Next Thursday could be a great day, not just for our country, but for the British Commonwealth, so shamefully treated by Ted Heath in 1973, and Europe. BREXIT will give enormous encouragement to patriotic and democratic movements right across the EU.
I am well aware that I am preaching to the converted on this website, but the whole point of this short series of articles was to arm campaigners with the arguments to defeat our enemies, as well as arm the leaders of the BREXIT movement with legal and economic points they appear to have overlooked.
This is no time to be complacent, but victory for the pro-British side now appears probable. The polls are uniformly showing a strong swing to Leave. Almost certainly they have underestimated the Leave vote from the beginning, indeed it is not even clear that they are confining their interviews to people eligible to vote.
Whilst Vote Leave are shockingly complacent, Leave campaigners on the ground appear alert to the possibility of electoral fraud and a repeat of the shameful events of 1975, when Philip Allen turned a ‘No’ vote into a ‘Yes’.
Looking back, the Labour Government sowed the seeds of Remain’s defeat by caving in to German pressure to admit several million Eastern European labourers, whose rights of entry could have been postponed for at least 7 years. The Remain campaign – Project Fear – has been relentlessly negative, focussing on scare stories instead of trying to build a positive case for EU membership.
Since there never has been a positive case for Britain to be in the EU, in a way negative campaigning made sense. All of the dire predictions made by the ‘No’ campaign in 1975 came to pass. Our trade surplus with the Six disappeared almost overnight, eventually transformed into a trade deficit in goods with the enlarged EU of over £1,500,000,000 a week. Inflation, boosted by VAT and higher food prices, roared ahead to 27%, and unemployment soared to levels not seen since the 1930s.
By 1976 Britain was forced to crawl cap in hand to the IMF, the same bunch of idiots who insist that we should remain trapped inside the EU. At no stage in 1976 did any IMF spokesman link Britain’s economic plight with EEC membership, although joining the EEC was the trigger for our economic collapse.
The ‘No’ case, that the EEC was a supranational organisation which threatened the very foundations of our ancient democracy, came to pass in the Factortame cases. Contrary to the express assurances given by Geoffrey Howe and Lord Hailsham to Parliament that the ECA72 would only affect existing statutes, our supine judges caved in to the demands of the ECJ that they set aside an Act of Parliament, one moreover designed to protect our fishermen from predatory Spanish and French competition. In doing so the judges swept away the last vestige of democratic legitimacy for British membership of the EU.
Lawyers have a saying: fraud vitiates everything. If ‘Project Fear’ does succeed in its aim of bullying and frightening the electorate into voting to remain inside the EU the result would be negated by deception. It would be meaningless, in other words.
The Remain side had the option of campaigning honestly. Instead they chose to mount a deceitful campaign, using fraudulent stats like the 44% figure for exports to the EU. Remain leaders must have been aware that they were passing off exports to South Korea etc. as exports to the EU.
The Treasury, which in 2005 calculated the annual cost of EU membership to the UK as £200 billion, joined in, with a mendacious document making outrageous statements about the so-called economic benefits of EU membership. In terms of official fraud we have seen nothing like it since the Cabinet Office forced the Home Office to publish nonsense figures for immigration from Eastern Europe, out by over 5000%.
Given that it would have been obtained fraudulently, by lying, cheating politicians and civil servants, a vote to Remain next Thursday would simply mark a lost battle in the long campaign to restore Britain’s political independence. It would leave a bitter legacy and most certainly would not end the war.
Michael Gove, with respect, rather alarmed me in the Question Time special by suggesting that it might take until 2020 to negotiate BREXIT. That, with respect, would be absurdly long. There seem to me to be two fundamental misconceptions underlying his argument: firstly, that the only route to exit from the TEU under public international law is Article 50 of the TEU itself, and secondly that we need a free-trade agreement with the EU.
We can denounce the TEU on 12 months’ notice, under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT). Nobody by the way is disputing my interpretation of VCLT – supporters of using Article 50 simply seem to be afraid to mention it. You won’t ever see it referred to, e.g., in Christopher Booker’s column in the Sunday Telegraph. A year would be the right transition period, giving EU workers ample time to leave, employers ample time to recruit and train British replacements and Whitehall long enough to revoke EU-based British regulations.
The ECA72 could be repealed in 24 hours. The repealing legislation would dis-apply EU provisions having direct effect from commencement. Much of EU law simply doesn’t need disentangling at all – you simply make it go away, with a two-line section in an Act of Parliament.
The last thing we want after leaving is to leave our economy vulnerable to European imports. We need to get a tariff wall up against EU, mostly German, imports, as soon as we can. The economic benefits of import substitution will be huge.
Transitional provisions are a subject I have been writing, speaking and thinking about for over 20 years. Vote Leave, with respect, need to start listening to those who have done the intellectual heavy-lifting on this.
Good luck to us all for next Thursday!