Ed: This article was first published on ‘Moraymint Chatter’ and we re-publish with the kind permission of the author.
The British government has all but failed to fulfil the decision of the British people that the United Kingdom should be taken out of the European Union (aka Brexit). Under the Article 50 process we now have just 50 working days (even fewer Parliament-days, I believe) until the date on which the UK must by law leave the EU, that is 29 March 2019. Our constitutional and political systems are in chaos and nobody has the first idea of the terms under which the UK will leave the EU – known as the Withdrawal Agreement; a sort of divorce settlement. The default position is that if there is no Withdrawal Agreement then, as far as trade between the UK and EU countries is concerned, we shift to World Trade Organisation rules. In all other respects, the UK would no longer be a member of the European Union.
Like one of those scenes in a Mission Impossible movie where the screen is filled with a big, red LCD timer counting down, and you’re biting your nails to know if Tom Cruise will defuse the nuclear weapon in time, we’re all wondering what will happen on 29 March. Will the UK leave the EU with a deal? Will the UK ‘crash out’ of the EU with no deal? Will somebody pause the clock (extend the Article 50 process)? Will somebody stop the clock (terminate the Article 50 process altogether)? Nobody knows – which is an extraordinary failure of government and politics when you think about it.
The EU Referendum June 2016
Sad perhaps, but I had spent seven years before the EU Referendum of June 2016 teaching myself about the history, culture, workings and ambitions of the European Union. I did so after reading a book in 2009 written by Matthew Elliot, the Co-Founder and then Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance (of which I’m a member); the book was entitled ‘The Great European Rip-Off: How the Corrupt, Wasteful EU is Taking Control of Our Lives’. I finished the book and was horrified. I resolved to find out as much as I could from multiple sources about the EU. The more I researched, the more horrified I became. Marta Andreasen’s ‘Brussels Laid Bare’ made me shudder, but probably the definitive work on the story of the European Union is a book written and published in 2003 by Christopher Booker and Richard North entitled, ‘The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive?’ I read all 615 pages of the tome and by the end of it had decided that not only was the European Union a pernicious political construct, but also likely eventually – and ironically – to become the cause of the next serious conflict in mainland Europe.
I realised that the European Union was not some kind of benign group-hug which existed for the pursuit of children’s happiness, animal welfare and world peace; rather, my research told me that the European Union was in fact the mother-of-all rackets, heavily disguised and cleverly promoted as nirvana. It won’t surprise you to learn, therefore, that come the EU Referendum I voted Leave.
The Power of the European Union
The impressive thing about the European Union is that over a generation or so it has seduced member nations through their ruling political and societal elites, establishment institutions, academia, press and media organisations, big business and so on into believing that ceding national sovereignty is synonymous with prosperity. The originators of the European Union founded the institution on the basis that if you play on people’s economic hopes and fears, you can do pretty much as you like with them politically.
We shouldn’t have been surprised, therefore, that the thrust of the Remain campaign in the EU Referendum was not to espouse the untold cultural, political and societal benefits of EU membership, but rather to argue that leaving the European Union would result in economic ruin. Indeed, even now as we approach the 29 March, the British government, the political class, the BBC and much of the mainstream media, big business, Uncle Tom Cobley and all are telling us that without a Brexit-In-Name-Only (BRINO) Withdrawal Agreement, the United Kingdom is without doubt doomed. Such is the power of the European Union marketing machine; such is its hold on our society after 40-odd years of subservience to its political and legal institutions. Please don’t accuse me of making biased, unfounded assertions here, by the way. Just spend a few years like I did studying the history and workings of the EU for yourself.
A couple of years ago, naively perhaps, I thought that the UK would indeed leave the European Union, unfettered, on 29 March 2019. Today, I’m not so sure. Indeed, I’m rapidly coming around to the notion that there’s a very real chance that the UK will remain tethered to the European Union in some shape or form: either as a full member (Brexit is cancelled), or with some half-baked associate status, ie BRINO. In this context, I fear that our politicians are right now scheming to put EU Referendum II to the electorate. It would sicken me if this came to pass, but I’m what’s known in psychology circles as a ‘Defensive Pessimist’. I look at every situation in which I find myself and ask two questions: ‘What could possibly go wrong here, and how do I mitigate the effects of things going wrong?’
From my Leave perspective, EU Referendum II would mean that things had gone horribly wrong. A second referendum would signal above all else that democracy was collapsing in the UK, if it hasn’t collapsed already looking at the extraordinary antics of our ruling elites this past 2 years and more. A second referendum would signal that the culture of the European Union had indeed infected totally our British political institutions. The EU way is to arrange matters such that if a member nation conducts a referendum and comes up with the wrong result, the people must vote again. Denmark was required to vote again on the Maastricht Treaty; Ireland was required to vote again twice: first on the Nice Treaty and then again on the Lisbon Treaty. As José Manuel Barroso, erstwhile President of the European Commission once said, ‘They must go on voting until they get it right’.
Ed: Part II of this important article will be published tomorrow here on INDEPENDENCE Daily – don’t miss it!