The good boys (and girls) of Brexit – you and me!

As Leo McKinstry pointed out, Remoaners are “the sorest losers in modern British history.” These arrogant individuals just cannot accept that more than half of those who voted in the June 2016 referendum decided  that we were better off returning to normality – in other words, re-joining the rest of the world as a self-governing nation. They ignore that fact that this incredible result was achieved in spite of the Leave side being very much the underdogs. Cameron chose to fight on as favourable ground for Remain as possible – a short campaign where the full government machinery was used to encourage us to stay in and giving us precious little time to put our point of view across. What is more, he recognised that there were bitter divisions within the Leave camp and no agreed exit plan, which worked to his advantage.

In spite of all these handicaps, we won – admittedly by a small margin. Had the referendum been held in the second half of 2017, as was widely anticipated in the months either side of the 2015 General Election, thus giving us longer to explain the true nature of the European Union, I have no doubt that Leave would have won by a far greater margin.

Even so, I doubt if the remoaners would have behaved any differently. The whingeing, the claims that geriatrics and the great unwashed swung if for Leave and the muck-raking around leading Leave campaigners would have been just the same if it had been a 60-40 majority.

The latest remoaner whinger to be brought to our attention is Molly Scott-Cato, the Green MEP for the South West.  She has launched a website which has borrowed its title from Arron Banks’ book describing the “Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign”,  The Bad Boys of Brexit. Unlike Mr Banks’ however, book, it isn’t a fun read, but then, humour has always been a conspicuously lacking feature of the eternally self-righteous Green Party.

The website features short biographies of 21 leading figures in the Leave campaign, prefaced by the chilling warning that “I think you will find what you read here frightening” as the website claims to “unpick, using widely available and credible sources, the stories of the people who funded and ran the dishonest and opaque campaigns that persuaded a majority of UK citizens to make a decision damaging to their future. Much of what happened remains shrouded in secrecy and considerable efforts have been made to hide the ugly truth.”

In all honesty. no one would admit that the referendum was won by a group of angels. Politicians and businessmen have their faults and some of the leading figures who supported leave have made some serious mistakes. We are reminded about Dr Liam Fox, for instance, who  “featured prominently in the Westminster expenses scandal of 2010, when it emerged that he had claimed more from the public purse than any other shadow minister.” Fair enough, but what about that arch-remainer Peter Mandelson? He has been at the centre of a scandal or two during his political career.  The implication that the remainers can somehow claim the moral high ground does not stack up.

Some of these “bad boys'” main crime seems to be nothing more than not supporting the ideology of the Green Party. Matt Ridley is a climate change sceptic and a supporter of fracking. For your average Green, holding such views puts you a par with neo-Nazis, and mass murderers (except. of course, if the latter happen to be Islamists).

Jacob Rees-Mogg‘s biggest crime merely seems to be that he is very rich  and that he sensibly has decided that he is better equipped to decide how to spend his own money that the State. What is wrong with that? Everything, it seems, if you are a Green.

I had never previously heard of Alexander Nix, whose main contribution to the leave campaign was via his company Cambridge Analytica, which skillfully targeted voters with an appropriate message on social media. So it’s fine for the government to use taxpayers’ money to produce a booklet telling us to stay in but somehow it’s wrong for the Leave side to hire a private firm to persuade us to leave?

Making contact with anyone connected with the Russian government is another heinous crime in Molly Scott-Cato’s eyes. For some reason,  even though Peter Hitchens correctly pointed out that Russia is as much a threat to the UK as the Klingons, it doesn’t seem to have dawned on some people that Putin’s Russia isn’t the same as the Soviet Union and doesn’t want either to invade us or to turn us into a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship (Perhaps she would be better advised to direct her self-righteous anger against John McDonnell instead, as he seems rather keener on this idea than Mr Putin). Scott-Cato’s  website suggests that she is happy to believe any “fake news” suggesting that Russia interfered with Brexit, with the US Presidential election and so on, while at the same presenting a very one-sided  view of the  Russia/Ukraine conflict with no mention of the covert EU support for the overthrow of the democratically elected but pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovich  in 2014,

The biggest criticism of this website, however, does not relate to the selective biographies of any one individual but rather to the implicit claim that somehow, these individuals bear the sole responsibility for the Brexit vote. In actual fact, as we pointed out on that memorable day when the result was announced. you did it – “the thousands of ordinary people who gave of their time and money so readily to distribute hundreds and thousands of leaflets and to canvass and campaign on the streets of our towns, cities and villages.”  It was truly a victory for grassroots campaigners who rolled up their sleeves and gave their all; unknown individuals with no skeletons in their cupboard to qualify them for inclusion on this insidious “bad boys” website. The likes of Molly Scott-Cato have had to lash out at the high-profile names because they cannot bring themselves to admit the truth of this.

I recall one such individual. I was having breakfast at a B&B in Hampshire after taking part in a debate in a neighbouring village the previous evening. A fellow guest joined me and we started chatting (unsurprisingly) about the referendum which, at the time, was less than two weeks away. I found out that he was going to vote leave and when I told him I had a few spare copies of our leaflets in my car, he asked if he could take them to distribute round the village in Somerset where he lived. To my knowledge, this gentleman had never done any political campaigning in his life before  – and probably hasn’t since.

Then there was that unforgettable “Battle of the Thames” six days before the actual vote when Fishing For Leave organised a flotilla of fishing boats which sailed under Tower Bridge and up to the Houses of Parliament, making a complete fool of Bob Geldof in the process. Our fishermen are not billionaires or sleazy politicians but widely-respected hard-working men who earn their living in challenging conditions, made much harder by the EU’s appalling mismanagement of fishing in our waters. Sympathy for their plight unquestionably boosted the Leave vote. I recall at least one hitherto undecided voter for whom fisheries was the issue which finally tipped him into supporting leave. He was not the only one, I am sure.

One hesitates to give an individual like Molly Scott-Cato the oxygen of publicity, but the sheer amount of claptrap on her website does merit a refutation. No one would deny that the leave-supporting media and some prominent individuals did play a part in securing the historic leave vote, but it is an insult to the many ordinary activists and the huge sacrifices they made to suggest that the result was entirely due to the big names. Yes, I do find the website frightening but not for the reason which the author suggests. Rather it is because it reveals the disdain for ordinary people, the arrogant bigotry and the insane jealousy which characterises the Greens. In the past, they  managed to hide these traits under the cloak of caring for the environment but websites like this show them in their true colours and it is not pleasant.

Fishing for Leave bests Geldof’s motley crew

Earlier this year, the Campaign for Independent Britain published a booklet by John Ashworth of Restore Britain’s Fish entitled The Betrayal of Britain’s Fishing to the European Union. It was based on a series of articles which appeared on our website a couple of months earlier.

John, who spent his entire working life in the fishing industry, has been advising the Fishing for Leave group, who were organising a big demonstration to highlight the damage which the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has done to our fishing industry.  Yesterday was their big day. A flotilla of fishing boats from several parts of the UK assembled at Southend at 5AM to sail up the Thames. They arrived at Tower Bridge (which had to be raised to accommodate some of the larger larger Scottish vessels) at 10AM.  It was a very moving moment when the fishing boats appeared, some of which had travelled hundreds of miles to make their point about how the iniquitous CFP has damaged their livelihood.

After mooring the larger boats by HMS Belfast, seven smaller boats, headed by a contingent from Ramsgate, sailed off via London Bridge to Westminster to make their protest outside the Houses of Parliament.  Their presence would have made David Cameron’s statement at Prime Minister’s Question Time (which was going on at the time) that the UK’s fishing industry was “much better off today than it was five years ago” ring very hollow.

There was a good crowd on London Bridge as the boats sailed past while Westminster Bridge had something of a carnival atmosphere as hundreds of people jammed the pavement to show their support for our fishermen. John had travelled down from his home in Yorkshire with a suitcase full copies of the booklet, which were all received gladly, both by passers-by and fishermen’s groups who were part of the crowd. As an East Sussex resident, I was particularly pleased to meet a group of Hastings fishermen who enthusiastically accepted a few  copies to take back with them. “This booklet will make you very angry, ” I warned them!

Besides the UK press, a considerable number of  foreign radio and TV stations were present. Arron Brown, the Scottish fisherman who had organised the event, was inundated with request for interviews and John Ashworth was interviewed by TV channels from  Sweden, France and Russia. Danish and Polish press teams were also present. They would all have come away under no illusions about our passion to leave the EU and in particular, the depth of support we feel for our fishermen.

Of course, those of us watching from the shoreline were only partly aware of the shenanigans going on with Bob Geldof’s pro-remain counter-demonstration. Even as the first boats passed under Tower Bridge, a few little dinghies flying their “in” flags could be seen bobbing around between the fishing boats. I can’t claim to be unbiased, but they really looked pathetic. Quite frankly, it was an insult to people who work so hard for their living in very adverse conditions. I had the chance to  spend a few minutes on board one of the larger vessels which had come down from the North East of Scotland and was made very welcome by the crew, but even without being given a full conducted tour of the boat, it was obvious that this was no luxury craft as far as accommodation was concerned.

The showdown between Geldof’s boat and that carrying Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey likewise did nothing to enhance the “remain” cause. One could not but consider the white flags they waved saying “In” looked like a flag of surrender. I couldn’t make out what the cacophony blasted out from his vessel was all about. Only by reading the press coverage of the event afterwards did I discover that it was a 1960s song which I had never heard of, entitled  “In with the In Crowd” and quite frankly, I don’t think from what I heard yesterday that my previous ignorance about this musical masterpiece has been any great loss.

A correspondent informed me this morning that the skipper of the vessel which Geldof hired may face prosecution. Certainly, their behaviour, in particular making rude gestures at Mr Farage, won them few friends. Owen Bennett, a reporter who saw things close at hand, reported thatOne man on a fishing boat was almost shaking with anger as he shouted across to us how the quota system was destroying his industry. He didn’t want to be lectured by Geldof, who seemed more intent on calling Nigel Farage a w***** than expressing a genuine interest in the fishing industry.

And this is what has wrong-footed the Remain campaign. Geldof and the like fail to appreciate that, in John Mills’ words, “The EU may work for the metropolitan élite – but it doesn’t for most working people.” Our fishermen yesterday illustrated this truth in a particularly graphic  and moving way. It was a privilege to have been there to support them.

The report of yesterday’s events on the Fishing for Leave website is well worth reading.

The Clyde demonstration planned for this morning has been cancelled as a mark of respect for the murdered MP Jo Cox. Fishing For Leave has stated on its website that it was not in the interest of public safety to proceed with the protest in the Clyde following ‘viable threats’ from Remain campaigners who claimed there would be “Armageddon” at the demonstration.