So the news yesterday is that Prime Minister Johnson is finding ways to do exactly what he said he would do – i.e. Brexit on November 1 – despite the objections of the various remainer MP factions and the chattering classes as a whole.

Apparently this came as a shock to people. As did his using dastardly tricks of parliamentary procedure that have never been used before except umm like about 22 years ago by John Major and various times before that. This unprecedented reuse of prior parliamentary procedures is, apparently the worst thing ever, whereas Squeaker Bercow’s actual unprecedented perversion of parliamentary procedure earlier this year is perfectly fine and dandy.


It occurs to me that Johnson, or possibly the Leader of the House, Rees Mogg might want to recycle some rhetoric used by a prior executive who lost patience with parliament – that being a certain O. Cromwell – in a speech to be made before parliament actually rises:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

To put it in a nutshell. A prior parliament agreed to hold a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU or not and to be bound by the result. It then honoured that result by passing the required resolution according to Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty that gave a two year deadline to make a mutually acceptable agreement to leave or (implicitly) to leave on terms similar to any other member of the WTO and various other international bodies.

Then in March this year parliament became aware that it had delegated responsibility for negotiation over to an executive that apparently thought the word negotiation meant to bare the backside, pass the EU some lube and beg it to be gentle. Mind you it seems like about 20% like the lube idea, 20% of parliament was OK with the basic baring the backside concept, they just wanted the EU to wear a condom, and another 20% liked it rough and didn’t want any lube at all and so on. In all cases the concept of saying NO did not seem to be something they were willing to consider. Many of them were however intensely aware that their electorate expected an actual Brexit and were unkeen on the whole baring of the backside thing, unless the idea was to moon the EU and fart in their general direction. Hence various parliamentary maneuvers as they attempted to reconcile these impossible to reconcile goals.

This led to agreement by Parliament and the EU to the kicking of the can down the road to October 31. And then to the collapse of Mrs May’s government and the selection by the conservative party of Mr Johnson as the new Prime Minister whose entire campaign was “one way or another we will leave the EU on October 31”. Note that prior parliaments also passed the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act which limits how easy it is for parliament to be dissolved for new elections.

The remainers can claim Johnson is acting in an unparliamentary way and that complaint has some merit, but as Robert Peston points out, the fact that he can do what he is doing is due entirely to prior parliaments passing misguided laws limiting their own powers.

More to the point, it seems almost certain that there will be a general election later this year. The Remainer MPs might want to consider that one fairly likely potential outcome of that is Prime Minister N Farage – and I think it is fair to say that in the remainer demonology, Johnson is just a senior devil whereas Farage is Lucifer himself. This outcome is more likely if the UK does not leave the EU on October 31 in an orderly fashion.

But apparently this logic does not compute.


Perhaps instead of the Cromwell speech I quoted above, Johnson should use this one:

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.