Many illustrious economists support Vote Leave and several serious studies have suggested there could be economic benefits from Brexit

There are two ideas gaining currency in the EU referendum debate that I want to kill off with this post.

  • The first is that all serious economists agree that Brexit would be economically harmful to the UK.
  • The second is that there is no serious economic analysis that has not concluded that Brexit would leave the UK permanently and materially poorer.

On the first point, two of the most illustrious economists in Britain are Roger Bootle, Managing Director of Capital Economics, and Gerard Lyons, Economic advisor to the Mayor of London and former Chief Economist of Standard Chartered Bank. Both favour Brexit. Roger Bootle argues that leaving would be neither economically beneficial nor economically harmful. Gerard Lyons argues that after some initial turbulence the UK would grow faster over the medium- to longer-term outside the EU than within.

Neither Roger nor Gerard can be caricatured as some other-worldly academic ideologue. They are both extremely serious economists whose opinions are sought (at considerable expense) by people across the finance sector across the world. They are by no means the only economists favouring Brexit. I happen to be Chairman of Economists for Britain, affiliated to Vote Leave, including a range of economists from left and right of the political spectrum. There are also various other groups, such as the Economist Friends of Brexit (including Ruth Lea, Warwick Lightfoot, Neil MacKinnon and others).

I do not deny for a moment that there are more economists who write on blogs and in newspapers arguing against Brexit than in favour. Furthermore, opinion polls suggest that most economists believe Brexit would be damaging. But then again in the early 2000s around two thirds of British academic economists favoured the UK joining the euro. Roger and Gerard were opposed, along with many of the other well-known economists who favour Brexit, such as Patrick Minford or Tim Congdon (or, for whatever little it is worth, me). I don’t think George Osborne thinks that our being in a minority amongst economists means we were wrong about the UK joining the euro.

Roger Bootle, Andrew Lilico, Patrick Minford and Tim Congdon may be familiar names to some of you in another context: we were all economists who said Osborne was right to try to cut public spending after 2010. I had a go at asking Twitter if it could suggest the names of five economists who had supported Osborne over austerity who also supported him over the economic impacts of Brexit. Twitter got to…zero.

That means that George Osborne does not even have the “No True Scotsman” gambit to play – he can’t define “serious economist” as meaning “anyone who agrees with me over Brexit” because that would leave him with zero serious economists who support him over austerity. He didn’t think our being in a minority meant we were wrong to support him that time. Being in a minority proves nothing about how right or wrong we are over the impacts of Brexit. I think it’s more than a little ironic the way that Osborne now so lauds reports on the impacts of Brexit that were authored by economists who so vigorously opposed him on austerity. His appeals to the economics authority of his mortal opponents on austerity…lack full credibility.

George Osborne claimed on Monday that there had been no serious economic analysis study that concluded that Brexit could result in anything other than material and permanent economic losses for the UK. That’s simply not true.

Let me offer you a few examples of different kinds of report.

  • Here’s one from the Mayor of London’s economics team from 2014, arguing that Brexit would boost UK GDP relative to staying in an unreformed EU (which is what Gerard says is on offer). (Here’s a further piece from 2016 including analysis of the impacts of Brexit on London.)
  • Here’s one from Capital Economics, from 2016, arguing that Brexit would have very little medium-term impact on GDP.
  • Here’s one from Open Europe, from 2015, arguing that whilst some Brexit scenarios could lead to lost GDP, others could lead to GDP gains.

These are all serious, balanced analyses by highly respected groups.

You can find many other analyses, including updated versions of arguments from those that have always argued UK membership of the EU damages GDP (e.g. Patrick Minford). Different economists have their various different models – as you would expect. As a consequence these different models offer different accounts of what Brexit’s economic impacts would be likely to be. No-one should expect all economists to agree.

But what is clear is that a number of significant economists – including in particular many of those economists that Osborne has relied upon to support him on the euro and on austerity – support Brexit and that a number of the most serious economic analyses have suggested that there could be economic benefits from Brexit. Claims to the contrary should not be allowed to become common currency, unchallenged, in the media presentation of the EU referendum debate.

The alternative to being in the EU is not being in the EU

David Cameron proclaims that he can state definitively and with certainty what remaining in the EU will mean, but that what leaving means is ill-defined. He demands that those advocating Leave owe it to the British people to spell out in detail what alternative to being in the EU they have in mind.

Well, he’s clearly quite wrong to claim he can be certain what remaining means. He couldn’t possibly claim the meaning of being in the European project since the 1975 referendum could have been stated definitively and certainly in 1975. Does he claim it was certainthat MEPs would start to be elected, that the Warsaw Pact would collapse, that Germany and Italy would agree to share a currency, that China would grow faster than France for decades or that home-grown Islamist terrorists would now  be seen as a greater security threat than nuclear war? It’s nonsense.

But let’s set that aside, for as it happens I can state what a Leave vote means with perfect clarity. The alternative to being in the EU is notbeing in the EU.

I suspect that advocates of Remain will consider this an unsatisfactory answer. They will demand that I spell out what trading arrangements Britain would have – will it be a Norway option, a Swiss option, a Turkey option, a Canada option, a WTO option, or something else (as explored in a government white paper out today)? To which I reply: Balderdash! This referendum is not about a choice of trade deal. The ballot paper will contain no mention of the CETA or the DCFTA or the CER or the CSSTA. The choice will be to remain in the EU or to leave the EU. The alternative to being in the EU is to not be in the EU.

Advocates of a Leave vote, the press and the British public more generally should not be seduced by the proposition that the EU is some kind of trade deal and the alternative is some other kind of trade deal.  The EU is not a trade deal at all.

For one thing, the EU is not mainly about trade – but let’s ignore that for the purposes of this discussion. For another, the EU is a decision-making executive body, not an intergovernmental decision forum. But let’s ignore that as well, and choose to magick ourselves back to the circa 1991 world so much EU discussion anachronistically resides in. In that halcyon time, the EU (it was actually the EC, but let’s stick to EU) – the EU could, let us pretend, be regarded as an intergovernmental decision-making forum. But the EU is, in that sense, not a static deal over trade and commerce and regulation. Rather, it is a process by which the UK and other countries decide how trade and commerce are to be regulated.

Thus to compare the EU to some trade deal is to compare apples and pears. The EU is not a deal. It is (insofar as it is about trade at all) a means by which deals are made and policed. If we leave the EU we will be choosing no longer to make and police our trade deals in that particular way. The alternative to making our deals through the EU is for the UK to make its deals without doing so via the EU (e.g. for itself).

All of this is something of a mercy, for trade deals are terribly dull technocratic affairs that only nerds such as myself find interesting, and which, when they are cut barely make page 5 of the financial pages.  Did you even know the EU had a trade deal with Korea or was about to ratify one with Canada or didn’t have one with Japan? Would you have cared before this referendum came up? Trade deals involve lots of detailed give and take on small tedious points, and it’s absolutely ridiculous to pretend advocates of Leaving the EU should have pre-negotiated all such deals in advance.

Perhaps at some point in the future we might switch from doing our trade deals ourselves to doing them via some other decision-making forum (or, in fact, executive body) akin to the EU. But we can’t even start to ponder whether we might want to do that or what other countries might want to be in it with us until we stop being in the EU.

So, dear advocate of Leave, next time you are challenged about what alternative to EU membership you have in mind, you answer should be clear. The alternative to being in the EU is not being in the EU. It really is as straightforward as that.

What is there in Cameron’s EU renegotiation package that could allow a long-standing Eurosceptic to campaign for Remain?

I’ve detailed before how the Conservative Party voted against the last three Treaties (Lisbon, Nice, Amsterdam) and fought four elections in a row (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010) promising to repatriate significant powers from the EU.  If you were a Conservative that believed in that long-standing position of the Conservative Party, is there anything in Cameron’s EU renegotiation package (the “new settlement” for the United Kingdom in the European Union) that you might feel had addressed your concerns such that you could now campaign to Remain?

One perfectly honourable possibility would be that you had always thought that it would be better to stay in the EU than to Leave, imperfect as the EU-UK relationship was, even without change.  In that case renegotiating to achieve certain reforms might be desirable, because it would improve the deal.  But it would not be decisive on the question of whether one should stay or leave.  Perhaps quite a number of long-standing Eurosceptics were of this ilk.  They might be happy with the renegotiation as it is, or they might be disappointed, but either way it won’t change what they think should, at the end of the day, happen in the Brexit referendum.

But there is another group of long-standing Eurosceptics who have taken the view that renegotiation was vital for it to be either viable or acceptable or both for the UK to remain in the EU.  My sense of Conservative politics was that this has been understood as the mainstream position in Conservative circles for perhaps 15 years or more.  Over that time, the view as to how much needed to change and how much we could get might have ebbed and flowed, but I would surmise that many a Conservative coffee morning or chat down the pub between Conservative mates has taken it as given that the central point of demanding renegotiation was that we could not stay in the EU long-term without it.

For many of those in that position, it might not have taken much, even if they would ideally have liked more.  They are, after all, Conservatives and by nature disinclined to change things if they seem to be going okay.  Has Cameron given long-standing Eurosceptic Conservatives, of the sort that were never altogether against EU membership but felt things needed to change if we were to stay in, enough to provide a fig-leaf for their Eurosceptic consciences, to make them feel they have an excuse to say “OK.  It may not be perfect, but let’s stay.”?

What could that something be?  He’s negotiated an agreement whereby the European Union can tell the UK whether it has an emergency in its welfare system that might justify a restriction on immigration.  Was that something Eurosceptics ever asked for?  Doesn’t it rather sound like an extra power for the EU instead of some return of powers to the UK?  Indeed, I suggest that once the EU is given the power to declare that some country’s welfare system is officially “in crisis” that will be a power used in a number of ways to extend EU influence.  For example, if the EU can declare that Greece’s or Portugal’s welfare system is officially “in crisis” that may allow it to trigger provisions in new pan-EU unemployment insurance or pensions systems or to trigger stricter austerity targets.  This is more Europe, not less.

The agreement includes a long ramble about how “ever closer union” does not mean that powers cannot flow from the EU back to Member States, but does not return even one power to the UK, even at the point we were threatening to Leave.  If not now, when?  Doesn’t that rather sound like the UK agreeing formally that there’s nothing fundamental wrong at the moment?  Was that what a renegotiation was supposed to result in?

The agreement re-badges the already-existing “orange card” a “red card”, whilst tweaking it slightly. What that means is that a majority of national legislatures (e.g. House of Lords or Commons or the French senate or the German Bundestag) can at least slow down EU decisions. Setting aside the bureaucratic implications of this, why would that be desirable from a Eurosceptic point of view? For the red card to happen, most EU governments (e.g. Prime Ministers and Presidents) would have to be voting in favour of a measure (so it passed at the Council of Ministers), but most national legislatures vote against. Some member states have constitutional systems more like the US, where legislatures might, for example, be controlled by a different parties from the government. But in the UK’s case, the Commons and the government will virtually always have exactly the same view, since it is the Commons that picks the government. The House of Lords, on the other hand, will have one vote equally with the Commons in the red card system. So this “red card” system would be likely to reduce the influence of the House of Commons relative to the House of Lords. It would also be likely to reduce the influence of the UK since, as the UK is a large country, the UK government has a higher weight in the Council, via QMV, than the Commons and Lords will in the red card system, where every country has the same voting weight. We will find that, insofar as the red card operates at all (which may mean never), it means measures the UK wants and has been able to push through via QMV then get blocked by Parliaments in other countries. Was that something UK Eurosceptics ever asked for?

The agreement says that the UK won’t be forced to participate in bailing out Eurozone states.  But it wasn’t forced to bail out Eurozone states in surely the greatest Eurozone bail-out crisis ever.  The only one we bailed out was Ireland, and no-one forced us to do that.  Was there some Eurosceptic who thought that, even though we weren’t forced to do it in this great crisis we might be in the future?

The agreement says that EU businesses outside the Eurozone can’t be discriminated against.  But that was already the rule in the EU — so much so that the UK fought and won a major court case at the European Court of Justice, only a few months again, arguing precisely that certain European Central Bank rules (about clearing and settlement — but the details don’t matter for now) was discriminatory.  No serious Eurosceptic surely believed that EU laws and regulations were allowed to be biased against UK firms?

Many Eurosceptics had indeed complained (often quite wrongly, as it happens) that the EU is a source of huge additional regulatory burdens for UK business.  The agreement states that the EU will try to reduce such burdens.  But that’s what the EU already said it did.  So, again, no change.

As far as I can see, there is nothing — literally nothing — in Cameron’s agreement that would allow any Eurosceptic that had taken the view that the UK could or should only stay in the EU if its relationship were reformed to feel that that job has been done.  That’s pretty remarkable, if you think about it, because as I say for many (if not most) such folk it wouldn’t have needed much — if only to tempt them to feel it might be worth giving it a go and perhaps leaving ten years hence instead of now.

The question then, is: How many “Eurosceptics” were really all along folk that hoped our EU relationship might improve but we should stay nonetheless, as versus those that thought we could only stay if the relationship changed?  I guess we’ll find out very soon.

A few problems with Cameron’s latest four year benefits delay wheeze

The Telegraph reports that David Cameron is “closing on ‘four years’ deal on in-work benefits to deter EU migrant workers”, saying that such a deal “will allow David Cameron to claim victory on his key pre-referendum demand to curb benefits for EU workers”. The “deal” in question appears to involve the UK changing its benefits rules so those that have not lived here for for years as adults are not eligible for benefits regardless of whether they are UK citizens or not, so 18-21 year old UK citizens would not be eligible for benefits, but at the same time introducing a new benefit for 18-21 year olds.

My first remark on this is that “renegotiating the UK’s position within the EU” now appears to mean “asking the EU how existing EU rules already allow the UK to change its benefits system” – i.e. no change, not one jot or tittle, in the EU but lots of change in the UK. I’d describe that kind of “renegotiation” as “Cameron fought the Law and the…Law won.”

My next remark is that nothing I say above or below should be interpreted as meaning I support the objective of trying to deter EU migrant workers from coming into the UK, which as I’ve noted many times is as fundamental a part of the notion of being in the Single Market as it gets. It’s simply flat inconsistent to say (as Cameron does) one wants to be able to deter the free movement of labour and at the same time to stay in the EU. Neither do I agree that stopping benefits would make much difference to inflows of EU migrant workers to the UK when our job opportunities are so much better than elsewhere in the EU.

But let’s take the measure in its own terms for now. Let’s suppose we have a four year requirement for in-work benefits and an unconditional “18-21s” benefit. Obviously the 18-21s benefit would have to apply to EU citizens living in the UK as well as UK citizens, otherwise it would be discriminatory. So we might attract additional 18-21 year old migrant workers, but the numbers would probably be small.

The trickier issue concerns students. Presumably a UK citizen that studied at University in France would not be eligible for the UK 18-21s benefit and would have to wait until she was 25, upon returning to the UK, before being eligible for UK benefits.

I think that would be struck down, in due course, under Single Market rules as a non-tariff barrier preventing other EU Member State universities from marketing their courses to UK citizens on a level playing field with UK universities. If an EU citizen aged 18-21 coming to live in the UK automatically qualifies for an 18-21 year olds’ benefit (as I presume they must), that would make the non-tariff barrier even higher. There would be a clear incentive for UK and non-UK 18-21 year olds to go to university in the UK, so that they would get the 18-21 year olds’ benefit and also be eligible to get in-work benefits in the UK later. It would effectively be a large back-door subsidy to going to university in the UK.

Such striking down might not come any time soon. Member States currently have quite a lot of discretion in the financial support they provide to students. But I think it would probably come in the end, because the Single Market violation involved is so blatant and egregious.

What are and are not the moral questions arising when people change sex?

Many far future science fiction stories imagine a world in which people have available an enormous range of medical modifications.  They can be taller or shorter; they can have wings; they can have huge muscles or be very slight; they can have bones replaced with virtually indestructible alloy; they can be immune to disease or shielded from radiation; and they can change sex at will.

Suppose that there were a technology of that sort that allowed full and complete sex change – so that folk that were at one point male could subsequently become female and have their own children (children that were their own genetic descendants).  What moral questions would such a technology give rise to?

I think almost none of any interest, specific to this situation.  There would be the usual question of how “natural” such a change would be – but exactly the same could be said of a heart transplant or even of surgery to remove a ruptured appendix.  There would be practical questions to be asked about how straightforward psychologically or socially it would be for someone to transition from one sex to the other – but that would be a practical issue, not a moral one (at least not directly moral).  The closest I can get to a genuinely specific moral issue from a Christian perspective would be whether it would be permissible to be married in one sex then (e.g. after one’s spouse had died) change sex before marrying again.  I can’t see any immediate reason why that would be problematic but perhaps I could be missing something.

What seems pretty clear to me is that, at least in Christian morality, there is no notion that one’s gender is a fundamental part of one’s moral identity.  For example, it wouldn’t be that if I started as a woman then changed sex to a man I would still “really” be a woman – as if I had a soul imprinted with a gender, or something of that sort.  In Christianity we are taught that at the most fundamental level we are ungendered – in Christ there is neither man nor woman; and “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (note that angels are entirely ungendered).

Thus if we had a technology that truly allowed us to change sex, there should be few, if any, moral qualms about using it.

In our current state of technology, however, we do not have such a technology.  We have no means to make a man truly a woman or vice versa, insofar as, for example, we are unable to provide someone that begins as a man with his own uterus and ova.  All that we are able to do is to provide cosmetic alteration – to provide false breasts, a cosmetic vulva and so on.

This, then, is the real source of the moral issues with our society’s nearest technically available simulation of “sex change”: that all it permits is a form of cosmetic impersonation.  Note that I do not intend the term “impersonation” to imply anything pejorative; I mean it only in the formal sense that our gender reassignment technologies do not allow sex truly to be changed, but only the appearance of change.

Cosmetic impersonation comes in a spectrum, of course.  Let us focus (purely for ease of exposition) on the case of M-to-F “sex change”.  Cosmetic impersonation here can range from simply wearing women’s clothes to having limited physical alterations (such as beard follicle removal) to more radical gender reassignment surgery.  What moral questions does such impersonation give rise to?

[I note in passing that I am not going to touch at all upon that tiny number of people for whom the issue is not gender reassignment but, rather, what we might call “gender clarification” in that they begin with multiple sets of genitals.  The issues there I regard as almost completely separate.]

One set of issues here concerns radical gender reassignment.  Specifically, is it morally legitimate to have oneself permanently neutered or to neuter someone else?  Many people consent to have that done or do that on others, of course, with fallopian tube cutting or vasectomies.  Some modern forms of these operations are often reversible, but not always.  On the flip side, given that we do allow sterilising operations and we do permit cosmetic surgery such as breast enhancement, would it not be inconsistent to disapprove morally of cosmetic gender reassignment surgery?  Why are one person’s false breasts morally inferior to another’s?  There are an interesting range of debates to be had about that, but I don’t have much to add here other than to note the question.

Closely related to this is the set of issues concerning the role of doctors and the nature of the advice they give.  How proper is it to advise someone that he is a “woman trapped in a man’s body” or some more modern rendering of that idea?  And how legitimate is it to encourage such a person to have irreversible surgery on the basis of such an assessment?  There is a whole wasp’s nest of issues that one could grapple with there.

But probably the most obvious set of issues concerning cosmetic gender impersonation are those relating to interactions where others would want to deal with you differently if they knew your actual gender.  I find these interesting because some of these cases are morally ambiguous.

For example, in the film Tootsie, the lead (male) character is an actor who is unable to find work as himself but can as an impersonated woman.  In his case the context is acting, but one could imagine other contexts.  Suppose that a woman presenting herself as a man could get a job she would not get if she presented herself as a woman, because her employers were sexist.  Setting aside issues of employment law, it’s not obviously improper for such a woman not to respect her employers’ preferred attitude if they had known her non-impersonated gender.

But suppose, instead, the situation were a man presenting himself as a woman discussing, with a woman, some details of her bathing or lavatory habits that she would happily discuss with women but never with a man.  Some of us might think her silly not to want to discuss such things with a man; others might agree with her.  But either way, is there not a strong case for respecting her preferences on this point?  By presenting himself as a woman, the man in this case persuades the woman to interact with him in a way she would not (rightly or wrongly) have chosen to interact with him had she known him a man.

The case becomes clearer with certain sorts of sexual interaction.  As above, this comes on a scale.  Consider first interacting with a man at a pick-up joint looking for a one-night stand.  Suppose that such a man would not want to have casual one-off sex with a man that had had gender reassignment surgery.  Personally, I see little reason to respect that man’s preferences in this case – if he doesn’t know and is content to have sex with someone he’s only just met, I don’t see any strong reason why the person that had had the gender reassignment surgery should have to tell him.  However, I acknowledge that that could be argued either way.

On the other hand, consider now someone that was not after a casual pick-up but instead was looking for a life partner to form a family with, hoping for children.  And suppose that such a person accepted that a woman might not happen to be fertile but would not want to marry a man or a man that had had gender reassignment surgery.  I suggest that (as above with the woman discussing her bathing, only perhaps more so) in such a case the preferences of that person should be respected even if one disagreed with them.

Furthermore – and we come now to an issue of policy importance – it seems to me that this principle of respecting people’s preferences on this point even if we disagree with them is a very fundamental part of living in a tolerant society.  A man that did not want to marry a gender-reassigned man should have some means to check he was not being deceived.  I would assert that part of the process of getting married should be that the state verifies that the person I am marrying is, in fact, the gender I think.  If I’m a gay man and want to marry a man, the state should guarantee that it is in fact a man I’m marrying.  If I’m a straight man and want to marry a woman, the state should guarantee that it is in fact a woman I’m marrying.

That means, for example, that – in our society, in which gender reassignment is (for technical reasons that may change in the future but are, alas, the reality for now) only cosmetic, it should not be possible for someone who has had gender reassignment surgery to have their original gender “forgotten”.  For example, there should be some certificate or other indication, available to someone considering marriage, of that person’s original gender.  Part of the process of obtaining a marriage license should be that the state should flag whether one of the parties to the marriage has had gender reassignment.

I would extend that principle to those in prisons for at least lesser crimes.  A woman in prison for, say, six months should not be forced (for example) to shower together with someone she would regard as a cosmetically altered man.

So to summarise, it seems to me to be fairly clear (and I’m not even sure it’s terribly contentious) that if we had available a technology that allowed for full and complete sex change, it would give rise to few, if any, moral issues beyond those associated with all transformative modern medical technologies.  The moral questions associated with what is sometimes referred to as the “transgender community” arise precisely because we do not yet possess a technology that allows us to change people’s sex.  The main such moral questions I have explored (I admit very sketchily, for this article is already too long) are those where people’s preferred interaction with someone will vary depending upon their actual (as opposed to cosmetic) gender.  In some such cases I have suggested we should not respect their preferences, but in others I have suggested we should respect their preferences, even if we disagree with them.  In a few cases (marriage, nakedness in prison) I have suggested there should even be a legal position protecting such preferences.

If Jeremy Corbyn won’t submit to the Queen, he can’t be Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition

I very much doubt that Jeremy Corbyn should be allowed to join the Privy Council.  Privy Counsellors received privileged access to sensitive intelligence information.  I ask you, Dear Reader, do you believe that if Jeremy Corbyn received secret information relating to some military attack or assassination that he disagreed with (i.e. to any military attack or assassination – since he disagrees with all of them), he would keep that information secret?  Or do you believe that he would regard it as a matter of principle to spread such information, even if doing so would violate Official Secrets commitments and might land him in jail?  One has only to ask that question to know the answer.  I don’t believe the man can be relied upon.

However, refusing to permit the man that leads the country’s main opposition party – a party that has stood firmly and bravely for Britain in many wars, through many security threats and terrorist incidents – would risk a major constitutional crisis.  So I can understand why there is little appetite to refuse to allow him to join the Privy Council if he is indeed willing to undertake the various rituals and oaths that commit him to the process.

But let us be clear: there should be no question whatever of his being permitted to join the Privy Council or indeed to be officially designated Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition if he is not willing to submit himself to the Queen – i.e. to our constitutional processes as they stand.  I recognise that he is a republican.  That’s fine.  He can argue for a change in our constitution.  And he can do that from outside the system if he likes, going on anti-monarchist marches and writing anti-monarchist tracts, without submitting himself to the system as it is.  He can also, perfectly, consistently, submit himself to the system as it is and argue, from within and openly, that the system should be changed.

But what he cannot do is to refuse to accept the system as it is and simultaneously expect to operate from inside it.  One cannot be both rebel and governor at the same time.  One must choose.

And in his case it is particularly important that, if he chooses to operate from inside, then he very openly, explicitly and convincingly submits to the system as it currently stands.  That would be much less important if there were no question of his not accepting the system.  But precisely because his ability to submit to the system as it is is in question, in his case everything must be done to guarantee that he submits and means it.

When I say “means it” I do not mean that he suddenly believes in the monarchy.  I mean that when he makes his oaths and promises, he intends to keep them, even if doing so conflicts with some aspect of his own personal ideology.

If Corbyn cannot submit to Her Majesty – kneeling, kissing the ring, saying the oaths, and meaning it – then he cannot be appointed as the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.

In that case, we have another option.  The leader of the third largest party in Parliament – the SNP Westminster leader, Angus Robertson – is submitting himself to the Queen and joining the Privy Council.  If Corbyn refuses to be Her Majesty’s loyal subject, Angus Robertson should be designated Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.