On Global Trade & Investment
Published Three Times a Week By:
The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.
Washington, DC   Tel: 202-463-5074
No. 59 of 2016
Filed from Portland, Oregon

Click here for Monday's quote from Liam Fox.


"But if you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what the very word 'citizenship' means."

PM Theresa May
October 5, 2016
Today's quote, like the one we published on Monday, is really about Brexit - the long march toward Britain's expected separation from the European Union. That earlier quote was from Liam Fox, the UK'S Secretary of State for International Trade, and the full entry included a brief reference to the speech Prime Minister Theresa May gave at the Conservative Party Conference on October 5.  We knew when we first read her speech that we would be returning to it - not necessarily for the above - but rather for the steps she laid out as the path to the UK's independence from the EU.  Yet the above is not a bad way to start, as it is part of the philosophical underpinnings for the Prime Minister's  action items on Brexit. 

First, here is a little more of what she said on citizenship:

"We applaud success. We want people to get on.  But we also value something else: the spirit of citizenship.

"That spirit that means you respect the bonds and obligations that make our society work. That means a commitment to the men and women who live around you, who work for you, who buy the goods and services you sell.

"That spirit that means recognising the social contract that says you train up local young people before you take on cheap labour from overseas.

"That spirit that means you do as others do, and pay your fair share of tax.

"But today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass in the street.

"But if you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what the very word 'citizenship' means."

On moving forward with Brexit, Prime Minister May said:

 "Let's be clear about what is going to happen,

"Article Fifty - triggered no later than the end of March.

"A Great Repeal Bill to get rid of the European Communities Act - introduced in the next Parliamentary session.

"Our laws made not in Brussels but in Westminster.

"Our judges sitting not in Luxembourg but in courts across the land.

"The authority of EU law in this country ended forever.

"The people told us they wanted these things - and this Conservative Government is going to deliver them."


It may be a week or so before these pages return to the Brexit issues.  Before we put this file away, even temporarily, we need to take some note of the debate in Britain over the role of Parliament in the management of the UK's separation from the EU.

Invoking Article 50.  In order of anticipated action, the first of these relates to the triggering of Article Fifty, and it is happening now.  Specifically, the High Court in London, which is the court of initial jurisdiction for especially important cases, is being asked to decide whether the prime minister and her cabinet have the authority to invoke Article 50 in their dealings with the rest of the European Union or whether they need to seek further authority from Parliament.  The court has said it will decide soon.   The position of the May administration is that Parliament authorized the referendum, and the referendum provides all the authority that is needed.  

The Great Repeal Bill.  We had not appreciated the need or plan for this legislation until we read Ms. May's speech.  In legislative terms, however, this may be the heart of the matter. We assume that the phrase "the next Parliamentary session" refers to the session that will begin next spring.

When the Deal is Done.  If and when Article 50 is invoked, and assuming that the British government is able to work out an agreement with the EU, that agreement, that deal, will be subject to a vote in Parliament.  That is what the government's lawyers have said in the High Court proceedings.
Brexit is one of those maddening, highly charged issues with a long fuse.  It is also an issue where the scrambling of principles and political motives tends to produce unpalatable choices.  One can, for example, be skeptical of referendums as mechanisms for making political decisions while also believing that, in fact, the May administration is correct in treating the results of the June 23 referendum as definitive with respect to the single issue it addressed.  No one knows how any of this will play out.  It is all guesses and speculation.  Our guesses are these:
  1. Article 50 will be invoked by the end of March.  (Because of the wildcard of the court case, that is our most tentative guess.)
  2. The Real Debate will be over "The Great Repeal Bill."  If that goes down, surely the Brexit enterprise will fall, and possibly the government with it.
  3. Indeed, there are so many obstacles on the Brexit road that the current effort to reach that destination could well fail.  If it does - and this is our most confident guess - it will not be the last such effort.
At the Conservative Party Conference is a link to the text of Prime Minister May's Party Conference speech on October 5, which was the source for today's quote.

Opening of Parliament takes you to a page on the UK Parliament site with information on Parliamentary sessions.

High Court Will Decide is a Reuter's article on the court challenge to the May administration's assertion that, by royal prerogative, they have now the authority needed to invoke Article 50 and do not need further authorization from Parliament.   Jurist takes you to another article on this issue.

Commons Vote on the Deal is a BBC report on the suggestion that Parliament would have to ratify whatever agreement is reached with the EU.

The High Court of Justice takes you to the Wikipedia entry for this institution.


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R. K. Morris, Editor