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Fri 26 April 2019
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St Patrick’s day celebrations will provide a temporary respite from the crisis in parliament caused by Brexit, but also a reminder of what we have to lose

London on St Partick’s day always has a joyful feel about it, as our pubs and streets are decked with green and filled with genial revellers of all ages and backgrounds celebrating Irish culture. But this year there will be an undercurrent of sadness and fear…

Sadness over potentially losing the ease of connection and friendship which being part of a common European community provide: fear that the extreme Brexiters are willing to tear up the only part of our domestic constitution underwritten by international treaty: the Good Friday agreement.

For too long we’ve relied on unwritten norms to underpin our governance… We need a written constitution to protect the public.

It’s no surprise many of these hard Brexiters admire Donald Trump. Like the US President, who constantly invokes his spurious and impossible defences across the Mexican border, they want to build a wall that threatens to pit communities against communities and drag the island of Ireland back to the 1970s.

As our writer ‘The Count of The Saxon Shore’ explains the whole character of these British Isles has been borne out of “a superfluidity of cultural identity and an essential internationalism”. The border between the Republic and Northern Ireland is a very recent and temporary aberration.

It’s both ignoble and tragic that so many English MPs are willing the abandon 25 years of peace and the hard work of President Clinton, Senator George Mitchell, and Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair for 10 DUP votes, and purely for the survival of the Conservative party.

Like the US President… they want to build a wall that threatens to pit communities against communities

Perhaps if we had a binding written constitution beyond this small but important international agreement the country might not be in this mess. The EU referendum was ‘advisory’ only, and surely any major constitutional reform (like Brexit) should require a plurality of all voters, as it does in most other states.

For too long we’ve relied on unwritten norms to underpin our governance – norms of honesty, shame, resignation or apology for misleading parliament and the public or breaking ethical rules and professional guidelines. For too long we’ve relied on having relative decent people in power, rather than providing safeguards against the power hungry and ruthless. We need a written constitution to protect the public…

And to tell us what should happen when a Government can no longer govern and an Opposition is unable to oppose.

More from this Byline Times investigation:

The Sad, Misplaced Martyrdom of Julian Assange

, 11 April 2019
There are many reasons to be concerned about the founder of WikiLeaks begin extradited to the US – but publishing the truth isn't one of them.
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Welcome to our Special Brexit Launch Edition

, 29 March 2019
Now seems like a good time to launch a new newspaper – but not for the reasons many expect. The heart of our paper will be investigations. We will follow the story wherever it goes, without fear or favour. No PR company, advertiser or press baron can influence the stories we choose.
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Islamophobia and the Limits of Free Speech

, 21 March 2019
How much longer can our mainstream press escape the consequences of their false reporting and dangerous rhetoric around our Muslim communities?
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Argument Editorial Extremism

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Neo-Darwinism and Neuro-Bigotry: Toby Young’s Hit Job on Greta Thunberg

, 25 April 2019
Louise Raw argues that the commentator and former free schools boss Toby Young has a track record attacking people with special educational needs.
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BREAKING Government Shows More Disdain for Greta Thunberg and Climate Change

, 24 April 2019
After the PM refused to meet Greta Thunberg yesterday, the Treasury shuns an important committee Inquiry about climate change this morning
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BREAKING Tommy Robinson is set to Run for European Parliament – What Next?

, 24 April 2019
Louise Raw counters some of the myths around the former EDL founder and argues there is only one antidote if Robinson announces his candidacy
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Fox Breaks Cover – from Revolutionary Communist to Farage’s Right Hand Woman

, 24 April 2019
Otto English on the weird moral maze of would-be Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox and her Spiked Network.
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