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Local Election Manifesto 2018

Your concerns are our concerns

General Election Manifesto 2015

Believe in Britain

Save Our Democracy

We believe that in a democracy, the people are sovereign within their own realm. In the UK, we elect representatives to a place called Parliament to make laws on our behalf, because it would be too costly and time-consuming if we all got involved in every detail of the legislative process.

Parliament has no absolute authority, it only has the delegated authority that we, the people, have given to its members. Every five years, or sooner if circumstances require it, Parliament hands back its authority to us and we elect new members to act on our behalf. Thus there is a shared sovereignty between Parliament and the people.

Occasionally, Parliament feels the need to go back to the people and ask for a decision on a specific issue. One such occasion was the United Kingdom European Community (Common Market) Membership Referendum, 1975, and the question was “Do you think the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?” The result was 67.23% Yes and 32.77% No. The popular understanding at the time, based on an assurance from the former Prime Minister Edward Heath, was that the European Community would always be just an economic union and would not become political. However, this assurance was not honoured by future governments, there was a series of treaties, the Schengen Agreement 1985, the Single European Act 1986, the Maastricht Treaty 1992, the Amsterdam Treaty 1997, and the Lisbon Treaty 2007, gradually eroding the sovereignty of the UK as an independent state and reducing us to a province of a European super-state.

When we, the people, hand over our sovereignty to a new Parliament at a General Election, we expect them to hand it back to us intact at the end of their term of office. Unfortunately this has not been done, they have handed back to us a compromised sovereignty, so that we are no longer able to elect a Parliament that can make its own laws.

To remedy this situation, in 2016 we were given another referendum and the choice was to Remain within the European Union or Leave. We were assured by the Prime Minister David Cameron that if we vote to Leave, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which begins an irreversible two-year process for leaving the European Union, would be triggered without delay. We also received a pamphlet delivered to every household at taxpayer’s expense, assuring us that whatever we decide will be done. The people went to the polls and made their decision, and the result was 51.9% Leave and 48.1% Remain, with a high turnout of 72.2%. The margin was narrow, but it had to be accepted nonetheless as a valid result, as it would have been in any other electoral event that requires a simple majority. But the people campaigning for Remain were bad losers, they didn’t want to accept the result and turned out on the streets to protest. They denounced the referendum as “advisory” (a term that nobody had ever heard of before) and they became known as the “Remoaners”.

This was in June 2016, and now as I write this in December 2016 there is a hearing in progress at the Supreme Court where lawyers are arguing that the Referendum Act 2015, which enabled this referendum to take place, did not specify anything about what would happen, depending on the result, and the assurances from the Prime Minister that the result would be implemented were not good enough. They are also arguing about the relative sovereignty of Parliament and the Crown. The Government is arguing in response that they can trigger Article 50 under Royal Prerogative, as they do with all matters of foreign affairs, but the Remoaners are insisting that it has to be subject to an Act of Parliament because it affects people’s rights under domestic law. They say that all they want to do is make sure the law is applied correctly, but it’s complete nonsense. If they are so concerned about the legal process, why didn’t they say so at the beginning, when the Government first announced that there would be a referendum? Why do they wait until the result is announced and then create all this trouble? It’s because they don’t want to accept the result and will do everything they can to frustrate and delay the process of leaving the European Union.

The arguments about Parliament and the Crown are based on historical events at the time of Cromwell, when Parliament consisted of people appointed by privilege from different parts of the realm, but the King was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted, subject to the limited rights of the people under Magna Carta. There was a civil war in which the Parliamentarians prevailed and King Charles I had his head cut off, and every future monarch was reduced to figurehead status. This is the basis of the Parliamentary sovereignty that we have today, that the Remoaners consider to be so important, but they forget that after Cromwell there was a gradual move toward universal suffrage, so that sovereignty is shared between Parliament and the people and is periodically passed from one to the other.

During the referendum, sovereignty was handed back to the people and we made our decision. It has to be implemented, otherwise democracy itself is under threat with unpredictable consequences. Voting is easy, other methods can be hard, and I much prefer the obvious benefits of putting X in a box and accepting the result.


Mike Gascoigne