Wildlife never voted for Brexit

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

As I sit here on Saturday morning mulling over the popular vote last Thursday to quit the EU, there are already stories of wildlife flexing their muscles and flapping their wings in preparation to leave a country so out of touch with globalisation and the modern world that it cannot recognise the value of migration and cultural pluralism.

It is said that the pandas in Edinburgh zoo have already asked to be sent home, that the parakeets have left London's parks, and that a disorderly queue of rodents is forming along the south coast waiting for small boats to carry them back to the embrace of EU institutions and safety – and the goldfinches that are normally in my garden have probably gone off to Spain.

But this is all surely premature.  No exit can take place before the UK government triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and, as there must be doubts as to whether it ever will, the dozen or so EU Presidents might be best advised to bide their time and do nothing to hasten a Brexit that might never take place.

Direct democratic instruments such as referenda sit uneasily in a parliamentary democracy such as the UK's.  The Brexit referendum is not legally binding, and it is the House of Commons that has to give substance to it.  Given that there is, currently, about an 80/20 split in favour of EU membership in the Commons, that is, something of an issue for those MPs who are for continued membership, especially if their electorates are also in favour of remaining.  What are they to do?  Well, follow their consciences, of course.  Tricky.

If we are to wait for a new prime minister before Article 50 is triggered, the act of triggering it would have to be in a Queen's Speech.  Surely, it is not out of the question that it would be voted down, and the government with it, leading to an election which might (or not) lead to a pro-Brexit Commons.

I think the pandas should stay where they are and also bide their time.  Meanwhile, is that a goldfinch I hear ...


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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