Finally, the last stretch on the road to Brexit becomes clear – as any reasonable politician should be shouting from the rooftops. This week we set out the final steps required in two new and important reports published on the BfB website. These are key guides to the rest of the Brexit campaign, and well worth a detailed read. The first, ‘Moving on to Brexit: What Legal and Political Steps are Needed?’ by leading lawyers Martin Howe, Sir Richard Aikens and Dr T D Grant, summarises the traps in the Withdrawal Agreement and proposes a better way forward. The second, ‘It Makes No Sense to Throw Away Your Strongest Card’ by Labour Leave entrepreneur and economist John Mills, explains why No Deal holds few dangers.
As these reports make clear, the WA has been completely discredited. Our new PM should instead negotiate a Canada+ free trade agreement (an offer made by the European Commission on numerous occasions). If that cannot be agreed by 31 October, Britain can and should leave without a deal. As John Mills’s report emphasises, the Brexit extension has allowed Britain to implement numerous measures which will mitigate the potential for disruption. It seems the EU also benefitted from the extension, having exaggerated its own No Deal preparations earlier in the year.
A Canada-style free trade deal and, failing that, an exit without a deal is the sensible way forward. With many MPs closing their ears to anything but No Deal scare stories, however, this will be difficult to implement. British history has often seen political impasses solved by constitutional innovation, and there is no reason to rule out unusual be not unconstitutional measures such as prorogation. In the first instance, however, we hope that reason and good sense will triumph as the political class faces reality.
Our ambition over the next few weeks is that no-one should be able to say that the Withdrawal Agreement is a sensible compromise; or that the Political Declaration is ‘non-binding’; or that a WTO exit means ‘crashing out’; or that the Irish border question is insoluble; or that proroguing parliament is an affront to democracy. By reading and sharing our articles you can help us ensure nobody can make these claims in good faith and with credibility.
As debate continues over how we leave the EU, there is still not nearly enough discussion of what Britain will look like after Brexit. That’s why this week we also feature an analysis by Professor Ashoka Mody of Princeton University, which describes how Brexit can be used to create a fairer society. The conversation should be moving on to the exciting opportunities available to post-Brexit Britain.
Most of the Politeia launch event for our report ‘Moving on to Brexit: What Legal and Political Steps are Needed?’ was streamed and can be watched here. Speakers at the event included Martin Howe QC, David Jones MP and BfB co-editor Robert Tombs. Robert enjoyed meeting subscribers and hearing about what you are doing to spread the word, especially by circulating our material to your own circles, thus hugely increasing our reach.
On the website this week
Theresa May heard but did not heed the Brexit vote’s call for a fairer Britain, by Professor Ashoka Mody
Former assistant director of the IMF Ashoka Mody explains how a compromise Brexit and a second referendum are both illusions as Mrs May’s ‘deal’ would be intolerable to any nation. A no-deal Brexit is the only available option which will also give UK politicians the chance to fulfil the other promise of Brexit: a fairer society.
“Britain can emerge from its political and economic trap only if, using this moment of ultra-low interest rates, a bold post-Brexit government invests in the country’s future.”
Prorogation: The Historical Case for Constitutional Innovation, by Professor Jonathan Clark
Should the prorogation of parliament be a possible course of action for a government? Is it an outrage against democracy and the constitution? Professor Jonathan Clark, a leading constitutional historian looks at the facts behind the hysteria. He notes that major political challenges have often been solved only by controversial constitutional innovations.
“The present situation is unprecedented. It may be that the solution will be unprecedented too.”
Avoiding the trap of the Withdrawal Agreement – the way ahead for a new Prime Minister, by Martin Howe, Richard Aikens and Dr T.D. Grant
Last Monday, Briefings for Brexit and Politeia hosted a discussion on a report analysing the traps contained in Teresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. The report also sets out the path to a better free trade agreement. A summary and a link to the full text are now available on our website.
“What we have proposed is a better way forward than the WA from all angles … if these proposals are pushed by a determined UK Prime Minister then they present the best chance of an optimal exit from the EU.”
It Makes No Sense To Throw Away Your Strongest Card, by John Mills
A report first published by Labour Leave is reproduced here for BfB outlining the case for keeping No Deal on the table (if a Canada+ deal can’t be agreed by 31 October). John Mills, entrepreneur and economist, describes the major preparations which have already been which will prevent major disruption. It sets out the key arguments which show that it makes no sense to abandon the UK’s strongest bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU.
“if we are going to conclude a satisfactory comprehensive deal, we have to be able and willing to walk away without one if we cannot negotiate reasonable terms.”
The EU is a Doomed Empire, by Professor Wolfgang Streeck
Professor Wolfgang Streeck lays bare the extent to which the EU is a German imperial project. As a liberal imperial power, the EU is subject to the usual difficulties faced by all empires, but its greatest challenge is suppressing democratic opposition, which threatens to derail the whole project.
“Authoritarian liberalism uses a strong state to protect a free market economy from political democracy. In the EU this is accomplished by internationalisation”
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. Lynne Fincher agrees with Ashoka Mody’s analysis in this week’s article, saying that “We must have a no deal exit to be free and clear. Trade not treaties is the way forward!”
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.
You can follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/briefing4brexit
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BriefingsForBrexit/
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