The election has been overshadowed this weekend by the tragic events at London Bridge. Two members of the University of Cambridge were killed – very close to home for the BfB editorial team. We greatly sympathise with the families of the victims at this horrendous time.
This latest terror attack has been a stark reminder of the importance of Britain’s national security arrangements. This week on the BfB website we feature two articles which discuss the risks posed by a federalised European defence policy. These are matters which need to be subject to clear, robust and well-informed discussion. The stakes, after all, could not be higher. But as our contributors – Emeritus Professor at the LSE, Gwythian Prins, former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Richard Dearlove, and author Will Podmore – explain, much of the media have still not realised how deadly serious European leaders like President Macron are in their enthusiasm for federal defence projects and a European Army.
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, Jeremy Corbyn had a bad week. After an interview with Andrew Neil that made Prince Andrew look straight-talking and empathetic, Corbyn went on the attack, revealing ‘secret’ documents which ‘proved’ that the Tory government plan for an American trade deal would involve selling off the NHS.
In fact, on closer inspection it transpired that the documents date from Theresa May’s premiership and made clear that the NHS was not on the table. The Americans negotiators acknowledged that this was an area where they would have to recognise particular British sensitivities. This great ‘revelation’ was not enough to save Corbyn from continued questions about anti-Semitism and the gaping hole where his stance on Brexit should be.
Not that any of this has prevented Labour rising in the polls now at 32% having started the campaign at 25%. This is likely to be due to tactical voting intentions from LibDem supporters. The danger is of a further collapse in LibDem voting intentions. We return to this issue in the update of our election predictions tomorrow.
On the website this week
News from the Front: The Big Push is On, by Professor Gwythian Prins and Sir Richard Dearlove
Two of the country’s most authoritative voices on National Security, Gywthian Prins (Emeritus Professor at the LSE) and Sir Richard Dearlove (former head of the Secret Intelligence Service) discuss the latest efforts of the hard-federalist proponents of the EU Defence Union. They are doubling down with one last big push to try to save their increasingly rickety EU Project of ‘ever closer union’. As important parts of the British government and media are still in denial or ignorance about this story, this article offers a factual narrative.
“It is also an essential signal to the EU that unlike under Mrs May, the EU can expect no concessions in these most fundamental of sovereign competences in exchange for something as incommensurate as a trade deal which the EU needs much more than we do.”
The EU says that only a ‘bare-bones’ is possible by the end of 2020. Economist Harry Western argues that this is fine. In fact, it should be the UK’s preferred option. The benefits of pursuing a ‘deep and comprehensive’ trade deal, as opposed to a very simply deal, are small.
“The UK needs to go further and make clear to the EU from the outset that attempts to link fisheries, security, freedom of movement, regulatory alignment or other elements to a basic trade deal won’t fly.”
Will the EU Form Its Own Army, by Will Podmore
Librarian and author Will Podmore argues that there is plenty of evidence that many EU politicians have ambitions to form an EU Defence Force and become ‘a hard power actor in the world’.
“The EU is taking more and more control over member states’ armed forces, defence spending and foreign and defence policy.”
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. Lynne Fincher was impressed by Harry Western’s thoughts on a ‘bare bones’ trade deal, commenting, “I hadn’t thought of it like that…. Well the sooner the better then!”
How you can help
We urge our supporters to ‘take back control’ in our present confusion. There are thousands of you. Our MPs listen to their constituents. Sign up to the Brexit Pledge here. Write to your MPs. Perhaps send them copies of some of our articles (or links to them), especially when they are relevant to your local conditions – for example, in rural areas, on the threat to British agriculture. Better still, make an appointment to see them at their next surgery: they will take notice when people are lining up at their doors. Make you views known where MPs might be wavering, or where they are working to sabotage Brexit, especially in Leave-voting and marginal constituencies, which Richard Johnson listed in his recent article.
Do also keep reading our posts, and to tell others about us. Share links to our quality content so that others can understand how leaving the EU can 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.
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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