What is the point of this Web site?  What is it trying to do?                                                                               Q-101

         What has Parliament got to do with it?                                                                                                                Q-102

         But isn’t there something called the Royal Prerogative?                                                                                     Q-103

         What about the Referendum – haven’t the people already decided?                                                                   Q-104

         Why is the Government talking and acting as if Brexit was under way?                                                            Q-105

         What’s so bad about Brexit, anyway?                                                                                                                   Q-106

         Why do so many people want Brexit then?                                                                                                           Q-107

——  End of Questions  —————————————————————————————————————————


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Text Box: A-101
Ultimately, to keep the UK in the EU.

To do that, we have to convince MPs to vote against leaving, when a Bill comes to Parliament.

To do that, we have to convince the majority of MPs of two things:
first, 	that they really are free to decide, 
that they don’t have to vote according to the referendum result,
that they are not bound by the preparations the Government has already made;
secondly, that leaving the EU would be really bad for the country and for their constituents. 

The immediate purpose of the Web site is to provide information and arguments
for people to present to their MPs when they lobby them to vote against leaving.

The only people MPs are obliged to listen to are their constituents:
our hope is that this Web site will be seen by people in all 650 constituencies.




Text Box: A-102
Withdrawing from the EU Treaty will deprive UK citizens of all the rights they have under that treaty.

Those rights were granted to them by Parliament through the European Communities Act 1972.

Under the UK constitution, only Parliament, through an Act, can take away rights that it granted in the past.

If the Government wants to take the UK out of the EU, it must obtain legal authority to do so. 

It must put a Bill before Parliament, proposing that the UK shall leave the EU,
and ask Parliament (Commons and Lords) to vote to pass it into law as an Act.

Parliament is absolutely free to choose whether to pass that Bill or not.

If Parliament does not pass it, the Government cannot withdraw from the EU Treaty.



Text Box: A-103
Long ago, our Kings had absolute power over their kingdom and their subjects.
Starting with Magna Carta, 800 years ago, they have slowly ceded that power to Parliament.
What is left of their original power is now exercised by the Ministers of the Crown – the Government.
They exercise it under what is called Royal Prerogative, as representatives of the King or Queen.
Broadly speaking, everything to do with the rights and duties of citizens belongs to Parliament,
                      and everything to do with action as a nation among nations belongs to the Government.
The Government has the power to sign treaties, to declare and to conduct of war, and so forth.

The Government claims the right to withdraw from the EU Treaty – leave the EU – under prerogative.
But the EU Treaty is not a treaty in the normal sense – it’s not about action as a nation outside the UK.
The EU Treaty gives UK citizens a huge array of rights and duties, both at home and throughout the EU.
By signing the Treaty, the Government did not grant those rights:  it only negotiated an offer of them.
Parliament, by the 1972 European Communities Act, accepted that offer, and thus granted those rights.
Withdrawing from the EU Treaty would extinguish those rights - take away what Parliament has given.
Only Parliament has the power to do that:  by law, the Government can never over-rule Parliament.



Text Box: A-104
The referendum was consultative only - it was, in effect, just a national opinion poll.
The EU Referendum Act 2015 made that perfectly clear.
It gave the Government no power whatever to act in any way at all on either of the possible results.
That is the legal position, and neither side contested it at the High Court or at the Supreme Court.
The political position is a different matter.
If there had been a massive Leave majority, it could be argued that Parliament was bound to act on it. 
In fact, the majority was very small:  it represented the voice of just 2% of those who actually voted
( if 2% of those who voted Leave had voted Remain instead, the result would have been a tie )
that’s the voice of 1.4% of those who were eligible to vote, and of 1% of the population of the UK.
The Referendum Act did not set a threshold majority at which a Leave vote would take effect
for the obvious reason that the referendum was consultative only – gave rise to no effect.
The general rule, world wide, in votes for major, constitutional change is that
the majority should be large – a 2 to 1 majority is often required – 52 to 48 just isn’t enough.

The people have not decided, neither in legal terms nor in political terms.



Text Box: A-105
The short answer is, out of political desperation.  They have got themselves into a terrible mess.
They made a promise that they did not have the legal power to keep.
They made it for purely party-political reasons, thinking they would never be called on to keep it.

To fend off UKIP in the 2015 election, and to keep their own right wing quiet, they promised a referendum.
To make it sound as if it would settle the question once and for all, they dressed it up as “a decision”.
They promised to “implement the result”, but only asked Parliament to give them a consultative referendum.
( Parliament would probably have refused to give them a decision-making one. )
They didn’t think it mattered:  they thought Remain was bound to get a majority.
They gave no thought at all to the alternative, made no plan for it.  Now they are in a mess.

They want to hang on to power at all costs, and to keep their party united.
They are also terrified of rioting by the extreme Brexit hardheads, if they don’t keep their promise.
So, regardless of the law or common sense, they are ploughing on as if the decision had been made,
      blindly and with no idea where the are going, regardless of the harm they are doing to the country.



Text Box: A-106
The UK is simply too small to operate alone in the modern world.
It has 1% of the world’s population, and produces 2.33% of the world’s goods and services in real terms.
Its economy is the 9th (not 5th) largest – one third of India’s, one seventh of the USA’s, one eighth of China’s.
It has negligible negotiating power relative to these giants, not just in trade but in all sorts of other domains.

In an intensely competitive world, many rising powers resent the UK’s colonial past and present pretensions.
To defend its trade and its general interests and values, the UK must join a union of like-minded countries.

By history and culture the UK is an European country – our values and interests are basically European.
We were ruled from Rome for 400 years and by non-resident, French speaking kings for another 350.
Centuries of trade, war and exchange of artisans, scholars and artists have drawn European countries together.

We are already a member of the EU and benefit greatly despite all its terrible faults and all the difficulties.
We will find no better union – and the cost of a divorce will, in any case, bankrupt us.

Coming soon.



Text Box: A-107
The answer, in one word, is nostalgia.  They long for the time when they felt superior to other peoples.
A hundred year ago, Britain was a great nation whose flag flew over one third of the globe.
Population growth and the spread of industrial and agricultural skills have reduced it to normal importance.
No special genius or virtue made Britain briefly great, just a passing phase in world economic development.

Imperial power demanded sacrifices from those who toiled to maintain it:  stokers in our great battleships,
soldiers sweating under a colonial sun,  administrators and plantation managers in lonely outposts.
A massive propaganda campaign – jingoism – developed to keep them reconciled to their oppressive duty.
Still, after all these years, it clouds the national mind with baseless dreams of glory and superiority.

Modern, global life is incredibly complicated and requires a huge apparatus of regulation to make sure that
our high expectations for the quality & safety of goods & services, and for security in general, are met.
	The EU has enabled European nations to share the burdens and costs of this apparatus, which are great,
but that makes the EU an easy target for frustrated people who seek a villain to blame for our “decline”.