When John Lilburne and the radical Levellers rallied against the power of Charles I in the 17th Century, they both had a bigger aim in mind. There was no point they would say going from absolute monarchical power to absolute Parliamentary power, it is the people that themselves that must be sovereign. The people are sovereign and these sovereign people voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. What has followed since then has been an attempt by Parliament to not only nullify this decision but to render all notions of a sovereign British people redundant. This has culminated in the disaster that is the Government's Withdrawal Agreement that achieves this aim and then some.
The Draft Agreement is without doubt one of the most depressing and regressive documents ever crafted by a UK government. It is, in-essence, the opposite of the founding documents of this nation such as Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights. While these documents reasserted the sovereignty of the British and Northern Irish people, the Withdrawal Agreement strikes a blow through the very idea that the people are sovereign and the laws governing the people ought to be made by representatives that they themselves directly elect. Clause after clause of capitulation on this very idea forms the backbone of the Agreement.
Articled 132, 168 and 174 effectively means that the United Kingdom cannot unilaterally choose to leave the ‘customs territory’ that has been created during the transition period until at least 20xx. This is due to the fact that the European Court of Justice will be the continue to be the highest court in the land and will be the court of arbitration relied on in breach of the agreement. EU law created during this period will also continue to apply even after we have left the European Union. This is an embarrassing abuse of the right of Parliament to be sovereign and is in direct contention to the historic freedoms the British people have enjoyed.
Article 129 binds the United Kingdom to the European Union’s foreign policy. At a time when European Union states such as France and Germany are acting belligerently to NATO by failing to meet their legal obligations to the bloc, this is a worrying clause because it effectively ties the United Kingdom to the EUs grand ambitions to become a federal nation with its own armed forces. For Parliament to have no choice in choosing whether to take part in conflicts and tensions with a future European Union army and foreign policy is an outrage and something that has never been asked of any past Parliament. Of-course, many will argue we are also bound by NATO’s ‘Clause 5’ on collective defence; the point is, we can withdraw from NATO. There is no withdrawal from this Agreement and the legal commitments that it entails.
Article 159 dictates the creation of a new UK based ‘authority’ with the same powers of the European Commission to implement this agreement in full and to continue operation post the transition period (which may never end until 2099). For anyone that has the slightest knowledge of how the European Commission operates, this is a hilarious degradation for the Government and Parliament. Just look at the Italian’s troubles with the Commission regarding the ‘invalidity’ of their democratically created budget and one can see how this ‘authority’ under the innocent sounding premise of ‘implementation’ could wreak havoc on the United Kingdom’s centuries old institutions.
I merely picked a few of the Articles of the Agreement to attempt to demonstrate the absurdity of the document. The Agreement goes on and on and on with a handover of sovereignty that is unprecedented in the history of this nation since we signed up to the Treaty of Maastricht in 1991. Fair play to the European Union for having absolutely suckered the government into agreeing to this document, but, this really does beg the question, what of the government? Theresa May continues to claim that this Agreement ‘delivers Brexit’ but the only world in which this Agreement delivers Brexit is in the same world in which Stevie Wonder has perfect 20/20 vision. The government has officiously and obstructively created a Kafkaesque situation where the only way to get Brexit is through this Agreement that doesn’t truly deliver Brexit but rather kills it dead. Perhaps this was the intention from the start and this is probably why the government pissed around the two years they had to prepare to leave the European Union the way the people instructed them to in June 2016.
The biggest irony in this entire situation is this: the United Kingdom managed to colonise around ¾’s of the world at the Empire’s prime so you’d think they would know vassalage when they see it. Instead, the Government seems to be intent on damaging the centuries old institutions and rights the British people have enjoyed. This Agreement is nothing but pure and simple vassalage. It is not as the Government would have the public believe an agreement agreed on equal terms by two equal states. It is instead an agreement between a EU that knows what it wants and a United Kingdom led by a government that is either willfully ignorant or willfully duplicitous. Passing this Agreement would be a mistake of historic proportions and maim the idea that a sovereign, democratic peoples, the British and Northern Irish people’s exist. Orwell did say in The Lion and the Unicorn, ‘I believe in England, and I believe that we shall go forward’. I too do believe in England and the entire Union for that matter, however, these past two years have drained the minimal faith I had in the political class to practically nothing. I hope, for the sake of this nation, and the sake of this nation's institutions, that I am proven wrong.