The Way Forward

Just sent to the Guardian:

Easy. Let Theresa May go on formally with her minority government, weak as it is. Domestic legislation should be initiated by any party, and then voted on in the Commons, which will represent a return to our historical tradition of Parliamentary democracy. For Brexit: set up a bi-partisan committee to sketch out some ‘soft’ Brexit ideas, probably accepting the customs union and free movement. Put the negotiations in the hands of a small number of competent ministers: i.e. including Keir Starmer but excluding Boris. Then see what happens.

This should satisfy everyone, both in Britain and in Europe, except for the Brexit-maniacs on the Tory Right. It’s also a very British (Parliamentary) way. It would allow proper democratic decisions to be taken on the separate elements of all the parties’ manifestos. And it would elevate the recent electoral fiasco into a glorious opportunity, to restore consensual democracy to the nation that one-party government, austerity and Brexit have so bitterly divided. Out of weakness would come strength. What is there to dislike?

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4 Responses to The Way Forward

  1. Bernard, you refer to the restoration of “consensual democracy”: when was it a feature of politics in the UK?

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    • Pre-War National government. Churchill’s wartime coalition. And the general consensus over the welfare state we had under Macmillan et al. Then, before the C19th, most ministries were loose coalitions (though hardly ‘democratic’).

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  2. They didn’t publish it – possibly because they have a number of other letters on the same topic.- Actually they did, 3 days later: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/13/ways-forward-after-a-hung-parliament.

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  3. cm8958 says:

    Glad you’ve sent it! In line with Judt’s Thinking the Twentieth Century, that we need reminding of hard-won parliamentary democracy (along with separation of powers, rule of law, and constitutionalism. In our chaotic world. Thanks

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