5 november 2016, brexit begins to bite, a bit

The furore around the british high court deciding parliament must vote on article 50, the trigger that starts the process of leaving the eu (see 3 july 2017, article 50 ways to leave your lover) misses the point. It's relatively straightforward that as when the uk joined, parliament passed the 1972 european communities act, so before a decision that sets in train a process that may lead remorselessly to its repeal, it is logical, even obvious, that parliament must similarly vote. It is worth noting in passing that the torrid, even trumpian, abuse the judges received for simply doing their job, rings of the nasty and vituperative air that led to an mp being murdered during the campaign. Brexit will not though be thwarted by this parliamentary vote. Whilst the snp and the odd ken clarke may well vote against, the great majority of house of commons remainers feel bound by the "I must follow my electorate" doctrine and will vote it through. The labour party is in no shape, and has no inclination, to take a doctrinaire stand they fear would unleash the worst elements of betrayal and disintegration on it. And yet. Like a drop of water on a rock, little by little the hard work, not yet done, of actually working out what leaving the eu means is beginning. While stopping short of blocking it at this point, mps will certainly take the opportunity to prod it and try to cast the government's as yet unformed plans in the worst possible light. The lords, if they get a say, may be even more bold. Scottish politics has become entirely overrun by the question of being for or against independence. As the only party for, the snp has a plurality across the country, meaning it holds 51 of the country's 53 seats, as the against vote is fragmented across the other parties. Whatever theresa may really think, she and her party have no other choice but to seek to become the party of brexit and gain a similar plurality across england, given that around 420 of its (with wales) 574 constituencies voted leave. They are doing a good job of it, and would reap the benefits in a general election that will surely come much sooner than 2020.