Brexit Britain Has A Lot To Learn From The Spirit Of #Indyref

It is obvious that the way the Brexit referendum facilitated citizen participation was incongruous with the deepest and broadest definition of citizen participation and informed judgement. What is unclear and ought to be clarified by empirical studies is the comparative quality of the IndyRef and Brexit referenda.

A peremptory study by the Electoral Reform Society has criticised “glaring democratic deficiencies” in the Brexit debate, contrasting the vibrant, grassroots participation of IndyRef with the hackneyed diktat of Brexit, raising fresh questions for scholars about what causal factors caused the differences between the two, and what corrections to process designs we can make going forward. The schematic framework and litmus test of democratic efficacy against which the qualities of the respective referenda will be assessed derives from Graham Smith’s work on democratic innovations, distinguished by its dedication to factual accuracy and its being at the cutting edge of research into ways of maximising citizen participation.

Against this standard one can test the hypothesis of the Electoral Reform Society that the IndyRef was qualitatively superior to the Brexit referendum, and argues that whilst IndyRef deepened participation in contemporary political institutions, particularly in ways concordant with Smith’s vision, Brexit was suffice only to further entrench the general alienation and malaise inspired by high British politics.

Moreover, this research points to the wider questions about how federal devolution in Britain has stoked innovations at the grassroots level which provide inroads to greater participation. It’s worth reiterating Smith’s analysis that “we are concerned with the degree to which citizen participation can be institutionalised at the level of the city, the nation or the transnational/global.” A comparative study of IndyRef and Brexit naturally raises questions about the ways in which the design of devolution in Scotland has been a boon to citizen participation, and, moreover, the ways in which the ossification of incumbent democracy in Westminster has contributed to the alienation of ordinary voices in the Brexit debate. Federal devolution may well be stoking democratic innovations; Westminster may well be the mother of democracies but the design of our parliament predates modern research on the best institutional and constitutional designs for enhancing citizen participation. We can learn more from others than they can from us now. The qualitative differences of the debates had in Holyrood, across Scotland, in Westminster and across Britain, shine a light on how different institutional configurations create different outputs and inspires us to think about the ways in which institutions can be modified to maximise citizen inputs. These are the normative aspects of the issue to which we should be devoted to studying, which is to say in this context we must consider what is the ideal standard for conducting referenda in democratic polities, lest our research be bereft of a normative framework to inform its explanatory elements, which are not, and ought not to be, divide from values and statement of what ought.

The obvious way of assessing and comparing the democratic efficacy of referenda is to analyse the extent to which they respectively left voters feeling as though they had made an informed choice and decision about their vote. Whereas referenda and public deliberation are supposed to foment understanding of different positions, and lead citizens to informed judgement, the ERS report found that “people felt consistently ill-informed” about Brexit. The ERS postulate that what was missing was “extensive public information campaigns and a vibrant deliberative debate, including the possibility of holding official Citizens’ Assemblies during the campaign.” Political institutions like Citizens’ Assemblies are bespoke designs made in mind of maximising opportunities for informed judgement. There is growing evidence they lead people to better judgement. Whereas IndyRef encouraged participation and deliberation, Brexit did not.

Tick Tock, the Tory game of Brexit Chicken.

With 69% of Britons saying Brexit is going badly, (including 58% of leavers), May is under increasing pressure from her critics, be that in her Government or on the opposition benches.

With her Brexit plan that was agreed upon at Chequers already on the rails and two senior figures handing in their resignation, she is now also faced with the reality that it will almost certainly be rejected by the EU. Whilst talk intensifies about the 48 signatures needed to trigger a Vote of No Confidence for the Tory Leadership, what is less certain is whether MPs will trigger such a mechanism.

The rebels have more problems than simple numbers, firstly who to replace her, there’s an open field of budding candidates, but the Tories haven’t yet united behind one candidate as an ideal replacement. Ruth Davidson looks like a likely front runner amongst Tory voters, but critically not MPs, she polls highest in 4 of 6 categories, but there’s no indication as to whether she’d put her name in the hat. Secondly and significantly, she campaigned for Remain, which is unlikely to heal any divisions in the Tory party.
Critically for Corbyn however, is that May will likely stay on, and he’ll relish being able to face the predictable and easily malfunctioning Maybot at PMQs, just look at how it played on CNN on Monday evening. Although, a general election is unlikely even if the VONC was triggered, the lack of rebellion within the Tory party may be a blessing in disguise for Corbyn. Voters will likely come to a realisation down the line about the economic hardship that a Brexit pursued by the Tories will deliver.

Consider this though, if a Vote of no confidence were to be triggered and somehow the Hard Brexiteers managed to install someone that shared their vision post-European European Union model for the U.K would look, for example Boris Johnson. Corbyn may encounter issues of his own 43% of people oppose the Brexit that Corbyn is pursuing, if by the time the next general election came around the Tories had started to repeal worker rights, whilst the economy crumbled and inequality soared, the pitch forks may come for Labour HQ, as a party that complied in the process.

For now, Corbyn will have the benefit of hindsight on the top issue of the decade, an advantage that may yet become a hindrance. Theresa will likely remain in power, but picture a Jenga block with 48 signatures. The powerful backbenchers from the ERG group, that have seemingly dictated policy within the Tory party are playing a game of chicken, they realise that the Brexit that has to be agreed upon by October will not deliver their dream of a fully neoliberal state.

May’s government near collapse as Johnson and Davis resign

Just days after her Brexit retreat Theresa May is scrambling to save her Brexit policy and her premiership. She lost three ministers in less than 24 hours, all citing concern over the direction of Brexit.

The haul began with the resignation of Brexit secretary, David Davis late last night. In his scathing resignation letter, he said: “the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach and not merely a reluctant conscript.”

Full statement here.

Even though there has often been friction between the two, this still comes as a surprise since the Prime Minister seemed to have secured backing for her soft Brexit plans, after a deal was struck during talks at Chequers – the Prime Minister’s country residence this weekend.

May’s Brexit pitch would see the UK adopt a “common rule book” in a UK-EU free trade area. Effectively leaving the UK under some EU influence.

Later speaking to the BBC, Davis said: “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.

Adding: ““It seems to me we’re giving too much away, too easily, and that’s a dangerous strategy at this time.”

Tory MP Peter Bone praised Davis’s resignation as a “principled and brave decision” adding: “The PM’s proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable.”

Junior minister Steve Baker followed Davis out the door, he said: “The problem with this particular Brexit is that it will not allow us to have proper control of what goes on in the United Kingdom. It’s the point David Davis made.”

Cabinet ministers thanked Davis for her service and explained how great a loss this is except Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who likened May’s Chequers deal to a “turd”.

Not long after he resigned.

He said: “Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “This afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.”

Today’s slew of resignations have sparked a mini re-shuffle. Dominic Raab, former housing minister replaced Davis. Rabb is a prominent leave campaigner and is an ally of environment secretary Michael Gove. Raab was sacked by May two year ago in her first 2016 cabinet re-shuffle.

The highly unpopular Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will replace Johnson at the Foreign Office, Matt Hancock will move over to health, with Jeremy Wright replacing him as Culture Secretary.

Rumours of a revolt are circulating. Tory MPs could trigger a motion of no confidence forcing a leadership contest. Under current rules 15% of Tory MPs must write to the chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, to trigger a vote of no confidence in Mrs May. That’s about 48 MPs.

Labour welcome this. In a tweet, leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “With her Government in chaos, if she clings on, it’s clear she’s more interested in hanging on for her own sake than serving the people of our country.”

Speaking exclusively with TPN, shadow minister, Clive Lewis said: “This is a blow to what little of Theresa May’s authority survived her botched General Election.

“She should, in the National interest, step aside call a new GE and let Labour do the job of ending this nightmare go to once and for all.”

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee said: “Reality has now firmly bitten for the Brexiteers.

“The Chequers package provides a good basis for negotiations. The debate now should’ve been with the EU not within the Conservative Party, but a small group just won’t accept anything other than an ideological Brexit which will harm the UK.”

May faces another week of tough diplomacy meetings to keep her Brexit plans on track as well as the planned visit of President Donald Trump this weekend.

Dominic Raab is new Brexit Secretary after David Davis quits

“The odd man out.” This is what the former Brexit Secretary David Davis said he described himself as to Theresa May at Chequers last Friday.

Speaking on the Today programme earlier, Davis claimed that he could not continue with in the role with the negotiation policy as it was, because he believed Britain was giving away too much too easily, and that it was a dangerous strategy that was weak and possibly lead to an inescapable negotiating position. He had to leave his post because he could not fight for a policy which he does not believe in. Davis specifically cited problems with the common rule book.

However, Davis does not want to run for leader, and says he does not want more resignations from other Brexiteers, claiming it is different for him because he was Brexit Secretary and he was the one negotiating face to face with the EU.

Labour have responded through Shadow Treasury Minister for Sustainable Economics Clive Lewis, speaking exclusively to TPN, stated “It’s now evident the country, again because of Tory incompetence and infighting, faces a period of critical instability at a crucial juncture in the EU negotiations. She should, in the national interest, step aside and call a new general election and let Labour do the job of ending this nightmare once and for all.”

Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, has also called for the PM to put her position to vote in parliament, but doesn’t call so far as calling for a general election, nor does John Mcdonnel, Shadow Chancellor, despite calling the current situation as a “paralysis in government.”

All eyes currently are trained on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. It is unclear what his next move would be. It is felt that to have any credibility to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, he needs to follow Davis and resign. This would truly bring down the government but, as yet, it is still unclear whether Brexiteers have the numbers to bring May down.

Clearly however the PM is worried, as this morning it has been revealed that Labour MPs have been invited to a briefing on the ‘Chequers deal’ by May’s Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell. This is a sign that May is scrabbling around for support for her position.

Davis has given Brexiteers a rallying call which the likes of Mogg could use. However, they are still not acting as a team, and are awaiting the announcement of either a further resignation or the new Brexit Secretary before fully understanding their position.

With Theresa May teetering on the brink of collapse, its time for Labour to capitalise.

Four weeks ago I gave Theresa May six weeks left as PM. Now it looks like she won’t even get that. With the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis (and the subsequent resignation of the few remaining senior Brexit ministers), and the impending decision of the 1922 Committee to oust the Prime Minister, there is only one option for the country. And sadly for “Brenda from Bristol”, there has to be “another one”. In other words, we need a General Election…

For those who (rightly) thought Cameron was incompetent, Theresa May takes that to a whole new level. She called a General Election which she was confident she’d win by a landslide, lost her majority and has now seen SIX Cabinet resignations in 249 days. To quote the official Labour HQ line, “That’s one every six weeks”. Whether this is the most incompetent government in history is up to you to decide, but the Tories have been lurching from crisis to crisis ever since they were elected in 2010. Universal Credit, the Bedroom tax, Brexit and the reemergence of Tory sleaze are just some of the various scandals and messes that the Tories have managed to create in eight years.

And yet, perhaps its fair to say that the failure of Labour to capitalise on these crises epitomises what is currently wrong with British politics. Sadly for those who don’t like Corbyn or Labour, they are the only option. While you may think they’re a bad option, they’re the only option you’ve got if you want rid of Tory corruption and austerity. It was thought that in the election last year that Brexit would be the most important topic, and yet it was mostly disregarded by voters. But now, in July 2018, it is the Tory-made Brexit that is going to topple their own government.

Before Davis resigned, it was already news that the 1922 Committee already had 40+ letters out of the 48 needed from Tory Backbenchers to trigger a leadership contest. Now it would seem that the ‘Domino Effect’ will occur and see that target being reached. In this event, the Tories will elect a new leader, be it Mrs May once again, or the more likely ‘Brexit candidate’ (Rees-Mogg, Boris and Gove strike me as the most probable options). And once this happens we’ll be back to the summer of 2016, when the Tories had elected an unelected Prime Minister. And as we all know, this led to a General Election less than a year later.

This is what must happen again. As we approach the most crucial stage of the Brexit talks, we need to have an elected leader who has a mandate. Theresa May didn’t have a proper one considering her utter catastrophe of an election. The electorate should be given the choice between a Labour Brexit (whatever that is) and the equally unclear Conservative Brexit. Chances are that Brexit will once again be forgotten about in an election however, with Labour expected to fight an Anti-Austerity campaign once again. This is bound to resonate with the British people more than the Conservatives.

However, Brexit will come into it far more than last year. And this is why Labour MUST sort out its Brexit policy. While the two extremes of the argument (The Lib Dems with their campaign to stop Brexit and UKIP’s Hard Brexit) not expected to win people over, this is Labour’s opportunity to show that not only do they offer a far more “Strong and stable government” than Theresa May’s “Coalition of Chaos”, but that they can offer a compromise. Leaving the EU as an institution to please Brexiteers as much as is possible, and keeping some of the benefits to please Remainers.

But that is an issue for another day. One of the main comments I’ve had while talking to residents in my home town is “I wouldn’t vote for Corbyn” or “I don’t want Corbyn as PM”. That’s all well and good, but think of it this way. Vote for Labour because we want to properly fund the NHS with a feasible spending plan. Vote Labour to end austerity. Vote Labour to help the working class and the poorest in society, not the rich. If you don’t like Corbyn, bare in mind the alternative is the lying Tories. There is no alternative, because we live in what is effectively a two-party state. However there simply is no appetite for a new Centrist party fronted by rich ex-Tories like George Osbourne and Blairites like Blair himself. They would only split the vote and lead to more Tory government. So Labour are the only alternative to the Conservatives.

Perhaps the main issue for Labour other than Brexit and the anti-semitism issue is the fact that the aforementioned “Blairites” subscribe to the “anyone but Corbyn” view. MP’s such as Chukka Umunna and John Woodcock have opposed Jeremy Corbyn at every turn, shouting him down and effectively aiding the Tories. This has led for calls for many Labour MP’s (Woodcock and Kate Hoey in particular) to be deselected. Now, I’m a big believer that Labour is, and should remain, a broad church, with left wingers and centrists. However the key to this would be party unity, and sadly we don’t have that. If the moderates who are vehemently opposed to Corbyn actually backed him, they’d be real assets and we would be doing far better than we are. I agree that they are entitled to their views, but we must all come together as one united party. Because the real enemies here are not each other, but they are the Conservatives. Left wing supporters of the party must stop the abuse of the moderates as well. I’ve seen many examples of left wing trolls attacking our own MP’s and this is appalling. We are a movement. A community. A collective entity of passionate political activists looking to create a better world. We have a duty to this country to stick together and fight the Tories.

What the country does not need now is uncertainty and unelected leaders. The Conservatives have a duty to call an election now. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, but we need to sort out the issue of governance immediately. In Brussels right now, Barnier and co. will be licking their lips at the prospect of continuing negotiating with this awfully weak Tory government. They will be doing the same if its an unelected one should Theresa May be ousted.

Therefore, in order to get the most possible Brexit, being delivered by an elected team of competence, its time for another General election, whether people want one or not. Theresa May is finished, and Corbyn must seize this opportunity to finally rid the country of the Tories and bring about a sensible Brexit and end to Austerity.

And remember the options. Face more years of austerity, chaos and scandals with the Tories, or Vote Labour for a better future, For the Many, Not the Few.

Follow me on Twitter for more political opinion and news @James_Barber10

David Davis resigns as Brexit secretary

David Davis MP has resigned as Brexit Secretary, and Steve Baker a Junior Brexit minister has also resigned.

The Brexit secretary who has been critical of Theresa May’s new plans for a future trade deal with the EU has resigned sparking more rumours that the Prime Minister might be facing an impending leadership challenge.

Davis previously described the PM’s plan as “unworkable” and is one of many Hard Brexiteers who have serious problems with May’s plans for a future deal with the EU.

Davis’ resignation prompts rumours that other ministers who backed leave will follow him out the door leading to a civil war in the Conservative Party.

Davis is the sixth cabinet minister to resign in 8 months (Patel, Fallon, Green, Greening, Rudd, Davis).

Labour MP Dan Carden tweeted saying:

Theresa May has failed to unite her Cabinet, has no plan for Brexit, has no Brexit Secretary and cannot be taken seriously by the EU. We need a General Election.

Only a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government can deliver a general election. Labour would want to attempt this before the coup is completed. The rebels within the Tory party will look to win a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party to replace her without having to face Jeremy Corbyn.

More follows

“Corbyn is a Brexiteer for one reason, to help workers”

As the debate surrounding Jeremy Corbyn and his views on Europe are debated in the media, it’s worth discussing how he’s arrived at this position. Rather than lobbying the leader of the opposition, who has no majority in the Commons, it might be worthwhile asking and understanding how the Tory’s and Labour have arrived at Eurosceptic views.

Consider the core of Corbyn’s political plan. Nationalisation of key industries, trains, energy, water etc. Jeremy Corbyn realises the European Union law enforces competition within all such industries. As member states brace themselves for such changes and begin to implement neoliberal reforms, see, Corbyn stands to see himself on the right side of history once again. Although national ownership isn’t forbidden, private companies often undercut the state in the bidding for franchises or contracts to provide public services in a competitive tender. Subsequently slashing wages, eroding their rights and providing a lower standard of public service, in order to make it profitable. Few would argue that the quality of service in Germany, France and Spain on the railways is not value for money, at least now while it’s in the safe hands of the state but under EU law contracts must be on offer to private companies and go to the cheapest provider. Neoliberal laws that would hold back Corbyn’s

Secondly, free markets often lead to the exploitation of workers, to increase profits, costs must be lowered. Corbyn, a long-standing advocate of worker rights, said this in 2017, “What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid (EU Migrant) workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.” Not only does Corbyn see the single market as a method of exploiting British workers, but also EU workers. Particularly in low-skilled industries, where advertising agencies attract workers from low-pay countries. This is an area of much debate, and whether EU migrants have genuinely caused a decrease in the wages of U.K. workers is something I could not judge on, as many reports have shown the impact has apparently been minimal. The principle remains.

The problem is, Brexit in any form will make us worse off, and we live in a globalised world, so it’s unrealistic to expect to cut ourselves off completely from the single market. Yet, EU rules will allow Corbyn to implement a socialist agenda, something that otherwise would’ve been difficult.

Two steps left, three steps right.

How will the right utilise Brexit then, for decades now just as Margret Thatcher had envisioned successive governments have stripped workers of their rights, and the ‘free market’ has depressed wages, in the United Kingdom wages still haven’t recovered to pre-crisis levels, the EU has in many cases intervened to support citizens. In the same instance as Corbyn will be free from EU rules, so will the Tory’s, expect deregulation like no other, I quote Charles Koch, ‘Restaurants should be permitted not to force employees to wash hands, if they display this is the policy openly.’ Bon Appetit. The Tory’s will continue to implement a vision of business free from government oversight, as citizens, as consumers, that should worry you.

Such policies of deregulation led to the Flint Water Crisis, and will lead to the next crisis and the one after that. Don’t be surprised if we crash out of the EU without a deal, a crisis would inevitably follow, and shock therapy would likely be used again. For example, in a recession, a government often asks for concessions from the electorate, i.e. Further cuts to public services, to ‘cut the debt’, which has ballooned, by the way. Or tax cuts for business designed to ‘attract investment’ and ‘stimulate the economy.’ Such policies lead to further transferring of wealth to the elite, fulfilled by all too willing Conservative representatives, who often have conflicts of interest in such cases.

Analysis comparing the vote share of the Leave vote in U.K. Counties and the Strength of the Import Shock in such counties shows direct correlation between one another, which gives basis to Corbyn’s argument that Free Markets have a negative impact on workers.

Corbyn supports Brexit for the right reasons, it doesn’t necessarily make it the right decision. Unfortunately, we live in a globalised world and we do need companies to invest in our economy and our people, leaving the single market and customs union will have a negative impact on our economy, which is the great deliberation.

Corbyn may yet leave the Tory’s to implode as part of his cunning plan, but the road to socialism is, ironically, filled with pot-holes.

People’s Vote: Marchers call for vote on final Brexit deal

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Chants of “people’s vote” and EU flags have filled Pall Mall today as thousands of campaigners march through London to call for a final vote on the Government’s Brexit deal.

The protest forms part of the “summer of action” as campaigners intend to increase the pressure on Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn during Brexit negotiations.

The march comes after high-profile Cabinet ministers including David Davis declared that the UK is fully prepared to leave the EU with no deal.

One of the main organisers, People’s Vote, maintain that Brexit is “not a done deal” and the people must “make their voices heard”. James McGrory from Open Britain added that there “should be a choice between leaving with the deal that the government negotiates, or staying in the European Union”.

Guest speakers will include actor Sir Tony Robinson and Gina Miller, who successfully campaigned to ensure the UK could not trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval.

The government has already announced it is giving Parliament a say on the final deal. However, it still remains unclear what will happen if the deal is rejected.

According to James McGrory, “the most important thing is that this isn’t decided just by 650 politicians in Westminster… Brexit is such a big deal [that] it should include all 65 million of us in the country, and that’s why people today are marching for a people’s vote,”

 

 

 

 

Breaking News | Electoral Commission to find Vote Leave broke electoral law

The Electoral Commission has announced in a draft report of its official investigation that Vote Leave did break electoral law during the EU Referendum campaign. The People’s News understands that in addition to its findings, the Commission will recommend at least one fine. The final report is scheduled to be published in a matter of weeks.

The watchdog’s latest investigation comes after allegations of collusion were made by whistleblowers Christopher Wylie and Shahmir Sanni, who reported of links between the official campaign and a smaller group, BeLeave. However, it is reported whilst the commission did consider the evidence, it was not ‘decisive’ in proving a breach of electoral law.

At present, it is not clear whether the watchdog is planning only to recommend civil sanctions, or whether it will refer the issue to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In a statement, an Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “In accordance with its Enforcement Policy, the Electoral Commission has written to Vote Leave, Mr Darren Grimes and Veterans for Britain to advise each campaigner of the outcome of the investigation announced on 20 November 2017.”

They added: “The campaigners have 28 days to make representations before final decisions are taken.”

More follows.