As we grind inexorably to the Brexit finishing line, we should remember what happened just under three years ago, since it is becoming increasingly obvious that many - in particular our MPs - have either very short or very selective memories.
In June 2016, there was a nation-wide referendum when the then government asked the people whether they wanted to Leave or Remain in the EU.The majority voted to Leave. The decision was very clear. Furthermore, there was nothing on the ballot paper about MPs being able – at some later date – to somehow pervert or frustrate the outcome, that is, the act of actually leaving the EU.
Thankfully, not all MPs suffer from amnesia. Members of the European Research Group have consistently shown their acceptance of and support for the straightforward outcome of that straightforward referendum question when people were asked if they wanted to leave the EU and they were not asked whether they wanted to leave with a 'deal.'
This article should be read by those who have a vested interest in the EU. I refer to them as the 'Brussels Fifth Column' (Blair, Mandelson, Hesseltine, Major etc.) who, playing heavily on their past positions of influence, now seek to threaten the public into cancelling Brexit and holding a second referendum - all based on their arrogant assertion that they know what is best for the country and that people who voted 'leave' did so only because they were lied to, and/or are stupid and consequently incapable of making an informed decision by themselves. The very fact that this Fifth Column assumes that the public hangs on their every word is indicative of their level of self-deluded smugness. In reality, Blair is remembered as the man who lied to Parliament, produced the 'dodgy dossier' and took us into war in Iraq. 'Maastricht' Major is remembered not for his outstanding Premiership, but for surrendering the UK's independence when he signed the Maastricht treaty on our behalf.
Unfortunately, this motley crew of remainers appears to be coming ever closer to wrecking the Brexit ship. They never wanted to leave and have spent the last three years using their influence with the media and MPs to sabotage the most important vote since 1975. The arrogance of this London-centric elite is sickening but in line with previous examples of such people making the electorate vote again, when they gave the 'wrong' answer the first time:
- In 1992, Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty, yet after much government-inspired propaganda, voted to accept it a year later.
- In 1999, the Irish put the Treaty of Nice to public vote, but it was considered invalid, as only some 30% of the electorate turned out. A year later in another referendum, the Irish agreed.
- In 2008, the Irish electorate were asked to vote on their country's acceptance of the Lisbon treaty: 53.6% voted against, and 46.6% voted in support. Despite this clear result, the Irish were asked to vote again some six months later. O'Neill (2008), commented in The Guardian, that if the population were forced to vote again, this would show the EU's contempt for democracy: "The notion that the Irish 'got it wrong' exposes gobsmacking ignorance about democracy in the upper echelons of the EU. The very fact that a majority of Irish people said no to Lisbon made it the 'right answer', true and sovereign and final. 'No' really does mean no."
- Sound familiar?
In their attempts to circumvent democracy, the Brussels Fifth Column find themselves allied to those people whom I refer to as the 'returners.' They have always wanted us to stay, and as they could not achieve this in the referendum, they now wish to complicate the process to such an extent that we will throw in the towel, and meekly return to the EU's embraces. To achieve this, they will seek to force such a terrible deal upon the country that if it were ever signed, it would leave us in such a bad position that they would be able to point out that we 'might as well have never left in the first place and should now seek to be re-admitted as soon as possible.' Can one imagine the expressions of self-satisfied smugness that would cross the faces of Juncker et.al should this happen? They would have achieved their long-term objective and humiliated us to boot. All subsequent EU-related woes would be forever attributed to the 'insane' desire to leave the EU and the 'returners' would present themselves as the group who selflessly put Party politics and personal feelings aside in their desire to save the UK from itself.
The problem with EU leaders and their acolytes is that they suffer from tunnel vision. Their ideology to have a powerful European State (whether of Soviet or Nazi ilk) ruled from Brussels, brooks no halting. For these EU fanatics, this ideology represents the only possible destiny for Europe's nation states – to be absorbed into their State. It is an obsession which is both undemocratic and very dangerous.
It is undemocratic as it does not respect the right of people to decide on who governs them and thus influence the direction of travel that government takes. It is dangerous as, if not elected, governments are unaccountable, start to believe they are infallible and then they make mistakes. This is why in the UK, we pay for an official Opposition – whose job it is to oppose the Government of the day, especially if they feel the government has strayed from its mandate. The opposition is there to keep the government in check, a concept that I sometimes have difficulty explaining to my Chinese students, who can just about get to grips with the idea that all citizens over the age of eighteen have the right to be involved in the choice of government.Yet they find the idea that we pay another party to oppose our chosen government bizarre in the extreme!
I am beginning to feel a little like this myself, as the Brexit saga is rapidly assuming an 'Alice in Wonderland' aura, with Mad Hatters and March Hares, whilst all the time, the farce is being observed by a rapidly-diminishing Cheshire Cat. To date we appear to have an Official Opposition that sometimes does oppose the government over Brexit but not always: sometimes it appears to oppose itself; some opposition MPs have defied their party line and voted with the government, some have not; some MPs (Government and Opposition) have opposed the government as it does not suit their long-term aim of remaining in the EU – despite the referendum result. Some have opposed the government as it appears not to be delivering on Brexit: some have opposed it because it does appear to be delivering on Brexit. Some have supported the government in the hope that it will eventually be defeated, and Mrs May will seek an extension of Article 50, and/or resign. If such an extension were granted, then it is likely that we would never leave. Others have openly defied the government for the same reason; others, using similar logic, feel that the government must not be allowed to succeed, others see the successful outcome of the Government's strategy as the only way forward. Others suggest that a General Election is required.
I concede that our inability to arrive at a deal with Brussels is predominately the fault of the EU, which does not want us to go, and has done everything in its power to frustrate developments over the last two years. However, it is equally true that the government has done itself no favours, beginning with the choice of a 'remainer' PM to deliver Brexit. Ironically, the one thing that a majority of MPs appear to agree on is that which is most dangerous for the UK's negotiating position: that the 'no deal' option should be taken off the negotiating table. This must not be allowed to happen, as in effect, MPs would be committing national suicide, as the 'no deal' option is our one remaining weapon. We should guard it well.
Unless we leave, with our dignity intact, our £39 billion in the Bank of England, and our right to control our borders, make our own laws, and trade with whomever we choose on mutually-agreed terms, Brexit will be dead, and the treacherous anti-democratic establishment will have won. If this betrayal happens under a Conservative administration, the party will be out of government for a decade at least. Labour is likely to fare just as badly, as the recent announcement of Jeremy Corbyn in support of a second referendum, will be seen as a betrayal by thousands of Labour voters – especially in the Northeast and Midlands.
The point of this piece is to remind MPs why they are in Parliament, who supported them on their journey and what is likely to happen to them if they betray their electors. The political backlash - should Brexit fail - will provide the biggest shakeup of UK politics since the demise of the Liberal party in the early 1900s, and the main parties will feel the wrath of voters for the foreseeable future. The consequences for UK democracy will be cataclysmic with no one (including many 'remain' voting friends of mine) ever trusting either of the major political parties again.
So, to those MPs who feel that they know better than the people they are supposed to represent, my message is: "Be careful what you wish for."
O'Neill, Brendan (2008) "What part of Ireland's 'no' does the EU not understand?" The Guardian (13th December); https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/dec/13/eu-ireland-lisbon-treaty