1st Feb 19
SOLOMON HUGHES reveals Jacob Rees-Mogg’s plot to use ‘prorogoration’
– a kind of royal veto – to bypass democracy in the event of no-deal Brexit
THERE is more than one exit door from the European Union — the Conservatives are trying to push us out of the EU through the door marked “deregulation.”
They want to use the break with the EU to be nastier to migrants so they can create more division among workers and to try and rejuvenate Thatcherism.
Jacob Rees-Mogg underlined the reactionary festival the Tories want to make out of Brexit this month by suggesting a very unusual procedure involving the Queen.
Rees-Mogg’s big idea is “prorogation” — which turns out to be a posh word for a mini-coup, an idea that has been knocking around the reactionary “socially conservative” end of the right for a few weeks now.
Rees-Mogg raised the prorogation threat at a meeting of the Bruges Group — one of the oldest Tory “Eurosceptic” organisations on Wednesday January 23. The £20-a-ticket event in central London was packed.
Rees-Mogg told his tweedy, Tory, Brexity audience that plans by Labour’s Yvette Cooper to stop a no-deal Brexit could be swept aside by “prorogation,” which is the unusual activity with her majesty that is exciting the right.
Cooper’s motion, which would have delayed Brexit by three months if the government had not come up with a deal with the EU, was in the end defeated democratically, by a vote in Parliament.
But Rees-Mogg had a distinctly undemocratic suggestion to sideline Cooper’s plan. For Rees-Mogg, Brexit being delayed is much more scary than no deal.
Rees-Mogg says the government could stop any moves to delay Brexit by using “vestigial constitutional means… By which I basically mean prorogation.”
“Vestigial” has two meanings: either something quite old that is still clinging on to existence, or an internal organ that is “degenerate, rudimentary, or atrophied.”
Looking at Rees-Mogg, in his cosplay 1930s aristocrat outfit, he is all about the degenerate and atrophied.
He might be dressed like a duke with a dirty secret in an Poirot murder mystery, but in this case Rees-Mogg means the “old thing that is still hanging about.”
He thinks the Queen has a “vestigial” power to close down Parliament for Theresa May, leaving the government to do whatever Brexit it wanted, including a no-deal one.
His prorogration is a sort of posh coup with old-fashioned words.
Parliament would be restarted once the deal went through, so Rees-Mogg isn’t quite getting the generals to take over. But it still means “taking back control” via Brexit would become the government taking control from Parliament, because the Queen says so.
Where did Rees-Mogg get the idea? It’s tempting to think the “Member for the 18th Century” merely consulted a vellum-bound book in his study.
But the Posh-Coup-Prorogue idea has been knocking round right-wing social media for a few days now.
On January 17 an article in online magazine Reaction — presumably its target audience are self-declared reactionaries — announced “Time to prorogue parliament and sort out this mess.”
The author, Gerald Warner, was a special adviser to a Tory minister in the 1990s. But the modern world became too much for him.
Warner’s author’s picture at Reaction makes him look like a supporting character in the Agatha Christie mystery alongside Rees-Mogg — perhaps a Scottish country gentleman who gets his gamekeepers to chase the travellers off his estate by smashing up their caravan.
Warner was so repelled by Cameron’s “modernising” that by 2010 he argued: “The only hope for the Conservative Party” was for the Tories to lose an election.
According to one interview, Warner wanted Cameron to lose so the Tories would stop championing the “homosexualist movement.”
Worse than that, Cameron had let the Tories move so far left that the Conservative Party was now promoting the “cultural Marxist agenda of the Frankfurt School.”
Cameron was surrendering to a massive “shift to the left” that was “engineered globally by the United Nations, the European Union, countless humanist NGOs, financial interests and other dark forces on which it is difficult to shine light.”
In his article for Reaction, Warner justified suspending Parliament to rescue the nation from a “feral House of Commons,” saying: “These people are wholly unrepresentative of this country and unfit to legislate for it.”
Warner described moves to avoid a no-deal Brexit as a “parliamentary jacquerie” — a jacquerie is a French peasants’ revolt, when the people rose up and killed their knights and nobles.
Reaction, the magazine publishing Warner’s article, is chaired by Robert Cecil, also known as Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury.
So the prorogation idea Rees-Mogg was picking was being promoted by people who seem even more cartoonishly right-wing than himself.
Before Warner started promoting prorogation as the Brexit solution, Conservative historian Andrew Roberts raised it on Twitter on January 15. Anne McElvoy was moved to declare: “This is despotic.”
McElvoy is a senior editor at the Economist and former deputy editor of the Spectator, and a very sympathetic commentator on British Toryism, so you get a sense of how outlandish the prorogation plan is, even as it is adopted by grassroots Tory favourite Rees-Mogg.
The odd thing about having a historian like Roberts raise prorogation, is he didn’t talk about the history of prorogation.
Charles I, the king keenest on proroguing Parliament because MPs wouldn’t do what he wanted, ended up sparking a revolution, which led to him having his head cut off in 1649.
What the prorogation enthusiasm on the Tory right does show is that the Conservatives might be struggling with Brexit, but they are very committed to making sure that exiting the European Union will kick off a whole series of reactionary moves.
It is down to us to make sure that migrants’ rights, workers’ rights and democratic rights don’t get carved up by the Conservatives.
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