Don’t presume

The Westminster government is very keen on presumed consent. This week it has said that it wishes to move towards a position of presumed consent for organ donation, ie that unless we opt out then we are presumed to be opted in.  That’s fine by me

However, the government had a blow this week to its other main assumption about presumed consent, and that was its presumption that the British people are in favour of an utterly hopeless deal on Brexit just because ‘we’ narrowly voted for an unspecified deal in June 2016. Eventually, and it started the other day, MPs are going to have to take responsibility for the chronically bad deal to which we are heading. It isn’t the electorate’s fault any more (although it was originally) but if the execution of this terrible idea is equally hopeless then we are all going to blame those in charge and those in power. It’s tough for the government, but that’s how it works.

Eventually someone will have to say ‘We have come to the end of the road of constructive ambiguity – I’ve got to tell you, the whole Brexit deal is a pile of ordure and I can’t support it.’.  That person will make their name and deserve our praise.

Just for the record, I voted against Brexit and you cannot presume my approval for any form of hard Brexit, squidgy Brexit or ‘hardly-anything-changes-except-we-don’t-have-a-say-anymore-but-keep-on paying’ Brexit.

When I looked at the list of Tory MPs who voted against the government yesterday it included several of the Tory MPs that I admire most, and I admire them even more now.

Labour continues to edge towards an anti-Brexit position – this will be a ‘we-can’t-agree-something-as-crap-as-the-government-has-come-up-with’ type of anti-Brexit but I believe that eventually there is a moderate chance that this will come to pass.


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17 Replies to “Don’t presume”

  1. I agree Mark, wholeheartedly. Time to call a halt on this crazy experiment hell bent on screwing the future for countless years to come. Yesterday's vote hinted at the tide beginning to turn, and I too have respect for the Tory MPs who had the courage to listen to their consciences and voted against the govt.

  2. I think that the Brexit ultras may find they are hamstrung by events last week (despite what David Davis pretends). They can 'whistle' for a bespoke deal and 'Hard Brexit' can't happen:

  3. ‘hardly-anything-changes-except-we-don’t-have-a-say-anymore-but-keep-on paying’

    I don't recall ever having a say but always had to pay - I though that was how it works.

  4. Oh God no!

    I recently signed up to your blog Mark because I loved ‘Inglorious’ and thought ‘I like this guy, he’s passionate, informed and writes well’. My assumption was that I’d get more insights and be ‘in the loop’ on the driven Grouse and moorland issue. And in the main that’s been the case. What I didn’t expect was a missive on Brexit (is there nowhere we can get away from it?). Your work and arguement on raptor persecution is outstanding. And your blog provides a place around which like-minded people can coalesce on a very important issue. But we need to accept that the nation is split 50/50 on Brexit and there are ample other forums for people to share their views. I thought about ‘unsubscribing’ but your other stuff is too important to miss. Maybe you could have a ‘Brexit Commentary Opt Out’ option on your blog!

      1. Hi Richard - Now that’s a debate I would like to read - what are the risks and opportunities of Brexit for our environment? - specific to the issues which Mark has provided leadership to rather than the Brexit good/Brexit bad stuff I can find in a million other places.


        1. John - there's been quite a lot of that here over the months. Keep coming back and it'll come round again I'm sure.

        2. Blimey John, there has been shed loads of stuff out there for months.
          But for the latest view yesterday see
          Not sure I agree with it though.

  5. Well, I cannot assume, then, that you did not support the destruction of the Greek working class, and the mass youth unemployment across Italy, Spain and Portugal or the high unemployment in France, and Ireland. What about the confiscation of savings in Cyprus? The reason we have such massive immigration from Eastern Europe is because their economies cannot compete inside the EU.

    The EU 'solution' for this problem is to export unemployment from failing economies to prosperous ones us), thus suppressing the wages of the working classes there (here) and imposing extreme pressures on housing and services.

    The EU cannot even stand up for the democratic rights of self-determination of the Catalans, which have existed as a proto-nation-state considerably longer than Spain.

    There was a time when the Labour Party understood what the EEC meant to the working class, but it has been taken over by the middle-class, leaving Corbyn torn between old fading instincts and his new supporters.

    A pro-Brexit Labour Party will split between its metropolitan centres and its traditional working class core.

    The EU is a protectionist, capitalist club heading towards economic and social disaster. It is fundamentally opposed to free trade: it imposes high tariffs and restrictive rules. But inside the WTO framework, Britain is protected from the EU’s vindictiveness because the protectionist bloc cannot treat us differently from other nations. The EU uses trade wars for political purposes.

    The rates of inflation between geographical extremes within the EU vary wildly, yet they are all forced to have the same rate of interest. How is that supposed to work? One size fits all never works: it has condemned countless working class families in less industrial areas to penury over the last decade.

    Mario Draghi has been printing money as fast as he can in the face of inflation, trying to paper over the cracks of a fundamentally contradictory and broken system. In total, Central Banks now hold one fifth(!) of all their Governments' debt, the unwinding of which will cripple the world economy with inflation. But head of the list is the ECB, which has even topped the free-for-all-printing of the Fed!

    What the ECB has achieved, though, is the transfer of the greatest amount of wealth in history from the poor to the rich, by pumping up asset prices.

    The latest outrage had the EU critising David Davies for sticking to its own rules! Article 50 states: "2. Negotiations under Article 50 TEU will be conducted in transparency and as a single package. In accordance with the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot be settled separately." but now the MEP group leader Guy Verhofstadt is demanding the individual items so far negotiated be updated to hold legal validity!

    He wants to move the goalposts in the middle of the game!

    There is no legal requirement to pay a club for leaving. Liability ends when you leave. But Brussels is demanding money just to allow 'talks' on a trade deal without even saying what deal might be on offer!

    The Irish, by the way, are trying to break EU law. Article 50 response states: "The Union will approach the negotiations with unified positions, and will engage with the United Kingdom exclusively through the channels set out in these guidelines and in the negotiating directives. So as not to undercut the position of the Union, there will be no separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union."

    Yet on RTÉ Irish government chief whip Joe McHugh said: “We will as a government, a sovereign government in Ireland, be holding the United Kingdom to account, as will the European Union,” about the agreement on the border. But he isn’t allowed to under EU law. He has to go through the EU.

    McHugh continued: “My question to anybody within the British government would be: why would there be an agreement, a set of principled agreements, in order to get to phase two, if they weren’t going to be held up? That just sounds bizarre to me. This, as far as we’re concerned, is a binding agreement, an agreement in principle.”

    The position is very clear under EU law: nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. McHugh should ask the EU that question, not us.

    But the Irish are just playing games, trying to screw as much money out the UK taxpayer as always, and twisting words: their economy was destroyed by the EU.

    In the end it is always about money: we have been financially propping up most of Europe to the detriment of our own, starving services. The Labour Remainers actually WANT UK taxpayers to continue to support Europeans BEFORE our own needs (it is what Alan Johnson admitted!).

    Employers want an endless supply of cheap foreign labour, to help suppress wages here, and Labour Remainers support this (because they are middle class and want the 'freedom' of swanning around Europe and settling wherever they like.) It is the working class who get the shitty end of this, but who cares so long as you can easily go off and buy a gite?

    The endless supply of cheap labour keeps our housing crisis on the bubble, where increasing house prices also favour the wealthy at the expense of the working class.

    And as our population explodes with endless uncontrolled immigration, so our precious habitats are diminished even more. Membership of the EU is the driving force for the loss of our wildlife. But if you're rich you could move into the space left behind and buy a home abroad!

    I wouldn't pay them a cent. I would take back our agriculture and our seas. I would control how many people we admit to living here and I would keep our net payments for our own needs. If the super rich financiers fancy living in Frankfurt (they won't), they are welcome to it!

    1. The question for the me is not how bad the EU is but how much worse the UK will be if it leaves. We are so far to the right that virtually anything is better than going it alone.
      Things might change, Corbyn mighty get in for a while but then it is just a matter of time before this bunch of inhumane asset strippers get in again.
      An independent Scotland and even the possibility of a united Ireland would make a difference.

    2. Good grief. I can only assume that the 'likes' here are to encourage an entry for comedy rant of the year. You 'know' so much but understand so little. I won't, can't, bring byself to comment except to suggest that you examine your essay for internal contradictions. If you could eliminate those it would help us to understand what you are actually saying about the EU beyond that you don't like it.

  6. My head hurts! Going out to listen to my local Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming. Might even hear my Mistle Thrush singing. Bound to see my Goosanders, Little Grebes and Goldeneye on the River Clyde. Maybe even an otter. There. That's better. Feel calmer already.

  7. Hello Mark

    I really do not understand what anyone likes about the EU. The European Commission is the only institution in recorded history to have resigned en masse for corruption and then promptly reappointed itself.

    We pay the EU 367 million GROSS every week for the privilege of being ruled by a bunch of unelected corrupt officials. Further, if the proposed period of Transition is agreed beyond 19 March, 2019 then the UK will, potentially continue paying this outrageous amount until at least 2021 - while not being able to challenge, seemingly, any new EU legislation introduced in that intervening period!

    What is wrong with the restoration of UK sovereignty to the UK Parliament?

    What is wrong with the restoration of control to our borders?



    1. Simon - many things, but especially the fact that the bunch of politicians who we have elected recently want to dismantle environmental protection. And that's not what I want. We could do much better out of Europe 9although I think that is a big aim) but in practice we won't because we have elected a bunch of environmental vandals who don't care about anything except money. George Osborne would have dismantled environmental protection if he could have done - but he counldn't because we were in the EU. every grouse moor manager must want Brexit so that they can trash the moors even more so, bump off problem species and have a ball. That's just one micro-example of what will happen when we have control - it will be the rich and powerful who really have control. And wildlife is not rich and powerful.

      1. Mark

        Democracy is now sometimes referred to as populism; it has been proved by thousands of years of history to be the least evil of the number of evil ways of arranging society which have been tried.

        But before we start embracing Corbyn’s Marxism as an alternative to our present government, and with regard to the environment, exactly what did 13 years of Labour misrule achieve other than the continued desecration of our landscapes, the continued decline of farmland bird numbers and, oh yes, two bouts of (entirely avoidable) Foot & Mouth – and just don’t get me started on what damage their HS2 will wreak:

        In any event, how’s the EU been doing to date . . . ? See your own recent guest blog:



    2. Just a small, incidental point. The EU is not run by officials, it is run by elected politicians. And an incidental point to that incidental point, could I just point out that all the evidence suggests that a strong sovereign parliament is the last thing this government wants. Apart from that you're on the money.


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