AS EXPECTED, the Supreme Court has ruled against the government’s appeal, challenging its previous verdict that Parliament must vote on whether the government can start the Brexit process. This time there was an 8-3 division amongst the judges.
The court also ruled the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies were not entitled to vote. PM May cannot begin negotiations with the EU until MPs and peers give their backing in a vote on a proposed 2-line resolution backing the government triggering Article 50 and beginning negotiations on leaving the Union.
The court also rejected arguments that the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly should get to vote on Article 50 before it is triggered. Lord Neuberger said: ‘Relations with the EU are a matter for the UK government.’ He found that the EU had a legal dictatorship over the UK saying: ‘The 1972 Act that took the UK into the then EEC creates a process by which EU law becomes a source of UK law.
So long as that act remains in force, it means that EU law is an “independent and overriding source” of the UK’s legal system. ‘Unless Parliament decides otherwise, this remains the case. Withdrawal from the EU makes a fundamental change to the UK’s constitutional arrangements because it will cut off the source of EU law. Such a fundamental change will be the inevitable effect of a notice being served. The UK constitution requires such changes can only be made by Parliament.’
The matter will now go before the Houses of Parliament where a majority of MPs and a huge majority of Lords are opposed to leaving the EU. The Lib Dems, with eight MPs, have over a hundred Lords, meaning that a few Lib Dem MPs and the unelected House of Lords could block the triggering of Article 50.
However, there is a great fear stalking the land. This is that the millions who voted to leave the EU have only said their first words, and their last words have yet to be uttered. In fact, the spectacle of unelected ‘aristos’ holding up the triggering of Article 50 could well be enough to provoke an uprising of the masses in the UK.
The Lords are conscious of this situation, as are the pro-EU majority in the House of Commons. It is in critical moments like this that the Labour Party’s left leadership proves that they have a contribution to make in trying to ensure the survival of capitalism.
Corbyn and Co are aware that millions of Labour Party voters voted to leave, and seeing Labour road-blocking Brexit would cost them their seats in by-elections and scores of seats in a general election. Yesterday Corbyn came up with a formula. This is that Labour will vote to trigger Article 50 if its amendments to May’s Article 50 motion are accepted.
He said: ‘Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50. However, Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe.
‘Labour is demanding a plan from the government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations, and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given Parliamentary approval.’
The right wing will support this Labour amendment since they will be able to fight it out with the government as the negotiations proceed, in the hope that at the end they will be able to create the conditions for forcing a second referendum. Workers will not be fooled by Labour’s tactic.
They know that capitalism is in a great crisis and that the majority of EU workers want to take the Brexit line. At the same time, the US ruling class is now poised to take on and try to ruin China, which has been their major trading partner up till now, and that the US has also offered the UK bosses a trade deal that will see the NHS privatised and the UK flooded with genetically modified food.
The capitalist world is going up in smoke, and for workers it is not a question of choosing between Washington or Brussels. The workers of the UK, the EU and the US are now fighting for their future. They must form an alliance to fight for socialism. This means that workers in the UK must defend their own class interests in the days ahead.
The UK working class must defend their NHS from privatisation and their trade unions from ever more rapacious anti-union laws with a general strike to bring down the government, and bring in a workers’ government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers and bring in socialism.
It must join hands with the workers of Europe to bring down the EU and replace it with a Socialist United States of Europe and also support the workers of America in their struggle for a Socialist USA. We are living in the period of the death agony of capitalism. We must go forward to fight for the victory of the worldwide socialist revolution.