Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

A backstop for Slough? Mars Bars warning is another Project Fear dud

Cheekily, Remainers try to co-opt revered British historical figures to bolster their cause. For example, in the week of the EU referendum a poster of Winston Churchill was fixed to every lamppost on Waterloo Bridge, with the slogan 'Brits don't quit' (swiftly removed and ripped by yours truly). Any prominent people from the past may be deployed, if their achievements can be associated with the European project.

Some of the greatest philanthropists of the Victorian age were the chocolatiers: Cadbury of Birmingham, Fry of Bristol and Rowntree of York. All were Quakers and social reformers, benevolent to their workers and keen to improve conditions in wider society. From the kernels of the cocoa tree they hoped to divert the poor from intoxicating liquor.

How would these confectionery chiefs have regarded the EU and Brexit? Would they have joined the CBI in opposing the referendum verdict, and promulgated Project Fear? At first glance, Remainers would have a good case to argue. The bookshop at Friends House, the Quakers' premises at Euston in central London, is replete with EU propaganda. Fraternity and all that…

George Cadbury (1839-1920) was an ardent Liberal. He built a garden city at Bourneville, sheltering employees and their families from the smog and dens of inequity of Birmingham. No Wetherspoons for them! Similarly, in the 1860s Henry and Joseph Rowntree built a vast factory-centred suburb in York, its population peaking at 14000 before mechanisation took its toll. Joseph Storrs Fry (1795-1879), who patented a method for grinding cocoa beans using a James Watt steam engine, developed the company that became famous for its Turkish Delight: too exotic, perhaps, for caricatured Brexiteers.

Naturally, the health of these firms fluctuated with the economy. A downturn led to Fry's merging with Cadbury's in 1919.For longer-term survival they ventured abroad to gain a foothold in the global market, but this raised risks. Halifax toffee-maker John Mackintosh (1868-1920) opened a factory in Düsseldorf in 1914, only for it to be confiscated by the German government. Remainers would tell you that's why we need the EU: warring nations destroy trade and prosperity. But at the time it was apparent that the far-reaching lands of the empire were a more reliable source of income.

Where are these household names today? They are all extant, in one form or another, but mostly in the hands of international conglomerates such as Nestlé. Factories have closed as production has shifted abroad. Parochial 'Somewheres' have been usurped by globalist 'Anywheres' (using David Goodhart's dichotomy) who callously disregard and destroy settled communities.

This brings me to the other major confectioner, based in the oft-satirised town of Slough. In 1932 Forrest Mars Senior crossed the Atlantic to start a chocolate business, and a winning line was the Mars Bar (a similar product to the American Milky Way). Although not a Quaker, Mars was a generous employer, with pensions and other benefits for workers (strangely, such welfare was possible long before the emergence of the EU).

We are now threatened with empty shelves in the sweetshop, as Mars Bars will be impossible to make. Three million bars are churned out every day from Slough, yet the EU could put a stop to this old favourite if no deal is struck on Britain's withdrawal. Two ingredients, apparently, are at the mercy of Europe. This warning is not from Remain extremists but from Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is anxious to avoid a 'no deal' outcome. Mars Bars will be gone in a fortnight!

But this is another Project Fear dud. If Mars Bars are a copy of an American snack, why can't the company get the missing ingredients from the USA? Out of the clutches of the EU (unlike Theresa May's discredited withdrawal agreement) there would be no obstruction to trading freely with our American cousins.

Back to my earlier question; would Messrs Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree have voted for Leave or Remain? With their affinity for common folk, I guess that they would be horrified at the resurgence of a privileged elite who regard the masses with contempt. They would not be impressed with a Brussels regime that courts lobbying by company representatives striving to monopolise through deliberately stifling bureaucratic regulations. And they would have been aghast at the leaked transcript of Chancellor of the Exchequer and senior ministerial colleagues colluding with global corporations to frustrate the will of the people.

As another warning falls on deaf ears, watch Remainers change the Topic

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
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The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
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