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I didn’t want a no-deal Brexit, but now I see it as the only way to move the UK forward

No one has done more than me to warn of the risks of a no-deal Brexit, but now it seems to be the only way to resolve the debates which have plagued the UK over the last three years, says Leave HQ editor Pete North.

It shouldn’t have come to this, but Britain is on course to leave the EU without a replacement relationship and it’s going to seriously damage the UK.


This is an outcome I campaigned hard to avoid. Now though, I am resigned to it. Let the chips fall where they may.


The bottom line is if you have a national vote, then the result must be implemented. Votes cannot be disregarded if the result does not meet the approval of the ruling class.


Otherwise you don’t have a democracy.


There are many fine arguments as to why we do need a withdrawal agreement, and nobody has done more to set out the risks of leaving without a deal than me, but in the end those warnings were not taken seriously by either side.


Or rather, not seriously enough.




The remainers very much appreciated the risks, but decided to gamble anyway by voting down a withdrawal agreement. They never had any intention of respecting the 2016 referendum.


Being that we have an obstructionist Parliament doing all it can to frustrate the delivery of Brexit, this ceases to be a matter of trade and becomes a constitutional crisis over who gets the final word – the people or Parliament.


And by definition, if the people don’t have the final say in constitutional matters, then we are not a democracy.


There is all manner of sophistry we can apply to this as to why Brexit should be delayed or deferred, but ultimately those who voted to leave have run out of patience and run out of trust.


Those seeking to stop a no-deal Brexit are simply seeking to stop Brexit altogether and they no longer even try to hide it. So now it’s a fight to the death.


As it happens, the remainers don’t have the numbers, the means or the talent to stop or even delay Brexit.




There is talk of Boris Johnson shuttering Parliament to make sure we get to the deadline unimpeded, but such a drastic measure is hardly even necessary.


All the PM needs to do is sit on his hands until November. Just the threat of it, though, provides a useful decoy to distract the opposition and the media.


That leaves us with nothing much to say or do until the day arrives when we get to find out who was right about how bad it’s going to be.


Reports of shortages and delays at the ports seem overwrought to the point of hysteria, largely because the media misrepresents or misunderstands what new EU trade barriers entail.


Rather than being a big bang, I’m expecting it to be a slow bleed as the EU turns the screws. It will be some weeks before we start to get an idea of how this plays out.


Though economically this is not something to be desired, it does at least clear the decks.




For three years now, British politics has been in stalemate with nothing ever resolved. This process is showing up our system as decrepit, antiquated and long past its prime.


It shows just how impotent our Parliament really is against virtually unchecked executive power and how supine and inept our politicians really are.


Our whole political system is a throwback to feudalism. One rather suspects that after November there will be a real impetus to do something about it.


I have long held that the economic questions come a distant second to sorting out the political settlement, because nothing gets done unless we sort it out.


For too long, we have been ruled by a centrist consensus which deferred issues of international consequence to Brussels, where General Elections are basically meaningless.


The best we can hope for under such a regime is a slow managed decline.




I now have no doubt things have to get a whole lot worse before they get better.


Though the Tories have been the instrument of Brexit, after we leave, I for one have no further use for them.


Ridding ourselves of the dictatorship in Westminster is every bit as vital as removing the one in Brussels. Now is the time to be asking whether ‘parliamentary democracy’ is even democracy at all.


The notion that we may occasionally elect our dictators is hardly an adequate model for the digital age. The current model dates back to a time when MPs would ride for three days on horseback to go to Parliament.




In many ways, it was unrealistic to expect a viable deal with the EU. How can the UK work out the basis of its relationship with others when it is so ill at ease with itself?


Unless and until we have resolved our own internal differences, there is no basis for moving forward.

This is a sharply divided country and it will take something like a no-deal Brexit to resolve, once and for all, many of the technical and philosophical debates which have plagued us over the last three years.


Once we have seen for ourselves how the ‘free trade’ delusions of the Tory right fall flat on their face, then we can have a more informed debate about our place in the world and our future direction.




We cannot even begin to heal the divisions until we have a new constitutional settlement.


I had hoped we could have avoided all this, but the failure to reach an agreement is a fundamental failure of our politics and the Westminster system as a whole.


It failed when we could least afford it to fail. We can therefore no longer consider it fit for purpose and must seek out new ways of doing politics.


Parliamentary democracy is not democracy and it’s time to kill it off for good.


Pete can be found tweeting at @PeteNorth303


This article was originally posted on his blog, here.

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