Dave Chapman, author of EU – There Is An Alternative, kindly shares this update:
THE PRESENT IMPASSE
A brief refreshing on events that have brought us to this present, apparent impasse with the EU might be needed to help point a way forward.:
Start of the Process
A growing groundswell of grassroots movements, of which UKIP led by Nigel Farage was the main, forced the Conservatives, led by David Cameron, in early 2015 to pledge a Referendum on EU membership, after the General Election to be held on 7th May that year, if they were voted to be the Government of the day. Nobody had anticipated an outright majority for them, but the expectation was that the Party with the most MP’s would have to form a Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, or another Party. This led to the setting of the Referendum vote to stay in, or leave, the European Union on 23rd June 2016.
We well know the result – 51.9% to Leave, against 48.1% to stay. Over 33 million people had voted, an unprecedented percentage of the Electorate in British democratic history had participated. David Cameron immediately resigned, to be replaced within about a week by Mrs May.
Mrs May, a one-time ‘Remainer’, stated she accepted the result and would honour the vote, proceed to initiate the legitimate Clause within the European Treaty (of Lisbon) and, as soon as she was ready, enact Clause 50 of that Treaty, which would announce the UK and Northern Ireland would leave the European Union two years from the date of its announcement. In the event this was declared on the 29th March 2017.
A Legal challenge to this was raised by Gina Miller and taken to the High Court in early 2017. Essentially it was to force the Government (as distinct from Parliament) to have this Declaration passed by Parliament. Actually Parliament (the MPs) had felt rather ‘side-lined’ by the result of the ‘peoples’ Referendum, and were fighting to regain their status as the passers of Laws for the UK, as well as the fact that two thirds of the 650 MP’s had voted to stay in the EU! An Act of Parliament followed which was passed confirming the Declaration of Article 50 should be made, on 8th February 2017 by 494 votes to 122. A massive declaration of intent. In October of the previous year Parliament had also been promised a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final text of the Negotiations with the EU.
The Supreme Court ruling that the matter had to be agreed by Parliament had restored some of their pride, but most MP’s personal views remained that we should not Leave the EU. Herein lies a major source of the present apparent impasse.
Greater Margin Of Authority Needed
The Prime Minister, Mrs May, initially had growing support and popularity, but she felt that with just a small majority (17 from memory) she needed more than this to push through Parliament the result of her Negotiations with the EU whenever that occurred, as well as granting her own personal mandate to head the Government. She called a hastily arranged General Election for the 8th June 2017.
As both major Parties, Labour and Conservatives included in their Election Manifestoes a pledge to honour the result of the Referendum (to Leave the EU) the Europe question was not the sole, or even main issue in this Election.
These turned out to be more parochial in nature, matters of jobs, welfare, and particularly the NHS. It produced a ‘hung Parliament’ effectively, and whilst Conservatives held the most seats, it was not enough for a majority in Parliament. They turned to the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to agree to work together for a Majority to Govern. In the light of the present impasse with the EU, this alliance has turned out to be nothing but the hand of the Lord to keep Northern Ireland securely fixed within the UK. (It may be of interest to know we understand all 10 of these are born-again believers. They now how hold the right of the Conservatives to govern at all!)
So, the two-year period of Negotiations with the EU time-clock began ticking from 29th March 2017. Government Departments set to work to make plans for what this all meant and what kind of Agreement we wanted with the EU. In the event it was 6th July 2018 before a formal plan was put to paper at Chequers in what was called The White Paper. Interestingly it’s Official Title is ‘The Future Relationship between the UK and the EU’, despite the fact there are only about 1% of its pages devoted to future aspirations!
It resulted in the almost immediate resignations of two Cabinet ‘big beasts’ – first, David Davis because as Minister for Exiting the EU his proposals had been completely ignored by the Prime Minister in favour of those of her chief Civil Servant Ollie Robins, and secondly by the then serving Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, who saw himself completely at odds with Mrs May’s perceived surrender to the EU.
Nevertheless it formed the basis for ongoing Negotiations with the EU amid great rumblings of discontent and further resignations from Cabinet and Ministerial Offices of those who had no confidence it could secure the result the people had voted for to Leave the EU, or amazingly of those who favoured to Remain in the EU! It should be said that if Democracy is to stand up in our Country, Remaining in the EU – after the Referendum – should never have been an aim or even a possibility by any MP. They all should have got behind the vision for Britain separate from the EU after 29th March 2019. They were elected on that basis.
The Draft Proposal
By mid-November 2018 a Draft Withdrawal Document had been agreed by Britain with the EU and Mrs May’s Cabinet within days agreed to proceed on this basis and signed up to it; which was returned to the EU for ratification by the other 27 EU Member States on 25th November 2018. There should be a clue to how favourably they viewed this Agreement in that all 27 signed up to it in 14 minutes flat! A further significant resignation from Cabinet occurred at this time – that of Dominic Raab, the replacement for David Davis as Minister for Exiting the EU.
Meanwhile a large Group of MPs determined to see a proper Exit from the EU had formed under the title of the European Research Group, headed or chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory with a ‘plum’ in his mouth larger than that of the Queen’s – by his own admission!
The Withdrawal Agreement Comes To The House
Mrs May brought this Agreement as a Bill to the House of Commons in early December 2018, but as it soon became obvious it was not going to be passed, she pulled the vote, returned to Brussels to try and obtain promises over the particular sticking point of the ‘back stop’ re Northern Ireland that would at least have an end-date – but, only after Mrs May had won a Vote of Confidence in her, called by her own Conservative Party! She survived this, and it meant there could be no further challenge from Members of her own Party for a full 12 months.
In the event Mrs May returned to Parliament in January of this year (2019), and her Withdrawal Agreement was roundly defeated by 230 votes on 15th of the month – a defeat of unprecedented historic proportions for a Government Bill. An immediate motion of no-confidence in her Government by the Labour Party was, though, defeated.
Further motions were presented for Amendments to that Bill by MPs during the last week of January this year. Of the near ten motions presented one was passed by a majority (of 16 votes) which has given her the backing of the House to return yet again to Brussels to seek an amendment, at least in a Legally agreed text regarding limiting the time or effect of the Northern Ireland backstop. It may well form the basis of bringing our Parliament together in the days ahead.
Why? Well, if she obtains an unlikely change on this issue, Parliament could well approve her Withdrawal Agreement. If she does not, MP’s could well find their hope of any agreement at this stage with the EU hardening in favour of Leaving as instructed by the Electorate, rather than delaying the date much further.
After all, we are only talking presently about agreeing on Terms of Withdrawal, which having skim read the document of near 600 pages myself, only lays out our responsibilities towards the EU after the 29th March, plus the cost of payment to the EU of £39 Billion, and includes being subject to its present and future Laws irrespective of the fact we have no further say in their formations, or choice over when this ‘back stop’ period ends! A disaster whether a Leaver or Remainer.
Preserving Constitutional Authority
One saving grace from the Motions presented by MPs this last week was the failure of one that would have given Parliament the power of also being the Executive, effectively removing this from the Government (Mrs May’s). This would have handed Parliament with that power, as well as what they are traditionally and Constitutionally there for, which is to scrutinise and amend, but not promote, changes as Lawmakers for the UK. This to me would have been an act of ‘mutiny’ had it have passed, and civil consequences could not be measured in terms of the possible results. We have had our Civil War, we do not want another.
This raises a point as to what Members of Parliament are there for, and what is their Authority. Our own Civil War of 1642 – 51 was basically over whether the King (Sovereign) had the right to rule or over-rule Parliament (at that time a more embryonic representation of the people) or whether Parliament itself were the Lawmakers, so that the Sovereign was also subject to the Law of the Land. Despite the ‘bad press’ Oliver Cromwell receives in our history books, it was he that led the New Model Army to secure that privilege.
After his father’s death, King Charles II was invited back to take up his throne as a Constitutional Monarch, but only with the capacity of inviting the Party that was Elected (by the limited class of voters at that time) to Govern and enact Laws through Parliament, on his behalf. Over the following centuries that vote has been extended to the present day where all citizens of the UK, male or female over 18 are entitled to vote in Elections and Referendums.
Thus, present day Government receives its request to Govern from the reigning Monarch on the basis of the choice the voters (us) have made following such Elections or Referendum. So, MPs authority is derived from the Monarch acting on the choice of the Electorate. The Monarch recognises that choice, and invites the major Party to form a Government. Effectively, MPs are there as ‘our employees’ to carry out what we have instructed them to do. We certainly pay them! Of course in a General Election some of those instructions are broad and quite vague as they so often reflect just aspirations to attract voters rather than principles in themselves.
A Referendum such as we had though, was different. There were no ambiguities at all! The question on the Ballot was “Should the United Kingdom Remain a Member of the European Union, or should the United Kingdom Leave the European Union”. There were two boxes to mark our X. Remain, or, Leave.
What resulted was an instruction by the British people to Leave the European Union. That must happen to preserve our present democratic society.
The Right To Self-Government
The saying “Politics is the art of compromise”, is credited to Otto von Bismark. However, the choice as to whether a Country as a Nation State is able to make its own Laws and Govern itself, is not politics at all! It is a matter of Sovereignty! There can be no ambiguity or compromise over this. First, regain our Sovereignty, and then go to the table of the EU to negotiate our future relationship with them. It is worth repeating that the present talks have only been about ‘how we leave’ and what it will cost us, not about any future relationship.
I wrote to our MP in December 2016 to warn him the European Union would not negotiate with us until AFTER we have left. I said they cannot because, should we obtain better or more favourable terms than the other 27 Member States, they would want that too! So their hands are tied by their own rules.
Mrs May now goes back to the EU to seek to re-open aspects of the rejected Agreement by our Parliament Withdrawal Bill. Speculation is rife as to what she can achieve.
However the reality is the EU are not in a position to offer us more than a ‘sweetner’, because of what I have said above – ‘a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down’ comes to mind!
Choices Parliament Now Faces
- A likely very slight adjustment, but Legally binding and added to the Withdrawal Agreement text concerning the ‘back stop’, but insufficient to satisfy the DUP (Northern Ireland MP’s) or most ERG Members headed by Jacob Rees-Mogg.
- Extending Article 50 end-date from 29th March 2019, 11pm our time.
For what purpose?
Yes, if the House decide on a plan that grants what the EU want in the first place – to keep us tied to the EU! This fails to carry out the ‘behest’, or instruction, of the Electorate and MP’s would not be forgiven for doing this. In fact, Parliamentary Authority would be removed at a stroke, as its continuance would be illegitimate.
We should remember that over 80% of the Electorate at the 2017 General Election voted for Parties who said they would honour the Referendum result to Leave the EU.
Or perhaps, to allow us a few months more to prepare for a No Deal basis. This would very likely create more disruption than if we simply stuck with the existing date. At least this way we would know after the event exactly what issues required priority solving! Wondering about an event can often be worse than the event itself!
- To Vote in Parliament for a Second Referendum to be held.
If so, what would the questions be? Certainly more complicated than the first time around. The current Withdrawal Bill has been defeated by the biggest margin ever, so extremely unlikely to be on the Ballot Paper.
To stay in the EU? Surely after the EU have run rings around us with these Withdrawal discussions the Electorate are not so daft as to say ‘Yes’ to these modern overlords!?
Or, final instructions to Leave. If so at what date? No, come on, let’s just go at the date already set by Parliament! It’s time to ‘bite the bullet’.
- To recognise that, after 2 years of preparations for and discussions with the European Union over simply our ability to Leave them by agreement, has produced a worse basis than we currently have – ie. the option to break away at our will – and so to Leave on the date set by Parliament 29th March, and therefore carry out the result of the Referendum over two and a half years ago, is surely necessary!
In the meantime it seems to me, the Lord has been shifting and shaking, not just MPs but also the Nation, as we have all wrestled with the issues that have arisen as a result, and providing the environment for those to emerge who have both the heart and the vision for a self-determining, Sovereign Nation again, and through steps of wisdom during this period have shown themselves able to lead this Nation into our future. The need for modern day Joshua’s and Caleb’s could not be greater in our Nation than now.
I am in no personal doubt that this is the will of our God, not just for us but for all Nation States, and that He is working to this end for self-Government. It is He who sets the boundaries of the Nations, and indeed we each are ‘as a drop in a bucket’ to Him. Yet He cares intently how each Nation State responds to Him. He loves us to enjoy freedoms that enable our choices as individual Nations to be made, whether wise or foolish. The wise will prosper, the foolish will fail. He will see to that.
The Prayer Pathway
Of course, along the way, much often unseen prayer has been raised, in homes, churches, halls, in small gatherings wherever, on regular basis, and not least at huge events such as at Wembley Arena last Saturday. I believe the results in Parliament that followed the following week were sealed at that gathering of perhaps 4 or more thousand believers, both praying for unity to come among the MP’s, but also warring in the realm of the spirit, against the evil forces seeking to destroy our Nation through wrongly based Treaties with godless regimes.
At the same time much prayer has been raised, over many years now, and at the Wembley event, for deep repentance and revival to come to our Land. We love our Country, it’s Constitutional privileges that have circled the Globe, which have all come from its earlier foundations of owning there is a God, who is the Lord, and who has loved us so much He came, lived, died for us, rose again, and is seated at the right hand of the Father as Lord and Christ.
We are now answerable to Him, as individuals, and as a Nation at this critical time, and we should not give up, but keep the faith that there will be a victory for Him, in our time. Only by His Spirit moving in power can we as a Nation, and as individuals, have the ability to perform His purposes for us all. He is our help in ages past, and He remains our hope for the future. We should not rely on ‘princes’ in our Land, but trust firmly in Him to bring us to the place He wants us to be, and the freedoms He wants us to enjoy.
Dave Chapman, 31st January 2019.
Footnote 7 Feb: See associated posts Spiritual Nature of Brexit vs. EU Battle Now Exposed To The World – Prophecies Continue to be Fulfilled