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.

Magic and Tricks


Boris Johnson has really taken us on a ride here. The trick, ladies and gentlemen, was to make us believe that he intended to take us out of the European Union with or without a deal, even with the Benn Act and all will be revealed in time and it was. There was no way he could avoid the Benn Act so didn't just send one letter to the European Union but three, explaining that an extension wasn't in the interest of the British people, neither was it the will of the government.

Boris has tried to avoid scrutiny of his deal in parliament fearing that a few unpalatable points will come to resurface; these will include a possible delayed transition period as well as a cost to be higher than the presumed £39 billion and lastly the power of the European Court of Justice. This is not a deal, it is vassalage. Not sure who has concocted this strategy but 12th December promises to be full of surprises.

Political Magic

Boris Johnson was elected by Tory members in the hope that he could solve the Brexit conundrum. Brexit has morphed into a crisis because our political elite such as Dominic Grieve, Yvette Cooper and the Liberal Democrats do not want to leave and since the referendum results have used all sorts of stratagems including destroying their own system to ensure we remain tied to the European Union.

Since we are in election season, let's remember Theresa May's slogan that 'no deal is better than a bad deal'. She went and negotiated the country away to the European Union, it failed to pass the Commons test three times, with historic defeats. The European Elections came and went and the writing on the wall was clear: 9%. The leader must change to prevent the complete disintegration of the Tory Party.

Boris Johnson became the obvious choice. Johnson, one of the figures of the Vote Leave campaign, made sure that prominent Brexiteers and reformed Remainers made up his Cabinet. He restored collective responsibility. In light of his pseudo deal, it is clear that Boris Johnson only intention was to neutralise them and it worked. Steve Baker, who took over from Jacob Rees-Mogg as the Chairman of the European Research Group, claimed that the deal has its pitfalls but with best endeavours, hopes and wishes they can make something out of it; Brexit Party MEP Lance Foreman and founder Arron Banks also lent some support to the PM but not outright supporting it. This agreement will become an international treaty giving way too much power to the European Court of Justice. Please excuse us if we voters doubt the Tories as they have failed to follow our clear instructions of the electorate for three years. Instead, Boris Johnson has argued that Parliament would never leave without a deal, that may well be the case, Parliament seems committed to blocking no deal and as people like Banks have said there is little chance of a no deal majority.

There has been some sort of attempt to restructure the Tory party with the expulsion of 21 rebels but 10 have had the whip restored and out of them 3 will be standing for the Tory Party under the so-called 'One Nation' banner.Boris Johnson wants a parliamentary majority, and this would mean gaining seats including in Remain areas rather than losing any. He wants to fight an election on the centre taking on his major political opponent Jeremy Corbyn and avoiding making it a Brexit election (because remember their political fate is tied). Johnson announced that he will be investing in the NHS, education because he will get Brexit sorted within days of winning the election. Both Johnson and Corbyn will focus on larger issues and avoid as much as possible to mention the elephant in the room, Brexit, for fear that their incompetence may come to light. Corbyn is likely to play along to save his own skin since his party is presumably neither remain nor leave. He intends to decide once he reaches Number 10. Let's face it, this is a great opportunity for Corbyn to get rid of a few Blairites by letting their constituents carry out the political hit.

Pact with Farage

Is Nigel Farage out of his mind for wanting to team up with the Tory broad church? Nigel Farage is showing what a brilliant statesman he is by putting country above party. This is someone ladies and gentlemen who wanted to retire but came back to fight for his country when he saw people trying to overturn the referendum results. He is still being mocked by the Tory establishment as someone that cannot be left through the doors of Westminster. He still represents a great threat for both Tories and Labour. His programme is simple and tackles the vestige left by both Tony Blair and David Cameron to rebuild a functioning system, which honours and place citizens at the heart of it.

Farage has always represented a threat to the Tories and rumours that he has been offered a peerage to prevent him from standing would not surprise me. There is sense that the establishment does not want Farage or his party nowhere near Westminster. He has been accused by Brexiteers of splitting the vote whilst it is really Boris Johnson who is doing so by stubbornly refusing to work with him in a formal or informal way. Judging by the incessant polling on assessing the relevance of Nigel Farage, one must conclude that an information warfare is clearly underway.

How can we trust Boris Johnson? He said numerous times that if the deal is unpalatable to the Democratic Unionist Party, he will not vote for it. However, when Theresa May brought it a third time, he changed his mind and voted for it. He simply dismissed the DUP concerns that the United Kingdom will not leave the European Union together to save the Conservative party. Could he be planting the seeds that will disintegrate the United Kingdom? Only time will tell, especially with Nicola Sturgeon pushing for another Indyref in Scotland. Not sure if Sturgeon and her crew are taking notice of what is happening in Catalonia. There is a high unlikelihood that part of the UK will be allowed in as an independent country.

Last Trick

Finally, it is worth remembering who created this mess in the first place. The Tory broad church of centrism rather than conservatism has destroyed our parliamentary system. It was David Cameron who promised to honour the referendum but jumped ship soon after the results, it was Theresa May who led us to his monstrous parliament where MPs allegiance switch with total disregard to constituents.

Just like previous prime ministers, Boris Johnson is sleepwalking the United Kingdom into the European Union. It is worth remembering that historically we have been gradually led to further integration through both the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties. There was little scrutiny then and this superstructure has perniciously entered our parliamentary monarchy. It is still unclear why Boris Johnson pursued an election when parliament voted 329 to 299 for his supposedly renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement Bill. He pulled out further as soon as his speedy timetable was defeated. He has also indicated that as soon as he wins a majority, he will ensure that his Brexit deal is voted within days. Why such a rush? I simply believe it is because we are being sleep-walked into the union whilst being told we are leaving it. Boris Johnson is leading us into vassalage (to use his word) where we will be subject to laws made by a foreign entity whilst losing our veto.

This election is in a very strange way another re-run of the referendum.

  • Liberal Democrats/Greens/Plaid Cymru: Revoke Article 50 and Remain thus ignoring one of the largest democratic exercise in our history.
  • Labour: undecided but insidiously moving towards the Remain alliance.
  • Tories: 'leaving' but with a soft Brexit
  • Brexit Party: clean break Brexit

The Brexit Party may well win seats but how many of those seats will they deprive the Conservatives and Labour of? Will Nigel Farage's Party assist Boris Johnson in Parliament or will it hinder him? Could Mr Farage be the man who stops Brexit rather than save it? Whatever the outcome, we shall know on 13th December. 

There is only one way out of this mess is to leave without a deal. Call him a power breaker or a kingmaker but either way Nigel Farage holds the key to our future. It will all depend on how many seats his party wins in December. Already, Farage is being dismissed, ridiculed by the so-called members of the European Research Group, this is either a sign of a threat or sheer confidence that he will not be able to win as a large share of the vote as he did earlier this year during the European Elections.

Only the future will tell. One thing is for certain is that if Boris Johnson fails to win a majority, it will be the beginning of the end for the Tory Party. And if Boris wins a majority, it will also be the beginning of the end as he will attempt to bring a speedy vote on his deal, which will split support. This will further strengthen the Brexit Party, as it will leave Brexit unresolved, enabling Farage's party to become perhaps the new Conservative Party. You see ladies and gentlemen the real trick here is that there is no escaping the change of paradigm, it will happen and those who find themselves on the wrong side of history will bear the brunt of their arrogance.

What a game. 

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