Post-brexit - time for a republic?

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I think there would have been some pretty meaningless noise from a minority of Brexiteers about how the monarchy should be abolished, just as at the moment there is the same noise from a minority of Remainers.

Personally I'd have "enjoyed" the news breakdown over the "constitutional crisis", but in terms of what actually happens, as a Leaver, I don't think it would have had any material effect on Brexit.
I can imagine certain people foaming at the mouth as the "Remainer Queen tries to block Brexiter Boris, in a snub to 17.4million ordinary working people"

Anyway, there's a reason I try not to talk about politics on this forum.
 
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edwin_m

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I mean no insult to HMQ personally, but the current Borising of our unwritten constitution makes you wonder if there is any point at all in her having a formal role in government. If all she can do is go along with the Prime Minister's advice and all the Privy Council can do is advise her to comply, the whole thing becomes a charade. I wonder if one effect of the whole Brexit debacle will be for us to realise just how unfit for purpose our whole ramshackle governmental arrangement is. Do others agree - and if so what changes should we make?
Going back to the OP...

The British "constitution" traditionally allows the leader of a party holding a Commons majority more power than the head of government or state has in most other countries. The UK hasn't had the sort of federal structure where lower-level authorities can effectively resist the will of Westminster, and the likelihood of government falling if defeated on an important measure means MPs were usually unwilling to go against their party line. Both these are a bit less so than they were 20-odd years ago, due to devolution and the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, but I contend they remain largely true. Even in America, where the electoral system is probably even more unrepresentative of public opinion, Trump has a lot more checks and balances restricting his actions than Boris Johnson does.

It now seems that one of the few checks and balances restraining a Prime Minister (who in this case barely even has a majority) is illusory. A theoretical power that can't be exercised in practice isn't a power at all. So I would agree that this is one aspect (along with several others) of our "constitution" that needs a hard look in the wake of the Brexit crisis. I don't know whether this would go as far as becoming a republic, and I think with the amount of division in the UK currently there is no way anything like this will be changed in the foreseeable future.
 

anme

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I can imagine certain people foaming at the mouth as the "Remainer Queen tries to block Brexiter Boris, in a snub to 17.4million ordinary working people"

Anyway, there's a reason I try not to talk about politics on this forum.
As an aside, the population of the UK is around 65 million people. 17.4 million leave voters doesn't seem very impressive in that context. It's less than 27%.
 

mmh

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It now seems that one of the few checks and balances restraining a Prime Minister (who in this case barely even has a majority) is illusory.
The checks and balances are the Commons and the Lords, not the Monarch. Johnson hasn't changed govt policy on Brexit since taking over from May. Nothing is happening which wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been a change of PM. The MPs voted to invoke Article 50, so a leaving date had to be set. They voted against accepting a deal three times, and failed to agree any alternative path in a farcical series of Indicative Votes. Why? They thought that somehow cancelling the whole thing would somehow magically become possible. Well, sorry MPs, that wasn't on this table you're so keen on talking about (and I hope I never hear of again) - you created the position we're now in.
 

anme

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The checks and balances are the Commons and the Lords, not the Monarch. Johnson hasn't changed govt policy on Brexit since taking over from May. Nothing is happening which wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been a change of PM. The MPs voted to invoke Article 50, so a leaving date had to be set. They voted against accepting a deal three times, and failed to agree any alternative path in a farcical series of Indicative Votes. Why? They thought that somehow cancelling the whole thing would somehow magically become possible. Well, sorry MPs, that wasn't on this table you're so keen on talking about (and I hope I never hear of again) - you created the position we're now in.
What do you think will actually happen after a no deal exit on the 31st October? Isn't it likely that we will be back in the EU, or at least the single market, very quickly, with the brexiteers utterly discredited and defeated?

If you want to reshape the British economy away from Europe, how would you go about that? The most important point is to do it slowly - don't drop the old trading arrangements until you have new ones in place, make sure the direction is clear and most importantly, give people and businesses time to adjust. A no deal brexit does the opposite of all these things.

A no deal brexit will just put the Nissan workers in Sunderland on the dole for the rest of the their lives. They did vote for that, so you can say fair enough - but I don't really want to pay for it.
 

edwin_m

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The checks and balances are the Commons and the Lords, not the Monarch. Johnson hasn't changed govt policy on Brexit since taking over from May. Nothing is happening which wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been a change of PM. The MPs voted to invoke Article 50, so a leaving date had to be set. They voted against accepting a deal three times, and failed to agree any alternative path in a farcical series of Indicative Votes. Why? They thought that somehow cancelling the whole thing would somehow magically become possible. Well, sorry MPs, that wasn't on this table you're so keen on talking about (and I hope I never hear of again) - you created the position we're now in.
But prorogation nullifies those checks and balances. By this precedent any prime minister can do it at any time, if they think the elected Parliament is getting in their way.

May went to the polls in 2017 on a manifesto of a harder Brexit than most people would have expected from the 2016 campaign. And the voters responded by taking away her majority. Fast forward to 2019 and according to multiple opinion polls a majority of the public now appear to support Remaining and support for no deal is strongly outnumbered. So it's actually Parliament reflecting the will of the people against a government that has shredded democracy.

If you're so much in favour of the will of the people, why not ask them for a more informed decision now the facts are known?
 
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mmh

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But prorogation nullifies those checks and balances. By this precedent any prime minister can do it at any time, if they think the elected Parliament is getting in their way.
There were already instances where PMs have been accused of doing this. If the MPs who're so up in arms that they won't be sitting had really planned to do something useful in that time they wouldn't have voted for the conference season recess this year. They did, though.

According to multiple opinion polls a majority of the public now appear to support Remaining and support for no deal is strongly outnumbered. So it's actually Parliament reflecting the will of the people against a government that has shredded democracy.
Yet they're not actually brave enough to ask the public, despite all the bravado on that front they're patently not. Opinion polls? Yes, they've been marvellously accurate over the past decade...
 

Geezertronic

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As an aside, the population of the UK is around 65 million people. 17.4 million leave voters doesn't seem very impressive in that context. It's less than 27%.
What is the figure of the population who can actually vote though. According to the ONS the figure in December 2018 was 45,775,800

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration/bulletins/electoralstatisticsforuk/2018 said:
Total number of UK Parliamentary electors decreases

The total number of UK Parliamentary electors in December 2018 was 45,775,800, a decrease of 372,000 (negative 0.8%) from the previous year.

The total number of Parliamentary electors in each of the UK constituent countries and the percentage changes between 2017 and 2018 was:

  • England – 38,371,400, a decrease of 0.8%

  • Wales – 2,230,100, a decrease of 1.4%

  • Scotland – 3,925,800, a decrease of 0.6%

  • Northern Ireland – 1,248,400, an increase of 0.5%
And as the whole of the voting population never votes, the turnout of the EU Referendum of 72.21% was a pretty high percentage
 

krus_aragon

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If the MPs who're so up in arms that they won't be sitting had really planned to do something useful in that time they wouldn't have voted for the conference season recess this year. They did, though.
From radio interviews this past week, I don't think the conference recess had been voted on yet. It isn't listed in the House of Commons' recess dates page either.
 

anme

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What is the figure of the population who can actually vote though. According to the ONS the figure in December 2018 was 45,775,800



And as the whole of the voting population never votes, the turnout of the EU Referendum of 72.21% was a pretty high percentage
Still not very impressive though.
 

edwin_m

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There were already instances where PMs have been accused of doing this. If the MPs who're so up in arms that they won't be sitting had really planned to do something useful in that time they wouldn't have voted for the conference season recess this year. They did, though.

Yet they're not actually brave enough to ask the public, despite all the bravado on that front they're patently not. Opinion polls? Yes, they've been marvellously accurate over the past decade...
Government policy has been implacably opposed to asking the public, probably because like many Brexiters they don't want to know the answer. So when that option was put to an indicative vote, the government payroll vote of about 100 MPs was unable to vote as they wished. Had that been allowed (as Cameron allowed Tory leavers to campaign against the party's policy of remaining) then Parliament might have agreed a referendum.

From radio interviews this past week, I don't think the conference recess had been voted on yet. It isn't listed in the House of Commons' recess dates page either.
There was talk at one point of voting down the motion to go into recess, so if that had been voted on before prorogation then I think it would have been reported.

Still not very impressive though.
My feeling is that a lot of people didn't vote because they saw it as an internal Tory squabble, or didn't feel able to take a view on such a complex issue. The shift to remain in the meantime is mainly down to those "don't knows" predominantly taking that side.
 

krus_aragon

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My feeling is that a lot of people didn't vote because they saw it as an internal Tory squabble, or didn't feel able to take a view on such a complex issue. The shift to remain in the meantime is mainly down to those "don't knows" predominantly taking that side.
Another category of people (examples of whom I know personally) abstained in "protest" because of the quality of the two campaigns was so poor.

Not in democracies.
If there's a minimum turnout threshold for a Government to be formed in a democracy, please let us know. (If the threshold is the 72.21% mentionen by Geezertronic, that would make 1992 the last time a legitimate Government was elected in the UK. John Major would be proud!)
 

anme

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Another category of people (examples of whom I know personally) abstained in "protest" because of the quality of the two campaigns was so poor.


If there's a minimum turnout threshold for a Government to be formed in a democracy, please let us know. (If the threshold is the 72.21% mentionen by Geezertronic, that would make 1992 the last time a legitimate Government was elected in the UK. John Major would be proud!)
I believe that government got less than 50% of the popular vote, so can hardly be called "legitimate".
 

edwin_m

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I believe that government got less than 50% of the popular vote, so can hardly be called "legitimate".
Governments hardly ever get 50% of the popular vote in our unbalanced electoral system. If we had a more proportional system then parties would have to work together and compromise to build a majority, rather than just governing for the "base" in Trump fashion because they believe that will be enough to get them elected next time.
 

anme

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Maybe if you look at the results from the last General Elections, you would find that the figures for turnout and the "winning" party are lower (some would say considerably) than those for the EU Referendum
That's a very very good point.
If 48% is enough to win an election then remain won the referendum.
 

hexagon789

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What do the majority want? DO NOT SAY BREXIT. Say what kind of brexit.
Brexit with a deal would seem to be the 'median'
As an aside, the population of the UK is around 65 million people. 17.4 million leave voters doesn't seem very impressive in that context. It's less than 27%.
Not all of that 65 million are eligible to vote though and unless you introduce compulsory voting, you are never going to get the votes of everyone eligible anyway.

If the government of the time wanted to be doubly sure of no Brexit, they could've inserted a clause that a leave vote was only valid if over 40% or even 50% of the electorate voted for it rather than over 50% of those who turned out to vote.
 

Geezertronic

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Apparently that doesn't matter!
I'm not in favour of the first past the post voting system, but what's good the goose is good for the gander.
Whether you are in favour of it or not is irrelevant as it is the current system in use and until that changes, we are lumbered with it
 

Geezertronic

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That's true. And therefore remain won the referendum. Sucks to be British, right?
I think you need maths lessons my friend if you believe that 48% is larger than 52%, and that the Remain vote "won" the referendum in 2016. Sucks to be you if you do believe that, but I believe you are trolling for the sake of trolling
 

anme

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The Brexit referendum was a two-way contest, our general elections are not.
But how can it be democratic for a government to be supported by only 48% (usually less) of voters?

You can't have it both ways. Either 48% is a democratic mandate or it isn't.
 

Geezertronic

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But how can it be democratic for a government to be supported by only 48% (usually less) of voters?

You can't have it both ways. Either 48% is a democratic mandate or it isn't.
As you well know, when 48% is beaten by 52%, 52% is a larger democratic mandate. You knew that, you're just a wind up really :)
 

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