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Brexit Will Never Be Over

David Frum
 

By David Frum (Original source The Atlantic)

“On Monday morning, the queen put on her crown and reading glasses to deliver an 11-page speech from the throne in the House of Lords. Scenes do not get more British than this: Horse Guards clopping down the avenues; diamonds glinting in the TV lights. Following customs that have been obsolete for decades, if not centuries, the prime minister and his cabinet stood, on foot, shoved into a corner to hear the words they themselves had put into the monarch’s mouth. Everything looked much as everything has looked for as long as anyone can remember. So it’s quite weird to absorb how utterly the British system of government has collapsed.

The basic rule of the British system is that the prime minister commands a majority in the House of Commons. Lose that majority, and you have to stop being prime minister. In the 19th century, that tended to mean handing the job over to somebody else. In the 20th century, it meant calling an election. In the 21st century, it has meant … well, what does it mean?”

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