Podcast on a No Deal Brexit and the Constitution

20th August 2019

I did a podcast yesterday and discussed the constitutional context of the current Brexit situation and the sheer difficulties now facing those opposed to a No Deal Brexit,

In essence: a No Deal Brexit can still be stopped, but it is not going to be easy, and the constitution is not going to be like the cavalry coming to the rescue.

Do have a listen and make any sensible, non-irksome comments below.

27 thoughts on “Podcast on a No Deal Brexit and the Constitution”

  1. I just flushed this episode from my pod-catcher 5 minutes ago because I am heartily sick of Brexit and feel like a bit of Telemann.
    But if DAG is on it, I will make sure to download it again and give it my full and undivided attention.

    1. Seconded.

      Even better, the quiet voice of reason speaks with a Brummie accent. The Lunar Society would be pleased.


    Dear David,

    It sounds as if you are now been inundated with “irksome posts”. Perhaps an indication of desperation as Nero fiddles while Rome is about to go up in flames.

    I watched a movie the other night titled “The United Kingdom” thinking it was something about how the kingdom unitedness was becoming somewhat fragile with Brexit. However it was about Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana) from circa 1948 and some years later and revolved around the struggles of (Sir) Seretze Khama and Ruth Williams (then an English Secretary) before and after marrying across the “colour line” from both within Botswana and in the UK, with the latter relying on the excuse of not upsetting the then new National Party Premier Dr DF Malan in South Africa (who went on to formalised Apartheid into legislation).

    I could not but help thinking that the attitude of the English officials displayed in the then dying days of Empire was very resemblant of those of the current cabinet in the UK, determined to try and apparently reinvent Empire. The Right Honorable Jacob Rees-Mogg in particular came to mind.

    Best wishes,

    John Forbes

  3. Depressing listening. Perhaps the most depressing parts are: (i) it is clear the process will run and run, whatever happens on or before Halloween, and (ii) the process has almost completely muffled any sensible debate around the pros and cons of Brexit.
    However, the comments on pros and cons of a codified constitution and the probable reality of a GNU are interesting.

  4. Although my family and me voted to remain, we are all now committed Brexiteers. There are two main reasons for our change of heart, first the attitude of the EU and our learning of the utter corruption prevalence within its very fabric. Secondly, and to our minds of greater importance is the sanctity of our democracy, the words ‘…at the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them’ come to mind, for your younger readers the above refers to those young men and women who fought and died for our freedom and democracy in the two world wars and other conflicts around the world.
    Those young men and women died for us, thats you and me, how then can we hold their lives as meaningless, because that is exactly what those who refuse to honour the democratic vote are doing, what ever excuse they choose to make to justify their actions, they know that our democracy is worth a thousand Europes and that once set aside even once, we will never be a true democracy again.
    If democracy is set aside now, a president will have been set and politicians will find an excuse to set it aside once more and that my friends is the end of our democracy and our freedom.

    1. I have not encountered anyone convincingly explaining a change of heart from remain to leave, let alone a whole family. I think the only exception being MPs who may have voted remain and changed sides. The reasons given here are very surprising. Those who gave their lives for our freedom in wars have seen our future peace and security greatly enhanced through the institutions of the European Union. I have do not respect the outcome of a process that should have been conducted according to a clear set of rules that were breached. The electoral commission found the process of the leave campaign in significant breach of the rules designed to make the process democratic. So there are clear and substantial reasons why the result should not be respected.

          1. Happy to post any comment which is not irksome – in particular ones which add to the discussion

      1. It may be true that a breach of rules occurred on the leave side, but any effect this may have had pales into insignificance when compared to the £10 million spent by the government flooding every household with its pro-remain propaganda leaflet.

        I think you do not have a leg to stand on in this respect.

    2. I think sadly William, holding up this particular referendum as “democratic” is, at best wishful thinking? I won’t go through the reasons why, as we all know them. The issues don’t lie with the EU, they lie with Westminster and our politicians. I take your comments about the war with sadness. Actually the EU was formed to prevent further conflict and on that, it has been entirely successful. I am a remainer and always will be, I believe in the EU. I am Irish and I have seen the benefits of being a member. Ireland have gone from strength to strength. It is an incredibly forward thinking country. Sadly, I think Britain has become the opposite.

    3. I agree with Christopher and Lyndsey. The EU have not been obdurate but flexible in their stance to a very hard set of red lines that Theresa May set. The Northern Ireland border was always going to be a sticking point as both Tony Blair and John Major pointed out before the referendum. Bringing the war and sacrifice of young men and women into the question is just one unfortunate aspect of the whole referendum, as is ‘taking back control’ – something which the UK never lost. I am sorry you and your family have changed your view. If by some extraordinary chance the referendum is re-run on a sensible basis, if such a thing exists, I hope it is a decision you will carefully reconsider.

    4. omigod – how ever did you support remaining in the EU with your views just expressed? What is this “utter corruption” and how is your sentimental views of the distant past of WW2 relevant?

    5. The only ones I know who were old enough to actually fight in the war or be on war work if they didn’t see active service, all voted Remain. That says enough to me about how we should honour them.
      Not empty words about Democracy! When was Cummings elected?

      1. Same… all those who fought, that have been vocal, voted remain. They fought for peace and to never see the atrocities of prior wars. Anyone who has switched and used this as a reason to now vote leave, is rather confused in my opinion about what it is the EU stands for?

    6. The UK referendum result that really matters is the one in Northern Ireland in 1998, in which 71% of the voters approved the Good Friday Agreement.

      I say ‘really matters’ because – together with the parallel referendum in the Republic of Ireland – it gave democratic legitimacy to a peace agreement that ended a shooting and bombing war that had killed thousands of people.

      Yes, it took place over twenty years ago, but building peace is a long-term project, one that will take generations, for this is a conflict whose roots spread back to the early 17th century, if not before.

      For these reasons, I think it is the most important vote that has taken place in the UK in my lifetime (I say this disinterestedly, as I’m English and had no part in it). It really was a matter of life and death. It has been reinforced by the majority – nearly 56% – for Remain in Northern Ireland in the 2016 referendum, given that common UK and Irish membership of the EU has underpinned the Agreement.

      It is the Brexiters who have tried to undermine these democratic choices through decisions – to take the UK out of the single market and customs union – that require a hard border in Ireland, threaten the peace and undermine the parity of esteem for both communities that the Good Friday Agreement commits the parties to upholding. And it is the EU which is insisting on arrangements that honour the letter and spirit of the Agreement.

      Far from threatening democracy, the European Union is defending it.

        1. Alan hasn’t nailed it.

          If the UK is to have its membership of the EU made irrevocable through a referendum then that needed to be made clear to the entire UK population and the referendum should have taken place over the whole of the UK. The population of NI cannot make decisions for the whole of the UK through a referendum.

  5. I listened and found it fair and balanced in particular your comments which explain the possibilities clearly and fairly. I agree that another referendum would be a disastrous route. I agree that a general election will probably resolve nothing and will also be incredibly divisive. Al predictions are little help. I then listened to Peter Hennessy interviewing Norman Lamont. What amazed me was hearing a leading brexit supporting politician talking sense about leaving. Not enough to convert me because I believe the future of this country fundamentally depends on being part of a larger group which in my mind must be Europe. Keep up the excellent work and fingers crossed in about 20 years time it will be part of history. Lamont’s comment on history being a reflection of journalism was particularly apposite.

    1. I would agree wholeheartedly, with China and the US being the big trading blocs to worry about, being part of the EU gives us leverage as a large trading bloc. This isn’t about retrospective “British empire and British bulldog spirit”. Those days have gone. Sadly I think there are many who have no interest in this aspect and the economic side. They choose or haven’t the capacity to understand it. Which is fine to a point, everyone is entitled to their vote. However, when a lack of knowledge and downright ignorance ends up overriding critical thinking and expertise. We have a problem! The vote should never have been put to the people, full stop and it should never have been in such a binary fashion. This country needs to set the reboot button as it has lost its way.

  6. brilliant – I have sent it to my Facebook friends and to the members of my local U3A Brexit group (yes – we oldies are actually interested in, and often violently opposed, to the rubbish being served up to us in the name of the Will of the People)

  7. So, if ‘Remain’ wins and in some way prevents us leaving at the end of October, what then? Does the problem miraculously go away? No.

    A second referendum. with what question? A choice between the BRINO deal that was May’s Withdrawal Agreement and Remain? Leavers will not accept a second referendum where the question is set by the people who lost the first one.

    And if ‘Remain’ wins and we revoke A50, what then? Is there any internal settlement where those people who do well from EU membership compensate Leave areas? Is there a deal? No.

    Just a reminder that we are coming up to the 5th anniversary of the publication of the Jay Report into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham. A report in which the nation discovered that agents of the state had seen sexual exploitation, abuse, and rape of children and young girls on an industrial scale and decided there was no crime being committed. Since then we have found this was repeated in town after town, and given that most of these areas voted heavily Leave, these people have been told they are racists who did not know what they were voting for, and that we need immigrants because they are too stupid to do skilled work such as nursing. And now you are going to overturn a vote they won. Its that the state you wish to build? Do you think that revoking or a second referendum is going to end well?

    1. A balanced and well researched view. Britain is better as a part of the EU economically, culturally, politically. Being part of the larger alliance helps is globally too. Britain was, until the current shambolic brexit crisis, well respected on the world stage, but we are no longer in the age of Empire. We must look forward and outward, not inward to little Britain.
      Keep up the good work. You explain it in the clearest fashion.

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