Brexit Gets Green Light From Queen Elizabeth

Brexit Gets Green Light From Queen Elizabeth

Brexit Gets Green Light From Queen Elizabeth

Brexit – the departure of Great Britain from the European Union – has been a long, deliberate slog that has cost one prime minister her job. The queen is not amused, apparently.

While Queen Elizabeth II does not express political opinions as monarch, she respects the will of her people. And the people voted for Brexit. Which means the queen was always going to come down on the side of the vote of the people. So when her new prime minister, Boris Johnson, asked her to prorogue Parliament, she agreed to it.

Now, this American had to look up what “prorogue” meant and what was going on here. The British system is a constitutional monarchy. The queen has some limited political powers, which people often forget about because the concept of royalty to the American eye seems largely ceremonial and antiquated. But there have been moments where British monarchs in the constitutional era have used their political leverage – not always for the best reasons. The monarch opens and closes Parliament – it does not come into session without her approval. At the same time, she also gets to “prorogue” it – meaning that she gets to send them on vacation, suspending all parliamentary activity until the start of the new session. However, the queen does this only at the advice or request of her Privy Council, who did call a session at Balmoral (the queen’s summer residence in Scotland) in order to get her answer to Prime Minister Johnson’s proposal.

Parliament will now be prorogued from sometime in early September until October 14th. Deal or no deal, Brexit is happening on October 31st. Prime Minister Johnson knew exactly what he weas getting into when he became prime minister. Theresa May had tried and tried to negotiate a deal with the European Union that would encompass trade and the sticky problems of immigration and travel (the crossing over from Northern Ireland to Ireland was a continual sticking point). She ended up resigning in May because she could not get Brexit sorted out. When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister after her, people knew exactly what they were getting. While May had continually tried to negotiate with the EU – who wanted to have a political battle of attrition to wear out Britain’s politicians in hopes that they would give up on Brexit – Johnson came in with an “I don’t give a $#&@” attitude and his focus on one thing: delivering Brexit to the British electorate. And if that meant “no deal,” that was what was going to happen. The EU tried to leverage that against him. Boris Johnson is no Theresa May.
Predictably, the British left is freaking out, and if Parliament is prorogued, it means that PMs who would have made Brexit as painful as possible are now effectively hamstrung by their inability to pass any new legislation to block leaving the EU. And while they continue to freak out and discuss what options are even on the table, it is a truth universally acknowledged (with apologies to Jane Austen) that the Queen cannot be overruled in this case. Parliament can be prorogued, and that means Prime Minister Johnson is going to be able to finally deliver Brexit to Great Britain.

Featured image: Queen Elizabeth II greets Prime Minister Boris Johnson after his election, July 24, 2019 (image via screenshot, Washington Post on YouTube)

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  • drew458 says:

    Good. And about time. And I really hope Boris’ exit strategy is “We quit, sod off, buh bye.” perhaps extended with “Oh, and here’s all your wogs back, we don’t want any.”

    That would be the ultimate miracle.

  • GWB says:

    Theresa May had tried and tried to negotiate a deal
    A lot of people don’t think she was trying all that hard. Heck, they called for votes of confidence because they didn’t think she was actually doing her job. (Those votes come from fellow politicians, though, so she wasn’t tossed out on her rear, like she should have been.)

    This can only help Great Britain, if they find the spine they’ve long ago locked in a mementos chest like an embarrassing war trophy from some colonial war.

    One other thing: the Queen can express her displeasure in various ways with parliamentarians who cross her. It hasn’t been done very often, but Elizabeth might decide to kick a few bums before she kicks the bucket. (Long live the queen!)

  • A. Human says:

    I’ve wondered for years and years why any sane person would want to be a political part of Europe. By all means, visit, view antiquity, climb the mountains, sample the foods, enjoy the art, admire the architecture but when you’re done, go home and let the Europeans unctuously out-smug themselves to their hearts content.
    I was surprised when Britain joined the EU. They used to be as freedom-loving as us (Americans that is) but Britain is not the Britain it was when I lived there in the early 60s.

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