Tag Archives: Article 50

Government announces refusal to accept ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition, no matter how many people sign it

So much for democracy under a Conservative government.

So much for its ePetitions website, which was introduced as a huge step towards giving the people a stronger voice in government (if you can remember that long ago).

So what does the government response to the ‘Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU’ petition actually mean? Nothing at all.

The statement was released on the day the petition topped 5.8 million signatures. Although the rate at which people are signing has slowed considerably, it still seems likely that more will have signed it than voted for Brexit in the EU referendum, by the time the revised departure date of April 12 comes around.

Opponents of the petition’s aim have tried to undermine it by claiming it has been overrun by bots, foreign people signing it under the pretence of being British, and multiple signings by the same people. There is no evidence to support these claims.

As for the government’s statement – well, let us examine it.

This Government will not revoke Article 50. We will honour the result of the 2016 referendum and work with Parliament to deliver a deal that ensures we leave the European Union.

Translation: “Expect a general election soon. We are unable to deliver a deal that both Parliament and we can accept.”

It remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50. We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.

But we know that Brexit will harm the economy – that it has already done so, thereby harming those who voted Leave and Remain alike.

Revoking Article 50, and thereby remaining in the European Union, would undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in Government.

Voters put their trust in governments to lead their nations to prosperity – not ruin. We have seen that Brexit is hugely harmful to the UK economy, yet the Conservative government is determined to pitch us over that metaphorical cliff.

Therefore this statement confirms that the government does not deserve your trust.

The Government acknowledges the considerable number of people who have signed this petition. However, close to three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected. This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented. 17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.

Gosh. And if more than 17.4 million people sign the petition, that will provide the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at the UK government.

One wonders whether this statement, made at a time when the petition is one-third of the way to passing 17.4 million, has been timed to discourage people from signing.

The statement also fails to acknowledge that the question posed by the referendum was flawed, in that no attempt was made to describe the form in which the UK’s departure from the European Union would take. This failure has led to nearly three years of paralysis, with the government failing to strike a withdrawal agreement with the EU, and failing to address the “burning injustices” (as Theresa May famously described them) at home.

It fails to acknowledge that many of the three-quarters of the electorate who took part in the referendum, even though its terms were vague beyond incompetence, may have done so in the knowledge that abstaining might result in a huge national mistake.

And you should note well that the government chooses it set the referendum above the petition, even though it has denied us the opportunity to have another referendum to gauge public feeling now. In such circumstances, it seems the petition is the only avenue via which people may make their opinions felt, but the government is saying it will not take any notice of those opinions. That is not democracy.

British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

How disingenuous. The government has no way of knowing that any members of the electorate voted on the basis of the parties’ policies on Brexit. Opinion within all UK political parties is divided, as the last few months of deadlock have proved beyond any doubt.

And the electorate votes for candidates – not parties.

This Government stands by this commitment.

Even though it does not know whether the majority of the people voted to support it.

Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy. As the Prime Minister has said, failing to deliver Brexit would cause “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”, and it is imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them.

The whole farce of Brexit has already caused “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”. What else may we conclude from the fact that only seven per cent of the population consider the Conservative government to have handled this matter well?

If it really is “imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them”, then the current Conservative government has no mandate to continue.

More than 80 per cent of the population do not believe the Conservative government is capable of delivering “the best outcome for them”. Many of us do not believe the Conservative government ever tried to do so.

Based on a response like that quoted above, it seems clear that the UK electorate should demand a general election before this fiasco goes on any longer.

If the Tories are determined to fail us, it is time to seek a government that won’t.

‘Leave’ supporters heap abuse and DEATH THREATS on creator of ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition

It’s strange. Only today (March 24) I was in a dialogue with someone who was determined that all the abuse in the Brexit debate comes from remainers.

How wrong can a person be – especially on the day after Margaret Georgiadou, the woman who wrote the “Revoke Article 50” petition, revealed she has received death threats from his fellow ‘leave’ supporters.

According to iNews, she has received three death threats from people who called her on the telephone, and a torrent of abuse on Facebook that has pushed her into closing down her account with that platform.

Here are her tweets confirming it:

It seems these miserable individuals have forgotten that one person has already died because she supported remaining in the European Union – Jo Cox.

Hopefully the police will track them down and teach them the error of their ways. Threatening to kill somebody is a crime, you know.

The petition itself has now been signed by more than 5.25 million people.

Leavers like my own sparring partner are saying that it won’t have any validity, no matter how many signatures it attracts – because it isn’t another referendum. It doesn’t have to be.

All it has to do is demonstrate that enough people in the UK now disagree with the decision to leave the European Union. In this instance, “enough” is any number greater than the 17.3 million or so who voted to leave in 2016.

According to iNews (again), Brexit expert Alex de Ruyter reckons 20 million would be nearer the mark – to show a significant shift in public opinion.

Well, it’s a quarter of the way there!

In fairness, though, it’s slowing down.

But there’s a fair bit of time before any of the deadlines – the new deadlines – set for Brexit.

If you haven’t signed it yet, what are you waiting for? Don’t forget to tell al your friends.

‘Revoke Brexit’ ePetition set to beat ‘Leave’ votes at EU referendum by March 29 – IF you sign

On her way: If enough people sign this petition, it cold be the end for Theresa May.

An online petition calling on the UK government to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU is on course to be more popular than the vote to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum after it attracted more than two million signatures in 24 hours.

The petition started to gain signatures in a big way after Theresa May’s statement on Wednesday evening, in which she claimed that the people of the UK wanted her to “get on” with Brexit, stated that she was “on your side”, and tried to blame MPs for the delays that mean the UK will not leave the EU on March 29, under the miserable terms of a pathetic deal that she negotiated.

Downing Street has already stated that she believes “failing to deliver on the referendum result would be a failure of our democracy and something she couldn’t countenance”.

That means a petition with more than 17.4 million – valid – signatures will create a democratic drama for her, as failing to act on it would also be a failure of our democracy. If Theresa May decides she can countenance that, then perhaps she should retire.

The petition’s web page is currently set to update every half hour, after several resource-intensive features were disabled to stop it from crashing. The last time This Writer checked, the number of signatures was increasing by more than 100,000 on each update.

At the time of writing, it stands at more than 3,270,000.

It occurs to This Writer that the best way to get a “people’s vote” on Mrs May’s Brexit – one that she is determined to deny the electorate – is via this petition.

It is possible that people who agree with its aim may be unaware of it – or may simply feel that it won’t do any good; apathy in politics can be a brutal enemy.

If you want the will of the people to be known, I would strongly advise you to sign the petition yourself (if you haven’t already), to inform all your friends that it exists if they don’t know already, and to persuade those who do know about it but don’t think it will do any good.

Once again, you can find it here.


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Government ePetitions website crashes as thousands PER MINUTE call for Brexit to be revoked

Backfire: Theresa May’s Brexit statement proved hugely divisive (as she intended) – but with general opinion siding against her (which she probably didn’t). Open mouth, insert foot…

That’s handy, isn’t it? The government ePetitions website crashed at a time when 1,500 people per minute were trying to sign a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked and Brexit halted.

The petition, launched about a month ago, started gaining signatures in huge numbers after Theresa May’s statement yesterday evening (March 20).

It seems signatories objected to the prime minister’s claim that members of the public want her to “get on with” Brexit, and that she is “on your side”.

It had received almost 600,000 signatures when it went down around 9am today (March 21). The site was restored by 9.40am but crashed again shortly afterwards.

Some might say the faults were fortuitous for a government that has done little over the last two years except spend huge amounts of time, effort and money trying to get us all to accept a departure from the European Union that will benefit only a tiny minority, rather than the nation as a whole.

However, at the time of writing (3pm, March 21) it is up again and showing more than one million signatures.

That’s nearly half a million signatures in six hours. Do a quick bit of maths and you’ll see that a question arises:

What if this petition tops 17.4 million signatures – totalling more people than voted for Brexit in the first place?

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, addressed this in the debate on her statement regarding the business of the House next week, saying: “Should the petition reach more than 17.4 million signatures, there would be a very clear case for taking action.”

So it seems the general public could have a final say on Brexit after all?

For clarity, if you would like to sign the petition, please visit the government website here.

It seems Brexit will be delayed, no matter what May says – but for how long?

It seems the UK is likely to remain in the European Union beyond March 29 – no matter what Theresa May says.

If so, it means she’ll have told us yet another falsehood on Sunday when she said she still expected the UK to leave the EU on March 29.

But there are conflicting stories about the date to which Brexit may be extended, depending on whose plan we all end up following.

The Torygraph adds two months to the calendar, with a scheme concocted by the Tories:

“Downing Street officials have drawn up a series of options in a bid to avoid resignations by ministers determined to support a backbench bid to take no deal off the table this week.

“The Prime Minister said she will delay a meaningful vote on her deal by up to two weeks until March 12, just 17 days before the UK is due to leave the European Union.

“The Telegraph understands that the plans drawn up by Downing Street officials, which were circulated at the weekend, include making a formal request to Brussels to delay Brexit if she cannot secure a deal by then.”

But the delay could last up to two years, according to an EU strategy reported in The Guardian:

“Brexit could be delayed until 2021 under plans being explored by the EU’s most senior officials, at a time of growing exasperation over Theresa May’s handling of the talks, the Guardian can reveal.

“A lengthy extension of the negotiating period is gaining traction as the EU’s default position should the Commons continue to reject May’s deal, and a request emerge.

“Replacing the 21-month transition period with extra time as a member state would allow the UK and the EU to develop their plans for the future relationship with the aim of making the contentious Irish backstop redundant.

“Brussels is determined to avoid offering a short extension only to have to revisit the issue in the summer when the government again fails to win round parliament.”

Which do you think we’ll get?

If you opted for the EU version, I’d have to agree with you – based on Mrs May’s utter failure to gain any concessions at all.
Her performance can best be summed up in the subtitles on this clip:

Recently, This Site and others have taken to calling the prime minister “Groundhog May” because of her inability to get anything done.

It seems we are destined to endure a total of five years (at least) of “Groundhog May”. If her government’s oppressive policies don’t kill us, we’ll probably all die of boredom and frustration before Brexit happens.


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Right again, Vox Political! Tories admit This Site’s claim that Brexit may be delayed to allow needed legislation

What plan: This image was originally used to illustrate a story about Mr Hunt’s mismanagement of the NHS but it is appropriate here, as the Conservative government does not currently have a Brexit plan that will be accepted by both the UK and the remaining countries of the EU.

Once again, This Site has been proved correct as Jeremy Hunt admitted the EU may agree to extend the deadline for Brexit if a new deal is struck – to allow the UK to pass necessary laws.

According to The Guardian (other news sources are available), Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted article 50 may have to be extended if an agreement with the EU is reached with only a short period of time left before the March 29 deadline.

Vox Political asserted this here.

Asked if a technical delay would be necessary, Mr Hunt said: “We might need some extra time to pass critical legislation.”

Vox Political said this was likely here.

It should be noted that Mr Hunt said if an agreement was reached earlier, a delay may not be necessary. I think that is building castles in the air. With nine major Parliamentary Bills and more than 600 pieces of secondary legislation to be passed, it seems highly unlikely the government would get through it all if it started today (January 31).

Mr Hunt’s words demonstrate not only that the Conservative government has been misleading the nation on the necessity for Brexit to be delayed because of the way Theresa May has run down the clock…

… but also that This Site is the best place to find informed commentary and opinion about political matters. While the mainstream media hysterically parrot their right-wing masters, Vox Political has the balanced view.

Forgive me for sharing my pleasure at that fact.


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Daniel Kawczynski’s Brexit appeal to Poland – so much for sovereignty and ‘taking back control’

Daniel Kawczynski: He really wants sovereignty for the UK but seems to have a problem understanding what sovereignty means.

So here’s Daniel Kawczynski: A confirmed Brextremist, he is dead set on the UK regaining its sovereignty on March 29 and making decisions for itself, rather than relying on any of the nations in the European Union.

And here’s the same Daniel Kawczynski – Polish-born Tory MP for Shrewsbury – proudly telling us he’s relying on the Polish Government to impose its will on the UK by preventing us from extending the date of Brexit to a later date; if the UK approves an extension, the EU would have to approve it too – otherwise it couldn’t happen. Here he is:

It’s great to see such a complete absence of self-awareness, isn’t it?

Even better to see so many people enjoying it too. Here‘s Daisy Ecksamania: “This is actively encouraging a foreign power to interfere in UK national affairs, which I would say is tantamount to treason

I love this one – Dr Karen QueueJumper Schafheutle: “Working with a foreign government to subvert the will of the UK parliament. And you put it in a tweet.”

Mike Vine: “We are now at the point where a serving MP openly boasts about working with a foreign government (a pretty extreme right wing one at that) against the interests of this country! Surely there must a word for such activities with associated legal sanctions!”

“The Amazin’ Chris Graylin'” had a new perspective: “Good plan. Could we reach out to France, Germany, Italy, etc as well. In fact, perhaps we could formalise this reaching out with some sort of permanent agreement that all the Euro countries agree to help each other out. Will put it to the PM, this could be a winner.”

London John told us all why he thinks Mr Kawczynski is keen on hard Brexit:

… and Huw Peach told us what happened when he told the public about it: “After I posted the same Private Eye article last summer, Mr Kawczynski asked by DM for my phone no, called me up & shouted at me for about 20 minutes, saying I was bringing politics into the gutter & that I was responsible for him being attacked in

(I’m not giving out my own phone number but I can’t wait for that call. I only hope I’m quick enough to be able to record it all!)

The worst of it is, he clearly doesn’t even understand how he has brought all this ridicule on himself. But we’re back to the self-awareness thing again.

And this is how Brexit happened: Complete lack of self-awareness by Tories.

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Was the Brexit date really set to avoid EU tax avoidance laws? It seems not

The Cayman Islands: People have been saying the date of Brexit was set to avoid an EU law that would ban tax avoidance – but it seems the UK has already implemented it.

No matter what happens to Theresa May’s government after she lost the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal, it seems the UK will have to extend Article 50 and push Brexit back by several weeks or months.

This Site has already discussed the humiliation that will signify, not just for Mrs May but for the people of the United Kingdom as a whole; the world will think we’re a bunch of clowns.

But Vox Political commenter Charles Loft tells me, “There is not enough Parliamentary time to get three Bills essential to Brexit through Parliament by 29th March, even with weekend and late night sittings, so should she survive… (very hopefully NOT!) she would have to extend Article 50.”

And Graham Corran reminded us, “[Theresa May] wants Brexit because her party is bankrolled by rich sponsors – and includes a lot of people – who want to continue to leg it offshore with their wealth to keep it away from the tax man.”

Other commentators have told us time and time again that Mrs May set March 29 as our leaving date because she wants to allow the super-rich to continue avoiding taxes by dodging the European Union’s new Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive.

In fact, that directive came into force on January 1 and the UK has taken steps to incorporate it into national law – but the only part of it that currently applies is the “Controlled Foreign Company” rule, that deters profit-shifting to a low tax/no tax country. Who’d like to see a progress report from HMRC on measures taken to prevent this?

Other directives don’t come in until January 2020 and the UK has changed domestic law to bring it in line with them.

So was the tax avoidance argument a red herring?

And if the EU directive is already part of UK tax law, are we going to see red-faced gammons getting angry about it?

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Brexit: Imagine the humiliation if Theresa May has to apply to extend Article 50

Keep your head down, Maybot: She knows the world is laughing at us. – because of her.

I don’t mean humiliation for her; she couldn’t care less. I mean humiliation for us.

Theresa May has started suggesting that an extension of Article 50 – the part of EU law that allows a member state to withdraw from the bloc, stating the date on which they intend to leave – may now be necessary in order to allow Brexit to happen in an “orderly” manner.

She neglected to mention the fact that the disorderly manner of the UK’s Brexit preparations so far – and the possibility that we won’t be ready to leave on March 29 – is entirely due to squabbling within her own government.

Tory ministers all know that leaving the EU will harm the UK’s economy in a serious way and they have been fighting among themselves, jockeying for the best position to take advantage of the nation’s vulnerability after we lose the advantages of being in the world’s largest trading union.

When she gave her Brexit speech in Stoke on January 14, Mrs May said she did not think the UK should delay its departure – but refused to categorically rule it out.

Meanwhile, we are told EU officials are already laying the groundwork for such an extension – until July – to allow all the necessary legislation to pass.

So, clearly, there is a possibility that a delay may happen.

Now, here’s a thing Mrs May has never considered: We’re not stupid.

We can see these developments and work out what they mean.

Hence this tweet from Dr Phil Hammond:

Quite. Marcus Chown added:

And this is my point.

We might be able to place responsibility where it belongs.

But the rest of the world simply sees the whole of the UK as a laughing-stock – for electing a shower of self-absorbed simpletons who called the EU membership vote for selfish reasons and have spent the years since squabbling among themselves about what they, personally, can get out of it.

And the worst part of it is…

They are right.

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Irish minister claims EU will be happy to consider new deal – but Brexit would be delayed

This will come as a bit of a surprise to some Twitter users. I was discussing the Brexit deal with them as follows:

Oh, really?

If Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney knows what he’s saying – and he should – then the EU will be delighted to discuss a new Brexit proposal with the UK.

And the bloc will be happy to accept a suspension or temporary revocation of Article 50 – that sets the date of the UK’s departure at March 29 – while discussions take place.

According to the BBC: “Brexit may have to be delayed if the UK submits an “entirely new” proposal on its withdrawal from the EU, the Irish foreign affairs minister has said.

“Speaking to Irish national broadcaster RTÉ, Simon Coveney said the UK may have to rescind its Brexit notification “for the moment” if that happened.

“Mr Coveney said if there was a new proposal “undoubtedly it would need a lot more time to be considered on the EU side”.

“”That would probably involve an extension of Article 50 or pulling Article 50 for the moment,” he said.”

He acknowledged that the EU has said it will not carry out any further negotiation on Theresa May’s current Brexit deal, though – and admitted that Mrs May doesn’t want to put a different deal on the table.

Still, it seems “iVoted4Corbyn” was justified in tweeting: “Glad the EU have now confirmed what Jeremy Corbyn has argued all along. The EU are happy & willing to open entirely new negotiations on a completely different Brexit Package, such as the one proposed by Labour.”

It’ll take much more than that to satisfy some people, of course – who have an ideological commitment to the immutability of the current situation.

I wonder how my new Twitter acquaintances will take this development.

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Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook