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

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…

Majority Of Germans Are Afraid Of Donald Trump - Survey

More than two-thirds of Germans think that Donald Trump's foreign policy is making the world more dangerous, according to a recent survey.

The survey shows that 69 percent of respondents worry that Trump's policy is making the world more dangerous, topping this year's list. 

63 percent of respondents said they are worried about asylum seekers, 63% fear "tensions due to the arrival of foreigners", 61 percent worry about politicians' inability to tackle problems. 59 percent are worried about terrorism - 12 percent less than a year ago.

58 percent are worried about the cost of the EU debt crisis to German taxpayers, while 57 percent fear political extremism.

"The Fears of the Germans" (Die Ängste der Deutschen) is a survey conducted every year by R+V-Infocenter since 1992. 2,400 people above 14 years are asked about their biggest worries. This year the survey was conducted between June 8 to July 18.

Will The Huawei Case Finally Awaken Democrats To The China Threat And The Danger Of Faux Free Trade Rhetoric?

On January 28 the Department of Justice of the United States unsealed two cases against Huawei, China's largest telecommunications company, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. 
Huawei has been accused of trying to steal trade secrets, committing bank fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran. One indictment claims that Huawei attempted to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile by promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information.
Huawei is not a company like any other. Over the years it has benefited enormously from the support of the Chinese Communist regime. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, joined China's army during the Cultural Revolution. In 1978 he also joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
In the early years Huawei's sources of capital were high-interest loans (20%-30%) from Chinese state-owned enterprises. Ren also secured soft loans from the local government of Shenzhen thanks to his personal co…