YESTERDAY Jeremy Corbyn accused the Prime Minister of intimidating MPs into voting her deal through. ‘The government is trying to run down the clock in an attempt to blackmail this House and the country into supporting a botched deal,’ he said. ‘We’re now told, if we don’t support it, the government is prepared to push our whole economy off a cliff edge.’
Right, for once, that’s exactly what May wants MPs to fear – a ‘cliff edge’, though it’s no such thing. ‘It’s all hot air’, he concluded. Quite.
With less than a week to go before the critical vote, MPs remain bent on making sure the British public never find out. Back after Christmas plotting, our Parliamentarians simply can’t help their elitist selves. Two hundred of them have signed a letter to Theresa May urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit – in other words to kill off any chance of a return to WTO rules. Meantime leftie Tory MP Robert Halfon has hatched a ‘Common Market 2.0’ proposal to throw into the ring. Co-authored with Labour MP Lucy Powell, this repackaged and respun ‘Norway option’ is supported by usual band of Remainiac suspects – Oliver Letwin, Nick Boles, Nicky Morgan and Stephen Kinnock. Either they’ve not read Ruth Lea’s explanation of why Norway is no way to Brexit or they don’t care that it would restrict the scope for regulatory reform, our freedom to negotiate new trade agreements and would say goodbye to controlling our own immigration policy, leaving us a law taker not a law maker.
Like Mrs May’s capitulation it ignores what the majority of decent British people voted for succumbing to that EU rule – once in, never out – the veritable Hotel California journey from innocence to experience brilliantly explained by Professor Gwythian Prins in his Briefings for Brexit podcast of November which you can listen to here.
His is not a household name. But it should be. Few are more lucid or more knowledgeable, as Michael St George flagged up last week. MPs should listen to Prins before they vote.
A member of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel from 2009 to 2015, today an Emeritus Research Professor at the London School of Economics, academic board member of Veterans for Britain as well as founder member of Briefings for Brexit, he is half Dutch and a fluent French speaker who’s also the Senior Visiting Professor at France’s top military school, L’école Spéciale Militaire de St Cyr.
Though somewhat naive about the imminent collapse of Mrs May’s government – and underestimating her terminator credentials, as he must now realise – his exposition of the enormity and scale of the deliberately engineered surrender to Brussels involved in Theresa May’s ‘Withdrawal’ Deal – of why it is so much more dangerous for Britain to stay than to leave, is second to none.
We have transcribed it – for ease of access – in four sections across this week, starting today on the true nature of the EU:
INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much indeed for talking to the Briefings for Brexit podcast series today. As you say, you are on the editorial board of B4B. Let’s begin with today. Theresa May is, as we speak, giving a statement to the House of Commons on her Brexit deal. Your reaction to it?
GWYTHIAN PRINS: Well my reaction is that the date of today is not actually the 15th November 2018. It is the 10th May 1940 because I think that the collapse which has begun in this government with the resignation of Dominic Raab will be very difficult to stop and I hope that it will not stop, because what is now important is that we have a prime minister manifestly in office but not in power, who must now be replaced with somebody who can deliver the will of the people. We need now to do what should always have happened in the first place, which is not negotiate with the EU, because we cannot negotiate with the EU as we will discuss in just a moment, it’s in the nature of the EU that it cannot negotiate. What we will do is that we will leave to trade with the EU as we do with the rest of the world on standard WTO terms. I do share the view of Jacob Rees-Mogg that it might be a good idea to offer an ex-gratia sum of money, perhaps £20 billion to the EU as we leave – not negotiating we’re simply making it as an offer – and that offer will be conditional upon their good behaviour over the trans-channel crossings. On Briefings for Brexit, we have had a very sensible suggestion from a contributor that that money should be put into an escrow account and it should not be paid out to the EU until they behave according to the deal. And that’s the deal. That’s the only deal that I can see that is reasonable. So I would be in favour of us now doing what we should have done two years ago, which is that we simply return to the normal world and we move away from this rapidly collapsing European Union.
Theresa May gave a statement to the media last night after her five-hour epic Cabinet meeting, when there was said to be ten or eleven dissenters to her Brexit deal. She said her heart and her head were behind this deal, that it was good for the UK and it was the best deal the UK could get from the EU. Do you agree with that?
I think the premise of the statement is completely ill-founded. She says, because she believes it, that she has to negotiate with the European Union. I do not agree with that view, because she does not understand – and her civil servants do not understand, or do not wish to communicate to the public, which is a different matter – the true nature of the European Union. So let’s deal with that. The European Union is so constructed that it is unable to negotiate anything. In Brussels they have a French saying for this: Il n’y a que texte – There is only the written text. And if you listen to Mr Barnier over the last two years, that’s what he’s been saying.
The written legalistic text.
Yes, the Acquis Communautaire as it’s called. And that Acquis Communautaire is a special sort of document, because it has a one-way ratchet attached to it. Every piece of legislation that moves from national authority into the authority of the EU is banked and it never comes back. It’s like going into a black hole, a sort of political black hole. So, the only thing that the EU was ever going to offer in a . . . in inverted commas, ‘negotiation’ is subordination to the EU’s methods of operating, which mean staying within the EU but as a rule-taker, having lost any power over our own sovereign control. So the exact opposite of what the 17.4 million people voted for, the exact opposite. And as was pointed out by Dominic Raab in his resignation letter – which will go down in history I think as a significant document – something which no democratic state, certainly not the oldest democratic state, and let us not forget the world’s second most important geopolitical power – which is what we are – and fifth largest economy, the most important European state bar none, to bow the neck and to agree to a vassal or serf relationship to a collapsing European political project is not tolerable. So she misunderstands the nature of the beast that she has been talking to. There is no deal to do. There never was, there never will be.
Theresa May began her premiership by triggering Article 50, giving the notice of leaving, we’re two years on from the 2016 June referendum which voted narrowly to Brexit. In the Commons just now, in her statement about her Brexit deal, she said it was, ‘This deal or no Brexit.’ Previously she had used the mantra, ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, we’ve now moved the ground, it’s shifted, haven’t we: ‘This deal or no Brexit.’
Yes. And I think you will find firstly two things, if I may correct what you just said: the result of the referendum was not narrow. Let’s be clear about that. This was the largest numerical vote for anything ever in the history of British democracy. And the margin was quite decisive compared to referenda around the world. This is one of the fictions which accompanied the Remainiac position, if I may give it its correct name, that is to say I call it that slightly disrespectfully, because these are people who disrespect the vote. These are those people who have been working day and night since June 2016 to overturn the will of the people. So they are the people who have perpetrated language such as ‘a narrow vote’ such as, ‘crashing out’ as the verb to describe leaving without negotiation. All of these things are indicative and they are mischievous. So firstly let’s distance ourselves from that. Secondly, Mrs May is now, in political terms, a dead woman walking. She is the past. Frankly, I don’t think it matters very much what she says, why she wishes to cling to an office in which she manifestly has no power is a question for psychologists rather than for historians or political scientists. I don’t think she will long be there. So therefore let us attend to the interests of the country.
But isn’t . . . isn’t that about the split in the Conservative Party rather than her leadership of it?
Well it depends what you mean by the Conservative Party. If you’re talking about the Conservative Members of Parliament, there is indeed a split. If you’re talking about the Conservative Party beyond the M25, where I live – in L’Angleterre Profonde’ – I live in Herefordshire, I am surrounded by people who voted – take my county as an example – by almost 70 per cent to leave the European Union. I’m surrounded by ordinary, decent English people and they voted to leave the European Union on a matter of principle. And this is the great difference in the two sides of the debate. The reason that the Remain side lost, and the reason that the Remainiacs will continue to lose is that they address the public as though this is a transactional deal about money. They say, ‘Oh you’re going to be worse off,’ or ‘Oh, trade is going to be disrupted,’ or . . . they’re trying now to frighten again with, you know, medicines are not going to be there, or aeroplanes are going to fall out of the sky, or you might have to pay more for your mobile phone calls . . .
Or grow your own lettuces.
Oh well that I’d be all in favour doing, we do that ourselves at home. But the point is simply this, let me make a practical example: four days before the referendum my wife and I bought a new greenhouse and it was delivered by some skilled workmen from Manchester. They came down. We live in the country, as I’ve told you, and we had in one of our fields, because we have horses, a big Vote Leave poster, so they knew our views. And over coffee we said to them, when they said to us, ‘We see that you’re supporting Leave’, we said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ And they supported Leave and they were very clear why. They said, because we asked them, ‘We support Leave because we see the return of our sovereignty as the fundamental issue, and we know it may cost us money. And we’re prepared to put up with sacrifice, because it’s a matter of principle.’ And that has been the thing which the other side, perhaps exemplified most egregiously by Matthew Parris in the Times who simply doesn’t understand this, constantly talking as though you can bribe people by saying, ‘Oh well, you’ll be better off if you support our lot,’ or, ‘It’ll all be economic chaos’, which, by the way, it will not be. So I think that we’re moving – and let’s move now to why those 17.4million people were so wise in their decision – we are moving, I think, fairly quickly now towards a situation in which we will do the right thing, which is that we will leave the European Union as instructed by the people and we will not do it on the basis of this 500-page surrender document. We will simply do it on WTO terms.
Tomorrow Professor Prins explains why the EU has now moved very firmly into the zone of the risk of its own final collapse.