Both the Conservative and Labour manifestos at the last election declared that we would leave the EU, explicitly that we would leave the single market. The Conservative manifesto went further declaring that we would also leave the Customs Union. Naturally, since only by doing this will we have left the EU, the very thing that the largest plebiscite in the history of the UK voted for in 2016, by a thumping majority of 1.4 million.
Had the referendum been an election it would have seen elected leave candidates in two thirds of UK Parliamentary constituencies and in three quarters of those in England and Wales, a landslide victory.
Eighty five percent of voters, voted for the two parties committed to leaving the EU at the actual general election. Since the referendum MPs and Peers of all hues have been rightly proclaiming the sovereignty of Parliament, albeit that they rarely bothered to protect it from the pernicious erosion of our freedoms perpetrated by the Brussels machine during our forty year membership of the EU.
As part of the exercise of sovereignty Parliament voted to implement Article 50, the process of leaving. They also enacted the withdrawal legislation. Most of the “mouthy” protagonists of other options than simply leaving, declared during the referendum campaign that the decision would be final and stated after the result that the will of the people must be respected. They campaigned on election manifestos to that effect. At Leave means Leave ,we have a catalogue of quotes and footage as witness to this, whether it is Dominic Grieve, Hilary Benn, Amber Rudd, and so many others. They have unfortunately turned out to be lying hypocrites.
So be it, but what about those in whose hands our fate now lies, in particular those on the Labour benches, after all in a hung Parliament, a Parliament of Remainers, it is only with the consent of Labour that any outcome can prevail, especially while there are quislings within the Conservative Party only too willing to set Parliament against the people.
Back in 2016, as head of the British Chambers of Commerce, I chose to make a significant intervention in the referendum debate via a speech at our national conference, an event at that time covered by all of the national and some international, news media. In the words of Mr Miliband, I decided to “speak truth to power” and set out the failings of the EU, speak of David Cameron’s pathetic negotiation and highlight the significant positive opportunities afforded to our country and our business community, by our leaving the EU. This was, in my view, legitimate.
It was clear to me that a significant proportion of business owners agreed, arguably a majority. The BCC had by then declared that Cameron’s deal fell far short of our expectations as set out in an open letter to the PM a year prior. I was also appalled by the hysteria of project fear, then becoming almost laughable. In a BBC radio interview on the morning of the speech, I coined the satirical observation that I expected the Government to suggest we would have a plague of locusts, a plague of boils and that it would rain for a hundred years if we voted to leave the EU, so ridiculous had project fear propaganda become. We are seeing it again in relation to a “no deal” exit.
The risks were apparent to me. No 10 became vicious and apoplectic and within days I had resigned in order to lead the Business Council of Vote Leave in the referendum campaign.
What is interesting was the reaction to my speech of the next speaker who was waiting his turn to speak in the “green room. That speaker immediately shook my hand and congratulated me on my speech saying how much he agreed with me. That person was Jeremy Corbyn.
If I had any doubt that Mr Corbyn’s evident euroscepticism was genuine, it was allayed at that moment and as an observer it is arguable that Mr Corbyn has played a blinder in maintaining his party’s alignment with that scepticism since the referendum, despite the euro-enthusiasm of the neo-Blairites and the academic“champagne socialists” of the Momentum membership. The privileged, metropolitan, virtue-signallers that now constitute the beating heart of Labour.
Corbyn and the equally sceptic McDonnell, have constructed an internally inconsistent and impossible to achieve, set of Labour policy objectives for Brexit, that have held the party in a holding pattern with a glide path towards the exit, all in the name of triggering an election and getting Labour into power. This, fortunately, has been aided and abetted by the fact that the Labour Brexit spokesperson is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so the absurdity of his position does not seem to resonate, even with him.
After I resigned to fight the referendum in March 2016, the first piece I wrote for the press compared the “uprising” in favour of Brexit to the medieval Peasants Revolt, a truly anti establishment revolution, but I ended the piece by warning that history tells us that the establishment are ruthless in pursuit of their own narrow, self-interest. And so they have proved to be.
In this tragic Brexit opera, brimming with a cacophony of: double speak, hypocrisy and downright lies, in turn perpetrated by: our political class, the media establishment and corporate Britain, it is ironic in the extreme that the “revolutionary” Labour momentum are the greatest protectors of privilege and the status quo, the greatest proponents of the protectionist and rent seeking EU, whose entire “raison” is “for the few and not the many”.
The EU is a regime designed to impose protectionist taxes, i.e. the external tariffs which make ordinary, everyday staples- food and consumer goods – more expensive, in order to protect land owners and big capital, at the expense of citizens and particularly of the poorest. A regime that quashes innovation and entrepreneurialism in favour of multi nationals. That punishes emerging markets, the poorest countries in the world, by preventing their economic development and restricting trade. That prevents state aid and liberal public procurement policies. That would prevent the very things that Messrs Corbyn and McDonnell would want to implement.
One can understand the EU cheerleaders opposing Brexit, the Blairites who benefit from this rigged regime, after all the greatest rent seeker of all, Blair himself, had ambitions (and in his fantasy world probably still does) to become President of the EU, but why should those who wish to change things have swallowed the mantra? Why momentum?
You have to have sympathy with the Labour leadership. Although they might not articulate it in quite the same way, I suspect they know all of this but dare not tell the membership that they have been nurtured on a lie, like mothers milk turned sour. The leadership know that only if we leave the EU can they fully implement their policies. Only if we leave can they effect the change they wish to make.
No doubt their primary objective is to trigger an election and win power, but the promise of this is also a convenient rod, with which to keep in line a membership who do not understand how the EU world really works and less still understand the dark forces of the establishment. Corbyn must know that his best chance of triggering an election and winning it, is if he facilitates a “no deal” exit under the supervision of an incompetent government and a Chancellor who will not make it a success. He must know, as do the membership, that to frustrate our leaving the EU will be unforgivable to those millions of Prosecco and Lager socialists in the regions who voted for Brexit.
As a consequence of such a betrayal, Labour would have no chance of power. In short, not properly leaving would mean Labour will be unelectable and even if they were, they would be unable to implement their policies because of the anti democratic strictures of the EU.
It is for these reasons that Brexit is in the gift of Corbyn and McDonnell. It is for these reasons that they may yet deliver the truly anti establishment revolution that is Brexit, which the metropolitan left- liberal elite haven’t even recognised as such.
Of course this revolution simply gives us back control of our own affairs and shakes up the status quo, a sort of creative disruption, how we organise those affairs is another story.
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