Tuesday, May 28, 2024
HomeNewsCome on, Leavers, filibuster till Friday

Come on, Leavers, filibuster till Friday


THE shenanigans and idiocies in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels continue to bewilder those of us involved in creating the employment and wealth that pays the taxes rendered to government to squander.

The chaos also causes me to type something that I never envisaged, which is that Bercow’s insertion of Erskine May into the debate was timely and, I think, necessary. While it may have infuriated some progressives, I find it comforting that we have more than 400 years of precedent to regulate how Parliament works. (Such stable political infrastructure may also explain why the UK – well, England – is generally viewed as a safe place to invest in terms of political risk. Note that all of our EU partners, bar Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Finland, existed geographically in 1945, but not politically, as they had been conquered by Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or, if they were as lucky as Poland and the Baltic States, both. Our system of government is far longer established. New is not necessarily progressive, it might just be immature.)

An article in the Telegraph highlights the problem. It considers the aspiration of such luminaries of the self-proclaimed progressives (=socialists) such as John McDonnell and the noisy but empty vessel that is Owen Jones to bring politics into more and more of our lives, including the management of business. Neatly ignoring the evidence of British Leyland, British Coal and the rest of the nationalised industries that blighted my youth, they advocate worker representation in the management of companies. The article explains succinctly why this will not work and why it would become an economic disaster.

Meanwhile the progressives’ favourite billionaire has tweeted from his island paradise that he supports a second referendum. Branson was knighted in Tony Blair’s Cool Britannia phase (St Tone ignoring concerns about the VAT offences on which Virgin was founded). Is he now after a peerage? And, let’s get real, since St Tone’s bagman Alastair Campbell is prominent in the ludicrously named ‘People’s Vote’ campaign (who else votes? hamsters?) we can be sure that St Tone lurks in the background.

Back in the real world, the UK economy continues to grow, employment remains full and business is prepared for a hard Brexit. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Hammond, Letwin, Cooper and the like, the evidence is that the economy is working better than it ever has. So why is the leave campaign faltering? Sadly, the leave luminaries suffer from the same stunted ability as their remain colleagues in Westminster. The silence of Johnson and Gove speaks volumes – they’re positioning for a shot at taking over the mess from the Maybot. Rees-Mogg has spoken consistently and intelligently, but somehow the BBC has decided that he is a ‘swivel-eyed loon’ (to quote another failed progressive). And the hard-core leave campaign, those who actually got us the referendum in the first place, have decided it’s time for a walk down the A1. Their amateurism defies belief; having set up the Brexit Party (with a website that is an embarrassment) they have already lost their first leader due to some unfortunate quotes. That puts Nigel Farage in the leading seat for the European elections.

But, and it’s a huge ‘but’, we shouldn’t be in the European elections. The key battles are this week, at Westminster. The key arguments remain about the implementation of Article 50 and what deal, if any, we want. The news should be full of a remorseless campaign from the leave politicians pointing out the idiocy of the May deal coming back again (insanity is repeating the same exercise and expecting a different outcome), the facts of the UK economy, the level of preparedness for No Deal/WTO and confronting the BBC and the rest of the remain machinery.

They should be challenging every putrid misrepresentation of fact from remain all the time. The reality is that if nothing changes we’re out on Friday, so all they have to do is occupy Parliament for a week (called filibustering). They should be pointing out to any and all MPs that the few known facts are that 17.4million people voted to leave, Mrs May’s deal – which was the best that the EU would offer – has been voted down twice, there is no room or time to negotiate a better deal and so it’s WTO on Friday.

They might also suggest that MPs trust the people who voted for them and the business and individuals that make this country great. These are the people whom you won’t often find on a demo in London as they have jobs to do and families to support. They may live far away. And there is no need for a march; Parliament asked people what it wanted to do about the EU and the majority said leave. So just do it.

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Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell is a former Army officer who has spent the last 30 years in commerce. He is the author of Net Zero: The Challenges, Costs and Consequences of the UK's Zero Emission Ambition. He has a substack here.

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