A Wake-up call

In June’s General Election, a majority of young people voted for the Labour Party. It is hard to prove this statistically as votes are not analysed by age group, but we only have to look at our university towns, which are increasingly Labour strongholds, for evidence. This June, Canterbury, which boasts both the University of Kent and Christ Church University, turned Labour for the first time since the constituency was created in 1918.

From the Brexit point of view, Corbyn’s strong showing – and thus likely survival as Labour leader for the time being – is good news inasmuch as he is at best lukewarm about the EU. On the other hand, those young people who turned out in large numbers to support him are far more Europhile than their new hero, and what is more, the many areas where they do agree with him are a cause of great concern. They revolve around an ideology which, if it was ever implemented by a future Labour government, would take us out of the frying pan into the fire. The uncomfortable reality of how close Mr Corbyn came to No. 10 should act as a wake-up call to those of us who voted for Brexit because we value our freedom.

When I was the same age as Corbyn’s young admirers, the Labour Party contained a solid bloc both of MPs and members whose roots lay more in Methodism than Marxism. A pro-soviet socialist element could be found, but it was widely mistrusted both inside and outside the Parliamentary party. The collapse of the USSR may have been a blessing for the inhabitants of Eastern Europe, but it allowed something equally odious to creep in almost unnoticed – the so-called “Cultural Marxism” of the Frankfurt School. This influential group of Marxist academics came together in the 1920s to analyse why the 1917 Russian revolution failed to spread round the world. They decided that the principal obstacle was Western society, with its Christian foundation. By the 1960s, they had drawn up their battle plan to conquer it, described by one of their young acolytes, Rudi Dutschke as “the long march through the institutions” – subverting society by a gradual take-over of the professions, including educational establishments. The Blair government may have taken Labour away from the planned economy beloved of classic socialists but instead brought political correctness, a typical weapon from the Frankfurt School’s armoury, out from the fringes of so-called “loony left” councils to the mainstream.

Corbyn and his associates, while seeking to bring back the classic tax-and-spend and planned economy of Socialism, are also very much in tune with Cultural Marxism. The thought of such a man seizing power is truly worrying for anyone who values our historic liberties – regardless of his lukewarmness towards the EU. But 40% of the electorate and a still higher proportion of young people voted for him on June 8th. This is the hard fact, even though many of them would not have realised what a Labour victory would mean. After all, many university graduates voted Labour over one issue – the party’s promise to abolish university tuition fees. Many of them would have had no idea of the link between socialism and tyranny because of the way history is taught these days and even fewer realise that it would have been their generation which would ultimately have to spend the rest of their lives footing the bill if Corbyn’s la-la-land spending policy had ever been implemented.

Some, we hope, will become wiser on getting a job. After all, Winston Churchill once said, “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.” However, such has been the infiltration of these toxic ideas into our schools that something drastic will be required to rescue our young people from the consequences of the indoctrination they have suffered. Furthermore, Corbyn’s supporters are not just confined to the young or inhabitants of our “vibrant” cities. Evidence even from the pleasant rural neighbourhood where I live points to all too many people with “no brain”, even though they themselves would be badly affected. One study forwarded to me recently suggests that Labour’s proposed land value tax would have resulted in everyone around here being asked to cough up at least £5,000 per year in Council Tax, including my Labour-supporting neighbours.

Can anything be done to save us from this situation? It is very worrying that we are turning out young people unfit to run a cockle stall, let alone the country. What happens when government will fall into the hands of “Generation Snowflake” with their “safe spaces”, no-platforming and propensity to go into meltdown whenever their iPad malfunctions? It would be a gross generalisation to portray all young people – or even all young Corbyn supporters – in these broad terms, but the pathetic pro-EU student demonstrations we saw after the referendum vote a year ago points to there being all too many of them.

What is more, things are getting even worse in our schools. We are now seeing primary schools introducing gender-neutral uniforms or even allowing five-year-olds to decide whether they want to be boys or girls. What will happen when these confused young children turn into adults?

One thing is clear:- these developments have only reached such alarming levels because of either cowardice or complacency  – or perhaps both – within the Conservative Party. Even UKIP has been contaminated, with Suzanne Evans describing herself on her personal website as “Deputy Chair”. Sorry, Suzanne, but in my books, a chair, whether deputy or not, is something you sit on.

The only way to take on this poisonous ideology is to tackle it head on, find its weak spot and assault it on every front. This general election offers yet further proof that no other tactic works. You can’t win battles by offering a diluted version of your opponent’s ideology. The 1950s-style interventionism of the Conservative Party’s latest manifesto not only failed to compete with Corbyn’s 1970’s-style socialist revivalism but did little to enthuse the party’s natural supporters. Mrs May’s team made a mistake in trying to tack left that nearly proved fatal.

So what is the weak spot? It boils down to one word which permeates everything in the Corbynite Left’s thinking – loathing. Given the Frankfurt School’s mission was to subvert Western society, they must have realised that a contended, culturally cohesive prosperous nation was never going to show much enthusiasm for their project. In a country like ours in particular, this therefore called for extreme measures. We must be taught to loathe ourselves and our historic values. Chris McGovern, the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, has written extensively on how the school history syllabus has been radically amended with this end in view. Children are taught all about our role in the slave trade but not about our subsequent efforts to stamp it out. Our country’s great heroes like Winston Churchill are airbrushed out of history. In 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of V-E Day, the Department for Education sent a teaching video about World War 2 to every school in the country. The primary school version lasted 34 minutes   but allocated only 14 seconds to Churchill, stating only that, “People thought he helped the war end in Britain.” The video did emphasise, though, “It was quite sexist in the war.”

And this leads onto another form of loathing – towards all those traits not in conformity with political correctness. The loathing is displayed in a particularly venomous form towards anyone who manifests them today. Try engaging with the PC zealots on the internet and you will know what I mean. The left has hijacked the high moral ground and regards it as its own exclusive property. Anyone who challenges its nostrums must be attacked and if open abuse fails to change their minds, they must be visited by the boys in blue and sent on an equality and diversity course.

Naturally, a generation brought up to believe they are citizens of a country with a loathsome past are not going to believe it has the resilience and resourcefulness to survive as a self-confident self-governing nation, hence the Europhilia of so many young people. Patriotism is anathema. Let us not think that Corbyn’s lack of enthusiasm for the EU somehow makes him a patriot. His refusal to sing the National Anthem and his long-standing close links with the IRA are sufficient evidence to refute any such notion.

Christianity, in particular, is to be loathed although for some strange reason, not Islam – even in its most extreme forms. When the left-wing polemical atheist Christopher Hitchens began to attack Islam, he faced strong criticism from others on the political left. Hichens’ great sin was being consistent with his atheism, but in so doing, he broke a foundational principle of the Frankfurt School – the need for toleration of minorities, even if some of these minorities treat women badly or commit terrorist acts. This redefinition of tolerance pressurises any majority, especially if it holds strong principles, to loathe itself for its alleged blinkered, prejudiced attitudes.

And of course, self-loathing is encouraged in other ways. What is the desire for a sex change but self-loathing? It is unsurprising that, according to the World Health Organisation, suicides have increased by 60% in the last 45 years. In the UK, far more men than women commit suicide. In a world of strident feminism (another Frankfurt School creation), men should loathe themselves, well, just for being men.

Is there anyone who can step into the breach? Thankfully there is. The discussions between the Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party has put the spotlight on a party about which many may have previously known very little, due to a tendency to shy away from the complexities of Northern Ireland’s politics. While the political left is spitting blood at the prospect of any deal which will bring them into the government, here are a group of politicians who have refused to play their silly games. Self-confident and patriotic, opponents of abortion and gay marriage, the DUP is like a breath of fresh air in the confusing political atmosphere of Westminster at the moment. It stands up for our armed forces, supports grammar schools and proclaims patriotism, individual freedom, law and order. When assaulted by the PC brigade, it stands firm. Although not above controversy and the occasional scandal, it has conveyed a far greater impression of responsibility and integrity than any UK mainland-based party in recent years.

In recent conversation, I have heard more than one wistful comment to the effect that, “If the DUP were to put up a candidate here, they would get my vote.” There is a lesson here for all of us. A totalitarian ideology based on loathing can be conquered by people of integrity and conviction who offer an optimistic future.

After one of her resounding election victories, Mrs Thatcher expressed a hope that Labour may never again win power in this country. Some were hoping for a similar result when Mrs May called this snap election. It didn’t come anywhere near happening, but could yet come to pass if enough people wake up and recognise that the big gap in UK politics is not in the mythical “centre ground”, but for a party of freedom and enterprise; a party proud of our country and its great history; a party prepared to expose the lunacy of the left, take its assaults on the chin and battle on until our young people are reclaimed from the Corbynite abyss. Will the Tories finally pick up the long-discarded mantle of Margaret Thatcher? Could UKIP arise from the ashes? Should the DUP step in and field candidates in mainland UK constituencies? Time only will tell, but the full benefits of Brexit will be lost unless there emerges a party unequivocally committed to replacing the politics of loathing with sanity, hope and pride in our country, its historical values and institutions.

This article first appeared in the Euro Realist bulletin.

Where does Sturgeon go now Corbyn says Brexit means Brexit?

This piece by Brian Monteith of Global Britain originally appeared in the Scotsman and is used with  permission.

The Labour leader, from his new position of strength, is revealing his true Trotskyist approach on Europe, writes Brian Monteith

It was not just the Queen’s Speech that passed last week – the greater battle of the day was on a different field altogether – it was hard Brexit against soft Brexit, and it was hard Brexit that won resoundingly. The margin of 322 against 101 was larger than even that of the vote to invoke Article 50, despite Theresa May losing her overall majority, so what have we just witnessed, what is going on?

Thursday’s vote was not just a victory for May’s proposals on how to achieve Brexit, already laid out in her Government’s White Paper, but a resounding show of strength by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who afterwards dismissed three shadow ministers who dared to break his whipping for an abstention by voting for a soft Brexit. This is a new Corbyn, a hard Corbyn willing to deliver a hard Brexit. Clearly emboldened by his comparative success in the General Election (even though he lost more seats than Callaghan or Kinnock, who both resigned as a result), Corbyn is now revealing his true self – the blood-red socialist against the EU corporate state.

Corbyn’s past shows him as a man who voted as regularly against the empowerment of the EU to the cost of the UK’s sovereignty as any Tory Eurosceptic rebel. His reasoning was different, however, believing that the development of an EU superstate would enshrine open-season capitalism behind a high customs union wall that would diminish trade with the poor of the world. The trade unions would be emasculated and British workers would be impoverished as millions who could not find work in the African states denied tariff-free access to the single market would instead supply a steady flow of cheaper immigrant labour.

At so many levels – be it the EU’s privileged elite against the masses, those inside the single market against those outside it or those in the euro against those outside it, the EU is indeed a heady political cocktail designed for the few rather than the many.

Unfortunately for Corbyn, his election as leader of his party by its members and trade unions left him at the mercy of the overwhelming majority of the parliamentary Labour Party that supported the European project with an unalloyed devotion. His first act was to ditch his Euroscepticism and play for time, so he could gain strength. Hence his tussles with his former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn. (Ironically it was Corbyn that better represented the views of Tony Benn on the EU than his son Hilary.)

The General Election has changed all of that. Now the majority of Labour MPs doff their cap to their leader, believing he has rejuvenated his party and may yet one day lead them to victory. And now from this position of strength, and with a manifesto that to all intents and purposes mirrored the Tory approach towards a so-called hard Brexit, Corbyn is able to drop his mask of europhilia and reveal his true Trotskyist approach by 
challenging once more the EU corporatist state.

Make no mistake, what this metamorphism means is that the UK is leaving the EU – and it will be Corbyn who will help the Tories do it.

Where does this leave Nicola Sturgeon when a hard Brexit is delivered? By that I mean the UK being outside the single market and customs union, with all immigrants from around the world treated equally, denying the special treatment given to people from the EU.

In Sturgeon’s own mind a hard Brexit might provide a fresh pretext for her to push once more for Indyref2 – but paradoxically it also makes the case for independence that much more difficult to win.

For an independent Scotland outside the UK but aiming to be back in the EU, a hard Brexit must mean a hard divorce with the UK, resulting in a hard border and, of course, giving up our fishing grounds that will have only just been won back.

While the newly liberated UK will be free to decide its own economic future, striking advantageous trade deals with the likes of India, China and the US (three of more than 30 already being considered) Scotland would be tied to the slowest growing economic region in the world and bound by all its growing regulation. In addition, by 2020 the EU budget will grow by more than 15 billion euros and plug the black hole of 10bn euros caused by losing the UK’s annual payment. Scotland would have to bear its share of the existing EU budget plus this additional 25bn euros.

Even a Scotland in the European Economic Area will not soften the blow. It would be like moving from the bridge to be shovelling coal in the boiler room.

Sturgeon’s Scotland will be just like Norway (in the EEA) or Poland (in the EU) – both sitting next to Russia, with border posts, different currencies and the possibility of a tariff wall – only the barriers will be between England and Scotland.

Where also does this leave the EU negotiators when they can see a more united House of Commons than even on the vote to invoke 
Article 50? Do they climb down on some of their more perverse claims? The signs are that they are already retreating on the demand for the European Court of Justice to have jurisdiction over EU citizens in the UK.

And if they do climb down and a deal is struck, where again does that leave Sturgeon? Would a softer Brexit not neutralise any pretext for a second Indyref? Will the Scottish public not ask: “Seriously, what is the problem?”

The votes on Thursday were probably missed by most people who are only given the glibbest of reports by our broadcast news, but they were momentous and have changed the nature of the Brexit debate substantially. It appears May did not need a stronger majority to deliver Brexit after all – it was Corbyn who has benefited and it is Corbyn who looks like making Brexit mean Brexit.

 

Photo by Ninian Reid

Reflections one year on Part 2: Re-kindling the radicalism of Brexit?

He’s almost old enough to be their grandfather. He’s hardly a charismatic speaker and by all accounts, something of a political anorak who isn’t very good at small talk. Yet the young people seem to love him, treating him to a hero’s welcome when he addressed the Glastonbury festival. How does he do it? What is the secret behind the Corbyn phenomenon?

The answer is that he epitomises the revolt against the “establishment” which has been such a feature of recent politics in a number of countries. A serial rebel against his own party who doesn’t have a posh voice, he chose to spent two years abroad doing voluntary service overseas during his late teens and didn’t read PPE at Oxford. He has never worked in a bank or in the City of London. He is also a vegetarian and doesn’t own a car. In summary, he is the absolute antithesis of a “Tory Toff”, although a quick glance at his wikipedia entry indicates that he was privately educated for a few years before moving on to his local grammar school in Shropshire.

Given the idealism and anti-establishment sentiment of many young people, it is perhaps unsurprising that Jeremy Corbyn has become something of a cult figure and role model – a man who has not let success compromise his radical principles.

Now I’m painting a very one-sided picture of the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, with good reason. We need to ask why so many young people so enamoured with this anti-establishment figure when a year ago, so many of them shunned the biggest grassroots anti-establishment campaign of our lifetimes.

People will give you all manner of reasons for voting to leave the EU, but undergirding most of them was this same anti-establishment spirit. Is there anyone more “establishment” than  Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission? If politicians like David Cameron, with his aristocratic, privileged background, are widely despised for being remote and out of touch with normal people, how much more the MEPs and bureaucrats living their cosseted lives in the Quartier Européen in Brussels?

Goldman Sachs was a substantial donor to the Remain campaign and Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England also supported staying in, along with the voice of big business, the CBI. In other words, the financial “establishment” so despised by the young – and indeed, the not-so-young on the radical left – were campaigning for the same result as their fiercest critics.

The victory we won a year ago was truly a popular revolution. While we had some “establishment” figures on our side like Boris Johnson (You can’t get more “establishment” than Eton and Balliol College, Oxford!), the real credit belongs to the thousands of ordinary men and women who tramped the streets distributing leaflets, organised meetings in village halls, set up stalls in high streets  and won round their friends and relatives in conversations down at the pub or sitting round the coffee table. A handful of hard-working fishermen made a laughing stock of pop star-turned-establishment figure Bob Geldof when they sailed their boats up the Thames to the Houses of Parliament.

Yet, for all this, the images of victory which appeared in the press on June 24th were dominated by older people. One abiding memory was to hear an aged World War II veteran say ecstatically, “I’ve got my country back”, as tears ran down his cheeks. By contrast, the published pictures of despondent remainers predominantly featured the young – with the cameraman’s focus almost inevitably drawn to a group of very pretty girls!

While it was a victory over a class of people widely despised many of today’s young people, they themselves saw the Brexit vote as their future being stolen from them by their parents’ and grandparents’ generation, with their outmoded ideas and mindset.

If we are to change the mindsets of our young people, the Brexit vote therefore needs to be painted in its true colours. We fought the establishment and won. We were the underdogs. We were (and still are) representing ordinary people and fighting against substantial vested interest. Just look at the sort of people who are trying to derail Brexit – Gina Miller the investment manager,  Michael Young, the new interim CEO of the European Movement – a former senior executive of the British mining finance house and Westminster insider plus, no doubt lurking somewhere in the background is the sinister figure of Tony Blair, a man despised even more by the Corbynite left in his own party than by centre right.

I can remember lying awake at night during the Blair years shortly after being converted to the withdrawalist cause. The means of my conversion was being handed a printout of an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, which explained that the EU was actually financed by US spy chiefs. I was worried. If our EU membership was a collusion between the UK government and the shadowy American CIA, where was my opposition to Brussels going to lead me? Prison? A mysterious disappearance? Obviously, in hindsight, my concerns were considerably overblown, but it does underline the point that I and many other supporters of withdrawal felt ourselves to be engaged in nothing less than a revolutionary campaign against a powerful élite determined to pursue its agenda come what may.

Will the Corbyn bubble burst? Predictions to this effect have been doing the rounds ever since he was first elected and have proved wide of the mark, but if our young people do become disillusioned with him, there is another group of radicals that will welcome them on board. We voted to leave the EU to give the country a new future. Certainly for myself, this means a rebooting of our failed democracy and bringing power closer to the people though the introduction of binding referendums, allowing ordinary people not just to petition the government but to shape its direction and hold our widely distrusted elected representatives to account. Can there be any more noble anti-establishment cause than this?

Photo by DavidMartynHunt

Rejection of Theresa May’s little Englander ‘Brexit’ is splendid news

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

For liberal, free-market Brexiteers, the election shock is a gift from Mount Olympus. We are dancing cartwheels and quaffing our sparkling Kentish wines.

Theresa May’s plummeting star is an entirely unexpected chance to refashion British withdrawal from the European Union along different lines. It re-opens the possibility of a ‘Norwegian’ solution or close variant, an option that she shut down prematurely without debate because it limits her ability to control inflows of EU workers.

Mrs May sees Brexit through the fatal prism of migration, borders, and criminal justice – the déformation professionnelle of the Home Office – strangely oblivious to the immense economic risks of pursuing a narrow strategy to the detriment of all else.

Her vision is irksome to those of us who backed Brexit chiefly in order to restore the law-making prerogatives of Parliament, and to keep a safe distance from an EU that must evolve into a unitary political state if the euro is to survive. Such a destiny is self-evidently incompatible with British democracy and self-rule.

Mrs May is a Remainer who tries too hard to compensate. She has misunderstood the subtleties of Brexit, hijacked the Referendum for the better part of a year, twisted its contours, and seems unaware how her strategy is playing into a corrosive and false narrative taking hold in the world: that the British people are turning nasty and nationalist. So let us begin again.

The shrunken Tories will have to rely on the Ulster Unionists (DUP), who will not brook a hard economic border with the Republic of Ireland.

They will also have to listen more attentively to the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and with her triumphant vanguard of Westminster MPs. She is pressing for the “largest amount of access” to the EU single market.

The balance of political power has changed. To the extent that this safeguards the unity of these Isles – the foremost priority – it is a blessing.

The election was not a rejection of Brexit, as Europe’s press seems to suppose. Some 84% of votes went to Brexit parties. But it was certainly a rejection of Mrs May’s particular variant of Brexit. Call it ‘hard’ if you wish. I prefer to call it insular, pedantic, and illiberal.

The natural fit at this stage is the European Economic Area (EEA), the Norwegian option that was once held out as the Holy Grail by Brexiteers of gradualist philosophy, but was subsequently rubbished by the tub-thumpers and Burka banners. The party of this ideology secured 1.8pc of the vote on Thursday, nota bene. It has no legitimate veto over anything.

The EEA would in principle allow Britain to preserve open trade with the EU single market and retain passporting rights for the City of London, the goose that lays the golden egg for a very vulnerable British economy.

“We should use the EEA as a vehicle to lengthen the transition time,” said Lord (David) Owen, one-time Labour foreign secretary and doyen of the EEA camp.

“Theresa May’s massive mistake has been to allow talk of a hard Brexit to run and run, and to refuse to frame a deal in a way that makes sense for the Europeans. The logic of the EEA is irrefutable,” he said.

Lord Owen said the EU’s withdrawal clause, ‘Article 50’, is designed as a deterrent to stop any country leaving. It leads to a cliff-edge, facing Britain with a take-it or leave-it choice when the clock stops ticking. “This puts us in a dangerous position,” he said. The EEA is a way to overleap this Article 50 trap.

Meredith Crowley, a trade expert at Cambridge University, says the great worry is that tariff barriers into the EU will jump to 12pc or 15pc overnight on UK exports of cars, engines, auto parts, and a range of machinery, setting off an exodus of foreign investment. “Joining the EEA would shut that threat down,” she said.

Critics argue that the Norwegian route is tantamount to remaining in the EU, but on worse terms, with no vote over policy: “While they pay, they don’t have a say,” said David Cameron before the Referendum.

This is a canard. EEA states are exempt from the EU’s farming and fisheries policies, as well as from foreign affairs, defence, and justice. They are free from great swathes of EU dominion established by the Amsterdam, Nice, and Lisbon Treaties.

Above all, EEA states are not subject to the European Court’s (ECJ) limitless writ over almost all areas of law through elastic invocation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The ECJ would no longer be able to exploit the Charter – in breach of Britain’s opt-out under Protocol 30 – whenever it feels like it. We would no longer be under an EU supreme court asserting effective sovereignty. These are not small matters. They are elemental.

Yes, the Norwegian option is a compromise. We would continue paying into the EU budget. This would do much to defuse the escalating showdown over the €100bn bill for EU reparations, poisonous because of the way it is presented. The transfers would become an access fee instead. Norway’s net payments in 2014 were £106 a head. Let us not die in a ditch over such trivia.

Britain would have to tolerate relatively open flows of migrant workers. But contrary to widespread belief, the EEA does not entail full acceptance of the EU’s “four freedoms” – movement of goods, services, capital, and people. Nor does it give the European Court full sway on these issues.

The arrangement allows “a lesser degree” of free movement than within the EU. The language covers the issue of residence, an entirely different matter from the rights of EU citizenship created by the Maastricht Treaty. The EEA permits the sort of emergency brake on migrant flows that was denied to Mr Cameron in his last-ditch talks with the EU before the Referendum.

The point in any case is that the EEA would be a temporary way-station for ten years or so, giving us time to negotiate 80 trade deals with the US, China, Japan, India, Mercorsur, and others without a gun held to our head.

Britain is a contracting party to the EEA. The agreement is binding on all members, and entails rights under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Yes, we would need the goodwill of the EEA-trio of Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, and the EU itself.

It is possible that some in the EU are now so intent on punishing Britain – or carving up post-Brexit spoils – that they would stop us pursuing this course. But that would be a hostile act. It would certainly clarify the issue. We would then know exactly what the real agenda was in Brussels. It is better to know this sooner rather than later.

There is no such thing as a soft Brexit. Wise statecraft can nevertheless work through this thicket. The EEA option is the best political solution on offer given the new circumstances. It is a graceful way out of the impasse for all parties, not least for a divided EU with a looming budget crunch and a mountain of other problems to deal with.

Tory ultras might balk at a settlement so far short of total liberation. I balk myself whenever I have to listen to the insolence of Jean-Claude Juncker. Yet Tory ultras did not win a mandate in this election for their hair-raising adventure into uncharted waters.

The vote changed the dynamics of Brexit. Compromise is now ineluctable. Jeremy Corbyn and his army of the young may have done this nation a favour.

The biggest losers

Following Mrs May’s response to the London Bridge terrorist attack, Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, posted a tweet saying that “Mrs May is happy enough to tolerate the extremism of the Brextremist Lie Machine newspapers spewing hate day after day.”

Several newspapers picked this up, expressing horror that Islamic State-supporting terrorists should be equated to sections of our national press. Indeed, such was the storm of protest that Mr Campbell subsequently deleted the tweet, saying . “Previous tweet deleted. Agreed it was over the top”

But over the top or not, the damage has been done. We now know the truth. Such is the vitriolic loathing felt by remoaners like Campbell towards Brexit supporters that in his eyes, some of us are almost as awful as the men who committed the terrible atrocities in Manchester and London recently.

Mind you, there is perhaps good reason from Blairite remoaners to be feeling a bit miffed at the moment. Although unreported by the Press, one of the interesting asides of this general election campaign is that, whatever the result, the last few weeks have significantly damaged their chances of a comeback.

The Campaign for an Independent Britain, being a cross-party organisation, does not fly the flag for any one political party and has encouraged people to vote for fully-fledged Brexit candidates whatever their allegiance, but we can be quite unequivocal in our opposition to the Blairite faction within the Labour Party, which remains one of the biggest strongholds of irreconcilable remainiacs.

When Mrs May called a General Election in April, received opinion expected Labour to suffer its worst defeat since 1983, if not longer. The uncompromising Socialist agenda would deter most voters, Jeremy Corbyn would be forced to resign and Labour would tack back towards the so-called centre ground.

Things have not gone according to plan, however. Three days before polling day, a raft of opinion polls put the Tory lead between 12% and a mere 1%  – nowhere near the 20% differential at the start of the campaign. Averaging these out, Mr Corbyn looks highly unlikely to be marching into 10 Downing Street on Friday, but he could end up with a higher percentage of the vote than Ed Miliband in 2015 – certainly high enough to justify remaining in office and his party thus avoiding a third leadership contest in less than two years.

From the point of view of withdrawing from the EU, it is significant  – and welcome – that Corbyn has never made any statement during the campaign indicating that he will seek to challenge or reverse the Brexit vote.  Before becoming Labour’s leader, his anti-EU credentials were actually quite impressive and his pro-EU speech during last year’s referendum campaign was distinctly lukewarm and lacking in conviction.

Whatever one’s views of his position on other policy issues, we must therefore be thankful that his better-than-expected performance looks likely to leave the Blairites sidelined for a while – hopefully long enough to see us out of the EU. If these people equate a perfectly reasonable desire to join some 180 or so nations in being a sovereign nation once again with the murderous ideology of Islamic State, the sidelines – or worse –  is the best place for them.

Photo by University of Salford

The 2017 General Election we weren’t expecting

Since becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May has insisted that she wasn’t going to cut and run. Although the Conservatives have consistently held a substantial lead over Labour, she has resisted calls from within her own party to hold a snap general election and has been adamant that her government would run its full five-year term.

Her change of heart this morning therefore came as a bolt out of the blue. This was her statement in full:-

“I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8th.

“I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote in this election.

“Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became Prime Minister the Government has delivered precisely that.

“Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs, and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.

“We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result”.

Of course, Mrs May cannot ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act, passed under David Cameron in 2011, requires Parliament to serve a full five year term unless there is either a successful vote of no confidence in the Government or else two-thirds of MPs back an early election. Can Mrs May achieve that majority? With Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon all enthusiastic to fight another General election, she stands a reasonable chance. However, assuming that every Tory MP will support their leader, this still requires every SNP and Lib Dem MP to do likewise along with at least 30 Labour MPs. If some MPs abstain and enough Labour MPs are fearful for their seats, achieving this figure may prove a bit challenging.

Presumably Mrs May and her supporters have been taking soundings, for if she fails to gain the necessary support, it would not look good for her, especially as she would then be going into the all-important Brexit negotiations from a weakened position. The only other alternatives for a snap election – calling a vote of no confidence in her own government or seeking to repeal the 2011 act, which would require approval of the House of Lords – do not look very likely.

Assuming that she does secure a majority, from the perspective of the Campaign for an Independent Britain, this will be a very different election from anything in the recent past. Being a cross-party campaign organisation, our focus has been to encourage voters to support candidates supportive of withdrawal from the EU, regardless of their party allegiance. With the vote to leave and the triggering of Article 50 behind us, the dynamics have changed considerably, particularly as many former remain-supporting Tories along with a significant minority of their Labour colleagues have insisted that they will honour last June’s vote and will not be obstructive of Brexit. Our task, therefore, will be to highlight obstructive individuals – either sitting MPs or candidates – while encouraging voters to support any candidate who is committed to the UK securing a good Brexit deal, whatever party they come from.

We can but hope that this election, rather than resurrecting the animosity of the Brexit campaign, will give us a Parliament which will carry out the wishes of the people as expressed last June and work constructively to secure such a successful exit from the EU that by the time the next General Election takes place, it will no longer be an issue for the UK electorate.