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Comment

Johnson treats UK like a banana republic

by David Hannay | 18.10.2019

If you just stop to think about it, the attempt by the government to bounce through Parliament tomorrow a momentous decision determining many aspects of our lives is pretty outrageous. The deal they struck has not even been reported to parliament by the Prime Minister and will only be so at the beginning of tomorrow’s debates in both Houses. The urgency is artificially created by the government’s own refusal to ask for an extension of the Article 50 timetable, a request mandated by Parliament in the Benn Act. This is the politics of a banana republic not of the mother of parliaments.

Has it not struck you that supporters of the deal seem to have identified no real advantage to it other than that it exists? Although the Chancellor of the Exchequer is, shamefully, refusing to produce an impact assessment of the consequences of this deal on our economy, there are plenty of well-resourced analyses which do so. And everyone is negative, worse even than Theresa May’s deal which Parliament, including some of those in the present government, rejected.

And then there are some dirty tricks tucked away in those many pages of legal prose. Most significant probably is the switch from a legally binding commitment in the Withdrawal Treaty to maintaining a level playing field on environmental standards, labour laws and much else, to a merely aspirational text in the Political Declaration which has no legal force. Cold comfort there for those who have come to rely on them in their daily lives.


The government’s claim to have abolished the hated Irish backstop is as empty as it is misleading because they have in fact substituted for it a front stop in the form of the new deal and “ consent “ provisions which bear no resemblance to the ones they proposed themselves a mere two weeks ago.

To those who agree with Theresa May that the union of the United Kingdom is indeed precious, the way in which her own government, and even more so the present government, put that at risk – not just in Northern Ireland but in Scotland and? Wales too – is a cause for despair. Does anyone seriously doubt now that the best way to consolidate our own union is to remain in the EU?

The arguments for parliament to reject this deal are therefore compelling. It is not a case of this deal or no deal. If Parliament does reject the deal, then the provisions of the Benn Act will be triggered that day and a request for an extension of Article 50 will be presented. Will the EU 27 agree? Well, fed up as they may be with all the twists and turns of the Brexit debate in this country, there is no evidence at all that they would reject such a request, particularly if it was to hold a referendum or a general election. That is surely the best course for Parliament to set.

Edited by James Earley

5 Responses to “Johnson treats UK like a banana republic”

  • The fact that Chancellor Sajid Javid is refusing to release an economic impact assessment of the Deal’s impact ahead of tomorrow’s crucial vote should be ringing alarm bells everywhere. If it was in any way positive economic news, it would be published. Therefore, MPs must assume that it contains a catalogue of negative and damaging effects to the economy.

  • Yawn! Anyone with an open mind and a modicum of grey cells could have seen this coming the moment Mr. Johnson was included in power positions by first of all Theresa May (remember the reactions of disbelief in the EU circles?) and later by 0.25 % of the British people in that rigged election of the latest Prime Minister. Sorry folks, this is a short and sharp lesson in recognizing the bad bits of your democratic processes and lack of a written constitution. If Johnson gets his “deal” approved there are many years of problems to follow as it can be expected that the last thing he wants to do is change it. Otherwise, get hard at work to revitalize that mother. She’s in dire need of serious overhaul to avoid anything like what we experienced since 2016 ever again.

  • Approval of this dreadful deal would NOT exclude a NO DEAL BREXIT.
    If Johnson fails to present a Free Trade Agreement to Parliament next year the transition will lapse and we will have NO DEAL.
    And Parliament will NOT be able to stop it then.

  • The right wing press is full of headlines shouting that Johnson is a hero and worked a miracle in getting a ‘deal’. It is simple stuff that resonates with those who do not understand the issues other than ‘we won the war’ and the UK is being prevented from spending its money as it wishes while being dictated to by the EU.
    The differences between May’s deal and Johnson’s deal are very hard to explain to people who do not understand political and economic concepts. If we get to a second referendum we have to articulate the issues better and explain in simple terms that the environment, workers’ rights and economic prosperity etc are going down the pan with Johnson’s ‘deal’. They are going to be worse off. Keep saying it and say why in simple language.
    It is very sad to say but Brexit has been founded on prejudice towards foreigners and it is bloody hard to shift prejudice. As a retired teacher I know how hard it is to challenge inbred attitudes and there is so much mythology about the ‘greatness’ of this country’ that reasoned argument does not register.
    Many people voted in their droves to leave the EU because the propaganda of the other side was simple and repeated time and again in the tabloid press. We have to communicate better with the ordinary person in the street if we are to have any chance if there is a second referendum.
    It is depressing to see this country, in the shape of Johnson and the wretched ERG, destroying itself and the future of our youngsters.

  • The other worrying thing is that while Rome burns the opposition parties seem unable to present a united front. They are all suspicious of each other and their prime motivation is to look after their own houses rather than the country. Hilary Benn is clear in his message and a good man. Tom Watson also is unequivocal and consistent in his message. Corbyn, however, keeps changing his position and his past career in politics haunts him and provides ammunition for the tabloids to assassinate his character. If Benn and Watson were leading the Labour Party we would have a better chance in fighting Brexit (goes without saying).
    I am looking forward to marching tomorrow and I hope huge numbers turn up to make their views known to MPS and the buffoon with the Worzel Gummidge hairdo.