The battle of wills is surely between Theresa May and Angela Merkel

Lots and lots is written daily interpreting the minutiae of government words on Brexit. I don’t want to add to it. My angle is about personalities. Perhaps I’ve missed it, but the media don’t seem to be focussing on the key battle between to two main combatants, Theresa May and Angela Merkel.

theresa_mayLets look at what each has said in the past two days. Firstly, Theresa May on the Sophy Ridge Show in Sunday, then what Angela Merkel said on Monday.

Sophy Ridge asking about prioritising control of immigration over membership of the single market, Theresa May said,

‘We are leaving. We are coming out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer.

‘So the question is what is the right relationship for the UK to have with the European Union when we are outside. We will be able to have control of our borders, control of our laws.’

Angela Merkel, speaking to the German Civil Service Association, said,

angela_merkel_2011“One cannot lead these [Brexit] negotiations based in the form of ‘cherry picking’. This would have fatal consequences for the remaining 27 EU states.”

“Britain is, for sure, an important partner with whom one would want to have good relations even after an exit from the EU.”

But Mrs Merkel said it was important to be clear, “that on the other hand, we are clear that, for example, access to the single market is only possible under the condition of adherence to the four basic principles. Otherwise one has to negotiate limits (of access).”

Angela Merkel will, surely, have been aware of what Theresa May said on Sunday. No obvious agreement there that I can see. From what we know about the two of them, there are remarkable similarities. Both are religious, lead centre-right political parties, have held similar positions in their respective parties and government, are of a similar age, have no children, and are from a non-metropolitan background,

So far, so similar. Both have succeeded in the male-dominated world of politics, so will both have exhibited grit and determination to succeed and survive. Perhaps it might be said that both show a stubbornness. On Brexit both Merkel and May have frequently repeated their positions, with neither varying very much from those positions.

There’ll be appointed European negotiators, though not yet exactly sure who and what. While the people in the negotiations will be important people, they’re not as important, in my opinion, as that of Merkel for the EU, and May for the UK.

Alternative legal opinions on the High Court judgement on Parliament’s Brexit vote

I’ve read the whole High Court judgment on the case of Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. You can read it HERE.

The point of law was whether the Government had the power to sign Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. The judges said no it had not, and in consequence Parliament must have a vote prior to its signing.

In our constitution Parliament sits above the law – not though the rule of law. Inasmuch that the Government is answerable to Parliament. I suppose you could say that Parliament is superior to Government. Government governs – such a simple concept. Parliament oversees and holds the Government to account – again a simple concept. No need for the Judges to interpret this process – when it’s blindingly obvious what the nation expects the government and parliament to do – and that is to sign Article 50 to leave the EU.

judicial-power-projectIf you’d like to read some learned legal views on the High Court judgement, then you can at the Judicial Power Project. Pleasingly they’ve got five short legal critiques, and other brief legal views of what happens next, and the bigger picture.

Here’s the final part of one of the five views, worth reading all five. This one by Richard Ekins [click to read], who is Associate Professor of Law in the University of Oxford and Head of the Judicial Power Project.

The Government’s intention to trigger art. 50 by way of the royal prerogative, challenged in Miller, is entirely consistent with this rule. It is consistent also with responsible government and parliamentary democracy, for the Government is and always has been accountable to Parliament for its exercise of the prerogative.

Parliamentary sovereignty is rightly fundamental to our constitution. But the Miller judgment was not necessary to protect it and, welcome rhetoric notwithstanding, does nothing to uphold it.

A scholarly and readable review of the Brexit referendum

the-english-revoltI’ve read numerous articles analysing the result of the EU Referendum in June. I missed this one The English Revolt by Robert Tombs in the New Statesman on July 24th. While it’s a long article, it’s an excellent account of why we ended up voting to Leave the EU. Here are a few snippets from the article.

Worst of all, [Remain voters] main argument – whether they were artists, actors, film-makers, university vice-chancellors or prestigious learned societies – was one of unabashed self interest: the EU is our milch-cow, and hence you must feed it. This was a lamentable trahison des clercs. The reaction to the referendum result by some Remain partisans has been a monumental fit of pique that includes talking up economic crisis (which, as Keynes showed, is often self-fulfilling) and smearing 17 million Leave voters as xenophobes. This is both irresponsible and futile, and paves the way to political marginalisation.

Many Europeans fear that a breakdown of the EU could slide into a return to the horrors of the mid-20th century. Most people in Britain do not. The fundamental feature of the referendum campaign was that the majority was not frightened out of voting for Leave, either by political or by economic warnings. This is testimony to a significant change since the last referendum in 1975: most people no longer see Britain as a declining country dependent on the EU.

Opposites sides of the the Brexit argument

UK and EUJust two articles in the press give an indication of the polarisation of views on the future for Britain.

  • In The Guardian, a frankly depressing, and I suppose a not unexpected article given that not all Europeans view us kindly, by Joris Luyendijk, After Brexit, a game plan for the EU: unleash Project Pain. Here’s one sentence from the article. I recommend a calming cuppa after reading it,

“Call it Project Pain. When the EU starts negotiating the terms of its divorce from the UK it must aim to inflict maximum political and economic damage.”

“…… China has been asking for a free trade agreement with the European Union for some time now. And given that the people running the EU don’t really believe in free trade at all, rather in a customs union or zollverein, they’ve been putting them off.”

I know I could find many more similar articles.

It’s May’s day

Alice Cooper & Theresa MayPerspicacious me, goodness me no. I’m on record here saying I didn’t think Theresa May would win the Comservative party election.

I’d have liked the two candidates to have fleshed out their policies, the sudden withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom stopped that happening. All we have is Theresa first speech in which see surprisingly focussed on reform of executive pay and corporate governance. Maybe there’s a reforming zeal in Theresa that I’d missed.

Whatever, now the hard work starts, getting the right balance in the cabinet between Leavers and Remainers.

The toughest selection is for the position of Chancellor. No, I’ve no idea either.

My tips are Andrea Leadsom for Business, that’s unless she feels so bruised by the election process that she goes to the backbenches. I think she get a cabinet role, though.

What to do with our Michael Gove – a conundrum. Michael and Theresa are noted to be close. Methinks he’ll stay at Justice.

Here’s the rest of my tips, Liam Fox for Defence, Priti Patel for Education, Theresa Villiers for Foreign Office. …… Stopping now before I get carried away.

Introducing you to ‘Brexit -The Movie’

The Great Brexit DebateMotivated to stimulate debate on the EU Referendum on June 23rd, local activist Robin Horsley has a Facebook page – The Great Brexit Debate.

On Wednesday evening this week, Robin keen type that he is, even attended the premiere of the feature length movie entitled Brexit – The Movie ,

You can watch the movie below,