Skip to main content

To Stop Brexit, Remainers Must Threaten To Break Up The UK

The Palace of Westminster (by via Wikimedia Commons)

Remainers are losing their struggle to stop Brexit. Although public opinion seems to back a second referendum, Theresa May's conservative government is determined to leave the European Union, while Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn has so far shown no willingness to oppose the right-wing implementation of the 2016 referendum. 

The Liberal Democrats, the major anti-Brexit political force, have proven to be ineffective, in some instances acting sloppily. Back in July, for instance, the former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and his successor, Vince Cable, failed to show up in parliament to vote on two amendments tabled by hardline Brexiters. The amendments passed by a slim margin. 

So how can Brexit be stopped? The answer is: remainers need to resort to more decisive tactics. 

If their demands to hold a second Brexit referendum are rejected on the grounds that there has already been such a vote and Leave won, they should call for a referendum in areas that voted to remain in the EU, namely London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to break away from the UK. People need to use the strategy of the demagogues against demagoguery, expose the absurdity of Brexiters' argument that a referendum represents the unquestionable "will of the people". 


Right-wing demagogues love referendums because they allow them to circumvent parliamentary democracy, separation of powers and checks and balances. Without checks and balances, referendums are instruments of tyranny, either of an individual or of a faction. That is why, for example, Turkish leader Erdogan used a referendum to change the constitution and give himself semi-dictatorial powers. 

Referendums are the preferred tool of demagogues trying to dismantle democracy. They can deceive the public, lie and promise things they cannot deliver, play with identity politics, and when the vote is done there is no turning back. 

With the demagogues and xenophobes firmly in power, the only way to stop Brexit is to use the strategy of the demagogues against them. British nationalists hate the multiculturalism of the European Union, but they oppose the break-up of the United Kingdom. The only way to persuade them of the absurdity of their argument is to use a referendum to break up the UK. 

Brexit opponents should insist on holding independence referendums in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Tories would most certainly oppose such a referendum, thus revealing that their pro-Brexit fervour is not about democracy and the will of the people, but about manipulating a vote to impose a nationalistic, xenophobic ideology and dismantling checks and balances in the process.  

Furthermore, the threat of independence referendums would give the anti-Brexit camp a powerful argument to demand that in order to avoid the break-up of the UK, the country should restore its constitutional order: parliamentary sovereignty, separation of powers, checks and balances. Brexiters either restore constitutional order, admit that the referendum was only advisory and stop using the vote as an excuse to impose their political agenda, or it will be the end of the UK. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Living in Taiwan: Seven Reasons Why It's Good to Be Here

Chinese New Year can be a pretty boring time for a foreigner. All of my friends were celebrating with their families, and since I have no family here, nor have I a girlfriend whose family I could join, I had nothing special to do. Shops and cafes were closed - apart from big chains like McDonald's or Starbucks, which were overcrowded anyway. So I had a lot of time to think.
On Saturday evening I went out to buy my dinner. While I was walking around, I heard the voices of the people inside their homes, the sounds of their New Year celebrations. Then I suddenly asked myself: "What on earth are you doing here? Why are you still in Taiwan?" 
Before I came to Taiwan, some Taiwanese friends of mine had recommended me their country, highly prasing it and going so far as to say that Taiwan is a "paradise for foreigners" (bear in mind that when I say foreigners I mean 'Westerners'). 
"It's easy for foreigners to find a job," they argued. "Taiwane…

Rumours About Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing's Arrest Spread Online

Rumours about the arrest of Chinese model and actress Fan Bingbing on charges of tax evasion have spread on Chinese media.
As Apple Daily reports, celebrity Fan Bingbing and her younger brother Fan Chengcheng have allegedly been detained for taking part in a tax evasion scheme alongside her manager, Mu Xiaoguang.
Mu has also allegedly been charged with destroying incriminating evidence.

On May 28 TV anchor Cui Yongyuan posted on Weibo a contract that showed Fan Bingbing being paid $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on director Feng Xiaogang's film “Cell Phone 2.” 

Later Cui released another contract worth $7.8 million (RMB50 million) for the same work. He alleged that Fan had declared to tax authorities only the first contract, thus avoiding to pay taxes on the second, larger amount. 

Double-contracts for the purpose of tax evasion are known in China as "yin-yang contracts". 

Although the Chinese government censored Cui's posts, in early June China's t…

7 Reasons Why Hong Kong Is A Great Place To Live

In 2013 I wrote a post about 7 reasons why it's good to live in Taiwan based on my one-year experience in the country. Now I would like to talk about another place which I love, and which I have perhaps loved more than any other: Hong Kong.
When I was growing up in a small town in Southern Italy, I knew very little about Hong Kong. As a child I remember watching the handover ceremony in 1997, yet at that time I did not really understand much about what was going on. That is my first, vague memory of Hong Kong.
Years later, when I was in my early twenties, I watched a short documentary about Hong Kong on Italian television. I was captivated by the energy and modernity of that exotic metropolis. I thought that some day I would like to visit it. However, it was not on my list of priorities. I wanted to go to Japan, mainland China, South Korea, far more than I wished to go to Hong Kong.
In late 2011 I decided to go to Taiwan because of a girl I had met in Germany. While I was there, …