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Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Email. info@brugesgroup.com
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.

Dull but desperate days

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

PM Winston Churchill Speech at Lord Mayor's Banquet, Mansion House, London (10th November, 1942)

 Despite having said only three days ago that she would not postpone the vote in the House of Commons on her proposed bill (Maidment, 2018), Theresa May has finally seen the light – at least, that is, with regard to her asinine agreement, and has accepted that the government would have been heavily defeated today (Tuesday 11th December), were it to go ahead with the 'meaningful vote' (Severin, 2018). She has, therefore, decided to postpone the vote – presumable to give her time to make on last-ditch attempt to EU leaders to throw her a lifeline. If this is indeed the case, by now she should have known better: I can imagine Barnier, Tusk and Juncker sniggering as they fill the red and white life ring with lead, before throwing it over her head! Prime Minister, as I life-long Conservative voter, I beseech you, please do not debase yourself or this great country of ours any further, by trying a last-ditch attempt to 'reason' with these people. One can only reason with people who are reasonable – which the current clutch of dishonest and unscrupulous individuals that decide EU policy patently is not.

Mrs. May has been her own worst enemy - in addition to her ability to secure defeat from a potential victory (her 'strong and steady' robotic appearances during the 2017 General Election), and more recently this apparent measure of political self-destruction has been writ large in her interference in the Brexit negotiations. However, as I have previously speculated this is not surprising if one assumes that her intention (as a 'remain' voter) was never to leave in the first place, or at the very least, we can surmise that she was never enthusiastic about Brexit. Why else would 'The Establishment' have engineered events so that Andrea Leadsome (a 'leaver') lost the leadership of the Conservative Party to Theresa May? As I suggested earlier this year "…the Brexit process appears to have been thwarted at every stage by a combination of treachery from within the UK establishment, and duplicitous dogmatics from the EU; both parties in this unholy alliance being anxious that the UK does not leave, as they have vested interests in our remaining" (Swift, 2018a). Her behaviour has been suspiciously slow, taking her some nine months to trigger Article 50 – something that she should have done in her first week Prime Minister (Swift, 2018a). She has managed to wear out two Brexit secretaries through her interference – since their respective resignations, both have made it clear that it was her intransigence that contributed to the 'long and winding road' of protracted negotiations, which ultimately led to their resignations. For example, it was reported that the first Brexit Secretary (David Davis), had warned her that her plan would "…be voted down by MPs because it would relegate the UK to the status of a subordinate 'rule-taker" " (Mackie, 2018). Raab ended his resignation letter with the telling sentence: "Above all, I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election. This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust." (Crerar and Weaver, 2018).

Media reports seem to suggest that the public is by now, generally fed up with Brexit (including some of those who voted to leave) and are likely to say 'Oh, just end it… and sign' or words to that effect. This is now the point of maximum danger. This is part of the 'remainer's' tactics – constant application of pressure, including the repetition of a monotonous matra, and the offer of a lifeline to escape the continual pain. One suspects that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Spanish Inquisition would have been proud to have been associated with such methods! The last thing we need is a weary and disillusioned public agreeing to a second referendum, just to make Brexit go away. As part of these tactics, we have the latest 'cunning plan' by the EU in which the ECJ has apparently (un-prompted, of course), agreed that we could withdraw our intention to leave, and this could not be challenged by any member state of the EU. Furthermore, we have apparently been promised that if we decide to return (sheepishly) to the fold, it will not be held against us, and our membership will be reinstated on exactly the same terms as when we decided to leave (Carrell, 2018). To that, the only response is that uttered by Margaret Thatcher: 'No. No. No.'

There is a clear danger in this rather clever, if unsubtle, trap 'remainers' have set. Such enticements are undoubtedly of interest to the 'remainers', the UK Fifth Columnists whose traitorous announcements give renewed energy to Brussels, and the troika of unelected EUROcrats - Juncker, Barnier, Tusk - who between them have more power than the European Parliament. The danger is that ideas of a second referendum, or being allowed back into the EU having learned our lesson, is that they appeal to those who were unsure as to how to vote in 2016, and due to the protracted negotiations, the constant barrage of disinformation and lies from the media, such people would probably vote 'remain' if offered a second referendum. This is not how democracy works, but as the EU is not a true democracy it is unsurprising that they are trying every trick in the book to make us stay. It is interesting to note that, when compared with the last four General Elections (2017, 2015, 2010, and 2005), the 'leave' vote obtained a larger percentage of the vote (51.9%, as opposed to 42.34%, 36.8%, 36.1%, and 35.2% respectively), and on a higher turnout of the electorate: 72%, compared with 68.7%, 66.2%, 65.1%, and 61.4% respectively (Swift, 2018a). The decision has been made – the government must now carry out the democratically-expressed wishes of the people.

For nearly two years now, Barnier has been waving the stick; suddenly when it is looking as if a 'no deal' outcome might be likely (something the EU fears above all else), he produces the ECJ carrot! This just shows how desperate Brussels has become, and that now is definitely NOT the moment to vote for May's deal – which would bind us to the EU for ever – but to get tough. As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, one cannot negotiate with the EU, as they still have no intention of letting us leave peaceably. For those who still believe that the EU believes in democracy and the will of the people, consider the recent statement by the French Finance Minister, who believes that Mrs May's proposal gives away too much: "Any decision that would give European citizens the feeling you can exit the EU and keep all the advantages would be suicidal and we won't make that decision" (Horobin, 2018). Whilst it can be assumed that his comments were designed as some sort of double bluff – 'if the UK thinks the French are not happy, perhaps they will sign' – it does, nevertheless, show the attitudes of influential EU politicians. Barnier tried to blame everone but the EU, saying that: "…it is the decision of the British to leave the union that has created the problem. No one else. Nothing else…" (Rayner, 2018: 4) – oblivious to the fact that it was EU policies invented by people with vested interests such as himself, that caused us to want a referendum in the first place, and then to vote leave! Perhaps the best reason for not trusting the EU, however, is the famous quote from Juncker himself in which he admitted that if things become serious "…we have to lie. The same applies to economic and monetary policy in the Union, I am very serious about it" (Pop, 2014).

It would appear that not only are the EU leaders 'ethically challenged', but that they also have little idea of tact, diplomacy and cultural sensibility. Last year, Guy Verhofstadt (Lead Negotiator for the European Parliament and sometime Belgian politician) publically mocked the UK's decision to revert to the old iconic blue passport, once we leave the EU. At the time, Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world", whilst Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, called it a "…great Christmas present for those who care about our national identity" (Nair, 2017). Apparently national identity is of little import to people such as Vefhofstadt: perhaps this Belgian bully should be reminded that were it not for the Allied Armies (and the British and Canadians in particular), his country would probably still be under Nazi occupation, and that he would have no passport at all – European or otherwise!

I was also astonished to hear that Mrs May's latest attempt at political suicide apparently involved her threatening her MPs with 'her way' or 'no Brexit.' Such threats, as I am sure she will eventually find out, have a nasty habit of backfiring; they are very likely to make pro-Brexit Conservatives even more inclined to vote her plan down - and then probably replace her - whilst at the same time the 'remainer' wing of the party will also oppose it as they never wanted to leave in the first place. All she has done is to polarise opinion within her own party, and to alienate the DUP – upon whose support she relies in order to command a working majority in the House.

Whilst I am sure that history is littered with examples of Prime Ministers making threats to their party, my basic objection to her latest tactic is quite simply that she is wrong. Far be it from me to accuse the Prime Minister of lying, so let us just say that she is guilty of a 'terminological inexactitude' to borrow Churchill's phrase. Or possibly she could be accused of having been 'economical with the truth.' No, as she must know full well – it is not a binary choice between her 'scrap of paper' (Swift, 2018b), and remaining in the EU, as, so she claims, Brussels will not accept any further versions, or give more 'concessions.' This is excellent news, as it means that the third choice - leave without a deal – is looking increasingly likely. As I (and countless others before) have argued, we had a referendum on whether to stay or leave the EU, and as the majority voted 'leave' – then leave we shall, on 29th March, 2019. We do not need another referendum, as we have not yet implemented the results of the first one. I notice that this is now being referred to as a 'People's Vote' – however it is presented, it is still a referendum. The name change is part of an admittedly clever and sophisticated strategy to distance a second referendum from the original one.

The main problem is that there is a vocal minority (what I term The Brussels 'Fifth Column') who tried their damndest to stop us voting to leave in the first place, and despite a co-ordinated campaign of disinformation and downright lies (known as 'Project Fear') peddled by the 'remain' camp, the 'leavers' still won – much to the annoyance of The Establishment. As the result of the first referendum was so obviously 'wrong' the logic by which these people operate says that we have to try again, and hopefully get the right outcome next time. This is not, however, how democracy works; all parties, of whatever political persuasion, should understand this, and also understand that whether they like it or not, the decision has been made, and it is now up to the government to implement what they were mandated to do …leave!

As I have argued on a number of occasions leaving without a deal has a number of advantages:

  • 1)United States of Europe
  • We would no longer be part of the planned 'United States of Europe' – something that is rarely talked about, yet is of major concern. If the option of such a Federal system were to be presented to the people of Europe, and were to be accepted (by referendum), then there would be no problem. However, ever since the EU was formed (as the European Coal & Steel Community in 1952), a Federal State has been the long-term goal of European politicians. Monnet, for example, in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington DC in April 1952 said: "The establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community will be the foundations of a community of federal structure governed by common institutions, applying common rules, ensuring the same rights and imposing all the same obligations" (AEI, 1952:3)1
  • 2)The 'reparations' bill
  • If we left without a deal, this would mean we no longer had to pay the reparations payment to the EU; the exact amount appears to be a matter of speculation, but the consensus is around £40 billion. This so-called 'divorce settlement' is an outrageous amount to ask the UK to pay. Furthermore, rather than viewing Brexit as the UK 'leaving a club', Brussels has decided that it should be viewed as a divorce, and consequently there are a number of financial obligations to which we must adhere – a sort of 'child maintenance' for want of a better term. That is fair enough providing that they also accept that, in most divorce settlements, 'household' assets are divided between the splitting factions. As far as I can ascertain, we are not receiving any of the communally – purchased assets currently held by the EU: the thousands of bottles of vintage wine that are kept in EU cellars, the IT and telephonic equipment, stationery, vehicles, office furniture, expensive art work that adorns the walls of the many EU offices – both in Brussels and Strasbourg – to name but a few. The government has yet to provide a detailed list of what we are receiving as our share of this EU infrastructure. I await a response, but am not holding my breath!
  • 3)Legal Affairs
  • We would take control of our legal system, and not be subject to interference from Brussels.
  • 4) Fishing and Farming
  • Similarly, we would regain control of our fishing grounds, and could prevent non-UK vessels fishing within our territorial waters. Also, we would be free from EU agricultural quotas, and be free to source necessary food supplies from less expensive markets, such as New Zealand.
  • 5) Ireland and Gibraltar
  • We would be able to deal with two other issues that the EU has used to successfully make so-called 'negotiations' more difficult than they need be: the question of a 'hard' border between the UK (Northern Ireland) the Republic of Eire, and a similar border between the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar and Spain.
  • 6) International Trade
  • We would be allowed to trade with whichever country wished to trade with us on bi-lateral mutually-beneficial terms. Although trading on WTO terms is portrayed by many (usually 'remainers') as being an impossible nightmare, they choose to ignore the fact that most of the world's trade is conducted under such agreements: a customs union is very much the exception rather than the rule.
Leaving without a deal on 29th Marc 2019 would ensure that we actually do carry out the wishes of the majority who voted to leave the EU, in the national Referendum in June 2016. Notes 1) Original French: "L'etablissment de la Communauté européene du charbon et de l'acier jettera les bases d'une communauté de structure fédérale, gouvernée par des institutions communes, appliquant des règles communes, Assurant à tous les mêmes droits et imposant à tous les memes obligations." References AEI (1952) "Speech by Jean Monnet to National Press Club, Washington DC." ("Allocution de Monsieur Jean Monnet au National Press Club, Washington DC") Archive of European Integration, University of Pittsburg, USA (30th April); http://aei.pitt.edu/14364/1/S4.pdf

Carrell, Severin (2018) "Brexit: May rules out revoking article 50 after ECJ ruling." The Guardian (10th December); https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/10/uk-can-unilaterally-stop-brexit-process-eu-court-rules

Crerar, Pippa and Weaver, Matthew (2018) "McVey and Raab quit as May addresses MPs over Brexit deal." The Guardian (15th November);https://www.theguardian.com /politics/2018/nov/15/dominic-raab-quits-as-brexit-secretary-over-eu-withdrawal-deal Horobin, William (2018) "France's Le Maire Slams Idea of a Positive Brexit Deal for U.K." Bloomberg Economics (26th September); https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-26/france-s-le-maire-slams-idea-of-a-positive-brexit-deal-for-u-k

Maidment, Jack (2018) "Theresa May tells Cabinet she will not postpone vote on Brexit deal as MPs say they would block any delay." The Telegraph (6th December); https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/06/theresa-may-tells-cabinet-will-not-postpone-vote-brexit-deal/

Nair, Ajay (2017) "EU negotiator Guy Verhofstadt mocks Brexiteers with offer of blue passports." Sky News (24th December); https://news.sky.com/story/eu-negotiator-guy-verhofstadt-mocks-brexiteers-with-offer-of-blue-passports-11184118

Pop, Valentina (2014) "Who is Jean-Claude Juncker?" EUObserver (27th June);

https//euobserver.com/eu-elections/124789

Rayner, Gordon (2018) "Barnier: WE don't want to negotiate with the UK." The Daily Telegraph (2nd June), p. 4

Swift, J.S. (2018a) "We Won't Get Fooled Again." The Bruges Group (Blog: 19th November); https://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/ we-won-t-get-fooled-again

Swift, J.S. (2018b) "Mrs May's 'Scrap of Paper': Will it be 'Peace for Our Time'?" The Bruges Group (Blog: 17th July); https://brugesgroup.com/blog/mrs-may-s-scrap-of-paper-will-it-be-peace-for-our-time

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Friday, 24 May 2019
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