Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part series by Robert Henderson. The second part can be found here on UKIP Daily.
Remainer determination to subvert Brexit is shamelessly alive and kicking. Since the referendum on 23rd June 2016, those who voted to remain in the EU have given a ceaseless display of anti-democratic and profoundly dishonest behaviour in their attempt to overturn, overtly or covertly, the result of the referendum.
The favourite tune of the Remainers is “I respect the result of the referendum but …”, the’ but’ being variously that the “British did not vote to be poor”, the electors were suffering from false consciousness, and the most absurd of all, that electors made their decision to vote leave solely on the leave side’s promise that £350 million a week would be available to spend on the NHS. *
To give substance to the Remainers wishes to stay in the EU, there have been calls for a second referendum once a deal with the EU is made (this is official LibDem policy); suggestions that if no deal is made after two years the UK should remain in the EU (a sure-fire way to ensure that the EU will come to no agreement with the UK); proposals to keep the UK in the Single Market and Customs Union (which would effectively mean no Brexit) either by direct treaty with the EU (SNP Leader’s policy) or through the UK joining EFTA, and calls for Brexit to be simply overturned, most notably by Tony Blair.
Perhaps most dangerously, all the major UK parties now have as their official policy a transitional period, including The Tories after Theresa May’s Florence speech. This presents real dangers for Brexit, because apart from committing the UK to at least another two years of paying into the EU, accepting free movement, being bound by new EU laws, and being subject to the European Court of Justice, the transitional period could turn into a permanent condition or at least be extended so far into the future that a Remainer government might use to effectively bind the UK permanently into the EU.
To the domestic attempts to sabotage Brexit can be added the internationalist institutions which have continued to fuel project fear with dire economic warnings; the most recent case being the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which urges a reversal of Brexit with a second referendum to improve the UK economy…
More formally, there has been the legal case brought by Gina Miller which forced the Government to consult Parliament on the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. There has also been the failed attempt by Peter Wilding and Adrian Yalland requesting the High Court to, in effect, direct the Government to hold a Parliamentary debate and vote on leaving European Economic Area on the grounds that the issue not on the referendum ballot paper. A third court case which sought to reverse the triggering of Article 50 was started in the Republic of Ireland with a view to getting a favourable judgement which would then provide a basis for further action in European courts was started but stopped. Doubtless, there will be further legal attempts to interfere with what is a quintessentially political matter before Brexit is completed.
The most serious current attempt by Remainers to delay and sabotage Brexit is to try to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill so that Parliament has the final say on whatever the final outcome of the Brexit process is. There is also probably something of the McCawberish principle of waiting for something to “turn up” in this attempt.
The Remainer’s attempt to justify this behaviour on the spurious ground that the referendum result was about returning sovereignty to Parliament. This is to ignore the logic of the referendum for the form of the referendum placed the will of the people over the will of Parliament and, indeed, of government.
Why Brexit is not like a business negotiation
A main plank of Remainer cant is that the Brexit negotiation is just like any old business negotiation where the two sides come to the table hiding what their bottom lines are before agreeing to a compromise. But the Brexit negotiation is very different because the British people were offered a chance to vote to take us out of the EU by voting in a referendum.
That referendum was simple and unequivocal: there were no caveats required to make it valid such as requiring a minimum percentage of the electorate voting about Brexit or a minimum percentage of those voting to leave. It was a straightforward one-vote-is enough “yes or no” ballot. The question on the ballot paper was beautifully straightforward: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
Consequently, the Leave result was an unambiguous instruction to the Government and Parliament to take the UK out of the EU, no ifs, no buts. The vote did not mean deciding during the course of the post-Brexit negotiation with the EU how many of the EU shackles which currently emasculate the UK as a nation state should be removed and how many retained. In short, it was simply a question of leave meaning leave, just as leave means leave when someone cancels their membership of a club.
That being so, the Government is bound to have red lines and cannot go into the negotiations with a free hand to barter away things as they might do in a business negotiation. The Government has no authority to pursue anything other than a true Brexit, which means out of the customs union, out of the single market, away from the jurisdiction of the court of the European Court of Justice, control of our borders, free to make our own trade deals and paying no money to the EU. Anything less than this would be a betrayal of the referendum result.
* This was a clumsy piece of leave information because the £350 million was what the UK as a whole paid as a net figure (after the rebate) to the EU each year and included money such as the subsidies to UK farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy. Nonetheless, it was factually true in the sense that once the money was not paid to the EU the British Government would be free to use it, with Parliament’s approval, in any way they saw fit. What was an outright and unambiguous lie was the Remainer claim that the UK receives money from the EU each year.