No matter what his apologists may now say, Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue just days after MPs return to work in September is simply designed to by-pass Parliament altogether over Europe until the Brexit deadline expires at the end of October.
The Johnson camp made it clear that they would play this card, if all else failed, to ensure that Britain leaves the European Union (EU) on 31st October. But the Remainers, at home and abroad, have been preparing for this day.
Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to win broader support for a no-confidence vote to force an early election has been diverted into a cross-party Remainer effort to block Brexit by legal challenges and procedural methods in parliament.
The Prime Minister, who somewhat belatedly embraced the Brexit cause to pave his way to Downing Street, is not a committed Brexiteer. During last week’s talks with the French and German leaders he apparently said that if they dropped their demand for an Irish ‘backstop’ he would accept Mrs May’s rubbishy withdrawal plan that would keep Britain within the EU in all but name. He doubtless warned them that if they refused they could end up dealing with a left-led Corbyn government. But he still came back empty-handed.
The leaders of Franco-German imperialism clearly have no interest in bailing out the Johnson government. It is equally clear that they believe that the Johnson government can be brought down. Whether that government is led by Corbyn is a matter of indifference to Brussels. They easily bought off the Syriza government in Greece and they no doubt think they can do the same with Labour. All that matters is that the current government is replaced by a new administration that will call for a second referendum to reverse the historic decision to leave the EU.
Johnson is falling into a Remainer trap. If the Tories had a working majority in the House of Commons the suspension of parliament to enable the Government to implement the decision of the 2016 referendum would not seem so controversial. But the Tories only have a majority of one – and even that depends on the votes of the 10 northern Irish bigots in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The Remainers, which include die-hard Europhiles on the Tory backbenches, believe they have the numbers to subsume the Brexit issue into a constitutional crisis over the authority of Parliament.
The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, has stated that he will not permit Parliament to be prorogued in such a way. Prorogation is, however, the gift of the monarch, who acts on the advice of the Prime Minister, not the Speaker. Refusing the advice of the sitting premier challenges one aspect of the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament whereas ignoring the views of the Speaker challenges another.
Whatever happens next week all the Remainers will oppose Johnson whilst some of his own camp will join them on ‘constitutional’ grounds.
We don’t want the bogus ‘people’s vote’ that the Remainers say will solve all our problems. We want a people’s government that will restore the national health service and the rest of the ‘welfare state’ that existed until the Tories destroyed it during the Thatcher era. The only way out of the crisis is another general election and the only way to end austerity is to make sure that Labour gets the biggest possible vote when it comes.