Mrs Betty Simmerson has recently died aged 92 but will never be forgotten. She and her husband, Reg, were among the first fighters against the United Kingdom joining the EEC and their consistent and active opposition heartened and inspired others to support the fight and to join it. When Reg died, Betty continued to campaign for our withdrawal from what has become the European Union and she supported The Campaign for an Independent Britain and many other organisations fighting for the freedom to govern ourselves. We should all be glad that she lived just long enough to see her own consistent efforts and those of others, including Reg, to regain the freedom to govern ourselves supported by the British people. Our country is now on the road to recovering its sovereignty so cavalierly sacrificed by successive parliaments since 1973.
Betty will be missed by all who knew her and she has died as a heroine of the great and successful campaign to get our country back. During the Second World War Betty nursed wounded servicemen returning from battlefields on occasions, she told me, severely burned or with intestines hanging out. At night she would be on the roof of her London hospital with a stirrup pump putting out incendiary bombs fires. She is remembered for the occasion when she aimed and hit Edward Heath with brown paper bags filled with flour at a Common Market meeting in Caxton Hall and was dragged away to be interrogated by Scotland Yard. She sold her grand piano to take activists to Belgium to demonstrate against Heath as he signed the treaty taking us into the Common Market and was thrown into prison because Heath had ordered no demonstrations should be allowed to spoil the occasion. Looking like everyone’s favourite grandmother, Betty was truly a British patriotic through and through.
(Photograph shows George West, CIB’s then Chairman, presenting an award to Mrs Betty Simmerson on 4th April 2009 at the CIB Annual Meeting in London.)
The Leave Alliance, of which the Campaign for an Independent Britain is a member, has produced a further Brexit monograph: International Quasi-legislation and the eu
Alternatively, a full list of monographs can be found on this page of the Leave Alliance website.
Précis of this and all other monographs can also be found on the CIB website
All are well worth reading, setting out some of the issues we will need to face when negotiating our exit from the EU.
Since the referendum result, we have been holding informal discussions with friends and allies from left to right of the political spectrum about the best way to keep pressure on the government to deliver its BREXIT promise.
In the midst of such discussions on 11th July, we heard that that Mrs Leadsom had withdrawn from the Conservative leadership election and that Mrs. May would therefore be the new Prime Minister – and very much more quickly than expected.
Whilst many campaigners would have preferred a Brexit campaigner, Mrs May has reasserted her determination to deliver BREXIT and she now effectively has another two months to hasten the process. We intend to give her every encouragement in that.
Mr. Cameron was so confident of a “Remain” vote that he had forbidden the civil service to make any “Plan B” for leaving. So it would be ridiculous to urge the government into prematurely starting negotiations before it has had time to formulate its policy and negotiating strategy.
There is a period now when the Independence Movement has an opportunity to make its views known to those in authority before negotiations with the EU start. This has come rather sooner and more urgently than we expected.
We have to bear in mind the parameters under which the decisions will be made and to be realistic. In the House of Commons roughly half the Conservative party, the DUP and the Labour rebels were for BREXIT. The other half of the Conservative party and everybody else was either pro EU or at least EU-acquiescent – an overwhelmingly Europhile House. The House of Lords is even more solidly ( and rather defiantly) Europhile.
So the delivery of BREXIT will largely depend on the discipline of the Conservative party in keeping its Europhile MPs to its policy of leaving the EU. Some people have demanded a general election but we now have fixed term parliaments. This one has nearly four years to run – an adequate time for the government to deliver its promise and to have an independence settlement in place, up and running by the time of the next general election in May 2020. We in CIB want to do everything to ensure that this is what happens and that the terms are the most favourable possible from a trade point of view whilst establishing unequivocally that our country is definitively, irrevocably independent from the EU’s political project.
Shouting slogans will not do it. We have to focus our efforts in a disciplined way and apply them to the situation as it exists. This we are trying to do to the best effect but it is going to take some more time to establish a common general approach amongst the diverse Independence Movement.
The National Committee Meeting
The Campaign for an Independent Britain
28 June 2016
Opened with prayer by the Reverend Philip Foster
O ALMIGHTY God, the Sovereign Commander of all the world, in whose hand is power and might which none is able to withstand; We bless and magnify thy great and glorious name for this happy Victory, the whole glory whereof we ascribe unto thee, who art the only giver of Victory.
And, we beseech thee, give us grace to improve this great mercy to thy glory, the advancement of thy Gospel, the honour of our Sovereign and, as much as in us lieth, to the good of all mankind. And, we beseech thee, give us such a sense of this great mercy, as may engage us to a true thankfulness, such as may appear in our lives by an humble, holy and obedient walking before thee all our days, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit, as for all thy mercies, so in particular for this Victory and Deliverance, be all glory and honour,
world without end. Amen.
From Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, after Victory or Deliverance from an Enemy, Book of Common Prayer 1662 .
Both of us have opposed our country’s absorption into “a country called Europe” since the Seventies. We each knew that there was something wrong with the project and that is was not the mere “Common Market” which the Government held it out to be.
Gradually we found groups of like-minded people and worked together with them over the years, eventually joining CIB where we have the privilege of working with people from all parties and none to get our country back.
So the vote to leave the EU is the culmination of the hope and toil of decades. We thank our CIB colleagues who have worked so very hard in this campaign and all the volunteers from all groups whom we have been able to help with leaflets, advertising, funds, speakers and arrangements for meetings and debates all over the country. Neither do we forget those who have gone before us and did not live to see this day. Their generous bequests have been put to good use to achieve this victory. From joining activists in the streets and talking to members of the public, we felt that opinion was moving in our direction more strongly than the opinion polls suggested. We believe it is these volunteers who got us the victory.
Groups have sprung up all over the country. It is important for them to keep in touch with each other and with us and not to disband. This Army of Democracy needs a rest and refit but its task is not finished until we are finally out of the EU. Mobilised public opinion will be required to keep Parliament and Government to their promises. We will be working with other groups to keep this army in being and to improve its effectiveness.
So, whilst we are exhilerated by this victory, we cannot relax.
George West – President Edward Spalton – Chairman
Recent polling is looking encouraging for the “leave” campaign and one significant boost is that some people, although concerned about the economic impact of of Brexit, still want us to leave.
However, three significant businessmen have expressed their support for Brexit. Sir James Dyson put it bluntly:- “When the Remain campaign tells us no one will trade with us if we leave the EU, sorry, it’s absolute cobblers. Our trade imbalance with Europe is running at nine billion a month and rising. If this trend continues, that is £100bn a year.”
Equally forthright is Lord Bamford of JCB. He sent the letter below to all his staff. “Do I wish to remain in an EU of diminishing importance as it moves towards ever-closer union? Or do I want us to pull out of the EU, reclaim our sovereignty and regain control of how we trade with Europe and the world?” he asks.
A more unusual way of showing support for Brexit has come from Jeremy Hosking of Marathon Asset Management. Mr Hosking, who has donated £500,000 to the leave campaign, owns 13 steam locomotives, 10 of which either already are or will eventually be registered to run on our main lines. Tomorrow, the Referendum Express, hauled by No 46100 Royal Scot, owned by Mr Hosking, will run from Crewe to York. On board will be a number of well-known Brexit campaigners and if you want to wave them on their way, the timings for tomorrow’s run, which is routed via Warrington, Accrington and Hebden Bridge, can be found here.
It is unfortunate that the aptly-named Britannia (seen departing Salisbury in 2011 in the image above) is currently under repair, but we can be confident that Royal Scot will not be emblazoned with any figures about how much we pay to the EU every week on the side of its boiler!
Talking of Scots, Gordon Brown has been invited by David Cameron to “relaunch” the remain campaign – an admission of his failure to sell “Project Fear” to voters. Will the great Clunking Fist deliver the goods for Remain, just as he as credited with turning the Scottish independence referendum campaign round 18 months ago? He has never enjoyed much popularity south of the border and with good reason. After all, this was the man who raided our pension funds, wrecked our economy and was too ashamed to join in the public signing of the Lisbon Treaty after having refused to grant the electorate a referendum. Thankfully, with such as CV, it is hard to imagine that he will prove any better an ambassador for the EU than his successor.