Another week of Tory leadership limbo, which saw the candidates ever more eager to assert their credentials as champions of hard Brexit and/or hard drugs. A Boris Johnson win looks increasingly likely after he impressed Tory moderates at the One Nation hustings. The former Mayor of London is leading on both declared MP supporters and polling of Tory party members. Michael Gove too remains in a strong position, although his decision not to commit to a 31 October Brexit deadline will not go down well with the party membership. Raab and Hunt also look within touching distance of a spot in the final two.
President Trump’s visit was not without the expected eccentricities, but it is clear that he continues to have high hoped for close cooperation with Brexit Britain. Meanwhile, American relations with Europe continue to be strained, as Germany worries about renewed threats of American tariffs on imported cars.
The Peterborough by-election, which produced a victory for Labour as well as a strong showing for the Brexit party, was another reminder of the fragile situation which the new Tory leader will inherit. As well as considering their Brexit strategy, leadership contenders have to think carefully about how they will avoid the threat of a General Election for long enough to enact Brexit.
The BfB team were struck by an email this week from Ruth Butterfield. She points out that our comments last week about the EU elections, suggesting that polling data implied support for Brexit was as strong as ever, were overly cautious. In the EU elections, unlike the 2016 referendum, EU citizens are allowed to vote. As most of those EU citizens eligible to vote are likely to have voted for Remain-supporting parties, we should expect a higher proportion of votes for anti-Brexit parties at the EU elections. The fact that no sure rise occurred suggests that amongst British citizens support for Brexit has in fact increased.
Regular BfB contributor Professor Gwythian Prins has written an article for the Washington Examiner, exploring the ways in which Donald Trump can help Britain secure a swift and effective Brexit, entitled ‘Trump can help the UK out of the Brexit madness’.
John Mills, who has written for BfB this week launched an important report under the auspicies of Labour Leave. This explains why No Deal is not a big danger to the UK economy. BfB had a hand in inititating this report and will reproduce it on our site next week.
We also look forward to an important report from BfB contributor Martin Howe QC, ‘Moving on to Brexit: What Legal and Political Steps are Needed?’. It will explore the legal position of the UK if some version of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement were to go ahead, as well as ways in which we should proceed assuming the demise of the WA. Howe will discuss his report at an event in London tomorrow and it will appear on our site next week.
On the website this week
Nostalgic for Empire? Not ‘Leave’, but ‘Remain’, by Richard Tuck
Richard Tuck – historian and Fellow of the British Academy – explains how those who support Brexit are regularly accused of being nostalgic for the days of empire. There is no evidence for this myth. On the contrary, it is the supporters of the EU who are nursing an old imperial vision.
“The kind of person who is particularly keen on the European “project” is still the kind of person who in their grandfathers or (now) great-grandfathers’ day would have been happy running the Empire, while telling themselves that it was really a force for liberal political values.”
Voices of Business”: Whose Voices, Whose Businesses? by John Longworth
John Longworth – a former Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce and current MEP– argues that if we were to believe the so-called voices of business, the world would be flat and the UK about to fall off the edge on Brexit day. CBI warnings, the most recent manifestation of “Project Fear” Mark III, are a blatant and anti-democratic attempt to stop Brexit by organisations and businesses which have openly declared their opposition to it.
“The CBI is a well-funded “think tank” of officials, rather like the pro-Remain civil service, dominated by multi-nationals with narrow vested interests and part-funded by the EU.”
The Anglosphere – Reality or Mirage, by Briefings for Brexit
Briefings for Brexit reports on discussion at a high-level trans-Atlantic conference of how the UK might more closely integrate with the Anglophone world after Brexit, no longer being obliged to rely on the EU.
“[There is a] ‘renewed energy and interest’ around the Anglosphere: the US, the UK, Canada, Australasia, India and the rest of the Commonwealth. Having a shared language and democratic institutions based on similar traditions and legal systems would be a huge advantage in the modern economy in which finance, technology and communications were merging.”
Brexit and the US-UK Defence Relationship, by Gwythian Prins
Gwythian Prins, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, expands on his previous BfB articles to make the case that the Remainer clique within the UK government is intent on shackling the country to a sub-standard EU Defence Union, at the expense of existing Anglosphere arrangements such as ‘Five Eyes’ and NATO.
“Given its unstoppable haemorrhage of legitimacy, the reflex response of the Brussels nomenklatura has been to run faster towards the unchanging goal of full federation.”
This blog is a summary of Professor Prins’s lecture at the Heritage Foundation, “Brexit and the US-UK Defense Relationship” given by on 1 May 2019. The full transcript can be found on our Report pages.
In the Marginals, it’s the Leavers Who Are in Revolt, by Richard Johnson
Politics lecturer Richard Johnson turns the popular concept of the ‘Remainers’ Revolt’ on its head by showing that if we look at key marginals, we find that it is not the Remainers who are the real threat to two main parties: it’s the Leavers.
“Pro-Brexit insurgents are doing better than pro-Remain insurgents, and in stronger connection to how strongly a community voted to Leave the European Union”
‘Dear Jenni…’ : An Open Letter to The Times, by Matthew Orton Wadhams
Regular contributor Matthew Wadhams highlights how project fear is still operating at full capacity through misleading articles in the national press. Here he responds carefully to recent piece by Jenni Russell in the Times, which is beset by a low level of nuanced argument or critical analyses and complete lack of cognizance.
“Jenni states that Brexit is at heart about people feeling powerless and wanting more of a voice. I am with her there, however, her answer to those people that have raised their voices in favour of leaving the EU is to condescend them and ignore their wishes.”
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. Margaret Goulding expresses horror at the plans at the heart of government to tie our defence policy to that of the EU, discussed in Gwythian Prins’s article. This is, she says, ‘chilling stuff’.
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
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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