The clock is ticking. There are just 250 days remaining. The indecisive leadership of the uninspiring Theresa May have led us to the point of consensus, unfortunately the consensus is one of rejection of her Chequers deal. Instead of following the electorate’s wishes to ‘take back control’ we are stuck in a political purgatory with a Prime Minister pretending to believe in what she says and what she does. Without question she needs to go but that is not the issue we will be exploring. Today we will explore how May or hopefully her successor can follow the blueprint for Brexit that was endorsed by 17.4 million voters.
There are two visions for Brexit. Firstly, we have a Brexit which looks to protect the economy and ignore the issues that won the ‘Leave’ side the war. The second vision, and the vision that enthused the electorate into voting for independence, is the sovereignty-first Brexit. The ‘Leave’ side campaigned on the issues of sovereignty, immigration and supremacy so surely it follows that the Prime Minister should deliver a Brexit that at least resembles the vision people were promised. Not quite. Instead we have a Remain-supporting Prime Minister attempting to deliver a Remainer’s Brexit. This is unwise for three reasons:
1) It threatens to further reduce voter confidence in the competency of politicians.
2) Although politics is built on compromise, this is an ugly compromise which will please nobody.
3) It will lead to the creation of further divisions within the Conservative Party and hand the keys of No.10 to Mr. Corbyn (which I’m sure you will all agree is not desirable for at least a few centuries.)
Why must we follow a sovereignty-first Brexit? Well it’s quite simple. The electorate were faced with a choice: unity or independence. They choose independence and by nature these two commands cannot both be followed. To ‘take back control’ we must leave the single market and return the freedoms back to the UK Parliament. In essence, we should make the UK Parliament sovereign again! We must remove the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction because as a non-EU member it would be frankly embarrassing for the UK Supreme Court to remain the subservient court in the UK. As a consequence, the UK Supreme Court would become the superior court in the UK for the first time since its birth. Any discussions of a ‘common rulebook’ should be dismissed as they would make the UK a rule-taker without influence and should Parliament choose to seek Regulatory divergence the EU would impose a financial punishment. The UK would become a vassal state. This would be a betrayal of the electorate.
The question I would put to all readers is this how much do you value our Parliamentary sovereignty and the supremacy of the UK Supreme Court? For me, sovereignty and supremacy are virtually priceless. They are a sacred part of our democracy and should never have been bargained away by previous governments. Many who oppose Brexit seemingly endorse a loss of sovereignty and supremacy in favour of higher GDP figures. I reject the ordering of their prioritisation. Surely as young political minds we should celebrate this opportunity to regain the soul of our democracy?
The possible short-term economic costs that awaits us are by no means desirable but we must weigh up what matters the most. Is it marginally higher wealth or complete sovereignty and the supremacy of our own courts? As a great believer in democracy I accept that many of you will read this and decide that you’d prefer to bargain away our sovereignty for higher wealth but I urge you to reconsider your viewpoints.
A point that is often raised as an argument against the returning of sovereignty is that the Conservative party cannot be trusted with workers’ rights and social policies. The implication of this is that they would prefer European politicians (many of whom are unaccountable) to legislate on such matters. The premise of this argument is undemocratic and perhaps antidemocratic. Those using this argument disregard the U.K.’s democratic system and seem to forget that to be able to pass controversial Acts, a government would need a majority in the House of Commons which would indicate they have acquired a mandate for their plans from the electorate.
To oppose the return of sovereignty in the UK on this basis is laughable and those who would prefer diluted sovereignty more than watching an elected UK government change laws do not belong in politics if they cannot tolerate democracy in action.
So dear readers it is time to embrace and celebrate so-called ‘hard’ Brexit. ‘Soft’ Brexit is the equivalent of ‘Remain’ so should be rejected by all democrats. ‘Hard’ Brexit should be renamed to the more accurate ‘sovereignty-first’ Brexit. This is a huge opportunity for us to regain the ability to form our own destiny and give the UK Supreme Court supremacy for the first time. Brexit may well make us poorer, especially in the short term, but I will reiterate that sovereignty and supremacy are virtually priceless to me and I hope they are virtually priceless to you. The referendum taught us a valuable lesson: British people care more about sovereignty than wealth. A Brexit that fails to bring home our parliamentary sovereignty and supremacy of our laws would be the greatest democratic failure of our time. ‘Take Back Control’ was the slogan and taking back control of nothing would be electoral suicide for the Conservatives.
I now call all Brexiteers and Remainers to put democracy first. It’s time to unite and I would struggle to find something as suitable as sovereignty to unite around. Undoubtedly we will face economic hardship upon leaving the EU that was spelled out by the ‘Remain’ side during the referendum. But that argument lost. As a free and independent nation we will be able to face up to challenges and we will find our own solutions.
To finish the article I will use this rather pertinent quote ‘Wealth is a tool of freedom but the pursuit of wealth is the way to slavery.’ Our fixation on wealth has made us lose sight of what should be most important in a democratic society: sovereignty. Now we turn away from the route to slavery and walk on the path of sovereignty and, in doing so, we can gaze at the paradise of independence.
Written by Darragh Kennedy