The Corner

World

The Math, the Prime Minister, and the Speaker

Tellers announce the results of the vote on Brexit in Parliament in London, England, March 13, 2019. (Reuters TV via REUTERS )

One man’s problem of Parliamentary arithmetic is another’s opportunity, at least in Brexit.

There was no Parliamentary majority for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

There is no Parliamentary majority willing to withdraw the U.K.’s Article 50 notice and cancel Brexit outright.

There is no Parliamentary majority for having another referendum or able to agree on what that referendum might be.

There is no Parliamentary majority that would vote affirmatively for a no-deal Brexit at this point (even if previous votes created this scenario as a default).

There is no Parliamentary majority willing to make Jeremy Corbyn a caretaker prime minister until the other questions are sorted out.

To make the threat of No Deal more credible to Europeans, new prime minister Boris Johnson drastically shortened the time at which opponents of No Deal could organize to force him to give it up, even as a threat.

Essentially, the PM is leveraging  the lack of a pro-Corbyn majority, and the lack of a no-Brexit majority, to make No Deal look more credible. In the game of chicken with the European Union, he has ostentatiously unscrewed the steering wheel to signal to the negotiators on the other side that Parliament can’t jerk the wheel at the last second.

Well, that has infuriated John Bercow the occasionally scandal-plagued Speaker of the House, who is decidedly and dismissively anti-Brexit. He seemed confident until recently that there was no Parliamentary majority for any Brexit on offer, which could mean that eventually the whole thing will have to go. But now he is looking to take unconstitutional means to stop the prime minister, namely, he is looking to break precedent and give MPs the power to score the steering wheel back in, and force the PM to request or accept another extension on the October 31st deadline. In a sense the speaker is seeking to use an anti-No Deal majority to bring about a No Brexit outcome that also doesn’t have full and express Parliamentary support.

And this bonfire of precedent is brought about by the fact that the referendum result created a democratic mandate to leave the European Union, but it did not create a sovereign Parliament with a majority of MPs truly committed to it, whatever their election manifestos claimed.

It’s quite thrilling to watch, at least.

Most Popular

Elections

Bernie’s Huge Victory

Bernie had a massive night in Nevada, with a diverse nomination-winning-type coalition. According to the entrance poll, he won whites and Hispanics and did well among blacks. He won men and women. He won college graduates and did particularly well with non-college graduates. He won Democrats and independents. ... Read More
Elections

Bernie’s Huge Victory

Bernie had a massive night in Nevada, with a diverse nomination-winning-type coalition. According to the entrance poll, he won whites and Hispanics and did well among blacks. He won men and women. He won college graduates and did particularly well with non-college graduates. He won Democrats and independents. ... Read More
U.S.

Women’s Sports Should Be Women’s Sports

Transgender sports policies make a mockery of women’s competition. Just look at the state of Connecticut. At the 2018 state open for women’s track and field, two young men identifying as transgender took first and second place in the 100m race. Their participation not only deprived young women of their ... Read More
U.S.

Women’s Sports Should Be Women’s Sports

Transgender sports policies make a mockery of women’s competition. Just look at the state of Connecticut. At the 2018 state open for women’s track and field, two young men identifying as transgender took first and second place in the 100m race. Their participation not only deprived young women of their ... Read More
Elections

Bernie’s Houses

Mike Bloomberg scored a hit -- a palpable hit -- in the debate this week when he pointed back at Bernie Sanders and said: “What a wonderful country we have, the best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Many conservatives laughed and cheered and wondered why Bernie ... Read More
Elections

Bernie’s Houses

Mike Bloomberg scored a hit -- a palpable hit -- in the debate this week when he pointed back at Bernie Sanders and said: “What a wonderful country we have, the best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Many conservatives laughed and cheered and wondered why Bernie ... Read More

Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars

He who follows Freedom, let him leave his homeland, and risk his life. — Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet, 1832 Last week my wife Hope and I traveled to Boca Chica, Texas, to meet with Elon Musk. While we talked inside the SpaceX onsite headquarters, a mariachi band played outside, providing entertainment for ... Read More

Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars

He who follows Freedom, let him leave his homeland, and risk his life. — Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet, 1832 Last week my wife Hope and I traveled to Boca Chica, Texas, to meet with Elon Musk. While we talked inside the SpaceX onsite headquarters, a mariachi band played outside, providing entertainment for ... Read More

Escape from Wuhan

The onset of the crisis in Wuhan startled me like a jump scare in a horror movie. You’ve seen the kind I mean. The audience is led to believe that the monster, psycho killer—or what have you—pursuing the intended victim is still distant. Then whatever it is stands up from behind, leaps out in front, bursts ... Read More

Escape from Wuhan

The onset of the crisis in Wuhan startled me like a jump scare in a horror movie. You’ve seen the kind I mean. The audience is led to believe that the monster, psycho killer—or what have you—pursuing the intended victim is still distant. Then whatever it is stands up from behind, leaps out in front, bursts ... Read More