Guest Notes

Brexit notes

19 October 2019

9:00 AM

19 October 2019

9:00 AM

Sent naked to the negotiating table

The British public are absolutely fed up with Brexit. But not for the reasons hoped for by the European Union and their ‘useful idiot’ supporters in the UK parliament, judiciary, media and the bought-and-paid-for claques in business and universities. Opinion polls suggest that, having been offered for the first time in 40 years a referendum on whether to leave or remain and having been promised by all major parties that the result would be honoured, voters are quietly fuming with rage that their June 2016 decision has been so deliberately sabotaged by the political classes of their own country.

The EU and their collaborators clearly think they can intimidate the British into abandoning all thoughts of leaving the EU, in much the same way as they successfully intimidated other countries, such as Denmark, Holland and Ireland into holding second referendums that reversed the decisions of the first that they didn’t like and refused to accept.  But this time it’s different. Any student of English history will tell you that many have tried to intimidate the Brits but that none since 1066 have ever succeeded.

To ordinary people in towns and villages throughout England the clear message to the EU that ‘We want our country back’ is gaining traction and the signs are that an immense tide of anger is building against all those they see as obstructing Brexit, both home-grown and foreign.  Whilst No Overall Control (NOC) in parliament suits the Remainer majority, allowing them to bind Boris Johnson hand and foot and send him naked to the negotiating table, they must be aware of the damage it is doing to their reputation outside the House and that they cannot keep denying a deadlock-breaking general election for much longer. If by that time the UK has still not left, I predict that the tide of pent-up anger will quickly become a tsunami that sweeps away nearly all Remainer MPs whether they be Labour, Lib-Dem or Tory rebels.

As this article coincides with the special sitting of Parliament on 19 October, I would like to raise a few issues seldom discussed. Having been a close student of the relationship between Britain and the EU for over 40 years, I am still puzzled by the servile attitude adopted by UK negotiators towards the EU and by the equally obsequious manner in which the EU is treated by the UK media.

Let’s remind ourselves of a few facts.  Britain has been an independent nation-state for over 900 years. On the other hand, the EU was founded only in 1957 and did not become a state until 1992.

British governments have since 1973 been handing over so many powers to the EU that currently 80 per cent of all legislation passing through the Commons originates from Brussels and cannot be altered in any meaningful way.  On the other hand, the English constitutional principle that no parliament can bind its successor means that sovereignty flows from the British people and that parliament is merely the trustee or custodian of their powers, which they may be able to loan temporarily to an external power such as the EU but which they can certainly never give away permanently.

So when the sovereign state of the UK decides to leave the club of what was originally sold as a loose trading arrangement called ‘the common market’ but which under the doctrine of ‘ever closer union’ has become a black hole for member states, why hasn’t the EU’s concerted campaign to prevent Britain escaping its clutches been slammed by the UK government, its media and its institutions?

I would define the EU as a power-grabbing parasite that white-ants the independence of all its member states, extracting from each enormous annual sums much of which it re-directs into self-serving projects of its own choosing while ensuring that plenty is left over for recruiting the best politicians money can buy. Maybe the answer to my question is that in Britain the white-anting may have spread more than we thought. Why else would there be little or no criticism of the condescending and supercilious manner in which Britain allows itself to be treated by Juncker, Tusk and Barnier? Why too no criticism of the EU for the fact that after more than three years of negotiation there is still no deal? And why does a ‘deal’ have to be concluded before Britain leaves? Britain was a global trading nation long before Johnny-come-lately EU was even a gleam in the eye of Jean Monnet.

Meanwhile back in the House, Hilary Benn’s ‘Surrender Bill’ was tabled on 4 September, a Wednesday, completed all its stages in both the Commons and the Lords by Friday and received Royal Assent on the following Monday, thus making a mockery of the Supreme Court’s decision to declare Boris Johnson’s prorogation to be unlawful on the grounds that parliament would have insufficient time to consider and pass legislation. This is what is likely to happen when courts allow themselves to be drawn into taking sides in what are purely political arguments. The Benn Act imposes an obligation on the prime minister in his personal capacity (do I detect a possible ground for appeal perhaps on Human Rights issues?) that in the event that no agreement has been approved by 19 October he must send a letter to the EU in precisely-dictated terms requesting an Article 50 extension to 31 January 2020. To ram the point home the Act also provides that it ‘overrides any statutory or other provision which would otherwise require the UK to leave the EU on any specified date’. So bravo Hilary Benn, you’ve just destroyed any remaining bargaining position your country may have had with the EU. Your father, Tony Benn who was a true patriot, must be turning in his grave.

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