[as published on www.brexit-watch.org on 30 June 2022]
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove stole our horse. They forced themselves into the leadership positions in the Leave campaign as a means to power for themselves. They decided the issues that the Leave campaign would fight on. In doing that – and mainly by conflating Brexit with the NHS – they won a hollow victory, because Brexit is now blamed for their failure to deliver what they wrongly associated with Brexit, once they had finally got their hands on the controls. The leaders of the Leave campaign have, ironically, laid Brexit open to reversal.
They did not ‘get Brexit done’. That boast is as hollow as all their others. What we have is a half-Brexit at best, and as Brexiteers we should not be caught trying to justify it, trying to defend politicians who have sold us out, or trying to make out that the final Withdrawal Agreement was materially better than Theresa May’s deal. I cannot personally think of any material improvements that were negotiated by Boris Johnson and his team. In fact in my particular area of expertise – the UK’s financial liabilities through various EU mechanisms – the final deal was exactly what was in the original. This occurred despite enormous work on the issue and the making of time-consuming submissions.
The Remainers appear fixated with deposing Johnson as the key to reversing Brexit. We should not be accepting battle on those terms, thereby causing us to compromise ourselves by defending the indefensible.
Instead we should be saying much louder that what we have now is not what Brexit was always destined to be. The current Brexit is the bastard child of two factions of unbelievers: Boris and Gove and their coterie on one side, and the Remainers on the other. It is the upshot of Remainers having had their hands directly on the controls from 2016 to 2019, of Johnson and Gove having their hands on the controls since then, botching it and bottling out of every hard decision, and finally of Remainers at many levels in society seeking to slow, sabotage and reverse the Referendum vote.
Three huge reasons for leaving the EU never got a look-in during the Leave campaign, and have been submerged since. These are:
1. the euro
2. making our decisions here and not having them made for us by international organizations whose accountability to us is tenuous, diluted or non-existent
3. ensuring decisions, once made, are respected and do not get overturned when they are not to the taste of the EU
The euro is fundamental to the EU, far more so than Johnson and Gove appreciate. The Single Market and the Customs Union are facilitators of the euro and vice versa. The direction of the EU is to compel all member states into the Eurozone: Croatia has been declared compliant after its period in the Exchange Rate Mechanism, and Bulgaria is next in line. Only Sweden has no obligation under treaty to join the Eurozone. And what is happening in the Eurozone? The Eurosystem’s balance sheet is bigger than the entire economy, inflation is 8-9% while official interest rates are zero, destroying savings. Now Italy’s bonds have dropped 20% in value and the country cannot raise new money on acceptable terms. A bailout of Italy will shortly be arranged through so-called Outright Monetary Transactions. The Eurosystem will buy up unlimited amounts of new Italian bonds, in contravention of the supposed control on its powers not to indulge in the direct monetary financing of member states. Controls and safeguards? Made of ice cream.
As regards making our decisions here, Johnson and Gove have gone back on that completely. The Great Re-set – known here as Levelling-Up – is the brainchild of the World Economic Forum. The Bank of England’s project, commissioned by Rishi Sunak, to introduce a Central Bank Digital Currency known as ‘Britcoin’ is owed in equal measure to the Great Re-set and, God help us, the central bankers’ own bank called the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, in whose corridors Mark Carney is a major mover and (cocktail) shaker, as he is on climate change at the global Financial (In)Stability Board. We still sit under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, and, of course, thanks to the fantastic Withdrawal Agreement, of the European Court of Justice.
Nor do we have to look far for reiterations of the EU’s approach of forcing member states to have repeated referenda, in cases where it has proven impossible via the many weapons in the hands of the EU Commission to bypass the need for endorsement of its proposals. The population eventually gets badgered into giving the answer the EU wants, however many times it voted against before. One positive vote, though, and the debate is closed with no further referenda permitted. Andy Burnham, the Liberal Democrats and others are disinterring the issue of Proportional Representation, despite its having been decisively rejected in a referendum in 2011. The Scottish National Party lost their IndyRef1 in 2014 but now they want an IndyRef2 in 2023. The Remainers lost in 2016 and they want another one, although both in their case and in the case of Proportional Representation they will be looking to reverse a referendum result without holding another referendum. The pattern is constant: no number of rejections is ever enough to obtain loser’s consent, but one vote in their favour is the end of it.
The likely proposition from Remainers is that we re-join the Single Market and Customs Union, with emphatic and empty denials that these are stepping stones to re-joining the EU and adopting the euro. We have now rejected parties in favour of closer European integration at four General Elections in the last 12 years, and we explicitly voted to leave the EU in 2016, but we face an unprincipled enemy with no respect for voting.
We voted to make our decisions here, not have them made for us by international organizations, and not have the results of our voting reversed, once made. Those are core principles of Brexit, submerged under the sloganizing and empty promises of Johnson and Gove.
And we must distance ourselves to the maximum possible degree from the euro, and stay there. The Withdrawal Agreement has failed to achieve this; we can look forward to confirmation of the avenues through which the UK can be made to share the pain of Italy’s bailout, as well as emphatic and empty denials that the current government was apprised of these avenues before it decided to sign the Withdrawal Agreement on Theresa May’s terms in this area.