Thursday, June 13, 2024
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The delivery of Brexit – my pledge


WE in the Brexit Party enjoyed another complicit interview yesterday on the BBC Radio Four Today programme. This time it was Bank of England governor Mark Carney full of obfuscation and busily dissembling with the aid of the presenter.

I have written before about my personal experience of that programme even before the referendum period. I awaited interview in the green room when I was merely DG of the British Chambers of Commerce. The Business Editor came to talk through what he would ask and quizzed me as to why the economy was growing strongly and yet wages were not rising. I explained there were a number of factors ending with the fact that an unlimited supply of cheap labour from the EU was leading to a disincentive to business investment, low productivity and low wages. At that point the Editor said he wouldn’t then ask me that question on air, presumably because it did not fit the BBC narrative. I said it anyway, as I am not fond of censorship.

I recall this incident, not just because of yet another bias piece on the Today programme (hardly news!), but because it reminded me that I had only just before that interview, in early 2016, had one of my regular meetings with Mr Carney, where even he acknowledged that migration was beginning to have a downward pressure on wages, not that he would ever say this publicly.

On the occasion of his latest interview he had decided to intervene in the question of a clean break Brexit by obfuscating about the question of an Article 24 GATT agreement in which he neatly confused ‘most favoured nation’, which would require the parties to apply the same tariffs to all and a standstill in anticipation of a Free Trade Arrangement, thus allowing him and the BBC to paint the usual Armageddon picture.

Let us be clear. It is perfectly possible, if both the EU and UK agree, for us to leave the EU on the 31st of October and continue with our current trading arrangements until an FTA is signed, with no restrictions on the UK and with a very simple exit agreement. It just requires a will to do it. I personally went to see the World Trade Organisation in Geneva in January this year, in my capacity as chairman of Leave Means Leave, and got it from the horse’s mouth. If the UK government did not propose this it is because they didn’t want it, because they wanted to keep us close and to keep us in. If the EU refuse it, it is because they do not want to facilitate a smooth exit, because they want to punish us and to keep us in. Both these scenarios describe precisely why we must leave, deal or no deal. But a deal is possible, a managed clean-break deal.

Perhaps as important a question in relation to the Carney interview is why he and the BBC decided to intervene in a most political way at a point when the contest to be the next PM is down to two, one of whom, Boris Johnson, has suggested that he may be prepared to leave ‘without a deal’.

One also wonders why the current, and I hope not for long, Chancellor Philip Hammond has decided to threaten to bring down the government should a new PM try to deliver the democratic mandate of the electorate as exemplified in a referendum and a general election, to have the audacity to try to fulfil the Conservative Party manifesto at that!

Politics is in a bewildering place and actions are being taken by the UK/EU establishment which now seem normal but would have seemed unconscionable a few years ago. The ignoring of the electorate, the disregard for the constitution, the bending of the truth and editorial bias on an industrial scale is creating the atmosphere of a civil war.

As Nigel Farage is wont to say, democracy can function only if the losers give consent to the winners. Once this breaks down democracy breaks down. Once democracy breaks down the establishment no longer have entitlement, they no longer have consent.

As a nation, we are at an important juncture in our political discourse. If a new PM and an existing Parliament do not take Britain out of the EU there will be an end in trust in politics, the system and for that matter, the media. There is little trust as it is.

But what if we do ‘leave’ on the 31st, given the utter disregard for the electorate and for Brexit so far? How will we know it is actually Brexit and not just another stitched up ‘BRINO’, like Theresa May’s pathetic colony status treaty, otherwise known as the withdrawal agreement? Who will be the independent arbitrator?

There are many good and true people who understand the issues and who have consistently put country before party, before personal ambition. In politics MPs across parties such as Owen Paterson, David Jones, Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Sammy Wilson, all members of the Leave means Leave Advisory Board.

Also, observers and commentators such as Edgar Millar and Roger Bootle of Economists for a Free Trade, John Mills of Labour Leave, Mark Littlewood of the IEA, to name just a few.

However, I think those in the electorate who are passionate about Brexit and about democracy- because it has become a matter of democracy – and there are millions who are, will most recognise and trust a small number of individuals to tell them the truth, even if they are not close enough to the decisions themselves to see through the bumbling and dissembling.

I pledge that, as chairman of Leave Means Leave and newly elected MEP for the Brexit Party, I will, without fear or favour, call out the delivery of Brexit. That is me.

Then there is the leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, and the chairman of the Brexit Party and vice chairman of Leave Means Leave, Richard Tice.

Finally we must look to Steve Baker MP, the spokesman of the ERG group in Parliament.

I would commend these four to be the judge of Brexit delivered or otherwise.

Beware Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, beware Parliament and beware the media. No longer can the establishment create their own version of the truth.

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John Longworth
John Longworth
John Longworth is Chairman of the Independent Business Network of family businesses, a former Conservative MEP and was previously Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.

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