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Fri Jan 18, 2019, 05:08 AM

The UK must invest in a "People's Debate," leading, in time, to a "People's Decision." (Varoufakis)

... Yanis thinking big, and outside the box!

... With weeks left before the UK leaves the EU by default, none of the three main options on offer – a no-deal Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, and rescinding Article 50 in order to remain in the EU – commands a majority in Parliament or among the population. Each generates maximum discontent: The no-deal scenario strikes most as a dangerous plunge into the unknown. May’s deal appalls Remainers and is seen by most Leavers as the kind of document only a country defeated at war would sign. Lastly, a Brexit reversal would confirm Leavers’ belief that democracy is allowed only when it yields results favored by the London establishment... If any of the three immediately available options were endorsed, say, in a second referendum, discontent would increase and the larger questions plaguing the UK would remain unanswered. Britons’ reluctance to endorse any Brexit option at present is, from this perspective, a sign of collective wisdom and a rare opportunity to come to terms with the country’s great challenges while re-thinking the UK’s relationship with the EU. But to seize it, the UK must invest in a “People’s Debate,” leading, in time, to a “People’s Decision.”

The People’s Debate must address six issues: the British constitution, including the creation of an English parliament or multiple regional English assemblies; the electoral system and the role of referenda; the Irish question, including the possibility of joint UK-Irish sovereignty over Northern Ireland; migration and freedom of movement; Britain’s economic model, particularly the outsize role of finance and the need to boost green investment across the country; and of course the UK-EU relationship.

To be democratic, the People’s Debate must take place in regional assemblies, leading to a national convention, where a menu of options is finalized before the next House of Commons translates them into referendum questions that will enable the People’s Decision by 2022. Thus, the UK government must secure a transition period after the country formally leaves the EU on March 29, lasting at least until the people can decide three years later.

During the transition period, the UK should remain in the EU customs union and the single market, with freedom of movement and full rights for EU nationals in the UK. Then, in 2022, voters can choose whether to stay in the customs union and the single market, exit completely, or apply to re-enter the EU as a full member...


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Reply The UK must invest in a "People's Debate," leading, in time, to a "People's Decision." (Varoufakis) (Original post)
Ghost Dog Jan 2019 OP
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2019 #1
Ghost Dog Jan 2019 #2

Response to Ghost Dog (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2019, 05:56 AM

1. This is a brilliant example of "how to solve this" with "well, I wouldn't want to start from here"

Yes, it might be great if the UK was the kind of country where people felt like resolving constitutional issues, setting up for England institutions between a county and the UK in size, changing our electoral system, our unbalanced economy, and reexamining our international relationships. I mean, that's not that big a list, is it? Do that by 2022? No problem. How long did it take for us to chuck hereditary peers and bishops out of parliament? Well, we got rid of most of them at the end of the 20th century, having been talking about since the start of it. Not all, mind you ... Yeah, transforming the country in 3 years is no problem at all. Then we'll really be able to get to grips with the European Question ...

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 18, 2019, 09:38 AM

2. Sure. But this is the context, nevertheless,

within which things are falling apart and the centre cannot hold...

... What we see here is a 400-year history of parliamentary democracy trying to ignore the brick wall it’s heading for. Terrified by the impotence conferred on it by an EU referendum that’s smashed the very idea of representative government and replaced it with the blunt rule of plebiscite, the House of Commons retreats in this scene into its own forms, rituals, atmosphere. Look at the wood, the leather. These stagey perfomers are not just trying to catch Corbyn out. They are trying to pretend the Commons is still the stage where British history is made. Think of the legendary moments of parliamentary drama that fill history books and films, from Charles I bringing troops into the House to try and arrest his critics to Pitt the Elder’s seizure in the chamber to Arthur Greenwood speaking for England in 1939. Is this where it all ends – not with a bang but with an argument about a whisper?

All the sense of history, all the decorous debating skill of parliament are on display – but it’s so trivial and tiny compared with the realities that need to be addressed. Not because a potential misogynist slur against the prime minister doesn’t matter, or is somehow OK if it was uttered by a socialist against a Tory. But because the hour is truly desperate, and with the executive staggering towards a no-deal Brexit, the Commons appears in this photograph to find its own theatricality more interesting than seeking a way out of the nation’s terrifying impasse.

This picture shows what we love and hate about parliament – its aura of history. To anyone who’s considered that long history, things are now looking scary. The scale of our crisis, with Brexit theatening to consume the very way we govern ourselves, resembles the kind of breakdown last seen in the 17th-century civil war. If MPs can’t solve this, their fate may be sealed. They will be locked up in their chamber to have their meaningless impassioned arguments while the country move on – to what? A citizen’s assembly, say optimists. But it’s hard to see how the destruction, by plebiscite, of the world’s most enduring representative system is somehow going to result in a new dawn for democracy. This picture shows us MPs fiddling while British democracy burns.

• Jonathan Jones writes on art for the Guardian


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