Open letter to MPs about the responsibility & limits of Parliament
Kate Hammer

Dear Kate,

Since Art50 is going to be triggered now, this is all a little post-hoc ex-facto, but I thought I’d write to respond to your points anyway:

  • viability of the Belfast Agreement — while certainly a complication, it is entirely within the powers of Government to enact the agreement under British law without complete EU freedom of movement. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean a referendum is invalid.
  • Stability of UK political union — this was brought up in the referendum campaign. Everyone voting knew Sturgeon’s likely response, but they voted Leave anyway. Clearly voters (including me) valued sovereignty over stability. In any case, it’s up to Scotland whether they leave, not English or other UK voters.
  • Currency stability — Again this was on the ballot, as instability in Sterling was widely anticipated. Indeed, I see this as beneficial overall for the UK, as Sterling was massively overvalued. Yes, holidays will cost more and inflation will normalise from historic lows, but homes will be more affordable and trade deficit will reduce. A net positive.
  • EU Citizens — Again, on the ballot. And something I think will be sorted quickly in negotiations, as there is much good will on both sides.
  • Environmental protections — Something the UK Govt is entirely capable of protecting. The idea we need the EU to enact environmental laws for us is preposterous and condescending to the UK parliament. Frankly I welcome a repatriation of powers. And anyway, again, this was always on the ballot.
  • Science & Higher Ed — On the ballot, and readily soluble in negotiations, as there is benefit to both sides to come to agreement. The fact that “Leave” has a list of possible disbenefits or uncertainties as well as benefits doesn’t negate the result. It demonstrates for me an arrogance toward the electorate to assume it does.
  • Credit ratings — Are doing just fine, and again financial disbenefits were on the ballot being well publicised before the referendum.
  • Employers relocating — Very much on the ballot, and hasn’t happened at any scale. We have lower unemployment than any time in many years.
  • Patent & IP— Again, an important and complex negotiating point but with mutual benefit. Again, foreseen before the ballot and well publicised.
  • Capital for infrastructure — EU grants and capital was on the ballot and well publicised, but more generally, the UK lends at good rates being one of the strongest and most credit-worthy countries in the EU (other than Germany).
  • Trade treaty expertise — Trade was on the ballot — but this objection is facile. Yes, we will need teams of negotiators. Yes, it’ll take time. But we can find them, and frankly will be freer to set terms quickly on trade deals than the EU (which has spent 10 years trying to do a deal with the USA that is dead in the water)
  • EU Citizens banking and employment rights — as above.
  • Legal burden of suits — This hasn’t happened, would likely be a class action anyway, and would almost certainly fail.

I’ll be honest Kate, the time to advertise your laundry list of potential disbenefits to triggering article 50 was before the referendum. You did, and people either didn’t believe you, or felt there were overriding benefits. Either way, the fact that there are complications and disbenefits does not annul the result of a democratic vote. The fact that you are urging parliament to unilaterally decide Remain were right after all, and the British people were wrong strikes me (along with most remoaning) as indicating and emblematic of the arrogance and disconnection of so-called elites — the same arrogance and disconnection that allows Trump and Leave to be winning.

So instead of spending your time trying to overthrow the sovereign will of the British people to decide their future for themselves because you know better, maybe you should spend your time in introspection, looking at yourself and your friends (who, if I’m right about your liberal echo chamber, likely all agree with you), and ask yourself — “Is this because of us? Do I have a part in this?”

A vain hope?



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