This year’s Christmas TV schedules will be even more dominated by repeats than usual. Another Brexit delay. Another General Election. As Parliament lets another Brexit deadline whiz by, the situation can only be described as a snub to Brexit voters everywhere.
Looking for the positives, the Zombie Parliament is dead, and the country finally gets the chance to hold our politicians to account. As BfB reports this week, Boris Johnson’s deal offers a path to economic freedom for the UK, but it is a narrow one. It relies on continued pressure on the EU through a credible threat of No Deal and the aggressive negotiation of trade deals with third parties. This is not possible with the current parliamentary arithmetic. It will be possible if, and only if, Johnson’s government emerges from the Election with a substantial majority.
Will the government be able to get the sizeable majority it needs? The election is risky on several fronts. The Tories will need to pick up a number of Labour seats, reaching beyond some of the more obvious pro-Leave constituencies, where the Labour incumbents have already been voting with the Government. They will need to avoid haemorrhaging seats to the Liberal Democrats, a task which has been made more difficult by a perceived exodus of moderate Tories from the party. They also face the threat that the Brexit party will split the Leave vote, pushing for No Deal.
Despite all of this our electoral modelling (to be published soon) suggests a reasonably comfortable Tory victory even with a moderate degree of tactical voting by remainers. The Lib Dem/Green/Plaid Cymru does not amount to much but Labor/Lib Dem cross voting organised through social media sites is a bigger threat. Brexit party candidates are also experiencing a high degree of rejection of democracy.
No Deal may well be a tempting prospect to many Brexiteer voters, marking a cleaner break than Johnson’s deal. But even if the Brexit Party does well, it will not win a majority, and a split Brexit vote will reduce the Tory margin of victory. A Johnson Government with a large majority may well be more likely to present a credible threat of No Deal At this stage there is strength in numbers, and Brexiteers should stick together.
BfB co-editor Robert Tombs has received a name check in The Weekend Australian. Columnist and lawyer Janet Albrechtsen notes that Australians face the same battles between citizens of ‘somewhere’ and ‘anywhere’ that Brexit represents in the UK. She recognises the fight for Brexit as a fight for liberty:
“Westminster’s repetitive snubbing of the people’s vote confirms why Brexit happened. A noisy, confident and dominant political class, people who are the daily practitioners of democracy, are increasingly removed from the values, interests and experiences of a large swath of grassroots constituents of democracy.”
On the website this week
The Single Market isn’t working – why doesn’t the Left understand this? By Briefings for Brexit
The Labour Party’s six tests for supporting a Brexit deal include ensuring the same benefits as currently enjoyed within Single Market, protecting workers’ rights and avoiding a “race to the bottom” in terms of employment protections. Yet the reality is that the Single Market isn’t working for workers in the way most commentators – particularly those on the Left – believe it to be. Here’s why.
“Labour mobility within the EU is estimated to be one-third the level found in the US, and there are significant wage rigidities in European labour markets. Wage rigidities, combined with poor labour mobility, inevitably lead to high unemployment.”
The Brexit Logjam Finally Breaks, by Robert Lee
The dissolution of the shambolic and paralysed 2017-2019 Parliament finally provides a clear way forward to secure Brexit. Economic consultant and private investor Robert Lee sets out how a clear majority for Boris Johnson in the forthcoming election will not only enable the quick passage of his Brexit deal – a deal which is far better than the Theresa May version– but also strengthen the UK’s bargaining position in the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship. Predicting elections is hazardous, but a national desire to move on should secure that majority.
“[Boris Johnson’s Deal] is not the Brexit in Name Only (BRINO) deal agreed by Mrs May, and has thus secured the support of every Brexit supporting MP, plus many key Brexiteers outside Parliament.”
A heartfelt letter to my MP, by a constituent
We publish an extended version of a letter written and sent to a local MP on 20th October 2019. The letter discusses the damaging cultural split that has divided Britain since before the referendum, and which has been made far worse by failure to implement that democratic vote since. The author is a practitioner and academic researcher in the field of Design and Creativity, and lives in the North of England. She prefers to keep her identity, and that of her MP, private.
“How will people find shared ideals to get behind, when a distant bureaucracy is given greater importance than love of family, friendship or the reciprocity of next door neighbours?”
Johnson’s deal –a precarious bridge to economic freedom, by Briefings for Brexit
The renegotiated deal Boris Johnson has agreed with the EU and recently presented to parliament is an improvement on that negotiated by former prime minister Theresa May. But it nevertheless offers only the narrowest and most precarious bridge to economic freedom for the UK. This report explains why.
“Johnson’s deal has no chance of achieving the economic goals Brexit supporters might hope for from it, without a general election victory and radical shift in the makeup of the House of Commons.”
The Benn Act: Law officers acting unlawfully, by Robert Harneis
Barrister Robert Harneis discusses the legal implications of the Benn Act. The Act purports to separate the Prime Minister’s personal actions from those of the Government. He needs proper and separate legal advice and representation, not merely that of the Law Officers, who face a conflict of interest. The Law failed in their duty as lawyers by not advising the Prime Minister of this.
“The lawyers made it quite clear that they were concerned not about the Prime Minister but about their position as lawyers and that of the government, if he acted or failed to act in a certain way. It is neither legally proper nor politically effective for two parties in such different situations to be represented by the same legal advisers.”
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. Trevor Gillett notes that the anonymity of our anonymous constituent is a sad indictment of the intolerant attitude of Remainers who dominate the academic professions: “I have had social dealings with academic ‘types’ and been insulted quite openly. This may not be true of all – but I notice the trend.”
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