British Ministers know that there is no means by which they can leave the EU’s jurisdiction without an agreement with the EU. They also know that the EU cannot reach an agreement that will deny its citizens the rights and benefits which they enjoy as a result of the UK remaining within the EU’s jurisdiction whether as a member or a vassal state. The result is that all the talk about “backstops” and “final arrangements” are just a smoke screen behind which Ministers will allow the UK to drift into vassalage as a rule taker but not a rule maker. One might ask, where is the leadership to dispel this smoke screen and steer us away from vassalage. The answer is that David Cameron gave it away. Calling a referendum amounts to the government and Parliament surrendering their power and their responsibilities to a popular vote. As we are now seeing, having once surrendered power and shuffled off responsibility, reasserting leadership becomes close to impossible and the ship of state drifts on with no one at the wheel and, given time, onto the rocks. Time for the mutineers on both sides to do their job, seize command and save our sovereignty by calling the whole deal off.
Published by Peter G Harris
Peter G Harris is a barrister and was a senior civil servant responsible for advising ministers in the UK on policy and legislation for reforming the civil law and civil justice system. He is now based at Exeter College in the University of Oxford where he teaches and continues to think about the law as an instrument of public policy. View all posts by Peter G Harris