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

  1. If refs are the tool of demagogues etc how come Switzerland does OK with them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Switzerland has a federal system and checks and balances. For example, in 2016 the Swiss parliament decided to water down a referendum about free movement with the EU https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/switzerland-immigration-referendum-result-reduce-water-down-protect-eu-relationship-migrant-a7476801.html

      Here is another example of why referendums are tools of demagogues. In Switzerland many local communities can decide to grant or deny citizenship applications of immigrants. These votes are basically like referendums. A few years ago a Dutch woman was denied citizenship by her town community because they found her too "annoying". She appealed to the Aargau cantonal authorities, which overturned the village committee's decision https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/woman-annoying-swiss-citizenship-passport-switzerland-nancy-holten-gipf-oberfrick-aargau-a7712836.html

      So, direct democracy needs checks and balances, or else it becomes the tools of demagogues and can lead to violation of human rights, or the tyranny of a faction.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Why Liberals Should Embrace Fair Trade, Debate Role Of Tariffs

On the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver made fun of Donald Trump's tariffs and mocked him for not understanding how free trade works.  
Oliver noted that tariffs are paid by importers and typically passed along to US consumers, leading to higher prices. Tariffs could cost the US hundreds of thousands of jobs, Oliver argued. 
Trade deficits "aren't actually always bad, and many economists believe, for very complex reasons involving savings rates and the dollar's special status as the world's reserve currency, that America's trade balance might be more or less where it should be," he said.
Oliver argued that "the overwhelming consensus among economists is that trade between countries generally speaking can create jobs, lower costs, and be a net benefit to both nations." 
But is John Oliver right?

We shall argue that although Trump's tariffs lack a clear strategy and are therefore not the right path for the US, tariffs…

Taipei Walking Tours - A Guide To Taipei In 6 Days

Taiwan is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Asia. With about 10.74 million tourists in 2017, it lags behind Asian neighbours like Thailand (35 million), Hong Kong (58 million), Japan (28.7 million), or Indonesia (14 million).
Nevertheless, Taiwan is a great place to visit due to its amazing food, fascinating history, traditional Chinese culture, friendly atmosphere, safety, and natural attractions. Moreover, Taiwan has a very convenient visa policy. Citizens of many countries, including the United States and most European Union members, can travel to Taiwan without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. You can literally buy a plane ticket and go to Taiwan without doing any paperwork.    
If you travel to Taiwan, your first destination will probably be the capital and largest city: Taipei.




Taipei is the political and economic centre of the island, with lots of attractions ranging from modern skyscrapers and shopping centres to night markets, colonial Japanese architect…