Speculation was mounting in Westminster last night that the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has secretly triggered an Article of the Lisbon Treaty connected with the process of withdrawal from the European Union. However, whereas she was expected to invoke Article 50, which would begin the process of withdrawal, it is believed that she has instead opted to trigger the little known Article 50b.
Not much has been written about Article 50b for the simple reason that it was only recently added as an appendix to Article 50 itself. In fact, the article appears to have been added on June 24th, coincidentally just one day after the referendum. The preamble to the Article reads as follows:
“In the catastrophic event of a member state holding a referendum on withdrawal from the Union, and in the even more catastrophic event that the plebeians should vote to Leave, the ruling class of that member state should under no circumstances trigger Article 50 to begin the process of withdrawal. Instead, they should proceed by triggering Article 50b, and follow the protocols set out therein.”
Article 50b then goes on to list five steps that the country whose population has voted to leave should follow. These are:
- The leader of the member state should immediately put in a place a new cabinet with a token number of MPs (no more than three) who are known to support the decision to Leave, so as to create the impression that something is being done, thereby quelling any disquiet and potential rebellion in the country.
- The leader and others in his or her cabinet should, on an almost daily basis, make tautologous and inane comments about the meaning of the vote, such as “Withdrawal means Withdrawal,” “Leave means Leave,” or – to give a purely hypothetical example – “Brexit means Brexit”.
- Protocols 1 & 2 should be accompanied by a concerted media and political campaign to smear the vote to leave as being the product of racism, xenophobia and extreme nationalism. The more the vote can be portrayed as “tolerant liberalism versus intolerant, closed-minded nationalism” the better, and platitudinous phrases such as “the forces of racism” should be used liberally to bring a deep sense of shame upon those who voted to leave, which will hopefully make them go quiet (note: Prime Minister Blair made good use of the similar phrase, “forces of conservatism,” very effectively in a speech back in 1999, succeeding in silencing dissent for years afterwards).
- Points 1-3 should also be accompanied by wranglings over the legalities of the original vote – i.e. whether it was binding or not – and over how Article 50 can and can’t be triggered. Rightly applied, this can be used to stretch out the process for years, to the point that most people can’t even remember what they voted for, or that there even was a vote.
- Protocols 1-4 are designed to give the elites the opportunity to look like they are busy doing something to implement the will of the people, whilst actually doing nothing. This way, they can kick the can along the road indefinitely until people either get bored with waiting or opinion polls show that a second referendum will result in a decisive Remain vote. Managed wisely, the whole point of the exercise, which is to “walk back the result”, can be achieved with relative ease.
Asked whether Mrs May had the right to invoke Article 50b without the approval of Parliament, David Whammy, the Labour MP who has said that Mrs May cannot trigger article 50 without the approval of Parliament, said “You betcha,” whilst the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Mr Whatsisname, said that anyone who thinks the protocols contained in Article 50b are deceptive only holds that opinion because of their links with the “forces of racism”.
When we tried to get in touch with the Downing Street press office for comment, unfortunately the phone appeared to have been picked up by a parrot who refused to answer our questions, but managed to squawk a number of times, “Brexit means Brexit” “Brexit means Brexit” “Brexit means Brexit”.
(Image: Abi Begum)