Supreme Court’s ruling won’t derail Brexit

 

It has come as no surprise that the Supreme Court has upheld the original ruling by the High Court that Parliament must vote on the triggering of Article 50.

However, there was one crumb of comfort – the judges dismissed calls for the Scottish Parliament to have any veto over the deal.

With this verdict widely anticipated, we understand that the Government has already drafted an enabling act designed to provide minimal opportunities for Remain-supporting MPs and peers to table amendments and it is unlikely that Parliament will try to derail it.

There have long been concerns that the House of Lords, which has historically been predominantly Europhile, may seek to block Brexit, but a statement earlier this month from  Lord Fowler, the speaker of the House of Lords, provides us with some encouragement:-

“The Lords recognise the primacy of the Commons based on the fact that they are the elected chamber and we are not… In return most MPs value the check that scrutiny by the Lords provides. We are not here to sabotage legislation – we are here to improve it.” 

In Mrs May’s speech last week, she ruled out continued membership of the Single Market, but did not go into any detail as to how British products could  circulate freely “within”  EU, as she has mentioned several times – or indeed, what the transitional arrangement at which she hinted  might entail

Consequentially, Labour sources have indicated that while they would try to amend legislation in four areas, including  a demand that the Government sets out its plans for Brexit in full, the party would not try to block the triggering of Article 50.

Jeremy Corbyn, interviewed by Sophy Ridge for Sky TV on Sunday was adamant that “We accept the result of the referendum. Parliament must reflect public decision.” and added “I will ask Labour MPs to respect the decision.”

It is likely that the opposition to the enabling act will be greater than the 89 MPs who voted against the earlier vote on triggering Article 50. Nevertheless, for all the concerns expressed in some quarters about Mrs May’s speech, the remoaners’ tactics have won them few friends since June 23rd, which has taken away their credibility, regardless of the legitimacy of their concerns. The latest outburst, from the philosopher A C Grayling, who called for a general strike over Brexit, is all too typical.

So Mrs May’s timetable for Article 50 looks still to be on course. We should be on our way out by the end of March by which time we will hopefully know a lot more about how she plans to extricate us seamlessly from the EU.

Switzerland follows Iceland in withdrawing EU membership application

For many years now, Swiss membership of the EU has seemed about as likely as Ken Clarke campaigning for Brexit. Yesterday (16th June), the country followed Iceland in formally withdrawing its membership application.

The bilateral treaties which govern Switzerland’s relationship with the EU took well over a decade to negotiate and are thus unsuitable as an immediate post-Brexit model for the UK, given the two-year timescale of Article 50. However, looking to the longer term, there is much about Switzerland’s internal political system which is worthy of emulation, notably its strong democratic process, which enables ordinary voters to hold their elected representatives to account via binding referendums.

The understandable reluctance to surrender this power is a strong factor behind the long-standing Swiss hostility to the EU. The only surprise about yesterday’s announcement is that it has been so long in coming. Perhaps the timing may reflect a desire to help the Brexit cause in the UK? We can only guess, but, according to the Daily Mail. Thomas Minder, counsellor for Schaffhausen state and an active promoter of the concept of ‘Swissness,’ told Neue Zürcher Zeitung he was eager to ‘close the topic fast and painlessly’ as only ‘a few lunatics’ may want to join the EU now.

On the front line – thoughts from one campaigner

The big difference between this campaign and 1975 is the involvement of so many local activists and campaign groups. This means that, while high-profile politicians dominate the news headlines, there is a great deal going on underneath the radar of the media – local meetings, street stalls, leafletting and one-to-one conversations. The willingness of ordinary people up and down the country to give so much of their time to secure our country’s freedom will prove to have been a crucial factor in our victory if we win the referendum. In ones and twos, undecided voters and even a few “soft” supporters of remain are being won over.

As an example of how local groups and activists are making a difference, here are the thoughts of John Hart, who has been making the case for withdrawal in his neighbourhood in recent weeks.    

Survey size & duration: A few score people interviewed by me personally one-to-one over the past month (gym, pub etc), with email follow-ups, with an additional few score interacted with exclusively over the email, sometime in bulk, mostly in ones and twos.

Location & character of surveyed individuals: Middle England, in the form of northeast Hampshire, for the interview effort. The email campaign was national (England & Wales), involving the National CV history network and relatives, friends and acquaintances.

Conclusions:

For every 10 people 2-3 for LEAVE (men more than women), 3 for REMAIN (women more than men), 4 or more UNDECIDED

Ignorance and delusion are rife. Economic consequences of Brexit are the overriding mega-concern. Self-rule, loss thereof, isn’t understood and doesn’t cut much ice when described, though mention of the REMAIN group as ‘Project Treason’ enabled some traction to be gained; and immigration is not a big worry around here, though the special case of Islamic terrorism excites profound anxiety universally.

Mostly useless to engage REMAINERS. They are in the grip of Euro-progressivism as the wave of the future, seeing themselves as cosmopolitan. They often have strong links with the Continent and see the continuation of these threatened by Brexit, with the Brexiteers themselves being patronised as throw-backs to an earlier phase of human evolution or actual fossils (“It’s a generational thing!”). A group that can be characterised as ‘metropolitan pinkos’ are especially prone to evince the aforementioned ideas.

UNDECIDEDS predominate, meaning all is to play for, as they are open-minded. A very commonly articulated opinion in this group is that a Big Voice has yet to emerge on the LEAVE side. More information is needed, these people say, for minds to be made up. They weren’t asking for more REMAIN insights because they have already heard the main message from that side: “Be afraid of economic meltdown!”

Two REMAINERS and quite a number of UNDECIDEDS have been moved towards LEAVE by this survey exercise.

Summary: LEAVE, having a more compelling and passionate story in the round and many more ardent advocates than the opposition, can win this referendum by outcanvassing the REMAINERS locally, but it would help enormously if the amplification was turned up by LEAVE centrally.

Hypocrisy of PM eulogising the Queen while abolishing her realm

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)

 

News Release

 

22nd April 2016

 

The ‘hypocrisy’ of a Prime Minister eulogising the Queen while trying to take away her realm

 

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has taken exception to David Cameron’s eulogising Her Majesty the Queen on the sovereign’s 90th birthday, while he is simultaneously leading a campaign to abolish Britain as a nation state.

Lord Stoddart said:  “It is the most nauseating hypocrisy for the Prime Minister and other political leaders to eulogise Her Majesty on the occasion of Her 90th birthday while, simultaneously, organising a national and international lobby to bounce the British people into voting to remain in the European Union at the referendum on 23rd June.  This is an organisation, whose policy it is to abolish nation states, including Her Majesty’s own realm.

“They have already made Her Majesty a citizen of the European Union without consulting her.  Anyone with genuine respect for the Queen should vote to leave, which will protect her and our country from the EU’s aggressive empire building.”

 

Ends

The anger about that Government leaflet

Understandably, we have recently received a number of e-mails from people furious that the Government is going to spend £9.3 million of our money producing a 14-page colour brochure telling us how good the EU is. If you wish to sign a petition against it, here is the link. Already over 100,000 people have signed, which is sufficient to oblige Parliament to “consider” the matter for debate but regrettably, it is not likely to have any effect.

On a more positive note, we are very thankful to those supporters who have directed their anger into a donation, enabling us to produce more material to counter the government’s arguments.

What does the brochure actually say?  From what others have gleaned, much of it extols the virtues of the Single Market, which, of course, we could continue to access from outside the EU by re-joining EFTA and availaing ourselves of the European Economic Area agreement. EEA/EFTA also knocks on the head the predictable fear tactics which the leaflet contains, e.g.,

“Voting to leave the EU would create years of uncertainty and potential economic disruption. This would reduce investment and cost jobs. The Government judges it could result in 10 years or more of uncertainty as the UK unpicks our relationship with the EU and renegotiates new arrangements with the EU and over 50 other countries around the world.”

Unfortunately, any pro-leave group without a credible exit plan is going to be vulnerable to this sort of tactic, as Richard North argues.

Remarkably, we are still hearing of undecided voters who are coming down in favour of withdrawal, but a convincing victory is going to be very challenging as long as this vulnerability remains. Some people may distrust the government so much that they won’t believe a word of the brochure, but not enough. Withdrawal from the EU can be risk-free with the EEA/EFTA option, but unless our fellow-countrymen are made aware of this, all too many of them may fall for the Government propaganda.

Not all expats want to stay in

Cameron and his friends are still playing the fear game for all they are worth. The Expat comunity has been particularly heavily targeted. Last year, we highlighted an appalling piece of misinformation originating from the former Attorney General, Dominc Grieve, stating that withdrawal would result in our expats becoming stateless – illegal immigrants in other words.

An article in today’s Daily Telegraph suggests that  the fear tactics  are having an effect. Apparently, “experts {are} predicting an exodus from the continent if voters opt to leave the bloc. Access to healthcare, the value of pensions and the right to study overseas are among the fears British citizens abroad harbour.”

As we have pointed out, their fears are without foundation. Rejoining EFTA, a popular move with voters in this country, would ensure that life carries on as normal for the expats.

It clearly isn’t proving easy to reach expats with these words of reassurance and we strongly recommend all our readers to spread the word to any of our fellow-countrymen and women in their acquaintance who live abroad.

However, it isn’t true that all of them will be voting to stay, purely out of fear. We were recently forwarded an article which Roger Helmer MEP had spotted.   It quotes Wendy Simpson, a former executive with the CBI who  lives abroad and supports leaving. She may have retired but has not forgotten her days as a businesswoman and her frustrations that, in her words “so much that comes out of Brussels is unnecessary and hampers business”.

The article quoted from other expats on both sides of the debate. It is clear that the Spanish government is not playing fair. One  expat was asked “why don’t you go home?” and the article claims that Madrid is saying a new deal would have to be negotiated for expats to access healthcare and other services.  Well, this is true to a point, but once again, rejoining EFTA knocks those concerns on the head – it deals with those negotiations at a stroke.  Just as there won’t be millions of Poles fleeing the UK on June 24th, so there will be no mass return of expats to the UK. End of story.

Photo by sky_hlv