This week we celebrated Parliament not being blown up in 1605. Though perhaps with a little more sympathy for Guy Fawkes than usual, given the parade of gaffes and distortions from politicians of all parties that we have been subjected to since the election campaign began.
The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru have agreed a ‘Remain Alliance’ in 60 seats, as the Lib Dems started talking about the rather dubious concept of a ‘Remain bonus’. Nigel Farage continues to harbour hopes of a similar deal with the Tories, in which the Brexit party would be given a free run at Labour heartlands in exchange for standing down candidates due to run against hardline Tory Brexiteers.
However, this still seems more likely to damage than enhance the chances of a Brexit majority. Former Labour MPs Ian Austin and John Woodcock, who came out in favour of voting Tory, arguing that any other vote will increase the chances of a Corbyn majority. They are right: the choice here is Corbyn majority, hung Paliament or a Johnson majority. And as we argued last week, the latter is the most likely path to Brexit and economic freedom for the UK.
In other news, the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, has been much criticised in the media recently for failing to allow the Treasury to produce an economic impact assessment for Boris Johnson’s new Withdrawal Agreement. Remainers of course hope that such an assessment would be negative, as all previous Treasury assessments have been. Our understanding is that the Chancellor correctly views all previous Treasury assessments of Brexit as deeply flawed and because of this he is unwilling to allow the Treasury to produce any further assessments. We at BfB are planning to publish our own assessment in due course.
On the website this week
“Remaining” isn’t the answer: Clement Attlee is, by Sir Peter Marshall
Sir Peter Marshall urges his friends and fellow citizens to support the government and explains why. He argues that Boris Johnson is the best – and, indeed, only – option on the table which allows Britain to retain its historic ‘semi-detached’ role in Europe. Sir Peter is a distinguished former diplomat who worked with Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of European integration.
“We simply have no idea what might await us by way of conditions and complexities at the hands of the Commission and the 27 if we opted to “remain”. We can be sure, from previous harsh experience, that there would be no Prodigal Son treatment.”
Don’t Cry For Me Europa, by Adrian Hill
Former diplomat and British Army officer Adrian Hill, who is based in Switzerland, argues that NATO in its present form is breaking up, and that in any future conflict the UK must remain close to the USA and keep its distance from those in the EU who wish to sever ties with the Americans. Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum (“therefore he who desires peace, let him prepare war”), as Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus puts it.
“NATO instead could spread its wings and become a global alliance of sea powers who believe in free trade. All the building blocks are to hand.”
Lib Dems remain bonus is economically illiterate, by Dr Ruth Lea
Economist Dr Ruth Lea argues that official forecasts for the economic impact of Brexit cannot be relied upon. She views the attempt of the Liberal Democrats to do so as ‘not just economically illiterate, but meretricious too.
“Alas, humility and honesty have been casualties over the last three to four years, as the leading voices of the overwhelmingly Remainer establishment have forecast that Brexit, and in particular a no-deal Brexit, would damage the economy, if not drive it into recession.”
What Philip Hammond has been telling the Swiss, by Adrian Hill
Swiss-based former diplomat Adrian Hill has translated an interview with Philip Hammond given to the Zurich newspaper, Die Zurcher Zeitung, on 7 November 2019. This provides a good insight into what might be called the Hammond worldview on Brexit. Adrian has added some comments of his own in brackets.
“Hammond: My rebellion has a very narrow focus: I want to prevent an unregulated withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.”
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. Nick Wray jokes in response to our story about the Lib Dem ‘Remain Bonus’ that Jo Swinson ‘makes as much sense as all liberal democrats, who are neither liberal or democratic.’
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