Brexit – a Westminster Noalition
Independence has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with where it is decided. Similarly cooperation has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with how it is agreed and implemented. The following proposal for resolving the current Brexit Parliamentary crisis is for a collaborative interim Brexit minority Parliament dominated by no faction or Party -a Noalition.
Glasgow Council Noalition
Leaving to one side Australian experience, which gave rise to the Noalition expression there is a current example in Glasgow of a UK Noalition operating successfully. After the May 2017 election Glasgow Council was comprised as follows: SNP 39, Scottish Labour 31,Scottish Conservative 8 and Scottish Greens 7, so SNP needed support from other parties to form an administration. The Greens rightly calculated an SNP/Green coalition to be Lose/Lose: if successful SNP gets the credit, and if it fails the Greens get the blame.
So, although the Greens came to an informal confidence & supply agreement, when SNP attempted to take dominant control of Glasgow Council’s committees, the Greens voted with the other parties to defeat SNP and obliged them to share power in Committees, above all on the Executive Committee, which has 23 cross-party members, divided proportionately 11 SNP, 8 Labour, 2 Conservative, 2 Green leaving SNP in a non-dominant minority.
Westminster Brexit Noalition
A Westminster Noalition would see Cabinet seats distributed proportionally to Parliamentary seats, Johnson as Conservative Prime Minister (a no confidence vote would be in respect of his government not him) and Corbyn as Labour Deputy Prime Minister. Each would have a veto right over Cabinet policy decisions but neither would have the power to legislate unilaterally.
Ministers would be chosen with a view to capacity and experience of their subject portfolio, and would operate transparently, supervised by greatly empowered Select Committees.
A Labour Chancellor would head a neutered Treasury, with no power to impose failed Statist and Neoliberal market policies and with a commission to mobilise UK resources bottom up by devolving fiscal and even monetary power regionally and locally.
The Westminster Noalition would operate a transitional administration until 5th May 2022 or earlier if there is a two thirds vote. Uncontroversial sections of the May Brexit would be implemented immediately and more controversial issues such as the backstop, immigration and trade agreements would be the subject of detailed policy development and discussions with the EU.
Upon expiry or earlier dissolution of the Brexit Noalition, the ensuing election would clearly double as a de facto referendum.
Getting There From Here
Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament appears tailor made to force the formation of a bipartisan administration. If a vote of confidence is held on (say) next Friday 6th September and lost by the Government, there would then be a 14 day period for an MP to form a new administration capable of gaining the confidence of the House, and since Parliament will be prorogued (arguably ‘stopping the clock’) this period would extend to the reopening of Parliament on 14th October still leaving time for necessary enabling legislation for Brexit nominally to commence on 31st October.
21st Century problems cannot be resolved by 20th and 19th C solutions. Our Parliament is long overdue a constitutional spring clean such as that in 1912 when land-owners gave up dominant control via the neutering of the House of Lords in exchange for stopping the hated Land Value Tax.
New and radical mutualist policies are now becoming available for housing, energy, care, health, food etc independence which are devolved to and controlled at the level at which these services are delivered. Local red/green coalitions are being formed, such as in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Key to this is creation of a new wave of mutual/collaborative institutions and instruments for the necessary credit to be created bottom up, such as by local Treasury branches overseeing local banking services.
West Lothian Questions have West Lothian Answers.