebels against constitutional government won a measure in the Commons yesterday to usurp the government’s control of the legislative calendar, to put it in terms that are, I hope, reasonably accurate and understandable to Americans.

21 Tory (I refuse to call them Conservative since it is an apparent lie) voted to pass this bill, and have had the whip withdrawn (I don’t really understand what this means either, but they seem to think it important). The government has tabled (which in British usage means introduced) a measure to call an early election, and it is quite likely that those 21 members would be deselected as a candidate by the party, leading to their falling off the gravy train. One hopes.

Today the rebels intend to introduce a bill to forbid a WTO exit from the EU. It could well pass, even though it would directly (I think) contradict another law, having the Queen’s assent, that stipulates that very thing if an agreement cannot be reached with the EU.

And there is apparently a plan, if that measure passes in the Commons, to talk it to death in the Lords.

And yes, I may be completely wrong here, so anybody that knows better, please correct me. This nonsense is about as transparent as a concrete wall.

In large measure, the safety of a free people is safeguarded by the sheer messiness and inefficiency of representative government, but the British Parliament is simply making itself a laughingstock, and a watchword of how not to do things. It is close to the point that in the US, would lead to an armed rebellion by the people, but like all governments with authoritarian leanings, the British government, just like Lenin, Hitler, and Mao, long since disarmed their people.

Of course, a lot of this is merely “Run in circles, scream, and shout.” Not a good look though, for the so-called Mother of Parliaments, whether one thinks it useless or senile.

What next? I haven’t a clue, but I think we’ll need more popcorn.

 

About NEO
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14 Responses to Parliament Rebels

  1. Mike says:

    I love the honesty these episodes provide the public. They cannot happen enough… while often dismaying, it is illuminating to see your representative openly display the disdain they have for you. This is particularly valuable when they are the representative you supported.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yep, it’s valuable that way. Most of my British friends are both conservative and Conservative (or used to be, now they are mostly UKIP or TBP). I doubt that if Johnson doesn’t manage a clean Brexit that the Tory party survives, and I doubt that Labour survives at all.

      There’s a lesson there for our Chamber of Commerce Repubs and Democrats. Whether they are smart enough to learn from others experience is pretty doubtful though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike says:

        Individuals do not learn unless they are defeated in the truest sense. (Same with Alcoholics.) And even then the recidivism rate is extraordinarily high. In other words, Abandon all Hope he who wishes to teach. We must defeat them on both sides of the pond and immediately establish defenses against their imminent return. They have pushed us to this point. Bipartisanahitt is a compromise with the devil…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mike says:

        I also find it extraordinary that Europeans fail to recognize the EU achieved what the NAZI’s desired without using tanks… yet. Unification under a centralized (Germanic) government, one would think, would be frowned upon in most circles.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          You would think. Fair number of the Brits have got there, much talk of the fourth reich amongst them. And from what I hear, the general public has had it, they want out and sooner the better.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. the unit says:

    Don’t know much about how it all works, or doesn’t, in the UK. However, have tried to follow all this Brexit ordeal all along the way.
    Seems to me the cartoon is backwards from the way I saw reported who was leave and who was remain.
    Old folks were leave and young who wanted opportunity in EU were remain.
    Probably lots of fake going perhaps ways. Well, at least ignorance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      There’s a lot of fake UK news. Most watch the BBC still, it’s pretty comparable to CNN. Our internet resources are better, there’s maybe a half dozen good conservative sites, not enough but they are growing fast. Heck, the only site I donate to is one of them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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