WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Parliament, sovereignty and our foundering democracy

06 September, 2019

Houses of Parliament

• AS well as still using the toe-curlingly patronising term “the masses” when referring to other people, Tariq Ali also appears to be surprisingly ignorant of the history of his own cause, (Parliament protesters to counter Brexit ‘coup’, August 30).

By posthumously conscripting Tony Benn with “Bennite demands included making parliament sovereign”, he seems to be unaware that Tony Benn campaigned ferociously to leave the EEC during the original referendum in 1975 and his antipathy towards it never waned.

If Benn had been alive in 2016 he would indeed have demanded the return of sovereignty to the UK parliament, by voting to leave the EU. He would not have joined a hysterical rabble desperately trying to overturn the result more than three years later.

Meanwhile, the bizarre response of parliamentarians to the electorate’s petition that they return sovereignty from Brussels to themselves appears to be that they simply don’t want to, completely forgetting that they work for us, we don’t work for them. (NB: Politicians can be removed. Voters can’t be removed. Reversing this principle is called dictatorship and seldom ends well.)

The claim, therefore, that temporarily suspending parliament for a few days is hypocrisy on the part of the government – because it is tantamount to removing sovereignty from parliament – is absurd when the government’s purpose in doing so is to restore sovereignty to parliament, permanently.

In any case it has only become necessary to do this because of the crazed machinations of MPs and others frantically trying to prevent us from leaving the EU in defiance of the referendum result.

The Remaniac demand that the suspension of parliament be lifted and sovereignty restored (briefly) so that they can all pile in and remove it again is legally and logically demented.

They should have thought all this through before they called a referendum. It is insulting to ask people for their opinion only to fling it back in their faces, and far more dangerous than whatever minor inconveniences may occur as the result of rescinding our membership of the EU.

Democracy foundered and all this insanity began on the day that half the population and most of parliament refused to accept the outcome of a vote. Without losers’ (and abstainers’) consent democracy doesn’t work.

MARTIN KENNEDY
Brewer Street, W1

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