The Brexit fightback has begun, and with some panache. Forget about the indeterminate BoJo and Gove. I am talking about historian Robert Tombs and economist Graham Gudgin, who have launched Briefings for Brexit. Thanks to the brilliant (and now converted) Bryan Appleyard for his Sunday Times listing of the great minds behind it who think alike, that he splashed as Brains for Brexit (a much sexier soundbite) it got off to a rip-roaring start.
With a roll-call of economists, philosophers, lawyers, foreign and social policy experts, psychologists, historians, scientists, political scientists and business leaders, those who voted Leave can no longer be dismissed as dim or racist – an appallingly ignorant smear on 17million Britons, note, who so voted.
The voices of Brexit doom, gloom and disaster should not get such an easy ride from now on. And the BBC has no excuse for more bias, not that it ever had one. With this long list of pro-Brexit experts, it will be spoilt for choice. Double up the monitoring, you BBC watchers!
But stopping die-hard Remainers determined to stymie Brexit does not come without cost. Our brainboxes are up against the big money. George Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire, to start with. He recently donated £400,000 to the questionably named Best for Britain campaign. This is the campaign which openly seeks to reverse Brexit and to defy the referendum result.
Yesterday the FT reported that thanks to George’s generosity, they’re planning an advertising blitz to promote the benefits of close alignment with the EU. “There will be some billboards but there’ll also be a lot of digital spending too,” said Eloise Todd. Best for Britain has so far declared donations of about £1.2m including the now £500,000 from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and £172,000 from an online fundraiser, set up after rightwing newspapers attacked Mr Soros this month.
Then there is Jolyon Maugham QC, the barrister at the forefront of the latest legal challenge to Brexit, who you could describe as the pro bono and crowd funding maestro of the Remain pack. He raised the £300,000 for the Gina Miller case. This time round, so far, he is backed by a crowd-funded war-chest of nearly £60,000. So despite his recent mauling in the Scottish Court of Session, he is now proceeding to appeal in his quest to have the European Court of Justice rule that the UK’s Article 50 notification to exit the EU can be unilaterally revoked.
Meanwhile Article 50 Challenge, another crowd-funded campaign, has raised a staggering £140,000 to support a meritless attempt to persuade the High Court that we haven’t yet decided to leave the EU.
Lawyers for Britain have done a good job so far, intervening in the Gina Miller case in the Supreme Court. But they need support.
This is why I am flagging up this opportunity to listen to Sir Richard Aikens, former Lord Justice of Appeal and President of Lawyers for Britain, discuss ‘The Intellectual Case for Brexit’ alongside historian Professor Robert Tombs. The discussion will be held at University College London, at 6.15pm tomorrow, Thursday 22 February. The event is free to attend. Further details and registration can be found at this link:
They need our support.