Wednesday 6 July 2016

Battle Lost, War TBD

James comments on my last post, saying:
Whilst "the non-legally binding referendum" is just that I would not want to be an MP that stood in its way. Otherwise, the next general election will be pretty gruesome for the establishment.
Your sports data research is very good.
I certainly can’t argue with James’ closing comment there, but only time will tell who is right on whether or not Brexit ever happens.

I hope that it doesn’t and while my logic may well be influenced by my wishes, my reasoning goes like this –

The UK is a parliamentary democracy, a form of government where voters elect the parliament, which then forms the government, and not a Direct (or pure democracy) which is where people decide on policy initiatives directly, and any triggering of Article 50 would thus need to be approved by a majority of MPs.
"The best argument against [direct] democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill
Now MPs make decisions based on many factors, of which constituency opinion is just one. If a vote to trigger Article 50 is ever actually held, an MP would, of course, take into consideration the opinions of their constituents, but they wouldn’t necessarily vote to reflect those opinions.

Some of us are old enough to remember the debate over the death penalty in the UK in the 1960s. The overwhelming opinion among the public was favourable towards capital punishment, but fortunately their representatives in parliament held a more enlightened view, and the death penalty was abolished and subsequent moves to restore it were dismissed.
Capital punishment has long been an issue over which Parliament and the public were at odds.
In 1965, a year after the last executions in the UK, MPs voted 200 to 98 to suspend the death penalty for murder, even though opinion polls suggested the vast majority of electors wanted it kept on the statute books.
The death penalty is a non-issue these days and a relevant example of why we elect MPs as our representatives, rather than have a direct vote on matters of such importance.

As the referendum results were not announced according to Westminster constituencies, but by local authority area, MPs can’t be certain of their constituents views anyway, although most would have a good idea, certainly those in Scotland.

But views change as facts and evidence are uncovered or reveal themselves. In the same way that no thinking person these days considers the death penalty to be a good idea, already opinions are changing over the European Union, and we are less than two weeks on from it. As the dust settles and more information becomes available, opinions change, (or should), and the new information coming to the surface since the Referendum is all to the benefit of the Remain side.

The Independent claimed on June 27th (just three days after the result was known) that one million people want to change their vote from Leave to Remain. That’s comfortably more than the 634,751 which would be enough to swing the vote the other way, and who would doubt that were a second referendum to be held tomorrow, the Remain side would not win comfortably?
Whatever the number regretting their Leave votes last month, it is likely even higher now for a number of reasons - the departures of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the evaporation of campaign promises, the realization that the Leave side have no realistic plan for how to proceed, the loss of our AAA credit rating, the collapse in the value of the pound ($1.2792 now!), the loss of investment and jobs already being reported, the reduced influence of London in financial markets and of the UK’s in the world, plus the rise in racist incidents being widely reported – just to name a few. And of course, Brexit hasn't created new racists, but what it has done is legitimise racism. If it wasn't such a serious topic, it would be amusing that the targets for much of this open racism are immigrants from the Empire, and nothing to do with the EU!
Andrea Leadsom v Reality
So Members of Parliament would need to consider the views of their constituents at the time of the Article 50 vote, not on what their views may have been on one day back in June 2016. If you were an MP and the majority of your constituents were in favour of jumping off a cliff, would you…?

Probably not – an MP is elected to make an informed decision for the benefit of constituents, and by extension the country. One of my old school friends [Daniel Zeichner] is an MP representing a Cambridge constituency, and he has made it quite clear that he will vote on Article 50 in the best interests of his constituency. I would hope that all, or at least the majority of MPs, would do likewise.

The next General Election is (probably) four years away and while my answer when anyone asks me about the next election is always “I don’t know – I don’t have 2020 vision”, more seriously, the political landscape is likely to be much changed then.

The FT’s David Allen Green had a good post yesterday detailing why Brexit may never happen.
The established order in any society can sometimes be wrong-footed, but they are usually not wrong-footed for long. Genuine revolutionaries know this, and they act quickly to take full advantage of any temporary advantage. Soon, however, the established order will regroup and refocus, with renewed determination.
The generally pro-EU political class in the United Kingdom has certainly had a fright. They were not expecting to lose the EU referendum. British political leaders were so confident of victory they even casually said that the people’s decision would be implemented “straight away”. And now there is a crisis, but only for a while.
Unless a sincere Brexit campaigner wins the Conservative leadership election and becomes the next prime minister, the UK government can be expected to now take three steps to slow down the Brexit process in the hope (and perhaps expectation) that it does not happen.
The first step has already happened: Mr Cameron snapped the tie between the referendum result and the Article 50 notification.
The second step will be when the government says that the form of the decision will require some form of parliamentary vote: either a resolution or a motion, or even a fresh statute. Views vary among legal pundits on whether this is strictly necessary — my view is that it is not, and if the prime minister and cabinet had decided on referendum day to make an immediate notification, no court would have quashed the decision or injuncted him from making the notification. But it is a convenient view for a procrastinating government to adopt, and the result of any parliamentary vote cannot be taken for granted by leave supporters. Few members of parliament or peers support Brexit.
The third step will be the proposal of preconditions before further action. Many will remember Gordon Brown’s “five tests” for UK to join the euro (which were never tests in any real sense, but that detail was not important). Already contenders for the Tory leadership, such as Theresa May, the home secretary, are talking of situations being right and that things will be done when they are good and ready. This vagueness will no doubt shortly convert into more formal terms. After all, this would only be what any responsible government would do before taking ever such an important action.
None of this is to say Brexit is impossible – any pundit who claims an event will not happen will usually be wrong – but it certainly becomes less likely as time passes. And unless Leave create another moment of opportunity – another wrong-footing of the established order – so as to force through the required Article 50 notification, then it may not happen at all.
It would be interesting to hear from James, or anyone else thinking that Brexit will happen, how and when they think it will happen. 

Although legal experts say that triggering Article 50 is a prerogative power, it’s surely highly unlikely that a PM would pull the trigger on such a momentous and far-reaching decision without a vote in parliament. It would be a brave person who would go this route alone, as evidenced by the embarrassingly hasty departures of two of the most prominent Leavers, and would be almost guaranteed political suicide.
It would be far more sensible, both politically and tactically (a strengthened negotiating position), to obtain parliament’s approval first, and while James thinks that approval is more likely than not, I disagree. The longer the delay, the less chance that Brexit will happen, in my opinion. The battle may have been lost, but the war is far from over.

So just when will Article 50 be triggered and who / what party would be reckless enough to really do it? Will a pro-Brexit Conservative Leader become Prime Minister and trigger it? Will a pro-Remain Prime Minister trigger it? Will there be a General Election either in 2020 or before with a party running under a Brexit flag winning an Overall Majority and triggering it?

Or will there be delays, and “tests” and vagueness as Mr. Green suggests above, until the wind is taken out of the rudderless Leave campaign’s sails, the country breathes a collective sigh of relief, and we all move on with our lives hoping that the rest of Europe don’t tease us too much for our momentary lapse in good judgement – it is National Stand Up To Bullying Day after all.

I’ve never thought much of David Cameron, but he made the right move for the country when he delayed invoking Article 50, and in years to come he will be viewed favourably on that decision at least. Perhaps he didn't want his legacy to be breaking up the UK and the EU. Of course it was his short-sighted decision to allow a referendum which has brought about this mess in the first place.

1 comment:

James said...

I wonder which is exploring the depths faster, Sterling or the rabid left that appears to have hacked into this former sports betting blog?

Gold is up against all currencies. Surely that can't be true if only the UK is to be punished for its folly.

Still, with my bullion holding, as Liberace once said, "I cried all the way to the bank."

If the original author of this blog is still around then I wish him well whilst he passes through his mid-life crisis.

Green All Over has turned into Red Faced All Over with the standard of research and biased use of quotes in recent weeks.

It is now very hard to keep a straight face whilst reading this blog. Stick to 'Musings on Backing, Laying, Trading, Punting, In-Running and more on the Betting Exchanges (Betfair, BETDAQ) and related items of interest in the wide world of sports investing since 2008. This is NOT a P&L blog. "' and all will return to normal.

And finally, thanks for sending all your bored readers over to my website. My viewer stats have gone through the roof!