Much has been claimed about the draft EU Withdrawal Deal Proposals which Prime Minister May wants MPs to adopt. But has anyone considered that the proposed Deal is invalid.
It patently breaches the terms of Article 50 of the ‘Lisbon’ Treaty – the article governing the withdrawal process.
Between civilised and democratic, parliamentary – ie consenting – countries, laws and treaties must be respected. They must be arrived at fairly to all, and they must then be adhered to. Otherwise trust is destroyed and the basis of sustained peaceful co-existence gravely threatened.
Such is the case for the nations of the European Union. That, at least, is the official and declared position. Democratic, freedom loving nations who wish to live together in peace and harmony.
If the Union is one of democratic freedom loving nations, then the ability and right of a country to withdraw must be respected. Article 50.1 confirms this up front.
Article 50.2 then states the strategic and specific arrangements for that process of withdrawal. At the heart of those terms are these words:
In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.
A common sense and practical reading of those words would suggest what the former Brexit Secretary David Davis tried to point out, ie that the future relationship is the key reference point. How can it not be ?
How can you know to where you are withdrawing if you don’t define where that is in the first place ? If you do not determine the new position of the UK vis-a-vis the EU, ie its future relationship, how can you determine the extent and nature of the withdrawal ?
Logically and practically you cannot.
The Treaty agrees. It states “taking account of THE framework for ITS future relationship”.
It does NOT state ignoring or considering
- “a” framework for “a” future relationship
- a proposed framework for a proposed relationship
- a possible framework for a likely relationship
- a proposal for future relations
Yet this is how Mrs May’s proposals treat the future relationship
The UK government told the British people that the Referendum was an In/Out referendum and told the people in writing to every household that it would implement the result.
The result was Leave, and therefore the future relationship was outside the laws and institutions of the EU. Not inside or partially in and partially out [like Turkey in a customs arrangement, or Norway in a free trade agreement with obligations but no representation].
But Leave was manifestly not the position of the UK government of David Cameron, and the promise to implement the Referendum result was contained in the £multi million, pre campaign leaflet telling the British people to vote Remain.
The UK electorate was expected to vote Remain: the disbelief of the Remain minded establishment on learning the result was manifest. In fact it continues to be evident in the attempts to overturn the Result by Remain campaigners since.
And it is evident in the proposed 585 page Withdrawal Agreement and the attached 6+ page bullet point declaration on the future relationship.
The balance between, and nature of, those two documents is both revealing and wrong. Revealing because they patently expose the predispositions of the EU and those happy to agree with the EU agenda in the British establishment.
Wrong because the Proposals should establish the future relationship first in order to establish the withdrawal arrangements. Bulletpoints on 6+ pages don’t constitute the framework and future relationship.
The actual future relationship should be outside the EU, like any other “third” country [in EU parlance], and trading like such a country. That means either trading on World Trade Organisation rules, or coming to a free trade agreement, such as Canada negotiated.
But that clear logic is not acceptable either to the EU or to those in positions of power in the UK who wish to remain in the EU.
The Remain mindset is an article of faith. It is patently an article of paramount, blind dogma.
Therefore, the dogma applies whatever the reality. The re-reading of the Referendum result, the explanation that Leave voters are either stupid or misled: such is the manifest mentality which can justify setting aside the logic of the Referendum decision.
This is how we can end up with the total nonsense proposed by the EU/UK negotiators.
The EU/UK negotiations have assumed the future relationship to be aligned with current membership, but without the formal representation in the governance of the EU.
That suits the EU negotiators who foresee the erosion of representation from national governments and the institution of direct elections to the EU Super State’s government.
It suits the UK establishment power brokers because it makes the Withdrawal look worse than the terms of membership, therefore proving that membership is better than withdrawal – which is presented as impossible now given how tied in we are – not admittable during the Referendum campaign as it betrayed the true position of increasing national submission.
But they have refused to do what was actually required, both by the Treaty and by the Referendum result. Treaty and Referendum require the explicit determination of the future relationship and thereby the terms of the withdrawal.
So the ‘negotiated’ proposals are at complete variance with the Referendum vote; with the promise of the UK government before the June 23rd 2016 vote; with the terms of Article 50.2 of the Treaty of the European Union named after Lisbon.
That is why we now have a serious crisis in UK politics, and why the very future of parliamentary democracy and indeed democracy itself in the United Kingdom is now at stake.
Parliament will have a “meaningful” vote on the proposed Withdrawal Agreement and its associated Declaration. Parliament must recognise that the proposal is fundamentally flawed, invalid and false.
Parliament must also now understand that the meaningful vote will determine its own fate and that of democracy in Britain.
Ray Catlin copyright © 2018 Ray Catlin. All rights reserved