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Remainers should be frank about their real intention

philip hammond 1400x788
Written by David Blake

Remainers who want to block a ‘no-deal’ Brexit should be frank about their real intention. Their plan is for the UK to be subsumed into a United States of Europe with the most important laws determined by unelected officials in Brussels

So the Arch Remainer Philip Hammond resigns because he refuses to be part of a government that takes the UK out of the EU ‘without a deal’. He then tweets his ‘wholehearted support’ for the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for his determination ‘to do a deal with Brussels’. Indeed, most of us want ‘to do a deal with Brussels’ since it will be less disruptive for the economy in the short term. Yet the Financial Times reports that 30 or more Tory MPs are threatening to block a ‘no-deal’ exit. We should be very clear about what they really mean.

Boris Johnson has confirmed that the UK will leave the EU by 31 October 2019.

This could involve leaving with what has been dubbed ‘no deal’. But this is a very devious misnomer invented by Remainers and constantly used by their friends in the media. There will inevitably be ‘a deal’. At the very minimum, we will trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms. This is how we currently trade with most countries outside the EU and that trade has grown faster than trade with EU member states (at 2.88% p.a. v 1% p.a.). In addition, there are already many ‘mini deals’ agreed – covering visa-free travel, aircraft landing, rail and shipping agreements, road haulage licences, student exchanges, defence and security, etc – so citizens and businesses of both the UK and EU can continue visiting and trading with each other with minimal disruption, as WTO rules require. Further, a sufficient number of the international trade deals negotiated by the EU have been novated that we can also continue trading on the same terms with many of these countries as we do now. A key example is Switzerland which accounts for more than a quarter of our trade under these EU-negotiated deals. So this can hardly be described as ‘no deal’.

The EU has also said that it does not want ‘no deal’. But the ‘deal’ that the EU wants and that Remainers like Hammond have voted for three times is the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and Political Declaration (PD).

But as I have pointed out in a previous Briefings for Brexit piece, the WA/PD is NOT a real Brexit. It is a Boomerang Brexit. It is a trap. It is a one-way ticket back into the EU – before 2025 and on far worse terms than we currently have. This is what Olly Robbins meant when he was overheard in that Brussels bar saying the backstop was always intended to be a bridge to the ‘final trading arrangement’.

Jean-Claude Juncker, in his 2017 State of the Union Address, advocates various steps towards greater EU centralisation including a stronger Commission President. Euro-fanatics like Martin Schulz, former President of the EU Parliament and ex-leader of the German SPD, have made it very clear that they want political union by 2025. This means that the Commission will become the unelected Executive (so Europe’s ‘President’ will be the Commission President – currently Jean-Claude Juncker), the European Council becomes the unelected Senate, and the European Parliament remains as it is with very limited powers to block legislation coming from the Commission. The direction of movement is towards a single foreign policy, a single fiscal and tax policy, and a single military command, etc. This is all allowed by the 2007 Lisbon Treaty which introduced a European constitution by the backdoor – after it was rejected in national referenda in 2005. Brussels also wants all EU states not in the euro to join by 2025. Any new members must join the euro.

The WA, much of which was drafted in the German Chancellor’s private office (according to John Petley’s anonymous informant), was designed in such a way that the UK could re-join the EU in full at some time after the next general election (currently planned for 2022) – or so Theresa May is reported to have suggested to Angela Merkel. Rejoining the EU would likely mean joining the euro and Schengen Agreement on free movement – and losing the rebate. In such a future scenario, our interest rates would be set, not by the Bank of England, but by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Theresa May is also reported to have agreed to keep as many EU laws as she could on state aid, the environment, workers’ rights, etc. Much of this is included in the (supposedly non-binding) Political Declaration accompanying the WA which commits us to rejoin the EU’s Customs Union – and hence not have a free trade agreement with the EU along the lines of the deal with Canada that the government initially promised.

Now you can’t blame the EU for playing hard ball, especially when it observes how much of the British establishment wants to reverse Brexit. But it is time for Hammond and those 30 Tory MPs to acknowledge that by blocking a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the UK could be subsumed into a United States of Europe with the most important laws that we have to obey determined by unelected officials in Brussels. They also need to admit that they are quite content to ignore the result of this country’s biggest ever democratic mandate given in the Referendum in June 2016 and equally happy to sign up to the sham democracy of the future United States of Europe.

Hammond is now known as ‘Phil Guevara’ around Whitehall. Perhaps this nom de guerre is appropriate, since his hero Che helped to create one of the most undemocratic countries on the face of the planet.

Update 1 (14 August 2019)

Philip Hammond has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a no-deal exit would be ‘just as much a betrayal of the Referendum result as not leaving at all’.

Mr Hammond and all the other Remainers should remember precisely what Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time:

You the British people will decide…It will be the final decision…The Referendum will be a once in a generation choice: an in or out Referendum. When the British people speak, their voice will be respected, not ignored. If we vote to leave, then we will leave. There will not be another renegotiation and another Referendum.

His successor, Theresa May, in the Lancaster House speech, made it perfectly clear that leaving the EU means leaving the Customs Union, the Single Market and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. She also said that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’.

Parliament has confirmed that Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is a VERY bad deal for the UK by voting against it three times. Yet Hammond tweets that he wanted to deliver May’s Boomerang Brexit ‘and voted to do so three times’.

He also said on the Today programme that ‘pivoting to say the backstop has to go in its entirety – a huge chunk of the Withdrawal Agreement just scrapped – is effectively a wrecking tactic’. But removing the backstop is a critical first step to blocking a Boomerang Brexit – as well he knows. Even Yanis Varoufakis, the pro-EU former Greek finance minister, called the WA ‘a deal that a nation signs only after having been defeated at war’.

Remainers who say that no one voted in the 2016 Referendum to leave the EU without a deal are trying to rewrite history.  They also refuse to respond to any of the concerns raised above about the EU’s direction of travel. They even call Leavers who oppose the EU’s sham democracy ‘unpatriotic’. In view of all this, it really is hard to disagree with Boris Johnson’s assessment that Remainers are in a ‘terrible collaboration’ with the EU to impose a European Super-State not only on us, but also on the other peoples of Europe. Nobody voted for this!

Update 2 (16 August 2019)

Ken Clarke MP has told the BBC that he would accept an offer from the House of Commons to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and lead a temporary government of ‘national unity’ if it is ‘the only way’ to stop a no-deal Brexit. He said the House had to ‘find a way’ forward.

This would put the EU’s chief supporter in the UK into Downing Street.

It would also be a precise repetition of how the Commons behaved in 1972 when it passed the European Communities Act – which took the UK into what became the EU – by means of a secret agreement between the Tory Chief Whip, Francis Pym, and pro-European Labour MPs, such as Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams. This is how Tony Benn described what happened: ‘It was a coup d’état by a political class who didn’t believe in popular sovereignty. That’s what it was – a coup d’état. The power was seized by parliamentarians.  They seized power that did not belong to them and used it to take away the rights of those they represented’. Talk about history repeating itself – first as tragedy, second as farce.

As I said in another Briefing for Brexit, entitled ‘The People versus Parliament’, the people did not vote to ‘take back control’ from the European Union only for Parliament to hand it back again.


About the author

David Blake

Professor David Blake is at Cass Business School