This was a week we were treated to more mentions of the word bong than at any time in British political history. And that was before Rebecca Long-Bailey cracked out her cannabis anecdotes. How delightful to that our political debate now centres on the cheery and inconsequential question of how we should celebrate Brexit, rather than whether or not Brexit would happen at all.
The Brexit Bill continues its unstoppable progress through Parliament. Though we may see some quibbles from the Lords as they scrutinise it this week, they do not have the power to stop the Bill and its passage is now secure. Then it will be on to the serious business of celebrating (with bongs or otherwise) and planning our post-Brexit future.
For those not yet bored of General Elections, there’s another one coming up across the Irish Sea, as Leo Varadkar campaigns to stay in power in the Republic of Ireland. As we at BfB have long noted, the early stages of Brexit negotiations saw Varadkar shore up his political credentials with sabre-rattling rhetoric about the impossibility of Brexit without a hard border on the island of Ireland – despite the evidence to the contrary emanating from experts on both the UK and EU sides.
It will come as no surprise to BfB’s long term subscribers that, since Varadkar’s deal with Johnson and the fact of Brexit became inevitable, the Irish Taoiseach has softened his tone. Now, he is emphasising the fact that Brexit can be relatively painless, with a close connection to the UK maintained. Who’d have thought it? Of course, according to Varadkar, this is all dependent on his party, Fine Gael, staying in power.
In other news, investment in the high-tech sector in the UK soared in 2019 by a world-beating 44%. The UK secured a third of EU investment with more than France and Germany combined. This continues a trend of rapid growth since 2016 and suggests that in the tech sector the attractions of the UK hugely outweigh any uncertainty due to Brexit. What is it about the UK that tech investors know that so many of the British establishment cannot see?
On the website this week
Equivalence for Fish? Err, that’s not a deal. By Catherine McBride
Economist Catherine McBride warns against trading UK fishing rights for access to EU financial markets. In advocating this, she says EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan is talking Ireland’s book.
“‘I cannot think of an example when a country willingly gave away the rights to its natural resources to another country. Especially in exchange for something as ephemeral as EU market access for products that are mainly traded electronically.”
General Boris: time to look at the other side of the hill, by Gwythian Prins
Professor Gwythian Prins argues that security is at the very heart of our sovereignty and should have no part in any of the forthcoming trade discussions. This is a veiw with runs against the instincts of the EU and the British Civil Service. But the Government must not be put off.
“‘Getting Brexit done’ means a fundamental and comprehensive reorientation of our national strategy away from the continental commitment of the last half century, back to our natural anglosphere and global alliances, back to the open seas.”
Boris’s masterstroke? The demise of the Tory Ultra-Remainers, by Anna Bailey
Political Scientist Anna Bailey reminds us of the starling collapse of the Tory Remainers in Parliament. Not only has Boris Johnson got a large majority over all other parties in parliament but he has also excised all of his party’s internal opposition to Brexit.
“In less than a year the fault lines of the party’s divisions on Brexit have been completely transformed.”
We are also on Twitter, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
Discussion continues on Facebook too. Brenda Pritchard agrees with Anna Bailey that the Prime Minister was right to purge the Tory Ultra-Remainers. She comments, “And, they called him a “buffoon”! I think not.”
How you can help
There is much about Brexit still to be decided. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Do continue to send them links to our articles, especially on matters relevant to your constituency – for example, in rural areas, articles on the threat to British agriculture. Alternatively, make an appointment to see them at their next surgery. Let them know what you want post-Brexit Britain to look like.
As Boris Johnson said in in his post-election address, it is also time for unity and reconciliation. Keep reading our posts and share links to our quality content to help others understand how leaving the EU will be good for the UK economy and for our own democratic governance. We aim to educate our critics to think differently and more positively about the long-term impact of Brexit.
An Oxbridge PhD Student
Dr Graham Gudgin
Economist, Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School University of Cambridge
Professor Robert Tombs
Emeritus Professor of French History, University of Cambridge