In answer to my own question, I think it is easiest to trust someone who has proven themselves trustworthy. You might give someone the benefit of the doubt but, the bigger the stakes, the more it is wise to not trust beyond what you afford to lose. Given that I’m filing this post under politics, it doesn’t take much of a leap to figure out that I’ve got the UK Parliament in my sights.
Specifically, I’m thinking about the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (2011), which has been splendidly ineffective. We had an election in 2015, five years after the election preceding the Act and, since then, a significant number of parliamentarians seem to be treating it as if it isn’t worth the paper it is written on. If Acts of Parliament pass their sell-by date in less than a decade, it makes me want to declare a motion of no confidence on the lot of them.
Frankly, I don’t think David Cameron should have been allowed to step down when the Brexit vote didn’t go the way he expected. Theresa May arguably demonstrated a lack of political acuity when she took on the role (mainly by virtue of being the last candidate standing) and now we’ve got a Johnson hanging out as chief sausage and repeating May’s General Election gambit. What, pray tell, are his plans for the well-being of the country if Parliament ends up even more divided, perhaps with the Brexit party in a stronger position (handed a campaigning gift in the light of Johnson’s apparent failure to keep his word on anything).
I strongly feel that a General Election should be just that – about the general future of the nation. This election can only be about the issue of Brexit. I will vote for somebody, because I feel that is my democratic responsibility, but I can’t help hoping there is a Monster Raving Loony candidate so I can express the biting of my thumb in Westminster’s direction.
Any, if any Parliamentarians happen to be (still) reading, here is my proposed cutting of the Gordian knot:
- Hold a second referendum offering the options of remaining (assuming the EU agree to this), leaving with the offered deal or leaving with no deal.
- No partisan campaigning will be allowed, with punitive fines for stunts like slogans on buses and dismissal of any MPs involved. Information material will be issued but must be agreed by Parliament (at least 2/3rds majority votes).
- The referendum decision requires a strong majority and should reflect the expressed will of all four regions of the United Kingdom. The formula for this should be agreed in advance (perhaps by another majority vote in Parliament?) – if a constant blocker, Brexit would need to be put on hold until the question of the Union had been sorted out (ie. ‘remain until’ – there could be 30 EU nations lined up against England as the want to be leaver).
- If a decision is not reached, the vote will be re-run after a three month delay (this wouldn’t have to drag on too long – it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have a General Election in mid-2020, five years after the 2015 one… I can come up with more bright ideas if required in that circumstance).
- If a decision is reached, it will be enacted within three months. The delay would be so that any Parliamentarians not willing to support the result to immediately stand down and local by-elections to be run for any candidates willing to support the decision (no bar on the original candidates applying for re-selection at the next General Election but the Brexit issue would not be open again for at least another couple of full-length Parliaments).