Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Article 50: Meh.

Well this is fun isn't it? At this point you just have to laugh. UK politics is so hopelessly fragmented that it cannot unite around any single concept. Labour MPs are torn between voting with their conscience and losing their seats - and, hilariously, the Conservative party is, superficially, not split on the issue. For all the noise about parliament having a say, once they were afforded that opportunity they rolled over and gave the government a free pass. What was the point?

A lot of MPs have voted against their conscience. This should have been one of those occasions where they leveraged their collective power to force the government to supply more detail. They failed. They have squandered the opportunity afforded them by Ms Miller. But that is why parliament needed to assert itself in its own right rather than having the law do it for them. To have voted any other way would have enraged an already suspicious public who simply do not trust Westminster.

This is pretty much the consequence of Parliament having done whatever it pleases regardless of public opinion for decades. They painted themselves into this corner. Such is the uselessness of parliamentary democracy.

If we take the view that parliament is a safety mechanism against government excess, then the system as it stands is hopelessly unfit for purpose. Through its own ineptitude parliament has sleepwalked into an ambush. The debate is now muddled beyond all recognition and if we weren't past the point of no return before today then we most certainly are now. All that remains to be seen is Mrs May's white paper to discover just how much of a mess this is going to be.

In all honesty, I am somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing. Brexiteers will be delighted, remainers will be gutted, and I'm just glad to be past this stage of clueless Westminster bickering. Now we get down to the serious business of leaving the EU. Though my hopes for an orderly exit have been dashed, I at least get the entertainment of watching the Tories squirm as their simplistic notions fall apart. Things are, finally, about to get interesting.

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