Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Divine Right of Kings

I think it is important that who has the power to invoke Article 50 is given due consideration.

It is a concern that the Royal Perogative is being suggested as a means to avoid having to put a bill into parliament. This isn't the 15th century. Our elected parliament should be making these decisions.

The more we use administrative conveniences like the Royal Perogative, the more likely they are to be abused. The limits of the RP need to be clearly defined and in ALL OTHER CASES, parliament should be consulted.

As usual, people are seeing their own short term advantage in abusing the system, and not worrying about the consequences of the abuse. What if, in the future, an unscrupulous PM decided to take us back into the EU, or implemented some other massive change, invoking the Royal Perogative and without reference to parliament? As long as they could point to an opinion poll favouring their position ...

I think the Conservatives are playing a dangerous tactical game here. Their manifesto commitment was to 'honour' the referendum result. Before the 2015 election, they were not anticipating a majority, so 'honouring' the referendum result could mean putting up a 'Trigger Article 50' bill into parliament, anticipating it being shot down by the opposed majority.

They now have the majority, so can pass the trigger bill.

Damned by their own success - or by Labour and the Lib Dems' unspeakable failure.

As it is, their majority is small and if they did put a bill before the house, it could dangerously split the party. They haven't got the luxury of being able to tolerate a few rebels. And the rebels won't tolerate being whipped. Schism beckons.

I suspect they don't want to do it, and are treading water, hoping for something to happen. Perhaps they are waiting for their small majority to erode naturally (i.e. for MPs t die off and for seats to be lost in by-elections) or for some realignment on the centre left and a split int heir own party ... or for the consequences of imminent exit to sink in and people to change their minds ... But by not simply putting a bill before the house and invoking the Royal Perogative immediately slows everything down, as endless constitutional quibbling and argument seems inevitable.

Or, of course, I might be wrong and the Tories might not care about the potential dangers of using the Divine Right Of Kings to deal with issues.

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