The reign of Theresa is over, and we may be shouting ‘Long Live Boris!’ very soon. Or Michael, Dominic, Jeremy, Penny etc. Whoever succeeds her, May’s resignation presents Brexiteers with an immense opportunity. After months of parliamentary deadlock that seemed sure to scupper any hope of a serious renegotiation, the fact that no deal is the default scenario on 31 October has suddenly regained monumental significance.
As a crucial report by the Maddy Thimont Jack at the Institute for Government has argued this week, the next Prime Minister will have the power to achieve no deal despite the current Remainer majority in Parliament. With no more ‘meaningful votes’ on the Withdrawal Agreement, anti-Brexit MPs will no longer have the means to effect a Cooper-style coup. We still have to get a real pro-Brexit PM and there will be much manoeuvring by Tory MPs in the leadership contest which is quite capable of excluding BJ from the final two.
Nor is any new Prime Minister is likely to have an easy life. The government would still have to avoid further Tory defections to protect themselves against a vote of no confidence. This will require efficient party management and a compelling pitch to a divided public. But the task is now clear, and the political prize of a generation there for the taking.
With May’s strange halfway-house Withdrawal Agreement gone, the battle is once again between leave and remain. We Brexiteers must fight harder than ever to dispel the unfounded fears which dominate public discussion of no deal. The politics of Brexit under May have been sectarian and drab. Now is the time for charisma, imagination and a positive vision for post-Brexit Britain, around which all sides can unite.
Meanwhile the Irish continue to talk tough “This idea that a new prime minister will be a tougher negotiator and will put it up to the EU and get a much better deal for Britain? That’s not how the EU works,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the Irish Newstalk radio station. Ireland stands to lose more from no deal than any other country. Let’s see if an imminent ‘no deal’ concentrates their minds.
Nicky Morgan-Greg Hands parliamentary Commission on Alternative Arrangements for the Irish border is hard at work on examining how technical and technological processes can achieve these aims in Ireland without the sledgehammer of remaining in a Customs Union and Single Market. This is a task that the British government and civil service should have undertaken years ago but for whatever reasons did not do so. BfB co-editor Graham Gudgin is contributing as a member of the Commission’s technical panel.
Graham argued the Brexit case in a hour long debate on the France24 TV channel on Wednesday. His comments were reported in the Express this week focussing on mistakes made by the EU, and the benefits that could be reaped by the bloc moving towards a looser structure:
“Formation of the euro I think was a mistake, it was a step too far, too early and it has caused a great deal of harm, patricianly in southern Europe… I think there is a lot of support now for a looser Europe, just the opposite of what President Macron seems to want. If we could have a looser arrangement, the collaboration between sovereign states, I think the UK would be happy to sign up to that and keep with it.”
Our other co-editor Robert Tombs has written an incisive piece for the Telegraph about the lack of nuance in the hardline Remainer mindset. With so much about the success or failure of Brexit dependent on the choices future governments, their blanket hostility cannot be justified:
“The Remainer mindset is an irrational one based on cultural pessimism. The Leaver mindset is optimistic about our future as a successful, self-governing, and not least a happy country.”
On the website this week
An Appeal from Old Labour to Corbyn’s Labour by Prof Robert Colls
Professor Colls argues that Labour is split from top to toe. Party MPs don’t say much because the split stretches far beyond Brexit into their own hard-won seats. Many Labour MPs can’t get along with their constituency parties or their voters. Many in the leadership can’t get along with their voters or their MPs. Caught either way but at the same time desperate to put clear blue water between themselves and the Tories, Corbyn’s Labour is in a dilemma.
Labour need to “Get real. Labour must move closer to the British people as they are and not as they would like them to be. For the first time in a hundred years Labour faces a working-class electoral base which it doesn’t understand and doesn’t even know”.
No Deal is in Sight, by Graham Gudgin
Alongside the resignation of Theresa May and the Euro-election results Graham Gudgin argues that another important event this week has been the publication of an article from the Institute of Government showing that a new Prime Minster will be in a position to achieve a no deal outcome for Brexit despite parliamentary opposition.
“The task now for leavers is to underpin this fortuitous turn of events with high-quality evidence showing that no deal will not impose serious damage on the UK economy.”
Writer, broadcaster and entrepreneur Clive Pinder points out the biggest flaw in establishment efforts to discredit Nigel Farage: the arguments made against him could be applied to almost all the politicians campaigning for our vote. The hypocrisy will only make him even more popular.
“Yes, Farage may not be an angel. He is however in good company… For alas hypocrisy, dishonesty, fear mongering, bigotry and self-serving machinations are the baggage that most politicians have carried around for time immemorial.”
A Voter’s Grand Remonstrance, by Sir Peter Marshall
Sir Peter Marshall, former diplomat and Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, asks how on earth the Government and Parliament managed to make such a mess of implementing the verdict of the Referendum of 23 June 2016, and why the Commentariat have so signally failed to provide a proper analysis of what went wrong.
“The fruit of the UK/EU labours was insistence by our partners that we accept an arrangement that is not only grossly inequitable, such that no democratic government or legislature should stomach, but also constitutes a glaring contravention of the provisions of Article 50.”
A Second Referendum: Unfair, Dishonest and Undemocratic, by David Blake
David Blake discusses the Plan for a European Economic Community that was developed at the University of Berlin in 1942. There are striking similarities with the European Economic Community that was introduced in 1957 – and which became the foundation stone of the European Union.
“The language used by people like Juncker – when he said that the British were ‘deserters’ who needed to be punished – could have been lifted directly from the Plan.”
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. 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.
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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