Ridiculously, UK participation in the EU elections was confirmed this week. There can be no clearer announcement of the bankruptcy of Theresa May’s government. The UK electorate will not lightly forgive a government that insists on elections to a body we are supposed to have left in order to elect MEPs whom the PM does not intend to take their seats. All at a cost of £150 million. The danger is that many will ignore it as a charade. If we are to view the election as a massive opinion poll on Brexit, turnout will be important.
This week feels like a lull before the storm. Polls indicate that the EU election may be a tsunami especially for the Tories but also damaging for Labour. Will a humiliating defeat be the final straw for the Tory MPs, inducing them to finally depose their dysfunctional leader? The Sunday papers suggest that even remainer Tory MPs have given up on Theresa, but they need to get on and do the deed. A parliamentary recess has been planned to follow the election but in the world of social media and whatsapp groups the ruse of keeping MPs away from Westminster is unlikely to work.
Polling results suggest a dramatic victory for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party with many Tory activists, councillors, some Tory MP’s and Peers and even the odd Labour MP intending to vote for them on May 23rd. The lack of cohesion among the remainer parties is helping the pro-Brexit cause but summing support for the various parties suggests a split on Brexit close to 50/50. In one sense this indicates that little has changed, but in another sense, it shows how resolute the leave voters have been in face of the project fear onslaught. Since, as remainers love to point out, millions of leave supporters have died since the referendum, this seems to suggest that many former remainers intend to vote for pro-leave parties.
Meanwhile, the UK economy is continuing to defy the pessimistic predictions of the remain camp. The Office of National Statistics first estimate for growth in GDP in the first quarter of 2019 is 0.5% which is above the pre-referendum trend and once again faster than the Eurozone average. It seems likely that Brexit is delaying some investment decisions and causing some firms to build their inventories but global confidence in the underlying strengths of the UK is undeniable.
The BBC report on the formation of a new ‘Commission on Alternative Arrangements’ headed by Nicky Morgan and Greg hands, to advise on solutions to the Irish border. They note that ‘The only member with a significant Irish connection is Graham Gudgin, a former adviser to Brexit supporter Lord Trimble.’ Who better than Briefings for Brexit co-editor, and long-term analyst of the Irish border, Graham Gudgin, to solve the border conundrum? These are exactly the experts the government should be consulting.
On the website this week
A Second Referendum: Misleading Claims and False Temptations, by Sir Noel Malcolm
Oxford University historian Noel Malcolm dismantles the three key deceptions underpinning the insidious ‘People’s Vote’ campaign: the claim that Pro-Brexit campaigns have ‘broken’ promises; that Brexit is too difficult; and that Vote Leave would have behaved in the same duplicitous and undemocratic manner as their opponents.
“The ‘People’s Vote’ lobby will use every possible trick at its disposal. After all, its very name is a trick, cynically played on the genuine People who cast their vote in June 2016”
Tory MPs Need to Get Real: It’s Got To Be Boris, by Robert Lee
Regular subscriber Robert Lee, an economic consultant, argues that with the UK facing a constitutional chaos and the Tory party in existential crisis, the only effective replacement for Theresa May is Boris Johnson.
“Extraordinary leadership is now required. There is only one candidate that has the capacity and potential for greatness that is required. And that person is Boris.”
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 Roger Wilson points out how “This is a good example of the pressures put on TM. She has made some poor judgements, but she has also received poor advice from self serving blinkered parties. Keep pushing for March 29th; no delay, no second referendum, no general election, just leave ideally on WTO terms. WTO terms will be the quickest way to secure the a new trade deal with the EU.”
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 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