Stand fast must be the order of the day for Leavers

Robert Henderson

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” .(The last sentence of  Orwell’s Animal Farm )

This is precisely where Brexit is heading.  The leave voting public look from leaver politician to  remain politician and increasingly find it difficult to distinguish between most of  them. This trait is exemplified by media reports which suggest some grubby deal is being cooked up whereby May agrees to resign as PM and the wavering leave politicians agree to vote for her agreement with the EU.

This trade off  fails to address the questions  of what May’s agreement contains, the likely behaviour of remainer politician and public servants if  May’s agreement  is accepted by Parliament  and the EU’s attitude to the UK   if May’s agreement is turned into a legally enforceable document.

May’s agreement leaves the UK in the hands of the EU.

The Spectator magazine  recently listed what they called the top 40 horrors of the agreement. Apart from the Irish Backstop, these include the following :

  1. May says her deal means the UK leaves the EU next March. The Withdrawal Agreement makes a mockery of this. “All references to Member States and competent authorities of Member States…shall be read as including the United Kingdom.” (Art 6)
  2. The European Court of Justice is decreed to be our highest court (Art. 86) both citizens and resident companies can use it.
  3. The UK will remain under the jurisdiction of the ECJ until eight years after the end of the transition period. (Article 158).
  4. The UK will still be bound by any future changes to EU law in which it will have no say, not to mention having to comply with current law. (Article 6(2))
  5. Any disputes under the Agreement will be decided by EU law only – perhaps the most dangerous provision of all. (Article 168) Arbitration will be governed by the existing procedural rules of the EU law – this is not arbitration as we would commonly understand it (i.e. between two independent parties). (Article 174)

These clauses of the agreement alone should make the agreement unacceptable to British politicians for they are the type of subordination required of a defeated enemy who has sued for peace.

The likely behaviour of remain politicians

The circumstances of a remainer  PM, a remainer dominated Cabinet and a remainer  dominated Parliament alone make it wildly improbable that  the  British Government  (of whatever complexion) after Theresa May’s agreement was  converted into a treaty will be any more robust in its dealing with the EU than May has been.  This is not merely a matter of weakness or inexperience by those calling the political shots in the  UK  Rather, it is the consequence of a remaner political elite which is determined to sabotage Brexit.

Nor  can we look to an early election to change matters. The House of Commons is probably 75% remainer. Hence, even if a General Election is held it is likely that a remainer  dominated Commons would be returned simply because it would require an almighty  and most unlikely throwing out of remainer  MPs.

The attitude of the EU

The  EU has given ample evidence since the Referendum that they  have no intention of treating the UK reasonably. Thieir behaviour has run the gamut of personal abuse to a rigid refusal to make any meaningful compromise with the UK or simply to accept the reality that the UK have voted to leave. The idea that they will behave more reasonably if the agreement made with May is enshrined into  a legally enforceable treaty is best described as ludicrous.

A taste  what the UK is likely to be confronted with if Parliament passes  May’s agreement  is demonstrated by the struggle which Switzerland is having with the EU.  They are meeting the same bone-headedly arrogant and unyielding EU attitude that the EU has presented to the UK since the Referendum, viz:

“All the terminology in this tiff will be uncomfortably familiar to the U.K. “Nothing is decided until everything is decided,” Commission officials say, and the Swiss can’t “cherry-pick” the benefits of the EU.. “

WTO terms is the only way to Brexit

All of these considerations make leaving to trade on  the WTO deal absolutely  necessary. Irreconcilable remainers have shown ever since the  Referendum that they were not willing to accept the result and are  demonstrating their resolution  in that intention  to prevent it happening as I write – a Sunday Express article   of 23 March  claims that the Government is already plotting to bind us fully back into the EU.  This is entirely plausible based on remainer behaviour since the Referendum.

Leaving under WTO terms serves two purposes : it is  the most efficient and rapid way of leaving  and is the most difficult for situation for   remainers to subvert because it immediately provides  a general trading framework.

The Irish Question

The Irish Backstop has not been made unnecessary or modified in any way.

If the  UK leaves to trade on WTO terms there will be no legal constraint , other than the WTO rules,   on  how the UK engages with the EU generally or the Republic of Ireland (RoI) specifically.  The UK government could offer the RoI a deal, namely,  to come out of the EU and retain the common travel area and frictionless trade between and with the UK or remain in the  EU and lose those advantages.

Given the RoI’s fervently  EU stance this might seem impossible at first glance but less so when the present circumstances are seriously considered.  The  RoI only joined the  EU (or EEC as it then was) because the UK joined.  They  did so for exactly the same reason s that it would make sense for the RoI to leave now, the large  amount of UK-RoI trade and the ability to  travel freely between the UK and Ireland.

To the trade argument can be added the fact that RoI  in 2016 moved  from being a net recipient of EU money to being a net contributor to the EU.  Their contribution in 2018 was more than £2 billion. With the UK leaving and removing a great wad of money from EU coffers  net contributors to future EU budgets will have to pay even more to make up for the loss of the UK’s contribution.

Of course leaving would raise the difficult  problem of the RoI  being in the Euro,  but the UK could  help the RoI to resurrect the Punt by lending financial assistance and perhaps even underwriting the Punt for a period.

If the RoI did leave the EU the Backstop problem would evaporate.

What happens if the RoI remains in the EU?  That would leave the EU not the UK with the problem of erecting a border between Northern Ireland and the RoI. The UK will not place  a physical border between the two so the only authority who could do so would be the EU.  Would they dare? I doubt it.

We desperately  need a modern law of treason

The UKL does not have a functioning Treason Law. It is sorely to be missed because without it what would have been called treason in most times in our history passes without any action being taken.

A recent  first rate example was Tony Blair advising major players within the EU how they should in effect thwart Brexit – see here and here . That amounts to treating with a foreign power without the authorisation of the Government.

A new treason law should make any attempt to assist a foreign power to the detriment of the UK treason.  That would cover much of the behaviour of irreconcilable remainers including politicians.

Such a law should not interfere with the normal democratic process. For example it would allow renainers to work for the UK to  rejoin the EU after the UK has left by making it the policy of a party and standing for election on that platform.   (That incidentally was the only democratically acceptable way for remainers to attempt to reverse Brexit, namely, let it take place and then try to reverse it in the way I have described).

The post-referendum position

The only reason Brexit is in such a mess is because  remainer politicians from Theresa May downwards have made  it  so.

The constitutional position is simple: by passing the Referendum Act Parliament contracted out the question of whether  the UK should remain in the EU or leave. Once the country voted to leave  Parliament (Lords and Commons) were obligated to put that decision into effect.

The referendum question was beautifully clear, senior politicians said publicly that the result of the vote would be  honoured by implementing it and after the vote the major parties promised in the 2017 election manifestoes  carried the same promise.  Parliament also agreed to the activation of the Article 50 procedure putting the UK on the leaving path. In short, there is absolutely no excuse for the grossly anti-democratic misbehaviour of  remainer politicians. They are not people acting in good faith to do what is best for the country. Rather they are  simply trying to enforce their will.

If Parliament passes May’s surrender document of a deal it will not only create great uncertainty,  but will also leave the UK securely attached to the EU, an attachment which will be  progressively tightened by a remainer dominated government and remainer dominated Parliament until within a few years the UK will be a de facto member of the EU . Like the animals in Animal Farm the uK  shall be indistinguishable from a full blown member of the EU.

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Speaker Bercow  may have  radically changed the rules of the Brexit game

Robert Henderson

Recently there has been a sense of resignation in the leave camp, a  feeling that we  were at the mercy of  our treacherous remainer politicians who appeared to hold all the best  cards because of their domination of Parliament. Singlehandedly the Speaker has changed the mood .

John Bercow’s  ruling (18 March) that May cannot put her deal with the EU to the Commons for a third time if it is “the same or substantially the same” .  This has undermined  utterly May’s entire strategy which is the democratically contemptible one of trying to force a thoroughly bad deal through by a war of attrition allied to Project Fear.

Even before Bercow spoke the situation was unsettled however much the remainers might have portrayed it as being a  clear choice between May’s deal   being passed by the Commons or May going off to the EU to ask for an extension (preferably a long one) which would allow the remainers more time to complete their sabotage of Brexit.

Nor, despite the remainers’ shrill, incessant claims, has a “no deal” departure been taken off the table. In fact a  “no deal” Brexit is  still the default position until and when  the 29 March date in the Withdrawal Act is amended.

Consequently, there was a  launching pad for greater resistance to the game May has been playing and the problems of dealing with a Remmainer dominated Parliament.  All that was needed was something to strike a serious blow at the status quo. Bercow provided that.

Before Bercow stated his position with regard to May’s deal, the Government had no inkling of what he was going to do before he spoke.   The very nasty shock he has administered has already born fruit. May has made a request  for the EU to sanction both a short  extension and a long extension,  The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has  replied  smartly  that she cannot have both. He also made it clear than an extension should not be taken for granted and that May must come to the EU with a firm plan of action to justify any extension of Artic  50.    She will  find this very difficult to formulate.

The implications of extensions to Article 50

If May does obtain  a long extension this at the least would mean  during  the extension the UK paying  even more money than the £39 billion Danegeld May has already offered to the  ERU  with nothing in return , continuing free movement,  being subject to  any new EU laws and regulations (including quite probability a transaction tax which would hit the UK hard because so much of our economy is services based) and coming under the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

Those sort of impositions might not only strengthen the resolve of Brexiteers but be too much for many remainers,  especially those with leave majorities. Moreover, it is important to understand that though the Commons has authorised May  to seek an extension  it will need a vote in Parliament before it is adopted as law, presumably by amending the Withdrawal Act.

If an extension is beyond the EU elections in June  the UK would have to hold elections for MEPs. That could well result in a phalanx of hard core  Brexiteers intent on making as much trouble as possible.  Neither the British remainer establishment nor the EU apparatchiks, elected or appointed, would welcome that.  Both or the EU alone might conclude that letting the UK leave without a deal was preferable and refuse an extension.

That leaves revoking Article 50 entirely.  The ECJ has ruled  that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 ) but I doubt whether Parliament would vote for that because individual remainer MPs in leave majority seats would be worried about losing their seats. . (Strictly speaking May could probably do it off her own bat using the Royal Prerogative, but I doubt whether even she would have the brass neck to do that. Moreover, in the new Parliament is  the executive power situation and mood I suspect that she would face and probably lose  a vote of no confidence if she did so)

On the EU side it would be rash to assume that an extension would be automatically granted. Each of the other 27 EU members have their own national axes to grind and it is possible that one or more might simply say no to along  extension.

Why May’s  Deal Does Not  Mean Leaving the EU.

Anyone who is under the illusion that May’s “deal”  is anything other than a a subordinating horror for the UK should read the  Spectator column The top 40 horrors  lurking in the small print of  Theresa May’s  Brexit deal and watch this excellent less than 4 minute summary of the content of  and the implications of  the  “deal” by the  Bruges Group.

Proroguing Parliament

The suggestion that  Parliament could be prorogued  and a new Parliamentary session started would hit the buffers of the Fixed Term Parliament Act.  This provides for five Parliamentary sessions  of 12 months. If the present session was ended  by proroguing Parliament that would mean the five year term would be shortened because the current Parliamentary Session would be reduced.  As things stand this would mean the end date of the Parliament would not be reached by the end of five Parliamentary sessions.

Short of voting for a General Election now,  to get round this problem either the  new  Parliamentary year would have to be lengthened  or the Commons would have to vote to amend the  Fixed Term Parliaments Ac to fit these distinctly peculiar circumstances.

If nothing is settled by 29th March

What is required now is as much disorder and confusion as possible amongst our political class to distract them from the  draining away of  the last ten days before the 29 March.

In the present complex and rapidly reshaping circumstances It is quite conceivable that  the UK may come to  and pass the 29th March with the withdrawal date intact. That would mean the UK has left the EU. There would be no legal way for  either our remainer politicians or the EU to re-establish UK membership simply by  passing retrospective legislation or by the making of Treaties.  The only way back would be for the UK to re-apply for membership of the EU. From scratch.

Brexiteers should not be unthinkingly optimistic, but the situation is undeniably considerably more favourable to the leave side than it was  on 17 March, not least because Bercow’s intervention has swept away much of the obfuscation and outright lying  which has tainted the Commons until now.

Of course it may be that there is a good deal  of playacting by Bercow,  the Government and the EU and come the crunch Bercow my  allow another vote on May’s deal, the Commons may vote for the deal and the EU will agree to a long  extension, but that scenario   looks a great deal less likely today that it did  48 hours ago.

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Brexit: an object lesson in elite betrayal

Robert Henderson

On 15  January Theresa May suffered the  greatest defeat of any British Prime Minister  when she put the draft deal she has  struck with the EU to a vote in the House of Commons. The deal was  rejected by 432  votes  against to 202 votes for, a colossal majority against accepting the deal of 230.

The bald figures  are  terrible enough but they are even worse than they appear for the government’s “payroll vote” of MPs  holding  government office is around 140. These  would be expected to vote with the Government. Hence, May will have  only attracted around 60 backbenchers (who within reason can vote as they like) to support  her  draft deal.

This gives May and her government a tremendous problem because ever since she came back to Parliament with the draft deal she has been saying it is her way or the highway as she has stubbornly insisted that  no other deal is available and that a failure to accept it could mean no Brexit. As the draft deal she has agreed offers  Brexit in name only  (Brino)  and resembles the type of treaty a defeated enemy who had sued for peace might agree to   such is the subordination of the UK interests which according to many commentators would leave the UK as a vassal state. The Commons showed what they thought of the  goods on offer and chose   to reject them in the most spectacular fashion.

The problem is that May is still Prime Minister . The day after suffering the defeat over her deal a vote of No Confidence in the Government  was defeated by 325 votes to 306 .  This means that she stays as Prime Minister and the threat of an early General Election has receded.  Nor can she face another Tory  leadership challenge  for the better part of a year because she won a vote of No Confidence  in her leadership just before Christmas.

The defeat of May’s deal is  encouraging for Brexiteers inasmuch as  the overwhelming  result should have greatly lessened any  thoughts May had of coming back with a few insignificant cosmetic changes made to the deal  nearer the 29th March leaving date.  However, that is still a possibility  and there  are many other threats to thwart a true Brexit . If there is a serious breakdown of party discipline  there is nothing to stop remainer MPs  doing anything they  want because the house of Commons consists of a substantial majority of remainers.

There  is one bright light amongst this gloom for Brexiteers, namely the fact that the date for the UK’s leaving is fixed in an Acct of Parliament .

Section 20 of  the European Union (Withdrawal ) Act  2018  states ‘“exit day” means 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m.’

To  change the date of the UK leaving the  EU requires either an amendment to or repeal of the Act.

While the Brexit leaving date remains unchanged it does not matter what else happens because it places a legal obligation on the UK to leave. Consequently, a  second referendum cannot be held, an extension of Article 50 cannot be sought by the UK or granted by the EU and  Article 50 cannot be revoked. In addition remainers, however aided and abetted by a remainer Speaker of the Commons,  cannot  ultimately stop the UK leaving the EU on 29 March.

However, the House of Commons is remainer dominated (around 6o%)   and  could vote to amend or repeal the leaving date, but  there are serious obstacles to that happening.

To begin with it would  nakedly expose their anti-democratic partisanship.  Ever since the referendum most remainers have constantly bleated the refrain that  they honour the result whilst making it perfectly clear that they want to sabotage Brexit.  If they alter the leaving date that pretence would be unsupportable because once the date was altered or removed completely from  the Act the remainers would be forced to commit themselves to going down one of these paths:

  1. Extend the two year Article 50 negotiating period, perhaps indefinitely.
  2. Revoke Article 50
  3. Announce that the UK is remaining in the EU.

4, Legislate for another referendum on Brexit.

There is also be  the possibility  of a snap General Election if no one could command a majority in the Commons.

Having their true feelings and intentions towards Brexit exposed will be more than embarrassing for many MPs  because  there are many constituencies – and especially ones filled by Labour  MPs – which voted heavily to leave the EU  while their MP voted to remain and has consistently opposed Brexit by fair means or foul.  Consequently, leave voters might well punish remainer  MPs in leave constituencies.

Brexit  did not have to be  thought hideously complicated.

Much has been made of the complexity of the Brexit.  This claimed complexity  is largely down to having  remainer  PM and a remainer dominated cabinet which looked for  terrors where there were none. At best their heart isn’t in Brexit and at worst they are deliberately trying to sabotage Brexit.

If  the process pf leaving the EU had  been conducted by a leaver PM and a leaver dominated Cabinet most of the complexity would have dissolved. There would still have been a potential problem with  remainer dominated Commons (and Lords) but with a government firmly committed to Brexit it is doubtful that remainers in Parliament would have been so blatant in their attempts to overthrow Brexit.

With a resolute  leaver as PM backed by a  leaver dominated cabinet the mere fact of their existence would have changed the language and progress of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.

Trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules

Leaving without a deal to trade under WTO rules is a real possibility because of both the fast approaching leave date and the inability of the House of Commons to come up with any plan which can command a majority.   Moreover, significant numbers of leave MPs have embraced the idea as being the best route out of the EU  for  of the  UK .

There are two reasons  for embracing  the idea of leaving to trade on WTO terms. The first is that it simplifies matters  because it is ready made system and allows business to plan . The second  is that it prevents, at least in the short to medium term,   remainder politicians trying to sabotage  Brexit after the UK has formally left the EU.     Nor of course does  WTO membership  mean that future bilateral trade deals cannot be struck.

The Deep State

The Deep State is often portrayed as a conspiracy. In fact it is better thought of as a blind  sociological  event.  There is no group of conscious conspirators, simply people being groomed to have the same opinions  or at least saying they  do.

What has happened in the  UK (and the rest for the West to varying degrees) is the success of the long march through the institutions.  That is what ultimately has given the UK an elite (politicians, mediafolk, teachers etc) who are  overwhelmingly politically correct internationalists  and its those people who are at the forefront of the attempts to sabotage Brexit.

How did it it come about? A German student leader of the 1960s  Rudi Dutschke put forward the idea whereby societies were subverted from within by those of an internationalist bent who would patiently work to gain positions of power and influence. Eventually there would be sufficient of such people to change the  policies of Western societies from national to internationalist ones.  That point was reached in the UK at least 50 years ago and the politically correct stranglehold on our society is now in full  flower.

The capture of Western societies by internationalists has allowed them to permit  and even overtly encourage mass immigration of people from different cultures , denigrate their own societies,  traduce  the West and its native populations generally and introduce gradually the pernicious  totalitarian creed of political correctness which has “anti-racism”  (in reality anti-white racism)  at its heart.  The last brick  in the politically correct building is the increasingly draconian treatment of anyone who  refused to toe the politically correct line , treatment which is increasingly including the use of the criminal law and imprisonment.

That is why Western politics until recently has been so ideologically monotone. Brexit was a revolt against that mentality.

The bad faith of the remainers

The vast majority of MPs have overtly or tacitly supported the idea of the referendum and its result  by promising  in election manifestos, in Parliament and through their passage by large majorities of  the legislation needed to both set up the referendum and make provision for the

By doing so MPs forfeited their  right to do anything other honour the result of the referendum. That applies just as much to remainer MPs as  leave MPs because the leaver MPs were bound by both the democratic choice made by the Commons and the democratic choice made by the electorate.

Sadly, the behaviour of the most committed remainers with power and influence (including many MPs and peers in the house of Lords) has shattered  utterly the idea that the UK is a fully functioning democracy. Rather, it is an elective oligarchy whereby the electorate are offered an opportunity every few years to choose between competing parts of the elite, an elite in the UK whose general political ideas are largely shared by the various competing parts of that elite, ideas  which go against the interests and wishes of most of  the electorate.

Noe of this should be a surprise. The sad truth is that the central political question in any society is this, how far will the masses be able to control the naturally abusive tendencies of the elite.

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Theresa May’s Betrayal – Bruges Group meeting 3 12 2018

Speakers

Rt Hon. the Lord Lilley, PC

Parliamentarian and former Cabinet Member

Rt Hon. Sammy Wilson MP

Brexit Spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party

Daniel Kawczynski MP

Member of the European Research Group

The  three speakers were all  good value : all promised to vote against May’s “deal”, all slated the “deal” , all debunked Project Fear. Yet something was missing. A t the end of the meeting I felt that enthusiastic, sincere and well informed  about  the detail  as they were  none of the three had a  coherent end game.  They all  seemed to be acting on the assumption that   winning a vote to get  rid of May’s “deal” was the end game. In short it was all a bit ritualistic, not exactly virtue signalling but first cousin to it  with the three MPs pushing all the cheer making buttons whilst dodging the really testing questions.

What was missing was a plausible  plan for removing  May  from Number 10 if she refused to go voluntarily  after losing the vote  on her deal”, stopping May if her “deal” did, unlikely as it now seems,win the approval of the Commons or  what to do if the vote on May’s “deal“  was lost  and May reigned or  lost a vote of confidence.

Nonetheless there were points of interest about the general situation.

Peter Lilley

Lilley was as usual first class  as a speaker. He concentrated on trade questions  rather than the political upheaval in the UK.

He favours a Canada plus deal and wants any money the UK pays to Brussels to be deponent on  a full blow trade deal between the UK and the EU being concluded.

Surprisingly Lilley claimed that behind the scenes both the Uk and the EU had made much more progress on trade deals and regulatory harmonisation  than might be apparent from the public idea of what was happening to prepare for the UK’s departure.

Lilley also poured cold water on the idea that lorries would be parked up waiting interminably to be checked manually – Lilley gave a figure of only 1% goods coming to the UK  from outside the EU requiring  physical checks. He could not see why any more would be required for goods from the EU after Brexit.    Lilley  also claimed that the French in particular were taking steps to ensure that the flow of goods across the Channel would not be impeded   unduly.

As for tariffs being imposed after the UK left,  ideally  Lilley   would abolish tariffs on goods the UK does  not produce. But  if this was not possible, he would be happy to trade on WTO terms because the tarries on UK goods going on the EU would be £5-6 billion pa while the tariffs on UK goods going to the EU would be £13 billion pa. Lilley also pointed out that world trade  outside the EU was  growing three times as  fast as  trade within the EU.

Finally, Lilley is  not troubled by the idea of leaving to trade on WTO terms and he described the WTO as “a safe haven “ The scare stories he dismissed and predicted that they would turn out to be another Millennium bug.

Sammy Wilson MP

Wilson  challenged the idea of  what constituted a hard border by pointing out that this could mean no more than checks on goods  and some additional administration , things which occurred now because  of  Northern Ireland and the RoI having different currencies and different rates of VAT .

Importantly, he  made no attempt to address the question of illegal human traffic between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.  In fact, this is a subject rarely addressed by any politician of whatever stamp . Nor does May’s withdrawal draft  treaty . May’s claim that her “deal” allows UK borders to be controlled is a simple nonsense because if there is no check on those moving from the RoI  into Northern Ireland  by definition there  can be no control of immigration because people can simply arrive in the RoI, move into Northern Ireland and then cross to the British mainland without let or hindrance.

As for the supposed problems with physical checking of goods, Wilson said that such checks did not have to made at the border but could be done through checks   made away from the border,  for example Trading Standards officers checking   goods after they had been delivered to the business which was the  purchaser.

Wilson  is convinced that the Irish border issue only existed because the EU wished to make things awkward for the UK.

Answering questions at the end of the meeting Wilson stated  without qualification that he would not  attempt to either overthrown May as PM or influence the choice of any successor PM.   His reason for this was that he felt it would be wrong for a party with ten seats (the DUP)  to interfere in the choice of leader  of a major party.  That was probably the most important thing said during the meeting.

Daniel Kawczynski MP

Kawczynski  was born in Poland and came here as a child when his family fled Communism.  He concentrated on the continental EU countries and what Brexit meant for them.

He compared the coming vote on May’s “deal”  as being on a par for importance with the 1940 Norway debate  which ended Neville Chamberlains’ premiership

As for Euroscepticism in the rest of the EU,  he said there was a good deal of it especially in countries such as Poland and Hungary .  But these countries were hamstrung because they had got rid of their currencies and were now  trapped in the Euro. Hence, their chances of a Brexit were much less than they would have been had they kept their own currency.

Because of the worries about following the UK’s example, Kawczynski said that it was very important that the UK did achieve Brexit because if it did not then the EU would become stronger and  Eurosceptic parties elsewhere in the EU would become disheartened by seeing how one of the major EU countries had been treated.

Kawczynski is concerned about the proposed EU army weakening NATO; sees the £39  billion promised by May to the EU as s simple bride and   views Russia as a serious threat.

Robert Henderson

 

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Call those who would overthrow Brexit by their true name: traitor

Robert Henderson

Traitor: noun. One who is false to his allegiances or acts disloyally to country,  king, cause , religion or principles (Oxford Concise Dictionary)

The attempted sell-out of Brexit by Theresa May as laid down in the  white paper entitled  The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union  should surprise no one. We have a remainer PM, a remainer dominated Cabinet; a remainer dominated government; a  remainer dominated  Tory Parliamentary Party and a remainer dominated Parliament. These politicians  are widely supported by  Europhile in the senior ranks of the civil service,  academics and mainstream mediafolk.

Theresa May:  an incompetent or a saboteur ?

Many commentators are ascribing  to incompetence the seeming shambles  May is presiding over. This is  much less plausible than the alternative explanation, namely, that May is a steadfast remainer and is deliberately trying to sabotage Brexit from within.

This latter  interpretation was plausible even before the Chequers proposals were made public.  Since May  came to office  she  has ensured that her Cabinet has  been  very heavily dominated by  remainers  in a ratio of around two thirds remainer  to one third  Brexiteer. – there is little difference between  her original Cabinet and the present one.  If  May had been really intent on delivering Brexit the balance would have been at least  reversed.

To her Cabinet favouritism can be added the fact that May has capitulated at every point  over both the  shape of the negotiation with the EU and specific issues, most notably her proposal that the EU be paid £39 billion (and probably more because the EU has not agreed to anything) by  the UK for the privilege of leaving the EU  and her proposal that 3 million or more citizens of remaining EU states should be given full residency rights if the EU  reciprocates for the  one million UK citizens living in other EU states. (This would make  UK  a the big loser in the transaction,  both from the difference in numbers, but  also because the level of government provision in areas such as welfare, health and education varies considerably within the remaining 27 EU members, most of whom have  government provision which is much inferior to  that available in the UK (EU states are only obligated to treat incomers from other EU states as they do  their own people and the EU  will almost certain insist  this rule remains for those qualifying for residency in either  the UK and the EU after Brexit).

Further evidence of May’s treachery comes from ministers involved with the Brexit negotiations who have resigned.  David Davis (who resigned as Brexit Secretary) has accused May of making   ‘concessions to the EU that were so fundamental they risked undermining the whole Brexit process’.   Steve Baker  (who resigned as a Brexit Minister) went so far as to accuse  the PM of  having conducted  a campaign  to thwart Brexit with the aid of other remainer politicians and civil servants.

Boris Johnson in his resignation letter to Mrs May  wrote:

“It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.”

In his resignation speech in the House of Commons Johnson reinforced his opposition to May’s proposals, by succinctly detailing some of the major restrictions on sovereignty which those proposals  entail, viz:

“We are volunteering for economic vassalage, not just in goods and agri-foods but we will be forced to match EU arrangements on the environment and social affairs and much else besides. Of course we all want high standards but it is hard to see how the Conservative government of the 1980s could have done its vital supply side reforms with those freedoms taken away. And the result of accepting the EU’s rulebooks and of our proposals for a fantastical Heath Robinson customs arrangement is that we have much less scope to do free trade deals as the Chequers paper actually acknowledges and which we should all frankly acknowledge. Because otherwise, if we pretend otherwise, we continue to make the fatal mistake of  underestimating the intelligence of the public, saying one thing to the EU about what we are doing, and then saying another thing to the electorate. And given that in important ways, this is Bino or Brino – or Brexit in name only – I am, of course, unable to accept it or support it, as I said in the Cabinet session at Chequers, and I am happy now to speak out against it and be able to do so. Mr Speaker, it is not too late to save Brexit, we have time in these negotiations.”

To all this can be added the widespread condemnation of her White Paper proposals from Brexiteers from backbenchers  across the party divide in Parliament, for example, Gisela Stuart (Labour) who described what May is offering as a “phantom Brexit”, and Jacob Rees-Mogg  (Tory) who ventured that it represented  a “very unfortunate U-Turn” .

There is one further reason to believe that May is deliberately sabotaging Brexit. That is her demeanour. Despite enduring what on the face of it an intensely stressful extended period of political activity May gives no sign of being stressed. Indeed,  in her photographs and on video  either in the Commons or outside she gives the impression of being not merely relaxed but positively buoyed by the way things are going. That is exactly the behaviour that would be expected of someone achieving their ends by deceit. May’s frequent smiles have the coy triumphal quality of someone who is executing a Machiavellian plan successfully. Nor is there any sign of her wavering for this very day  (20 July)  the Tory supporting Daily  Telegraph reports that May is preparing to “go down fighting” in her attempt to stand by her Chequers proposals.

Treason and the irreconcilable remainers

In a democracy the greatest treason is to betray the democratic will when that will has been shown in its most direct and unambiguous way through a referendum open to the entire electorate.   That is no more than the statement of an objective truth, for the closer the electorate are to decision making the more elemental the democratic action. An intense  desire for such a betrayal has been shown by  many remainers following the EU referendum.

The  liberal internationalists have been very successful over the past few decades in marginalising the crime of treason. Such people adhere to the idea that nations are at best outmoded forms of human social organisation and  at worst positively dangerous as repositories  of atavistic violence.   In the mind of  liberal the internationalist treason does not exist, at least in the form in which has been known throughout history. (What would constitute treason for the liberal internationalist –  although they would not give it that name  –  would be to fail to subscribe to and support uncritically  liberal internationalist values and policies, in short, any refusal to accept political correctness.)

But however successful the liberal internationalists have been in devaluing the idea of treason the crime  still exists regardless of whether there is a formal law to punish it.

The reason is simple,  treason is an eternal crime   because it goes to the heart of human nature. It is betrayal and every normal human being can recognise it for what it is  and understand instinctively that it is the most dangerous of behaviours because it threatens not just the individual but the entirety of a society.

What  constitutes treason in a Remainer?

The attempt to overturn Brexit entirely or the attempt to engineer a faux Brexit, which is Brexit in name only.

It is legitimate for a remainer to be disappointed after losing the referendum and to say so publicly.  It is legitimate for the remainer to publicly lament the result.  It is legitimate for the remainer to point out what they see as the ill consequences of Brexit.  But it is not legitimate for remainers to attempt to overthrow the referendum result. That is precisely what many remainers with power and influence are trying to do, either directly or by subterfuge.

The remainer BIG LIES

In the course of their betrayal  remainers have developed a number of big, shameless and very obvious lies which they repeat incessantly in the hope that their repetition will give them a  trashy sheen of meaning  in the way that tinsel masquerades as silver at Christmas.

  1. 1. “We are giving power back to Parliament “

Parliament gave up their right to decide what Brexit would be when both Lords and Commons passed the EU Referendum Bill into law. (The Commons  voted for the Bill  544-53 at the Second Reading).

  1. Those who voted leave did not understand what was involved

The referendum question was unambiguous and simple to understand: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

Leaving any sort of organised group means precisely that, leaving. If you resign from a political party or a private group such as a golf club you cease to have any obligations towards or receive any benefits attached to membership of the group from which you are resigning. Leave does indeed mean leave.

  1. “The referendum was only advisory”

Remainers claim that the EU referendum was only advisory  because there was no specific clause in the Act  stipulating that it was either advisory or binding. This is irrelevant because it could equally be argued that the absence of such a clause meant that it was not merely advisory because the UK does  not have  any general law determining the status of referenda.

More directly damning for the “advisory” claim are the  various unambiguous statements made  by politicians prior to the  referendum.

The Conservative General Election Manifesto of 2015  Page 72 said this about the referendum: We believe in letting the people decide: so we will hold an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU before the end of 2017…..David Cameron has committed that he will only lead a government that offers an in-out referendum. We will hold that in-out referendum before the end of 2017 and respect the outcome.

and

In opening the second reading debate on the European  Union Referendum Bill on 9 June 2015, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said “This is a simple, but vital, piece of legislation. It has one clear purpose: to deliver on our promise to give the British people the final say on our EU membership in an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.”

and

“Few subjects ignite as much passion in the House or indeed in the country as our membership of the European Union. The debate in the run-up to the referendum will be hard fought on both sides of the argument. But whether we favour Britain being in or out, we surely should all be able to agree on the simple principle that the decision about our membership should be taken by the British people, not by Whitehall bureaucrats, certainly not by Brussels Eurocrats; not even by Government Ministers or parliamentarians in this Chamber. The decision must be for the common sense of the British people. That is what we pledged, and that is what we have a mandate to deliver. For too long, the people of Britain have been denied their say. For too long, powers have been handed to Brussels over their heads. For too long, their voice on Europe has not been heard. This Bill puts that right. It delivers the simple in/out referendum that we promised, and I commend it to the House.”

David Cameron when PM also made the position clear. Asked if holding a referendum was a cast-iron pledge, Cameron said: “Absolutely. We will hold that referendum by the end of 2017; it will be a referendum on an in-out basis – do we stay in a reformed European Union or do we leave? And I’ve said very clearly that whatever the outcome of the next general election – and of course I want an overall majority and I’m hoping and believing I can win an overall majority – but people should be inno doubt that I will not become prime minister unless I can guarantee that we can hold that referendum.”

In their 2010 election manifesto, the Lib Dems called for a national vote on Britain’s EU membership if and when there  is a fundamental change in our relationship with the EU.  Here is  the LiBDem pledge in full:

“The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in / out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.”

This  promise went far beyond the European Union Act  2011 which only made  provision for a referendum to be held  on specific proposed  changes to the EU. The LibDem manifesto offered  an in/out referendum rather than just a referendum on whatever would be the fundamental change.

The moral corruption of the Big Lies

Anyone who is not a remainer, whether or not they are fervent Brexiteers can see that the remainers are engaged in barefaced lying. Worse, even the most fanatical remainers will understand in some part of their mind that they are telling lies.

Barring perhaps  thorough going psychopaths, everyone  will know the pain and discomfort which telling lies brings.  Repeating  a  lie often and  being psychologically bolstered by others  telling the same lie may lessen the discomfort and even  create a  shadowy feeling that in some sense the lie is true. But the pain and discomfort is never lost because the liar, however self-deluding, knows somewhere in their mind that what they are saying is false and that others will know it is false.

The consequence of telling lies about an issue as  great as Brexit is to poison political discourse generally because the two  sides of the argument become  unreservedly polarised.

Human nature being what it is, it is simply impossible for those who are not telling the lies to view those who are with anything other than anger and contempt, while those who are telling the lies are driven ever more from a position of argument to one of simple denial in  which the absence of argument is defended more and more with abuse.

That is a toxic  situation which could do lasting harm to the UK’s political culture as it will destroy trust in our whole system of government and in the general exercise of political power.

The dangerous strength of the remainers position

The remainers who continue to refuse to  accept the verdict of the referendum are in a much stronger position than most leavers imagine. This is partly because  both Houses of Parliament are remainer dominated and partly because Theresa May’s remainer dominated Cabinet is allowing her to systematically sabotage Brexit by  her incontinent delaying tactics and  her acceptance of what is as yet an  indeterminate transition period.

The brutal truth is that if Parliament wishes to reject Brexit or to force through a Brexit  in name only (Brino) it would have the power to do so because Parliament has  a substantial majority of remainers.

The most potentially destructive  of May’s concessions to remainers is her  promise that Parliament will have a “meaningful say” over the deal which May presents to Parliament. After much  to-ing and fro-ing  between Lords and Commons  an agreement has been reached that the Speaker will rule at the time of the debate on whether any government motion  relating to issue of Brexit  can or cannot be amended. This might, for example, lead to amendments rejecting the deal, amendments sending the Government back to the EU with instructions to negotiate further or amendments forbidding the no-deal-trade-on-WTO-rules option.

It is true that the wording of Article 50 would suggest that the logical end of the two-year process without a deal with the EU would be for the UK simply to fall out of the EU. But there is also provision for the EU member states to agree (unanimously) that the negotiating period be extended indefinitely.

This would appeal to the irreconcilable  remainers because apart from  delay making the leaving process more and more etiolated,   it would  also give the remainers ample opportunity to keep pushing for either remaining in the EU or for  a second referendum. Time is  truly the remainers friend and the Brexiteers  enemy

But there is a much simpler and comprehensive  option for unscrupulous remainers to engineer. That is for May to produce a deal with the EU which is Brexit in name only. Because  both Houses of Parliament are dominated by remainers Parliament could accept such a deal and legally speaking there would be no way of stopping its implementation.

Consequently, it is imperative that  leavers do not to imagine that the UK will inevitably leave the EU.  Constant vigilance  must  be the leaver watchwords.

Treason and the irreconcilable remainers

At the beginning of the post-referendum debate many leavers might have been willing  to allow  that remainers generally were honest in their beliefs  which  they held because of  what they perceived to be in the national interest. No longer is such a view tenable when it comes to the  irreconcilable remainers because of their naked attempts to overthrow Brexit.

If treason  has any meaning today then those who are trying to overthrow Brexit are committing treason  for they are effectively treating with the enemy in their attempt to thwart the referendum verdict. So let Brexiteers give  such people  their true name: traitor.

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The Bruges Group meeting 28 March 2018 – Too many loose ends remain untied

 Robert Henderson 
 
There was a healthy attendance for the first meeting of 2018
The speakers were John  Redwood and the economist and journalist   Liam Halligan.  They were both good value judged purely as speakers but I ‘m afraid Redwood did what I  have seen him do so often, namely, play the role of the big bad Brexiteer then collapse when it comes to the difficult questions. 
 
During his speech Redwood went on about how the UK would gain control of this and control of that  in the abstract, but there was little solid detail. In particular he appeared to have a blind faith in technology  (and God knows, we  have had enough public sector IT disasters to cure such blind faith)   to handle the border problems,   including that of the Northen Ireland /Republic of Ireland  border in Ireland.   This led him to advocate what was essentially an open borders immigration policy. 
 
Redwood  started from a position that the UK should restrict low wage, low skilled labour while encouraging the high skilled. He then tried to fit this into a regulatory system enforced by work permits. Anyone, Redwood  said, could physically come into  country but if they did not have a work permit they would not be able to work. This is living in cloud cuckoo  land because (1) many of the low skilled already work off-the-books and  cash in hand and (2) many more would be willing to do so under such a regime.  It is also improbable that EU members state citizens coming after Brexit would be denied all benefits, either because they have dependents or more probably simply because a liberal internationalist dominated  political class and media would prevent them deporting EU citizens in large numbers. 
 
But the really telling point was not in  Redwood’s  speech but during questions. 
 
I wanted to put two questions:
 
1. What if  Theresa May agreed to a treaty which either thwarted  Brexit  by surreptitiously stitching the UK back into the EU , eg, through membership  of EFTA,  or simply gave the EU too much and the UK too little, for example, agreeing to a long and potentially endless “transition” arrangement. Suppose  May  threatened to get or got the treaty  through Parliament with the help of remainers from all parties, what would you [Redwood] do then?   
 
2. What would be the legal position  if the treaty May agreed was rejected by Parliament?  Would that mean the UK left without a deal or would it mean that the UK remained in the EU? 
 
I was unable to ask either question but someone else asked Redwood  question 1. Redwood replied that he thought it best not address that question at this time. This brought murmurings of dissent from the audience which  prompted  Redwood to make the incredible claim that Brexit was  in safe hands with Theresa May and she could be trusted with the rest of the negotiations. Outright derision resulted as the audience variously reminded Redwood that May had a capitulated on every single policy to date – the money to be paid to the EU, the right of EU citizens to come to the UK and acquire a permanent right to stay during the transition period, fishing rights during the transmission period etc. Redwood just repeated what he had said. 
 
I  think it reasonable to conclude that if shove comes to push  over a betrayal of Brexit   Redwood cannot be relied on to end up on the Brexit side of the  ledger.
 
Question 2 – “What would be the legal position  if the treaty May agreed was rejected by Parliament?  Would that mean the UK left without a deal or would it mean that the UK remained in the EU?  ” remained unasked.  
 
Many leavers are assuming that if the treaty May negotiates is not accepted by Parliament then the UK will leave without a deal and trade  under WTO rules. But this may not be so. It could be argued, as remainers doubtless will argue, that Parliament has been given a vote on the treaty and that their rejection of the draft treaty automatically means the UK remains in the EU. The EU might well support the contention because it would suit their purposes. 
 
Liam Halligan was forthright in rebutting all the nonsense found in the mouths of remainers and painted a positive economic future for the UK outside of  the EU. However, he seemed much too sanguine when it came to his belief that the UK would leave without a deal. Much more more probable than that is May agreeing to a bad deal either out of panic  as the dealine for leaving approaches or because it secretly suits her remainer beliefs. 
 
The other questions asked by the audience concentrated heavily on the plans for  UK fisheries, the EU bias of UK civil servants  and the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) organisation  which is a nascent EU defence force. 
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Don’t listen to the ” keep Theresa May at all costs ” Brexit siren voices 

Robert Henderson 
 
There are plenty of voices saying stick with Theresa May because that is the best hope of achieving Brexit. This goes against all the evidence about her  intentions that we already have from her behaviour over the past eighteen months. 
 
 The danger with  May carrying on as PM is that  she will, either from panic (from time pressure and a terror of not getting any deal) or from a Machiavellian  desire to  surreptitiously sabotage Brexit,   lead us into a deal which is called Brexit but which in reality leaves us inside the coils of the  EU.  
 She has not stood firm on any issue. Her MO  is simple, make Brexiteer speeches for home consumption then cave in to EU demands when she goes to Brussels. To date she has committed the UK to paying £40 billion; agreed to a lengthy transition period; agreed that those within not merely the EU but the European Economic Area  who come before the end of the transition period  will have  the same rights as those who settled in the UK prior to March 2018;  conceded that UK control over UK fisheries will  not be established  until Brexit is complete (with plenty of hints that EU boats will still be able fish in British waters; given an unequivocal promise that there will be no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and left the UK for at least another three years at the mercy of the European Court of Justice with an obligation to incorporate any new EU directives until Brexit is complete. 
 

I realise the dangers of unseating May,  but if she is  going to keep on throwing away Brexit item by item the idea that we should hold tight to nurse for fear of something worse  nurse  does not hold water.  Nor is it inevitable that Labour or a coalition of Labour and other parties would engineer a vote of no confidence if she left office.  Labour is  riven with  scandal  and ideology at present and it is telling that Labour have  not been able to build a healthy lead in the polls. Corbyn may be popular amongst certain sections of the public but he is mistrusted by many voters.      

 
There is no reason to believe  May will  not continue with the behaviour she has shown ever since the Brexit vote, namely, acting  in a way to sabotage it, from the initial delay in triggering Article 50 to the most recent concessions on  new EU migrants to the UK and fishing rights.  The details of the proposed transition deal will  give another  firm steer as to where she intends the UK to be going.  Even if it is only 2 years there could be a great deal of damage done  (especially in the area of immigration) . 
 
The other thing to bear in mind is that the latest  the next general election can be held is June 2021. Assuming that this Parliament runs its full course that could mean the election is  held only just after the 2 year transition period  ends or just before it has ended if the election is held earlier. It is also quite possible that the two year transition period might be extended or not start in March 2019  .  If Labour or a coalition of Labour and other parties wins that election it would be administratively easy even  at that stage to keep the UK in the EU because we would not have effectively left. 
 
If we are signed up to remaining in the EU by another name it is no good imagining that we can at a later date get a true Brexit because it is certain that after the next General Election there still  be  a remainer dominated Commons and a remainer dominated Lords plus all the dark state remainers in public service   and the mass media.

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