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Brexit - What Next

Brexit - Where NextThis article is in two parts.

The first part looks at the UK's European Election Result, and how the electorates of Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool voted.

The second part of the article carries one of our 'health warnings' - and those disposed toward remaining in the EU might want to avoid reading it.

It contains our personal perspective on what has happened with Brexit since our last article, and what we think might happen going forward from now.

SYNOPSIS
We begin by considering the Divided Opinion that exists: nationally; in parliament;  and amongst counterbalance readers.

Next we look at what happened in the Prelude to the EU Election, before going on to consider the EU Election Results themselves, and how they differed: nationally, in the North West, and locally, before moving on to consider What they might mean, and what the impact of those results is likely to be.

Next we issue a 'Health Warning' because the remainder of the article is our own view of why we should leave on or before the end of October without an agreement under Article 50.  So those of an opposite opinion might not want to continue reading.

We then give Our Own Take on the issue, beginning with what we identify as the Three Main Groups that exist, before what we have termed the New Battle of Britain - not against foreign foes this time, but the battle that is raging for Britain's soul, and why the arguments are all so passionate.

Next we look at some of the Practical Problems with Mrs May's draft agreement - why it has not been successful, and why it might be that she held it so tightly as the only way forward.

Next we look at What Might Happen after the astounding Brexit Party result - and in particular at the way the Main Political Parties Reacted to the Result Overall, before considering the sort of Changes we think the Labour Party Will Make and then at the Likely Conservative Party Changes.

Next we explain a bit more about why we advocate Leaving on WTO Terms, and add two further arguments that readers might like to consider. The first is a contrarian view about Remaining Within a Customs Union, and  the second is a theme we have looked at briefly before, but which for us is the main disadvantage of the EU and that is the Cancer of Imposed Uniformity.

Finally, we offer a Tailpiece noting that demographically, we're probably in the Last Chance Saloon, and we may not ever have a majority to leave the EU in the future.



 DIVISION OF VIEWS

After our last article on Brexit we had an unusually large inbox. Perhaps predictably, - given the proportionate divisions within the UK - around half were negative toward what we had said, and the other half were positive.

We removed the identifying data from the comments that arrived with us and published them.

We intended that to be helpful to our readers (because even where we don't agree with someone, we like to hear their view and understand their logic, in order to test it against the beliefs circulating in our own 'ideas pool'). But not everyone agreed that was a good idea, so we won't be publishing what arrives this time.

We had a few readers end their subscriptions with us - apparently because of the views we had expressed. We were sorry to lose them - especially for that reason.  But a similar number of new readers welcomed what we had published. They signed up to be notified when a new article was published.

We thought the more or less 50/50 split we had experienced amongst our readership reflected the UK as a whole and, because it Brexit is such an important national issue, we do intend to continue to address it from time to time if something significant happens.

We don't claim our views in this matter are right, but nor do we accept we are wrong to hold the views we do.

We are simply expressing an opinion based on our reading of the situation, and we appreciate that others will read it differently.

Our own opinion sees an urgent need to correct what we see as the terrible mistake Mrs May and our Government made by agreeing to conduct our exit negotiations under the procedures and regulations set out in the European Union's Article 50.

We are in favour of leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, ensuring the UK is immediately free to negotiate trading arrangements with other countries (and with the EU if they wish of course), from the position of being the independent sovereign state we were before we became member of what is now called the EU.

That approach would mean we are not (as we are at present) bound to negotiate within the constraints and procedures of the EU's 'Article 50' Regulations which put the EU in control of the leaving process and, in doing so, substantially weakened our negotiating position before a word was spoken.

 PRELUDE TO THE EU ELECTIONS

In November 2018 we published an article about Brexit.

It suggested some of the underlying cultural matters that we thought were causing such strong divisions of opinion in the UK.

It also looked at what had happened since Mrs May became Prime Minister, and some of the reasons why we think the 'deal' she had provisionally agreed with the EU was such a bad agreement for the UK.

Given her poor judgement on the matter (as evidenced by 3 refusals to support it in Parliament), and her support for such a terrible 'deal' - we concluded it was time for Mrs May to resign as leader of the Conservative party.

Thankfully that's now happened. She resigned on 6 June 2019, but is staying on in a temporary capacity until a new party leader is elected.

Our previous article also offered our thoughts about the underlying dissatisfaction that - for some people at least - is a key driver at the harder end of the 'Brexiteer' movement.

After we published that article and, on the eve of the European Election, under intense pressure from both her grassroots supporters and her parliamentary party, Theresa May decided to remove her 'deal' from what was to have been a fourth (and in our view, futile) attempt to persuade Parliament to vote for it, and she gave notice of her intent to resign as Prime Minister.

We've referred to it as 'her deal' because she uses that term herself.

But in reality, it never was 'her deal'. It was always Europe's proposal - because that's what Article 50 does.

It is an Article of European legislation that sets the parameters and requirements for any country wanting to leave the EU.

However, because the UK Parliament had not been able to agree the EU's proposals, and when it became clear we would not be able to leave on or before the much repeated deadline date of 29th March, Mrs May - who had repeatedly said she would not do so - was forced to request an extension of the UK's leaving date from the EU in order to continue to find an agreement that would be acceptable to the UK Parliament and to the EU.

A variation of the request she had made was granted by the EU, and the new date for leaving is now the end of October.

Further debates took place in Parliament during the early part of the extension period, but there was still no majority for her 'deal' not least because it had proved impossible for Mrs May to reach agreement with Labour and the smaller parties on a consensual basis about what the UK itself wanted from the Agreement.

When you think about it, reaching consensus on what the UK wanted for its future was never really going to work.

That's because nationally, political parties are elected not only on the policies they say they will implement, but also on the basis of the beliefs, attitudes, and values that their electorate believe them to hold.

The Conservative and Labour Parties hold fundamentally differing - and often opposing - views of what the country wants - because the Country itself is divided about its own beliefs, attitudes and values.

Put simply, Brexit has shone a sideways light on some of our biggest cultural differences - which now stand exposed in sharp relief.

The continuing lack of agreement meant we would reach and pass the date by which nominations for the 2019 European Elections had to be made, and European Election Law (with which, as members, we are obliged to comply) required the UK to take part in those European Elections to elect new Members of the European Parliament.

So, having decided to leave the EU three years ago, we found ourselves in the quite ridiculous position of having to elect Members of the European Parliament that we were leaving - when those elected might only be MEP's for a few weeks.

As the election date drew near, the pre-election polls for the European elections gave strong indications that the Conservatives and Labour Parties would do very badly, and a new party called the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage would do very well.

 THE EUROPEAN ELECTION RESULTS

The results of the European election were astonishing.

The Conservative Party took only 9% of the national vote.

Labour fared almost as bad with only 14%.

The runaway winner was Nigel Farage's new 'Brexit Party'. As a party just six weeks old, it took 31% of all votes cast.

Compare that result with the other new party - 'Change UK' - which was formed mostly from strongly 'Remain' MPs who had defected from both Labour and the Conservatives.

Like the Brexit Party, they too formed as a new political party at around the same time, but they took only 3% of the national vote.

The other very noteworthy result was the scale of votes given to the Liberal Democrat - 'We-will-remain-in-the-EU' party - as exemplified by their catchy new 'Bollocks to Brexit' slogan.

They took the second largest share of the votes cast after the Brexit Party.

The clear outcome of the EU election in the UK was a polarisation to the extremes.

'Clean WTO Brexit' and 'Bollocks to Brexit' were undoubtedly the winning messages, with Farage's 'leaving on WTO terms' being more strongly supported than the Lib =Dem's 'remain in the EU'.

Anyone standing on the middle ground was squashed in the stampede to the extremes.

In terms of actual MEP's elected, the UK result translated to

  • 29 Brexit Party MEPs,
  • 16 Liberal Democrats,
  • 10 Labour,
  • 7 Greens,
  • 4 Conservatives,
  • 3 SNPs,
  • 1 Plaid Cymru and
  • 1 Change UK.

The process to allocate seats to parties and candidates in EU elections is not as straightforward as many of our readers might imagine.

Europe sees the UK not as a country, but as regions of its own devising, and there are 12 such large regions of the UK.

Ours is the 'North West Region' and the EU electoral system is designed to make us vote for political parties rather than people. It works like this:

Within each region, votes are counted for each party. But the seats in the EU Parliament are allocated to those parties by a mathematical formula called the D'Hondt System.

  • In each region, the party with the most votes gets the first seat.
  • Then, that party's total vote figure is divided by 2, and compared with the other party totals again.
  • The party who now has the most votes in that second round of comparing gets the second seat.
  • The divisor for each round of calculation is determined by adding 1 to the number of seats any party has already been allocated
  • So after allocating the first seat, that party's vote is divided by 2 (1 seat +1).
  • In the third round of calculation, if that party still has the highest number of votes, then another seat is allocated to it, and it's original number of votes is divided by 3 (i.e. 2 seats +1) for the next comparison.

The process is repeated via this formula for each of the parties until all available seats have been allocated.

Broadly speaking, the aim of this system is to make the overall number of votes cast for any party translate into the most accurate number of seats they receive

Once all the seats have been allocated the political parties decide which of the named candidates they will actually appoint to the available seats, or, in some countries using this D'Hondt system, the candidates are selected by reference to a pre-ordered 'priority list' submitted by each of the parties before the election.

So that's a quick outline of the (less familiar to the UK way of thinking) electoral system that delivered the astounding 29 Brexit Party MEPs the UK will now send to the EU.

 SO WHAT WILL THIS RESULT MEAN?

Broadly speaking, the results probably make a harder line on Brexit more likely, and they will increase support for leaving without a deal (unless a better deal can be reached than the one Mrs May proffered as the best she could get).

And Europe is already saying they are not prepared to re-open negotiations on the draft agreement.

However, we think a real and present prospect of the UK leaving on WTO terms might influence their consideration of that matter.

The result was so exceptional that we wondered if there might be something in the turnout that caused the result, so we looked at the turnout statistics in case it was exceptional this year - but it wasn't, as the figures below show...

Year

UK
Turnout

     Year

UK
Turnout

1979 32.35%   2004  38.52%
1984 32.57%   2009 34.70%
1989 36.37%   2014 35.60%
1994 36.43%   2019 36.90%
1999 24.00%      

We also undertook some detailed analysis and compilation of the raw data results at various local government levels to see whether there were local differences, and we've created a graphic that gives an easy comparison of the results for:

  • the UK (although this contains only the main parties);
  • the North West
  • Fylde
  • Wyre
  • Blackpool

To make it as fair a comparison as we can, we've based it on the percentage of valid votes that each party or individual received from those who voted in the election.

EU Comparison Click to Enlarge

Please click the graphic to see a larger version.

Mostly - as readers will see - the pattern is similar. But a few quirks did strike us.

Firstly Labour did significantly better in the North West than it did in the UK overall, and that must give rise to concerns for northern Labour MPs if the Party decided to attach itself closer to the 'remain' argument (in the hope of picking up remainer votes that the Lib Dems have been hoovering up) if, as seems likely, the Conservatives probably move toward 'leave'.

And secondly, in the Blackpool results, the much reviled Tommy Robinson took 991 votes (3.27%), and the much lauded 'Change UK Party' took only 734 (2.42%). Neither of those is an 'earth shattering' result, but it paints a picture.

Thirdly, because we follow things at Fylde quite closely, we know Fylde's political situation better than any of the others, and from that knowledge we can say with some confidence that this result is nothing like the result that would be seen in a Fylde Parliamentary election.

All that said, if a Parliamentary election was held now, with the Brexit Party taking part, we think there would be a discernable, if not major, change in the voting pattern here.

But in constituencies where the existing Conservative majority is much slimmer than it is in Fylde, we suspect this EU Election result will make some Conservative MPs very jittery.

That situation is further confirmed by the result of the Peterborough by-election on 6 June, where a Labour seat was held at 10,484 votes. But their 31% share of the vote was down 17%

The Brexit Party (with no established party organisation, no data on previous voting patterns, and only two weeks of campaigning) stormed into second place with 9,801 votes (just 700 or so votes behind Labour). They took a 29% share of the vote in their first ever Parliamentary contest.

The Conservative Party came third with 7,243 votes which gave them a 21% share of the vote (and that was down by a very significant 25%)

The Lib Dems came fourth with 4,159 votes - a 12% share of the vote (a 9% increase)

The key points to take from this are the that the astounding success of the Brexit Party in the European Elections will undoubtedly be tempered when it comes to Parliamentary Elections, but their impact is still likely to be very damaging to marginal (and some not so marginal) Conservative MPs.

It will also be damaging - albeit to a lesser extent - to Labour, who will also have some of their life-blood sucked out by a resurging Liberal Democrat Party advertising themselves as a new home for 'Remain' voters.

 HEALTH WARNING

Those who believe the UK is about to make a huge mistake if it fails to remain a member of the European Union should probably stop reading at this point if they don't want to hear a different view....

We are about to provide a strong personal view as to why we need to leave the EU with a clean break as soon as possible, without having agreed even the first half of the arrangements required by the Article 50 process.

(Only the first half of our leaving arrangements have been discussed so far - we haven't even started to discuss what might be hiding in the EU's briefcase as the small print surrounding the 'Trade Deal' that remains to be negotiated).


 OUR OWN TAKE


 Three Roughly Equal Sized Groups

It is true that, amongst those people who already hold a firm view, roughly half want to disregard the result of the referendum and remain in the EU.

The other half with firm views want to leave as soon as possible.

Aside from those two, there appears to be a group who make up the final third or so of the voting population.

These are people who would prefer an arrangement that sits at some point in-between the two firm views.

People in this group cover almost the same range of opinions as those with firm views, but at the 'remaining' end none want to remain in the EU exactly as we are now, and at the 'leaving' end, none want to leave without having an agreement of some sort in place before we do so.

Within this third group, there seem to be as many opinions about what should happen as there are stages between sweet and sour.

 The New 'Battle of Britain'

Overall, majority opinion in the UK decided to leave the EU.

More people voted in the 2016 referendum to leave the EU than voted to remain, and that's how we decide things in UK elections.

So far, the EU's Article 50 Rules have prevented us from discussing future trading arrangements.

If we continue to follow the Article 50 provisions we will only begin to discuss our future trading arrangement AFTER the present administrative arrangements, and future financial contributions (that we must make as part of an agreement under the Article 50 leaving process), have been settled.

The conflicting arguments on these matters have reached Parliamentary stalemate. But our own take is that the arguments being exercised throughout the country are not really about our membership of the European Union at all.

Nor are they really about trade - because although many commentators and MPs use business and employment arguments as a peg on which to hang their underlying view, arguments about future trading arrangements are entirely irrelevant at this time.

If we stay within the confines of Article 50, we can only begin to try to agree decisions on trading matters AFTER we have left the EU.

Yes, really.

It's true that the present draft leaving agreement REFERS to policies for future trading arrangements, but its words are only indicative and not legally binding, (unlike Mrs May's leaving agreement itself).

No. We think the Brexit debate is actually a proxy war about the future culture of our country.

That's why it arouses such passion.

Fundamentally it is about the beliefs, attitudes, and values that we as individuals - and we collectively as a nation - should hold and project in the future.

And if our perception in this matter is correct, then none of the people in any of the three groups is right, and none of them is wrong.

Because they are all shades of personal opinions.

And that's why it's all proving so difficult.

At the core of their being, (and especially as we get older), very few people are willing to compromise their fundamental beliefs and values about who they are, and thus, when projected collectively, what sort of a country we should be.

Philosophically, Brexit is a battle for the soul of the UK - which, unfortunately, now seems to have three roughly equally-sized and quite incompatible constituent parts.

 In Practical Terms

Turning to more practical matters, Mrs May's Deal is now clearly dead and buried, and the nation is probably even more polarised than it was at the time of the referendum.

The EU Election results clearly showed that polarisation.

The runaway winners were The Brexit Party - which is just 6 weeks old. And, to a slightly lesser extent, the secondary runaway winners were the Liberal Democrats, who were previously all-but dead as a political force.

Both of these groups tapped into the psyche of the two groups holding firm views - as is ably exemplified by their electoral slogans. 'Leave in October on WTO terms' and 'Bollocks to Brexit.'

The traditional parties at the centre right and left of UK politics were all but wiped out of Europe by the two thirds who sit at or toward the Brexit extremes.

And no, we're not going to start playing the game of adding up all votes won by the 'theoretical' leave and remain parties. There are far too many ancillary policies and cultures attached to broader spectrum parties to cloud the issue of estimating whether, for example the significant increase in the Green vote was climate/environmentally based, rather than governance based.

But we do think that the greatly reduced support for the traditional two main parties clearly demonstrates that the Theresa May's 'deal' will no longer pass muster. (In fact, when presented on three occasions so far, it has failed to pass muster at every one of them). So she was right to withdraw the attempt.

As a small aside at this point, we have been left wondering why Mrs May cleaved so strongly to the fact that it was the only deal she was prepared to pursue.

As a former remain voter, it could have been that 'Brexit in Name Only' was her plan all along.

But we suspect that's not the case, because her 'Lancaster House' speech with the 'red lines' she has been much criticised for by some, were unambiguously supportive of clean break leaving.

So for quite some time, we were at a loss to understand what might have caused her to travel from Lancaster House toward Islington.

Could it have simply been the impact that a clean break leaving might have on growing calls for independence in Scotland and Wales and, (for different reasons), Northern Ireland, perhaps heralding the demise of the Act of Union negotiated in 1706?

We can't help wondering whether Mrs May's weekly audience with the Queen might have prompted her change of heart and direction.

But, whatever the underlying reason, Mrs May's judgement did not lead to success, and she has now done the honourable thing.

We think history will judge her less harshly for having done so.

 The Main Parties React To The Result

The astonishing gains by the Brexit party and the Liberal Democrats cannot fail to cause ructions in Labour and the Conservatives.

It's clear there will be policy shifts - because the political traffic lights have gone past amber. They are now on red.

Like the fracking guidance, there will now have to be a pause whilst the number crunchers pollsters and focus groups assess the impact of the political earthquake that just happened.

But of course, no-one should expect this result to be replicated in a general election.

Like the Eurovision Song Contest, few in the UK treat the election of MEPs very seriously. Like a visit to the dentist, its something you have to go through every so often.

But the potential for very some significant loss of voter support for both the Conservatives and Labour is real, even if it is not going to be on the scale we saw in the European Election.

However, the Peterborough by-election result has shown us the order of magnitude that it might be.

Nigel Farage frightened David Cameron into holding the referendum, and he has once again resumed his influence on UK policy with his latest election result.

The two main parties will have to respond, but they're in a real fix trying to decide how.

The Conservative party is just as riven as the country as a whole, though overall it is probably closer to leaving than to remaining

Labour is also similarly riven, but superimposed over that is another rolling battle that came with Jeremy Corby's election.

Culturally, he is pretty much Old Labour, and his (repeated) election as party leader marked a huge shift of influence by the root and branch party members - away from the New Labour that Tony Blair ushered in after Neil Kinnock disempowered the left wing of the Labour Party.

But, whilst his grassroots supporters wanted a return to something more like Old Labour values, the great majority of his MP's, (the Parliamentary Labour Party) are still culturally mostly New Labour, and the battle between these groups rages on behind the scenes.

Judging by what he has said, Mr Corbyn himself is probably at the leave end of the spectrum, but most of the New Labour MPs are at the opposite end.

Like Donald Trump appointing Judges in the US Supreme Court, the real battle within Labour is taking place behind the scenes to populate the committees that control - or at least strongly influence - Labour culture and Labour's policy.

Up to now, Mr Corbyn was winning that internal argument, but the Farage / Cable results have undoubtedly applied an electric shock to his situation.

You only needed to see Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry's face, and the tone of her voice on the BBC European Election programme to see the trouble that was brewing within Labour.

 So what will happen?

 Likely Labour Party Changes

Their internal strife makes it more difficult to predict, but the dismal showing of their 'Change UK' colleagues suggested to us that even the strongest of New Labour MPs would have been reluctant to jump ship to leap into oblivion - so even before the subsequent split, we didn't expect to see a lot of defections to other parties.

And, of course, that view has been solidly been reinforced by the break-up of the current Change UK Party as a political force.

Six of the eleven MP's who formed it have now walked away from it - with probably the most prominent member (Chukka Umunna) deciding first to be an independent MP then, within a day or two, changing again to join the Liberal Democrats. (Oh well, it was *change UK* wasn't it?)

We think Mr Corbyn's leadership of the party will be tested again, but probably not in public. We expect him to survive that testing.

More broadly, and if we were in other circumstances, we might expect Labour to consider becoming a wholesale 'remain' party.

But that has two problems. Firstly, the Liberal Democrats have already stolen that ground and, secondly, if Labour did become strongly pro-remain, they would likely be wiped out of power in the North of England.

Those in the know on such matters argue that would mean Labour would never get enough of the national vote to form a UK government in the foreseeable future, and that's their whole purpose.

So despite the temptation, we don't think Labour will become a pro-remain party.

They will more likely come up with adopting a fudged policy change related to a second vote of some sort, whether it's a confirmation of what the UK eventually decides to do, or a complete second referendum we're not clear, but we expect something like that.

The need for Labour to continue to ride two horses at the same time in the North and the South suggests to us that a small policy shift like this will be wheeled out and heralded as a marvellous and completely new policy position to counter the Farage / Cable effect.

It will aim to give the appearance of change - which Labour will attempt to equate with decisiveness and progress, when all it will really be is a change that produces the illusion of progress.

In reality, we don't think fundamental change is on the cards for Labour.

 Likely Conservative Party Changes

This is probably easier to envisage because whilst there are clear divisions on Brexit, there is less internal strife on other matters.

The crucial choice facing Conservatives is who to select as their new party Leader - a decision that will undoubtedly shape Brexit policy going forward.

The majority view of the Conservative party grassroots members is uncompromisingly for a swift exit, and they strongly support views like those expressed at the harder end of Brexit such as Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, or Esther McVey.

But the party faithful only get to vote AFTER the MPs have whittled the choice down to two candidates.

So the real issue is how much Farage's Brexit Party result will frighten Conservative MPs into heading toward a harder, or even a no-deal, Brexit.

There are 313 Conservative MPs.

We think they will broadly follow the split in the country, About 100 to 120 will firmly support Brexit. A similar, but probably a smaller number will support remaining in the EU, and a slightly larger third group of the party will have a position between the two.

We think it is this third group of (maybe around 130 or so) MP's that will hold the key to choosing the next leader.

In a contest of more or less equally polarised opinion the 'moderate middle'  will have to choose sides. And the choice they make will stay with them for their whole career in government.

Back the 'wrong' side in a leadership contest like this, and your chances of future advancement are over - at least for as long as that leader remains in place.

As for any individual, the first imperative for MPs is survival, and the second is advancement - the ability to influence events taking place in their environment.

So, as we see it, two questions will be uppermost in MP's minds as they go through the process of attrition in which the candidate with the lowest number of votes drops out before the next vote.

That process has recently been modified to speed it up - by requiring a greater number of proposers/assenters to each declared candidacy (and, we suspect, probably by eliminating more than one candidate in each round) - but the fundamental issues for the voting Conservatives is still the same vis:

  1. How likely it is that each candidate will cause or need to have another Parliamentary election. They will know that if an election is held and Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party stand candidates for election as he says he is intent on doing, then despite any remaining internal strife in the Labour party, the Conservatives will lose a lot of votes to the Brexit Party.

    And even if such a vote does not result in any Brexit Party MPs being elected to Parliament, the scale of the transfer of Conservative votes to the Brexit Party will most likely cause Labour to win the election, and the Conservatives will not remain as the party of Government. They will not survive.

    So they're unlikely to vote anyone in as leader who might cause a Parliamentary election.
  2. How much the new leader can minimise the threat of Conservative grassroots votes being lost to the Brexit Party if there is an election and the Brexit Party does field candidates.

So, again as we see it, their choice will be driven by survival.

It will be driven by the need to avoid an election at all costs (at least until after whatever decision is taken on Brexit), and the need to minimise the impact of the new Brexit Party.

To our way of thinking, that can only lead in one direction - toward candidates who are firm in their view about leaving the EU on 29th October, with or without agreement of the EU.

That was confirmed today when 5 of the 10 nominated candidates backed leaving on 31 October, deal or no deal.  3 would extend the time to get a deal, and 2 would only leave if there was a deal in place. The direction is clear.

Mrs May asked her party to 'hold its nose' and vote for a less than perfect deal.

The Party was unable to comply because amongst Conservative MPs, the combined votes of pro-leave (who hated the Irish Backstop) and pro-remain (who wanted to continue to have more say in EU policy) continually outweighed and outvoted the centre group.

After the European results, we think Conservative MP's in the centre ground of their party will now have to head toward the reverse position and 'hold their noses' when voting for a Brexiteer candidate.

They will recognise that option will be the most likely way limit the loss of votes to The Brexit Party if they do stand candidates, and it offers the best chance of there not being an election at all.

We say that because Brexit requires no further Parliamentary vote to leave once the 29th October arrives.

We also believe those who might think the 'natural compromisers' in the party's middle ground (and to a smaller extent most of those on the 'Remain' wing) will vote to commit political suicide, and bring down their own Government in a vote of no confidence, are deluded.

Furthermore, candidates espousing a compromise deal similar to Mrs May's will only be attractive to around one third of Conservative MPs - so we think those advocating it will not carry enough weight into the final selection of the two candidates that are put to the membership, and a clean break Brexit is now more likely.

The fly in the ointment of this state of affairs leading to a clean break is likely to be the Speaker of the House, John Bercow and, to a lesser extent, the lady that most have forgotten, Gina Miller.

Her perfectly proper (and successful) judicial challenge which re-kindled the authority of Parliament over Government has caused much of the present impasse.

We have very mixed feelings about the change Mrs Miller wrought.

We actually agree with her (and the judges) about the supremacy of Parliament over the Government, and we agree with the House's right and authority to control its own business but, in our view, that right and authority changed with the use of a referendum to determine our future national direction vis-a-vis the EU.

That referendum was proposed by the Government and overwhelmingly voted for by Parliament, and it actually put the people in control of this decision.

So those seeking to frustrate the result of that referendum, seeking to frustrate the vote to leave - however well intentioned they believe themselves to be - are really acting against the expressed will of the people, as Mr Farage and his Brexit Party's EU Election result have so clearly, and astonishingly, shown.

We've no doubt the country needs to leave the EU at the end of October

If that does happen we will be very pleased, especially if, as the Brexit Party advocated, it on WTO terms initially.

 Why Do We Advocate WTO Terms?

Well, we hope it will be a clean-break Brexit and we will once again be a sovereign nation with our own independent trade policy, legal system, tax and finance policy, social policy and democratic institutions. We hope to revert to the national status we held before we joined what is now the EU.

That's not to say there will be no trade with the countries of the EU. We hope there will be. But we also hope that freed from the EU's shackles of standardisation and uniformity, the inventive minds of the UK will once again buzz with ideas, invention and innovation that the centralised bureaucracy of the EU has constrained - or in some cases stifled.

And it's not to say there will be no inward migration. Of course there will need to be inward migration. But that migration should not be as of right for individuals. It needs to be set by the needs of our country. We also hope that whatever level of migration the country needs, it should be equally available to people from all countries to come. Government should not prioritise those from Europe.

And it's not to say we will not co-operate with existing EU institutions where it is in our mutual interest to do so. But it is to say that the UK's own legal system will be the final determinant in legal matters, and the UK's own electorate will determine how we are governed.

We set out some of the background and arguments to these views in our November article so we won't repeat them here, but we would add just two further points if we may.

 The Customs Union Argument

The first is a contrarian argument for those who want to remain in the (or in 'a' ) European customs union - people who demand to continue to have access - as of right, and without tariffs, to the EU trading block.

We invite readers to consider this aspect with a different head on - from the reverse position.

After the 1975 referendum that voted to join the 'common market' no one argued that we should have a continuing opt-out of EU trade policy - so that we could maintain (what were then) our existing and established trading agreements with the Commonwealth; with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, India and other countries.

Everyone accepted that was not going to happen once we joined - because we understood we had to remain within a trade policy set for the whole of the EU.

Before the 1975 referendum, many had argued the benefits of continuing with those close links with commonwealth countries. But no-one continued that argument after 1975.

The losers of that referendum gave their consent to the decision the country had taken, and they accepted the majority decision the UK had made.

They did not argue and demand that we should continue within a customs union with the Commonwealth.

But now, after the decision to leave, the argument is made to have us stay in a European customs union, either instead of - or whilst - re-establishing our own trading arrangements with the commonwealth and other sovereign nations.

In effect the losers in the 2019 referendum - in Parliament at least - are not prepared to consent to the will of the majority to leave.

 The Cancer of Imposed Uniformity.

In our last article, we spoke of the Peter Hitchin's book 'The Abolition of Britain' and the impact it had on our thinking.

We don't so much think it changed our mind, but without doubt it was full of 'Eureka! moments' that crystallised our various fragmented views on the EU into a cohesive whole.

Hitchins demonstrated how because the  EU is beyond human scale it would inevitably lead to internal revolt of its member nations - as we are seeing today in Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, France and elsewhere.

Furthermore, and in particular, he showed the inevitability with which the constraining and suffocating effect of the EU's trade and other standardisation policies (which are essential to enforce its policy of 'ever closer union') would be self-defeating.

They would inevitably lead to more sluggish innovation and slower economic progress.

When it was free of the dead hand of top-down enforced uniformity,  history saw the UK lead the world in innovation. But the EU's need for (mediocre) uniformity above all else had induced a constipation of innovation and invention.

Historically the UK produced some of the world's greatest innovators and inventors:

  • Jethro Tull whose invention of the horse drawn mechanical seed drill ushered in the agricultural revolution
  • Brunel, the great builder of infrastructure including the railway system and the first propeller-driven steam-powered ocean going ship. In effect, he came to lead the great Industrial Revolution
  • John Logie Baird who made the first working television.
  • Frank Whittle credited with inventing the jet engine which ushered in world-wide travel for millions.

These - and many more Britons like them - changed the face of history with their inventions: radio, electro-magnetism, radar, telephones, photography, printing, weaving and even computing.

These were not people in thrall to, or governed by, some bureaucratic EU (or even UK) standard that they had to follow. They were not constrained into conformity and uniformity by regulatory standards.

They MADE the standards themselves - simply because what they did was so obviously a better way of doing things that everyone WANTED (and chose) to do it their way. Others took their work and improved it further until the dead hand of regulation and licensing took hold.

They had the freedom to use their imagination, invention and innovation more or less unconstrained.

We think the inventive genius of Britons (and Europeans for that matter) is being stifled by the EU's cancer of uniformity and standardisation.

As we said in the last article, just like a computer screen that has 'frozen' and refuses to work properly - the time has come for our country to have a cathartic pressing of its re-boot button to clear out all the blubbery regulations and shake us out of our soporific, easy, complacency, in order to release our inherent national spirit of innovation and invention, and to create the conditions under which individuals within our country are released into a willingness to be part of a nation on a human scale, and one that is on the move.

The cancer of uniformity and standardisation that is so espoused by the EU can be countered and destroyed with the chemotherapy that a clean-break Brexit could bring.

And yes, as with real chemotherapy, the treatment will be disruptive, and it will have unpleasant side effects for a time, but taking the 'Brexit medicine' offers a better hope for our national recovery and our future national advancement than we can expect to enjoy without it.

It offers a brighter future for our young people.

Think about it, disruption is an essential element of both change and progress.

  • The combustion engine disrupted horse transport, and electricity is disrupting the combustion engine.
  • Supermarkets disrupted family businesses, and all retailers are now being disrupted by the Internet.
  • The postal system disrupted what was private hand delivery then saw itself disrupted by email, which is itself is being disrupted by texting and the growth of mobile phones.

It's no surprise that much of the world's successful technological innovation now emanates from the far east and the USA.

It's also no surprise that many of those innovations began life in the brain of a Briton - (eg Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web that stormed America. and Cambridge born Chis Curry whose original Acorn Computer eventually grew into ARM - whose technology is in almost every mobile phone that is sold).

But when start-up innovators hit the regulatory barrier, they mostly either move overseas or sell out.  James Dyson's move to build electric cars in Singapore is but one recent example.

That's why we are so passionate about a clean break Brexit.

Yes, we can be accused of having some nostalgia for the nation we were before joining the EU.   But more than anything else we look forward to the much brighter future that will be possible - and might even be brought about-  when we are a more nimble, and less overtly regulated post-EU nation.

 TAILPIECE

We think this is probably the last real opportunity the British people will have to free themselves from the apron strings of EU citizenship.

The 60% or so of UK residents who have no understanding of life before the EU can only increase over time, and (without knowledge of a pre-Brexit Britain) they will, in all probability, increasingly prioritise the comfortable, well-worn-slipper-like option of being looked after by the EU rather than face the sort of insecurity, risk and potential rewards of disruption and change - that making our own way in the world - would entail.

So for us this period in our history feels like the 'last chance saloon'

And that's why, for us, this decision transcends all others.

Dated:  10 Jun 2019


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