Unsurprisingly, latest reports suggest that EU ‘concessions’ on the Irish border are completely meaningless. There is still time for them to try and pull the wool over British eyes with a second offer. But it looks – thankfully – like MPs will not be fooled.
And so we enter the next phase. Another attempt by Theresa May to pass the Withdrawal Agreement which is almost certain to fail. And then dangerous territory: Commons votes on No Deal and/or an extension of Article 50. The latter would be a disaster for democracy, delaying the problem with little cause, beyond the (disguised) hopes of extreme Remainer MPs that a delay can be used to cancel Brexit entirely.
There is little Parliamentary support for leaving without a deal. But no-one is proposing leaving without any deal at all. Everyone supports taking advantage of various side deals offered by the EU, turning these into a fuller free trade deal later on. This WTO+ Brexit is the model which Brexiteer MPs should be pushing for. We wait to see the wording of next week’s motion on no deal.
Helped along by mutually beneficial side deals, no deal will not be a big deal. Even the loudest voices of Project Fear are starting to admit their exaggerations. This week saw head of the Bank of England Mark Carney admit that a no deal Brexit would not be as damaging to the UK economy as previously claimed. Once the Bank of England’s models were adjusted for the fact that Britain has made some preparations for a no deal Brexit, they found that the effect of a no deal Brexit would now be a loss to GDP 2–3.5%, which is around half of what the Bank previously predicted. What a surprise! The only really shocking thing here is that the Bank ever thought it was sensible to base its estimates on Britain making no preparations for no deal. This makes the Bank of England a laughing stock.
Similarly, after months of echoing claims that a no deal Brexit would lead to economic catastrophe, the Financial Times (March 4th) has conducted a mini-inquiry and concludes ‘the analysis indicates that predictions of chaos are likely to prove an exaggeration’. Their analysis remains one-sided, but is at least the start of a move towards sanity.
On the website this week
This open letter underscores the importance of democracy to politics, specifically in relation to the elites who seek to overturn the result of 2016 because they think that they know better. Peter Semper bemoans the reliance of these tax-payer-funded elite ‘Overturners’ on Project Fear, rather than any positive cases for EU membership, as they try desperately to cling on to suffocating and venal EU patronage.
“The only time that those who are private individuals get to influence political power is at elections or referendums when the results of 50% +1 or more are deemed to be decisive and therefore enacted.”
Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie (former Chief of the Defence Staff), Sir Richard Dearlove (former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service) and Professor Gwythian Prins (Emeritus Research Professor, LSE) have proposed a defence treaty between the UK and EU. In the face of government attempts to subordinate the UK’s military power to a covetous EU, the trio implore Parliament to prioritise national security.
“We commend it to Government and Parliament and urge its immediate adoption as a safe re-statement of long-established tenets that are essential to maintaining the defence of this Realm.”
The Students fighting for Brexit by Robert Langley
The creator of Students For Brexit, Robert Langley, set up the organisation to improve discussions about Brexit on campuses. He highlights how it’s odd that so many students fail to see past EU-protectionism, the rejection of a democratic vote and the selfish regionalism of the EU, and instead cling to the Remain cause. He urges more debate amongst students.
“Students For Brexit will play a vital role in bringing an end to pro-EU dominance in our universities. We have a duty to lay down the positive, ambitious Brexit arguments that have been kept out of university campuses for too long.”
Four “pathetic fallacies” of the Remainers, by Sir Peter Marshall
In this punchy article, former diplomat Sir Peter Marshall outlines how Remainer claims are more emotional than substantial and fail to stand up to evidence or reason. He focusses on claims that no deal would be calamitous, that we can remain if we so choose, and that Remain should have won by virtue of its appeal to greed, rather than sovereignty.
“How would we emerge if the Remainers had their way?
(i) people who haven’t got the bottle to face the future
(ii) “Bourbons who had learned nothing and forgotten nothing”, and
(iii) the laughing stock of the world.”
Economics professor David Blake warns of an impending Eurozone financial crisis – which the EU would be helpless to prevent – and, more importantly, the risk that Theresa May will be encouraged to pour UK money into an EU black hole.
“It’s just another one of Theresa May’s little goodwill gestures in the Brexit negotiations – in the same way that Ted Heath gave away our fisheries to gain entry into the EU in the first place.”
What Should the UK Do Now?, by Briefings for Brexit
35 BfB contributors have put their names to a concise manifesto emphasising that the UK should reject the Withdrawal Agreement and be prepared to embrace the opportunities of no deal, and WTO terms.
“No deal is manageable and a better outcome for the UK. Even better would be a last-minute agreement to begin negotiations on a free-trade deal alongside the side deals already offered by the EU”
Why Brexit is a liberation from a failing EU economy, with Suella Braverman
Fareham MP Suella Braverman discusses with BfB her, and the ERG’s, key tests for reviewing the change to the backstop Geoffrey Cox secures on the backstop. In a far-reaching interview, Braverman remains bullish about the UK’s post-Brexit economic prospects, encouraged by the success of British start-ups, not to mention the continued mispredictions from Project Fear.
“Brexit [is] a liberation from a declining economic zone from a political stranglehold and from a closed market [and] a huge opportunity for us to pivot towards faster growing global economies to become truly global and rekindle links with other countries around the World”
We are also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/briefing4brexit, posting articles and retweeting the daily events that bring Brexit to the fore in the national news.
On Facebook this week Lorna Ainsworth urges our Podcast guest “Vote [the Withdrawal Agreement] down Suella! It is a poisoned chalice keeping us tied to the EU for years!”
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.
Do also keep reading our posts, and 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