August 10, 2017

The Tory Brexit trap

Evgeny Pudovkin asks whether the Tories are capable of delivering a hard Brexit, whilst also fending off the looming prospect of a Corbyn government?

It may seem strange, but only last April pundits hailed Theresa May as a political genius. There was a touch of astuteness to her decision to call a snap election; hardly anyone saw an omen of impending disaster. Consumed by internal squabbles and navel-gazing, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party hardly seemed like a rival credible rival.

To be fair to May, her reasoning on an early election seems fair even in hindsight. If there was a convenient opening to boost her majority, it was last spring. It is the Prime Minister’s other calculation – to use ‘hard’ Brexit as an opportunity to reach out to working-class voters – that deserves greater scrutiny. The consequences of this judgement still weigh on the party’s medium-term electoral strategy.

May in Disraeli land

By taking on both the mantle of a ‘hard’ Brexit and social conservatism the Tories intended to appeal to the ‘left behind’ parts of our society – those, whose sympathies had hitherto lied with either Labour Party or UKIP. As a result, the Conservative’s new electoral alliance would still include the well-off (who had no credible electoral alternative), but also the working class (keen on a ‘hard’ Brexit). Gains among the latter would offset the decline in support from the liberal middle-class Remainers sympathetic to David Cameron’s ‘modernising’ brand of Toryism. In the true Disraelian style, May stole moderate Labour’s clothes as they went bathing.

The Cameroons still retained the ‘Cool Britannia’ imprint. There were photo-ops with huskies, bicycle trips to Westminster and pandering to the green agenda. Last April, Theresa May showed up at factories, championing workers’ rights and scolding the Thatcherite economic legacy.

It was, the Prime Minister concluded, not Cameron’s ‘buccaneering’ version of capitalism – or Jeremy Corbyn’s Trotskyite designs – that the country craved, but stability. Victory in the election would be the Conservatives’ master-class in statecraft. Evidence that the mainstream centre-right can ride the wave of populism rather than being swept up by it.

We know how the story ends. Having lost urban middle-class constituencies like Richmond, the party failed to make sufficient gains in the North of England. The surge of turnout among the Labour-supporting youth further complicated matters. So, where do the Tories go from here?

Job half done?

One could still argue that the Conservatives’ hunch to reach out to the working classes was justified. In the end, May has improved her party’s standing with the C2 and DE socio-economic categories – from 26 per cent in 2015 to 38 per cent at the last election (according to Ipsos MORI data). The party now controls Copeland, Mansfield and Stoke-on-Trent South.

Northern voters’ aversion towards the Conservatives could owe more to tribal inertia than to any substantive difference of opinion. If this is true, the Tories will stand a greater chance of winning them over next time around. Provided, of course, that the party sticks to a ‘hard’ Brexit as well as to its tough rhetoric on migration and security.

But here is the rub: what if the umbilical cord of tribal loyalties will prove stronger than thought? Another problem exists in Tory support being concentrated predominantly among the elderly. This makes the Brexit electoral coalition less sustainable.

Back to basics

This brings us to the second option the Conservatives should explore: shifting focus back to the economic issues. Competence on financial matters was the quality that David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne put at the heart of their successful campaign in 2015. Can driving home the message of economic prudency help the party get their electoral mojo back?

As long as ‘hard’ Brexit remains the Tories’ policy, the answer is no. Inflation has picked up, largely due to the Brexit-induced weakening of the pound. Consumers will soon start to feel the pinch from lower real wages. Problems households face is underscored by the plummeting saving rate. Uncertainty around the format of the UK-EU future relationships may hinder business investment and disrupt trade links. In absence of post-2019 EEA transitional arrangements, adverse short-term effects on national economy from a ‘hard’ Brexit are likely to be negative.

To hard Brexiteers, this view may seem unnecessarily bleak. Perhaps they are right. So, let us be more open-minded. Assuming the UK gets a free-trade agreement on goods and loses much of the access to the financial passporting. Imagine also that such a deal goes through parliament. Potentially, this could offer upsides for exporters, especially in manufacturing. The non-urban electorate may feel the greater stability that lower migration brings. Yet these benefits will take years to bear fruit; the economic pain associated with post-Brexit adjustments will be immediate. As incumbents, the Tories will have to bear most of the burden.

Moderate Tory MPs see the way out in opting for the ‘soft’ Brexit with the UK remaining part of the European Economic Area (EEA). This approach has several benefits. For one, this can almost nullify the economic damage incurred by Britain’s departure. It will also go some way to woe back some of liberal middle-class voters back to the party. On the downside, this will create the impression – and rightly so – of the party backsliding on their earlier promises.

There is no doubt that a way to relieve the Conservative Party from the political burden of Brexit. It would require establishing a cross-party commission to work out the right deal to pursue in negotiations. This plan has one major problem, however: it’s just not going to happen.

Labour has no incentive to cooperate. Corbyn’s electoral stock is bullish. Both he and his retinue want the next election to be fought as soon as possible. What sense does it make to help their rival get a smooth sailing on Brexit?

A way out?

Does it mean that the game is up for the Conservatives at the next election? Not quite. There is still a chance of climbing out of the hole. At the very least, the Tories seems to have started working towards that goal.

With regard to domestic strategy, the party has done away with May’s ‘Brexit alliance’ and reverted to the liberal type. Chancellor Philip Hammond is beating the austerity drum with a renewed vigour. Downing Street is once again open for consultations with business leaders.

On Brexit, the government understands the need to disperse the damage associated with adapting to its new role beyond the EU. This would require achieving transitional arrangements it can fall on between March 2019 and the next election. Such a solution has Philip Hammond as its chief advocate, but is yet to obtain an unequivocal backing in Cabinet. The chances are, he will get it.

In September May is set to deliver her Brexit speech. Will she uphold the red lines she mentioned at Lancaster House?

The decision the Prime Minister face is a tough one. On the one hand, there is no clear majority for ‘soft’ Brexit. The latest YouGov poll for The Times indicates 58 per cent of Britons now want the government to prioritise economic benefits over migration in its talks with Brussels. Meanwhile, the Leavers stand by their choice.

But will the transition period ensure there is a soft landing to the ‘hard’ Brexit? One would hope so. Otherwise, there is a real possibility of a Corbyn government. The Prime Minister may feel a temptation to relax her negotiating stance and “own” the decision to shield the party brand from contamination.

May is an (in)famous shape-shifter. From a tentative Remainer she morphed into an ardent, authentic Brexiteer. An ostensible pioneer for the Cameroons, who dubbed the Conservatives a “nasty party”, May had no trouble of catching the cadence of anti-globalisation tunes. One wonders what elaborate disguise will she put on next…

2.70 avg. rating (55% score) - 20 votes
Evgeny Pudovkin
Evgeny Pudovkin is a journalist. His main interests include British domestic and foreign policy, Russia and foreign affairs.
  • Nockian

    First you must understand that it’s ideas that drive the world. All of us run philosophies that we have digested, mostly in a piece meal fashion due to the lack of tuition at state schools in critical reasoning and logic.

    Every epistemological concept must be grounded in metaphysical reality. So, that means, what are senses can tell us is true about the world. If our senses are incapable of giving us that feed back, then we are left with floating concepts which are simply stories we tell ourselves, or more commonly known as whim, wishes and faith.

    A philosophy that is built on a lack of objective reality is out of step with reality as it is. This is a dangerous situation, we know that we label people who have lost touch with reality as insane, but we can fool ourselves into believing our own stories and defend them to the last.

    Mysticism is faith, or whim worship. It means an incomplete philosophy not grounded in reality and hence, it proves itself hopeless as a philosophy for human beings to follow if their aim is to know reality as it is in order to have the best opportunity for survival. For, if we don’t know where we are, nor how we know it, then we are not in the best position to objectively decide on our future course of action.

    Now, you say the title deeds to your home have your name on it, but it can be compulsory purchased by the state, you cannot avoid council tax if you live in it and the state will take a chunk out of its value if you bequeath it.

    As for Rand. I’ve studied a lot of works of philosophy, economics and new age religions. I have been far left and an active environmentalist at some time in my life. I find objectivism the most coherent and consistent philosophy yet devised and it is now integrated into every aspect of my entire life.

  • blingmun

    I’m not religious and I’ve never been a socialist so to be honest I don’t really have a clue what you’re on about when start talking about mysticism.

    There is nothing mystical about the rule of law, property rights, trial by jury, constitutional limitations on the power of the King/State etc. All these things apply to the individual more or less (e.g. the last one protects individuals from arbitrary taxation).

    Last time I checked the title deeds of my house had my name on it. The likes of Hugo Chavez reserve the right to cross out my name and instead write “The People”. This is the opposite of what conservatives believe. Conservatives insist that INDIVIDUALS have ancient right enshrined in law over centuries and that these rights should be conserved.

    I hope you take this the right way but I think you’d do better to make Ayn Rand a smaller fraction of your reading material.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    You’re being far far too fair to all PMs. Some were dreadful, some were OK and some were great . MT like Churchill was great but that’s my view. I totally understand some people in the north or scotland have different negative opinions. The same as Churchill, I also wouldn’t argue that she didn’t make mistakes. Both did, but they were still great and several others very poor. That’s my view

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    As I said Blair was in many ways more Thatcherite than the Tories, so sorry but that’s hardly a great argument. Poor old Mr Major was hardly a ‘conservative’ either.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    I think you ruin your argument at the end there with the cretin bit…. There are always other explanations such as she may not have been advised about the full rammifications of the SEA . Or did you expect her to read the treaties herself ? Even if she knew everything, pre-maastrict.the EU didn’t exist and I think you exagerate slightly the amount of EU integration that occured in the late 80s/early 90s. It took many many many years to create the single market, it wasn’t something that occured overnight. My point is that MT was a politician who thought very often that she could battle her corner, argue her case and get the result she wanted. Here at this point I don’t doubt that she LOST very very heavily on this issue and was probably her biggest mistake. If you care to read her books you may learn this was very close to what she admitted herself. You may also be aware of Lord Cockfield and MT’s complicated relationship. When he was originally posted by MT to Brussels he was widely known as a dour eurosceptic and he was very much her man over there. Unfortunately for her, he went native and became a huge convert to the EU cause. Ironically this man did more to create the SEA than anyone.

  • gunnerbear

    The Dark Blues kept shouting that Thatcher was the only one truth path to follow…..each and every time the electorate said no….

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    The world is always changing, that’s about the only consistent thing about it. However I would argue that my comment still stands…….. ”that’s why the Dark Blues had new ones ripped by the electorate from ’97 to ’10 ”……Not quite. Blair was in some ways more Thatcherite than one nation Tory Mr Major.

  • gunnerbear

    ” Compare her leadership with the veneered PR and managed failure of modern politicians. Do they actually believe in anything at all ?” The world has changed a bit since the ’70s when Mrs. T. came to power… …that’s why the Dark Blues had new ones ripped by the electorate from ’97 to ’10 when the DBs kept shouting that the “Market was the be all and end all…”.

  • gunnerbear

    Like all PMs Thatcher made some good decisions and some bad decisions…though apparently even hinting that Mrs T. made mistakes is enough to make some Dark Blue heads explode…

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    It was actually her cabinet that persuaded her to resign and I think you underestimated her if you thought she was minded to agree with backbench MPs. For once I’ll agree with Ken Clarke on this matter. He stated she would have tried to carry on if it wasn’t for the face to face meetings she had with her cabinet , with nearly half of them (generally the europhiles) all stating she should resign. And again he agreed that it was europe that was defining issue.

    You are right in terms of Europe has always been divisive issue domestically, but it’s always been divisive for any UK government . Originally the Reds were of course the eurosceptic party (upto the mid 80s) and I don’t remember them being any more ‘private’ than the modern Blues ;

    I disagree profoundly with you on your comments about Thatcher’s thinking. You may disagree with her views , but gosh everyone knew where she stood. Compare her leadership with the veneered PR and managed failure of modern politicians. Do they actually believe in anything at all ? ..You obviously don’t agree with her but if we take the Maastricht treaty it was very clear (post SEA) that she opposed the signing of it . I would argue that it was this item that ensured that her ‘loyal’ ministers told her to resign. That was the real killer blow as she realised she had no cabinet to support her.

  • gunnerbear

    Fair comment but the SEA was way more than just a ‘trade treaty’….but buried in the SEA was in essence the platform for massive EU integration. The SEA very stealthily extended QMV and of course locked the UK into ever closer integration with Europe. The SEA was so contentious in Denmark because of the amount of power it gave ‘to Europe’ that the Danish govt. was forced to offer a referendum on it and the Irish govt. was forced to go to court to get the SEA ratified in Ireland (again because of the vast extension of powers that the SEA granted ‘Europe’). The SEA was the first major adjustment to the Treaty of Rome…..what ever else the SEA was, it wasn’t just a minor ‘trade treaty’….and Thatcher rammed it through Parliament….as the Blues nodded along…. …so either Thatcher did know what the ramifications of the SEA would be and covered them up or she was such a cretin that she rammed through the SEA even though she had no idea what was in it….

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Regarding SEA…. to be fair back in the 80s, I don’t remember anybody from politics, the media, commentators, intellectuals, anyone saying that it would eventually result in full political union. The consensus was only that would be very good for trade. I’ve read widely on this issue and no one ever believes Mrs T signed the act knowing that it would cede sovereignty..Instead it was one of those occasions where she privatedly acknowledged she had made a huge mistake and regreted it. Hence her determination not to sign Maastricht which as I’ve argued was probably as large an issue with her downfall as anything else.

  • gunnerbear

    I agree her cabinet was divided but it took more than just the cabinet to get rid of her. The votes in the leadership race make that clear. Europe has always been a divisive issue for the Blues (and the Reds but the Reds are more private in their battles). It’s interesting you centre on the Brugge speech as I think the issue of German re-unification (Gr-u) was the issue that made her cabinet begin to question her ‘grip’….she was utterly set against German re-unification and by accounts wanted HMG to have a policy on it even though there was not one single thing that HMG could do to stop it….the US backed it, Russia wasn’t raising massive objections as it saw Gr-u as a way of extracting itself from very expensive commitments in the GDR even though as a former ‘Four Power’ Russia expressed the desire for Germany to leave NATO. Again, this shows how confused Thatcher’s thinking was – she was set against Gr-u but also wanted Germany to remain a NATO member…even the Italians (themselves divided on the issue) couldn’t see how that was a credible policy position and Bush made it clear that the US had no issues with ‘one Germany at the heart of NATO’. Sec. Rice was even more dismissive of Thatcher’s policy, “Any issues that had existed in 1945, it seemed perfectly reasonable to lay them to rest. For us, the question wasn’t should Germany unify? It was how and under what circumstances? We had no concern about a resurgent Germany, unlike the British or French.” In European terms, I think it was Thatcher’s determination to achieve an impossible policy goal i.e the halting of Gr-u, that must have hammered home to her cabinet the necessity to question her ability to stay ‘at the top of the game’.

  • gunnerbear

    Fair comment but that was a bit late given Mrs. T. had rammed through the Single Europe Act…the act on which the modern EU is based on in the UK…..

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    ps. For interest – I attach scan of letter MT sent in 1993 stating she would NOT have signed upto Maastricht treaty. I think that’s quite pertinent In the context of the above.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    I think you will find that are also quite a few senior Tories of the time who don’t quite see it that way…. I don’t doubt her polls were bad and that many backbench Tory MPs
    were panicking about the Poll Tax and that was a large issue in her
    downfall. But it was in the end her cabinet who actually forced her
    to stand down. Why? well here’s one source….. Ken Clarke when interviewed years ago said all this in his jovially brutal & frank way that although the poll tax was in his view a dreadful mistake (etc etc etc) and that was at least part of the reason for her downfall. But at a cabinet level there were also profound disagreements on european policy between MT, Howe, Lawson and many other members of the cabinet including Clarke. This made working with her ‘intolerable’ (his words). Interestingly Ken also admitted that in retrospect (this was was when Blair was PM) , it would have been far better if the Tories had not removed her from power and instead let her contest that 92 election and let the public decided. He said in retrospect the consequences of what occured were profoundly bad for the Tory Party and created bad blood for years. Now going back to those cabinet disagreement on europe- of course Ken didn’t go into huge amount of detail on what exactly ALL the cabinet disagreements were . But I believe it’s fair to say that many of her cabinet colleagues passionately disagreed with her Bruges speech (and many of her speeches from 88 onwards including ‘no no no’), her position on German re-unification, her unwillingness to sign upto the maastricht treathy, her unwillingness to sign us upto the ERM (only signed up very late on with the help of nice Mr Major). You maybe right that the poll tax destroyed her standing with backbench MPs and that yes was a huge part of her fall. But it was her cabinet who removed her from office and for them it was european matters that were her political death warrant.

  • Nockian

    Thats fairly easy to debunk simply by seeking out a copy of the 1988 education reform act instituted under the Thatcher government. The list of reforms is very specific about religious education and collective worship in the British school system.

    Whilst Conservative leaders have always tried to mask overt Christian values, their actions prove they are anything but. There is of course a vast chasm between the English Church and Conservative Christian values on the face of things, but the reality is the gradual move towards a socialistic church is the inevitable result of the mystic commonality shared between those on the left (the muscle Mystics as Rand calls them) and the right (the spiritual Mystics). It is concept of altruism which unites both branches of mysticism.

    There has been a long dispute between these branches of mysticism which philosophically is seen in the false mind/body dichotomy. One chooses body over spirit; the other spirit over body. In both cases man is a seen as having a purpose to serve another-either state/society, or God (through a religious authority, or its Government proxy as the state thus Camerons ‘big society’. Neither branch acknowledges man as an end in himself and therefore a sacrificial animal. Indeed, virtually every eulogy written about war, or heroism contains an element of a mans sacrifice. There is no recognition of heroism, of choice (often of course because many men were conscripted soldiers). Jesus himself was a sacrifice of the perfect good to the perfect evil and that sets the standard.

  • blingmun

    The religious right is a modern American notion of conservatism.

    Conservatism in Britain is about ancient rights, not religion. Hence Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the case against Charles I, the Bill of Rights etc. are all framed as asserting ancient rights of common law that and were or might be usurped by Norman conquerors and treasonous Kings.

    Constitutional conservatives in America are actually on the same page. They revere Magna Carta more than we do and the American Revolution was fought on almost exactly the same grounds as the English Civil War (in the first case the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent and in the second no taxation without representation in that Parliament).

  • gunnerbear

    Again, at least one commentator thinks that the idea that no one knew what the overall plan for Europe was is a bit of a myth….

  • gunnerbear

    I agree….Brexit terrifies politicians because it crosses party political boundaries. I would counter the view though that Mrs T. was removed over European matters, she wasn’t she got the chop because the Blues were underwater in the polls and fights over the Poll Tax erupted into open warfare in the Blues (never mind on the streets). When Mrs. T. lost the support of such arch-Blues as Young, she was dead in the water…. “Despite not being an early supporter of Mrs Thatcher, Sir George served loyally until 1986, when he resigned over the community charge, known by critics as the Poll Tax.”I admired the lady, she was good enough to give me a job, I supported the policies we produced in the 1980s. “I’m not a natural rebel but I could see that community charge for people I represented in Acton going up, and my own community charge for my home in the country was going to go down, and it was very difficult to justify a sort of regressive tax and I rebelled and I voted against it all the way through and sort of organised the opposition to it. “Possibly the biggest mistake any government’s ever made and we put right [after John Major became leader]. Amazing accomplishment.” I think there are too many Blues (especially Dark Blue tinted) that fixate on the issue of Europe as being central to Mrs. T’s downfall, whereas more mundane domestic issues and terrible polling did for her. After all, no MP (okay, maybe Bill Cash was the exception) took European matters seriously when they were sweating on whether they’d lose their seat because the PM was unpopular and the polls dire….

  • gunnerbear

    The murderers might not have changed their minds, but maybe a female relative of theirs who likes going to College to do A-Levels or granny getting health treatment, thinks, “F**k being deported back to s**t-tip-stan….I’m telling the Police over and over about relative ‘X’.”

  • gunnerbear

    You don’t just deport the criminal…the entire f**kin’ extended family goes…..the lot.

  • gunnerbear

    Yup….until HMG smashes Saudi A. right in the teeth – say by releasing the report HMG is sat on – then Saudi A. will continue to export it’s brand of murderous, terrorism in the guise of a disgusting totalitarian philosophy that is Islam.

  • gunnerbear

    “…in my home town she made sure she didn’t have to get too close to the awful working class by a carefully staged visit to a local factory as if she were Royalty. We like to make a note those kind of things up here.” Yup….. ….the ‘Soft Leavers’ and the Remainers don’t get it….there is huge block of voters that will hammer Blues and Reds if the scum in London allow the EU to have any say in UK affairs post Brexit….

  • janetjH

    What has happened to quality control in the Conservative party?

  • janetjH

    I’m pretty sure that they would change their minds. Family pressure to conform and not ” rock the boat “.

    Saudi Arabia does exactly that, and maintains a far more peaceful and law abiding society despite having various Middle Eastern tribes, nationalities and religions in their country.

    We’ve seen it, and it works.

  • brownowl

    Very well said. That’s the comment of the day for me; I did exactly the same for the same reasons. The same applies to the 2015 election that fidiot Cameron “won”. I only voted Conservative for Brexit. Note that I’ve been a Conservative voter all my life…

  • William Cooke

    Very well said.

  • Nockian

    I read those opinions constantly on many political websites. It isn’t an overt defence until it’s challenged. In many ways the left see it for what it is, but twisted through the lens of their own socialist dogma.

    I was being hyperbolic when in my post to make a point. However, we already have a modern example in Putins Russia and in Poland, which is rebounding from communism towards the religious mysticism of orthodox Christianity, family and tradition. It’s doubtful if Britain would go that far, but underlying Christian values continue to persist in Conservatives and that comes out in many of the conversations I have on this particular platform.

    What do conservatives actually stand for ? I don’t necessarily mean the party, but those who broadly support the right. Isn’t it true that Conservatives see the left as attacking family values – yet what are ‘family values’ in the conservative mind ? Are they not actually ‘Christian values’ ?

    One of the people I like reading is Peter Hitchens-a Christian conservative that accepts that the church as an institution is largely bankrupt, but Peter keeps the faith alive despite the church having fallen by the wayside. This is generally the theme in discussions I have here, of the aching of a return of a strong Church of England and the traditions which surround that culture. I don’t say that they wish Catholicism, nor orthodox fundamentalism of the kind which prevents abortions/gay marriage, but a more British version as it once was.

    Even I , to an extent, have some sense of wanting that kinder, more genteel past, (especially when viewing the current mess) but I know it comes with baggage that would create authoritarianism of a milder sort, well meaning, but ultimately less free and more nationalistic. Progress is not a Conservative value, the left is dragging the Conservative party toward its version of ‘progressiveness’, because the right has no argument for the support of reason, for capitalism, for reality because they are hog tied to faith.

    Look how far down the lefts rabbit hole theConservative party has gone. People call it populism, but it’s really a complete failure to defend reality, because Conservatism is faith and tradition based and so it constantly slips. However, there are sufficient hard line big C conservatives who dislike this progressive drift and would halt it if they could and not in a good way.

    Anyway, open discussion so feel free to rebut and dispute.

  • blingmun

    You talked a lot of sense in your first post about the North and the cosmopolitan bubble. But your point about “faith, tradition and family…all in Sunday best kissing the priests feet and praying” reads like someone spouting cliches.

    Do you personally know many people advocating such things? I certainly don’t. Of all acquaintances, friends and colleagues I’ve had in the last 20 years I can think of only one or two who fall into this category. Which is as you’d expect based on church attendance numbers. And opinion polls on gay rights. And divorce rates. And common attire. And meals sat in front of the telly rather than round a table following Grace. Etc. Perhaps things are very different in your neck of the woods but from where I’m standing there’s barely a conservative Christian movement in British politics at all.

  • James Chilton

    I think your pessimism about the future of this country is thoroughly justified.

    I remember, about 25 years ago, when the pace of self destruction was much slower, I was talking to a relative about how society was changing etc. She said, “I’m glad I’m on my way out, and not on my way in”. At the time, I didn’t share her view, but I do now.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Dead right. I would strongly agree that the EU is a modern form of empire, through of course the EU also encompases or uses globalisation and corporatism. It could be that because the UK already had an empire, that many of us with a sense of history (usually abit older – Im in my early 40s) recognise more easily/quickly recognise what you’ve expressed above. Whereas for other smaller countries in the EU perhaps the attraction of such a club is intoxicating. Anyway back in the UK – Interestingly it’s also again slightly older voters who typically voted leave whereas younger voters with absolutely no sense of history voted to stay. For these young ones I think many still see the EU as a peace project, which of course it originally was in the first few years of 1940s but quickly and unfortunately grew out of to become later the ‘ever closer union” we now know it really was. I think a huge selection of vested interests here in the UK (ones you listed), felt post-war that they wanted to be inside this ‘club’. I think you very accurately listed antipathy to democracy. That’s almost certainly true of many of these people, but perhaps not all. Some also feared being left out the club and also certainly some of our elite had almost a laziness. Going forward they wanted somene else to do or ‘share’ the hard work of running the country. But for all these groups, the EU club was of course like a train, for them a very very comfortable one, where they could all sit in 1st class and we ordinaries would all sit in 2nd. once our establishment got on board, it was someone else driving the train, so they could all sit back and just pretend they are still in charge, which they haven’t 100% been for decades. Meanwhile over these decades the EU has consistently salami-sliced into our sovereignty. Now of course we are in a wonderful but strange position. Wonderful for us as we hopefully start to get back our power as a nation state again . Strange for our establishment as they are simply dumbfounded what happened and what to do next. I think in time Brexit will happen as the UK people want it to, but it will be through no help from EU or our establishment, sadly.

  • MarcusJuniusBrutus

    Extremely well said.

  • Lamia

    What is often missed is how much of the running, in setting up the ‘European Project’, was made by a mixture of civil servants and aristocrats, plus big businessmen and communist ‘theorists’. Politically they were from across the board, but they all had one thing in common – an antipathy to democracy, and a conviction that they could do a better job than democratically elected politicians.This has been the driving mentality behind the EU. I believe it does have parallels with Soviet Union, but whereas the Soviet Union notionally aimed to be working on behalf of the working class (of course the reality was rather different), the EU has been working on behalf of those who take themselves to be the natural ruling class – they would call it the meritocracy. And this is very attractive to the politically ambitious, because the EU welcomes troughers from left, right and centre. It has a place for corporatists, conservatives and communists alike.

    The EU has also been a repository for people who don’t really believe in or relate to the nation, but have quite an attraction to the notion of Empire (I think there is a lot of projection when EUphiles accuse Leavers of being Empire nostalgists; it is Remainers who are fixated on the idea of ‘influence’ in Europe and in the wider world). Again, in terms of the class the EU represents, this is not surprising. Nationalism requires a sense (whether accurate or not, whether gentle or extreme) of affinity with the other people where you live, including those from lower classes. It also requires a sense of shared history, culture etcetera. Empire requires no affinity for other people at all, and no sense of shared history or culture.It requires only an affinity for power over people.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Thanks. It occurs to many of us brexiteers that “democracy” has always been the achilees heel of anything todo with the EU…My parents were told before the 1975 EUREF that the then EC/EEC was not political , it was just a common market. It was as we now know Heath’s biggest lie, one my parents never forgot as they voted to leave last year. Later we were never consulted when the EEC changed to being the EU and it’s federalist superstate ambitions became clear. At the same time Maggie was ruthlessly removed from power by her cabinet for challenging this ‘federalism’. Again our EU loving politicians never allowed democracy to naturally take it’s course. The problem is of course is the EU is not based around ‘democracy’ . As Gorbachev noted ”….the most puzzling development in Europe over the past decade was the determination of the EU’s leaders to reconstruct the Soviet Union, a failed state if there ever was one, on the soil of western Europe”. Gorby should know about that ….. Now fastforward to the present – It’s funny isn’t it how brexiteers are now labelled as jihadis for simply exercising our democratic rights… It makes you wonder – who are ‘democrats’ again ? 🙂

  • Lamia

    You make some excellent points in these posts. I wholeheartedly agree.

  • Thomas Katz

    Hard Brexit, the best reality of “Shit or Bust”

  • Thomas Katz

    So even if they don’t change their minds we still get to deport a load of Dross

  • Thomas Katz

    Well, I like the idea!

  • lizmilton

    I agree about the fix… Cabinet appointments were just so obvious.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that some MP’s began to bleat about the necessity for Parliamentary sovereignty, having sold out to Brussels in Nov 2014, when they handed over control of 43 areas we would normally expect the government to manage…
    “UK Parliament comes to an effective end.”

    Re the writers comment above that Remainers are mainly the elderly…fortunately, a lot of the youngsters are waking up to the fact that conscription into the EU army is their future, as per the Lisbon Treaty. Only the Irish have an opt out, which they negotiated when they were forced to vote again.

    Also, youngsters are becoming aware of the dangers of not leaving the EU, as the terms of the next Treaty, published as the Five Presidents Report in 2015 clearly state “full financial, economic and political union across the EU by 2025″…

    And that means joining the euro and giving up Habeas Corpus for Corpus Juris, which they did try to enforce once before. You can check that out by reading the Europrobe listing for “what is Corpus Juris?”

    If you look at the key objectives of UN Agenda 21, you will see getting rid of national Parliaments and the destruction of western democracy are clearly listed. These are the aims of the EU…

    Have a look at

    For more info. Their articles on Global Citizens and the Parliament of Mayors are thought provoking, as well. You can see how Cameron’s Big Society plans were guided by Agenda 21.

    Small wonder politicians of both Houses are so despised…they have brought in on themselves…

  • grumpyashell

    Brexit was the first time in years that the voting public had a real chance of voting on something that they could control. The general elections have really been a farce for 25 years as the two main parties have both tried for the centre ground which has led to them being very much the same. Corbyn at least has broken with this,forgetting the fact that he is totally deluded. The Conservative Party in contrast has yet to decide what it is,it is still not Conservative to my mind,just a wishy washy social party with no core and no belief in itself.
    Brexit should have been a wake up call to them but they seem unable to question themselves on what is necessary change. They have to be radical but are unable to have the courage to do it.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Brexit of course transcended party politics or class. Some brexiteers of course hadn’t voted for years. Previous to Brexit, the establishment in this country have nearly always had their way….think about it going back decades, NATO, the EC/EEC membership originally, many many issues over many successive govt, blue or red. Even Maggie Thatcher at the end when she saw EU federalism/Maastricht Treaty taking away our laws and said ‘no no no’ she was the of course then stabbed finally in the back by the EU zealots in her own cabinet. But fast forward to 2016 with Brexit, the establishment were finally defeated and I think they are still truly shocked …They still don’t really understand how or why they were defeated which is why they are so bloody clueless. Fundamentally they simply refuse to accept the result. But they can’t defeat democracy !!…. So now the combined ranks of corporates/cronyism and our lords/masters all want to water it down. The words ”Soft Brexit” is probably one of the most vacuous terms ever . It’s not surprising it’s used by the MSM and sounds and is like an empty advertising slogan dreamt upto appeal to the masses. It’s real meaning of course is vacuous. Indeed they are treating us like fools and underestimating us. But you’re dead right, it will NOT work.

  • Nockian

    Brexit is just a football for politicians to kick about and see if it can be used to fell an opponent. I don’t believe any of them really want it to happen because their lords and masters don’t want to lose their lovely little earner of European cronyism. Brexit was the first time I became really active in a campaign, in a sense it’s like a political party which crosses all parties. The politicians don’t see it, but they will if they try and renegade-it will then become apparent that they can’t chip it over the goal keeper quite as easily as they thought.

  • EppingBlogger

    The question which worries me is not whether the Tories are capable of delivering Brexit butr whether they ever wanted to do so.

    The evidence of a Whitehall fix has been pervasive ever since the referendum and I do not see a Tory party prepared to do the right thing.

    Remember it was the Conservative Party that took us into the ECA 1972 without a mandate, took us into Maastricht by blackmailing its own MPs and lying to voters and failed to stop Lisbon.

    During the 1970s the Tory MPs would argue that of course the EEC was rubbish but they would mould it to suit us; trhere was no question of a supra-national entity, iut was just about trade. You might think that was the biggest political failure since the 1930s, or you might think it was more evidence of the Tory party acting as the “anger sink” to keep its members and other eurosceptics quiet.

  • Bogbrush

    I doubt any of them would have changed their minds, they’re religious fanatics.
    It’s hard not to be very pessimistic. We seem a long way away from the liberal consensus being truly overthrown and until it is this will carry on sailing past the point of no return.

  • Andrew Mitchell

    Your right but, sadly there is no way in hell will this or any other UK government do whats needed, I think we have to demand that the worst crimes (and raping children falls into that bracket for me) mean the worst of punishments, things like saying, “if you are found guilty of grooming and raping children, your punishment will be you are deported back to the country of your birth, if you were born here, then you’ll be deported back to the country of your fathers birth, grandfather’s birth or even great grandfather’s birth, being in this country is a privilege that our forefathers fought and died to give us, we should demand that those who come here adapt to our way of living, must accept our customs and our past times, when they don’t show that respect then that’s fine, they can have their views but, they won’t be having them in this country!
    Mind you, for those who plot, plan, preach, fund, aid or carry out terrorist attacks in this country, I would see them and every single blood relative they have here, all deported, for those who say ” you can’t punish those who are simply related to the terrorist” I would ask this, how many of the 7/7 London bombers do you think would have still carried out their attack had they known that every member of their family would end up back in the two star tent they came out of located in some crap hole country they left years earlier? Yes such a punishment is hard, but so is blowing up 52 people in London!

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    Agree whole heartedly. Conversely as someone who lives in the South-East and works in London/The City, you’d get the impression from our beloved media that hardly anyone down here voted leave. This was of course totally untrue…. On that glorious day , I felt more in common with the good people of the rest of england (midlands/north/south/east/west) than with so called Londoners (real londoners have in the last 15 years nearly all scarpered either abroad or other parts of UK) . Even though we had the epicentre/HQ of UK remain (central London), the majority of the South East actually voted Leave, though again you’d never think it listening to the media. UK wide – many of us decent little people are getting fed up of the M25 bubble & the metropolitan media/liberal set. Like you I think they are going too far and need to understand when to concede defeat. Only in the last 24 hours, what is occuring with James Chapman is totally symbolic of this weird London liberal bubble mindset. James Chapman is someone who I doubt no one has even even heard of outside the M25, his only claim to fame is being ex-Daily Mail journalist and then working for Osborne and more recently David Davis. God knows who the F**k he thinks he is, maybe he’s had some mid-life crises,,, but he is now the darling of London liberals, intellectuals, media and Twitter for tweeting a million times that Brexit is a catastrophe. In addition that it should be cancelled, yesterday he was hurling insults at all leavers, and finally today that most hilariously he’s now said that a new party ‘The Democrats’ should be established to link together, you guessed it – all ‘sensible people’ of all parties (ie remainers like him)…. So much for democracy ! ….. And now apparently the odious Giddeon Osborne is the man behind this latest twist. He is trying singlehandedly to destroy Brexit (& destroy Theresa May at the same time) from the confines of being editor of a crap london paper. You couldn’t make this shit up…….. which of course Chapman did for Osborne previously. What a couple of Tw*ts …. Anyway personally if Osborne is that keen to destroy May & Brexit, then I say May must be doing something right ?!

  • Andrew Mitchell

    The reason Mrs May did badly comes directly from those two numpties who were supposed to be “advising” her, they told her to campaign in labour held areas which meant when she turned up there was always a gang of Momentum people standing with placards shouting “Tory Scum”, while at the same time Corbyn would turn up in labour held areas to a bunch of fans screaming ” we love Jeremy” put yourself in an ordinary everyday persons mind, you see this on the news and your only take away from such a report would be “Mrs May bad, Mr Corbyn good” this was one of the main reasons, and when you add other factors like Corbyn telling students and their parents that a vote for him is a vote for free university places, a vote for him is a vote for those who’ve already paid uni fees, to get that money back, so how many students and their parents supported this promise? I would guess every single one of them! You also had Mrs May saying she was going to make the elderly pay for their care, Corbyn said he wouldn’t, you had Corbyn in a remain voting areas saying a vote for him would mean remaining in the single market and the customs union, in leave areas he said the exact opposite, basically labour and Corbyn sold loads of morons a lie, he made promises that he would never be able to keep, while Mrs May was campaigning in the wrong places, saying the wrong things and being given wrong advice, but the Tory’s should take heart from this, all the labour bullshit has been found out, they won’t get the same support next time, but the truth is, Mrs May got a hard punch on the nose, she now has only two options, she either hides away and basically those in the party will end up getting rid of her which will mean she’ll become the only PM in our history to have achieved zero, or she gets back up, and fights back, stands up to those back stabbers in the party and gets rid of them, make Brexit happen, out of the single market and customs union, then she can go down as a PM who seen this country through its hardest ever term, thus she’ll go down as one of the best PM’s this country’s ever had!

  • Felt

    A typical remainer article.

    If the ‘Tories’ don’t deliver on the LEAVE that was victorious in the referendum, they are finished.

    Corbyn is the least of their worries.

  • Nockian

    Farage was right when he said that the repercussions of trying to wriggle out of leaving would be disasterous. It would leave a very large and passionate group of leavers pitted against a left leaning group of violent emotional remainers who look upon leavers as something akin to the national front. I still don’t think the politicians and the bubble elite get it at all, they still believe it’s a blip which will soon be forgotten like most events in the public eye-but it won’t and it clearly isn’t going away.

  • Nockian

    Too true.

    The right haven’t got a clue what western civilisation is about so are powerless to defend it and the left are horrified by the idea of it needing a defence.

    I make no apologies for being an objectivist here, it allows me to see the ridiculous situation of two factions who want the same thing (collectivism) by different methods. One clings to faith, tradition and family and would have us all in Sunday best kissing the priests feet and praying for a better after life-the other is bent on making us into worker bees for the ‘social good’ singing the party song whilst we sow the fields with our hands.

    We are in for a bad time-hopefully long after I’m dust- if we don’t reject both sets of nonsense and look to reason and the rational selfishness of individualism and freedom from which capitalism springs.

  • springmellon

    This is not complicated. The Tories lost seats because they produced a manifesto that hurt every section of society,
    : young, old, self employed, business owners, public and private sector workers, etc., and offered nothing that would make people’s lives better. I voted Tory simply because of Brexit.

    The Election was a case of the Hare and the Tortoise. Mrs May thought she was so far ahead that she thought she could get away with a manifesto that took a big healthy dump on the majority of the electorate. I held my nose in the voting booth because of the importance I attach to leaving the EU; others were not persuaded.

    Corbyn is a joke that any half decent politician could grind in to the dust. Unfortunately Mrs May, just as she was as Home Secretary, is not up the job,

  • Mojo

    Very well said. It is unbelievably shocking how unintelligent the so called intelligentsia are. I am sick and tired of explaining why Leavers voted as they did and that we still watch the fiasco and complications the Remainers are trying to create.

  • Dynamo11

    Labour gained because they flat out backed leaving the EU, aka a hard Brexit. May and the top Tory brass were all remainers. Demand for a hard Brexit has only grown (hence Davis popularity over Hammond)

  • Thomas

    The Conservatives won Richmond Park at GE 2017 and Brexit to the EEA option isn’t available, let alone desirable.

    The idea that hard borrowing, hard spending Hammond is banging the austerity drum is laughable.

    What has happened to the quality control on Comment Central?

  • Bogbrush

    Minor in numbers (blimey that makes me sound callous!) but major in what it says about the abysmal & cynical leadership of this country.

    We’ve been prevented from defining another country as having inadequate values because the cancer of relativism means there is no good or bad, nothing admirable about our values unless they are defined as accepting (tolerant) of anything except not tolerating everyone else’s bad ideas.

    We use big words but the simple fact is our leaders are weak. if we don’t get a reasonable adjustment to determined, honest leadership we’ll get the other extreme eventually, and that won’t be nice. It certainly won’t carry on like this for good.

    The immigration / Middle East thing is only one aspect; the EU, public finances, corporatist instincts, acquiescence in emergent electoral fraud, etc. are all manifestations of weak and rotten leadership.

  • hobspawn

    Why do none of these morons recognise that (1) EU trade is 5% and falling of our economy, (2) blocking our EU £6000000000 deficit altogether would produce an instant boom for UK production and global UK trade and (3) as soon as we’re out we can start to redirect the £10000000000 per annum towards UK plc in a way that will grow our trade in global markets which the EU can never hope to match in scale and value for money. And that’s all before we start to fix the appalling burden of EU lobbyist regulation. We will accelerate away, if only politicians have the courage to see it and play a straight bat.

    Is that you Gideon? Evgeny Pudovkin! CC, where do you find this brainless intern dross?

  • Nockian

    I think they are a minor nuisance in the scheme of things, but a nuisance never the less. The real problem lies with the Government and intellectually vacancy when it comes to understanding what western civilisation is all about.

    The issue with Muslim immigrants is relatively easy. Until we have a foreign policy which puts pressure on the Wahabist sponsors such as Saudi Arabia, we will always have groups who think they have a sense of cultural superiority over a morally weak West. Our Government does nothing to eradicate that attitude internally either, it’s pathetic values of tolerance and moral cowardice are letting the rats run wild in the hen house. Until we have sorted out our foreign and domestic policies then we should ban all immigration from countries which do not share our values and whom we are effectively in passive conflict with.

    I have no issue with a changing UK, as long as the changes are predicated on reason and individualism. I say let everyone come here if they want to live by those values, but that excludes free healthcare, education and other state sponsored support. We can’t afford it for ourselves and the burden is falling on younger shoulders who are struggling to find decent jobs, or homes at this point.

  • NeilMc1

    Excellent comment Nockian.

  • Bogbrush

    It’s staggering out out of touch the high ups are with reality. Now look at this Newcastle thing. It’s being treated like big news when this is going in all over the country because the causes are endemic amongst people of Middle Eastern culture – they regard women as garbage, and those outside their own community as unprotected.

    The likes of Rudd and their other party counterparts are horrified at addresseing this because it turns upside down their whole belief system and policy decisions of the last umpteen years, and they know they can’t fix it. But it remains and will only get worse.

    Public services will progressively collapse, the socal fabric will fail, and these weak people will set the stage for a very bad outcome. I suspect the point of no return has already passed, or soon will be. A beautiful country with a culture that took 1000 years to develop is being utterly wrecked as an experiment.

  • Nockian

    The smell of remainer garbage permeates every bit of this piece of propaganda.

    The reason the North didn’t vote Tory is because no one up here is daft enough to fall for Mays Damascian conversion. We all knew she was being opportunist. Her campaign was a shambles-in my home town she made sure she didn’t have to get too close to the awful working class by a carefully staged visit to a local factory as if she were Royalty. We like to make a note those kind of things up here.

    The pound didn’t fall because of Brexit, you clearly haven’t a clue about the world economy, Forex and the idiot Carney pushing down the interest rate even further as if to signal a ship sinking caused that. The pound was well due for a reset as is the dollar. It was way over valued and remains so, whilst it’s nice to be able to be a net importer this was predicated on an illusion of wealth through BOE open market operations swelling a London centric bubble coordinated by all the central banks. There is no market to speak of, so where the pound sits is largely down to centrally planned banking operations.

    This idea that Brexiteers are all xenophobic nationalists is equally bogus. Many of us are quite happy with immigration as long as the people coming here accept our values. The problem is that the vaunted welfare state is currently over drawn to the tune of 2 trillion pounds and the Government thinks it can keep on loading it with ever more people regardless of the standard of service falling. It’s also presiding over the ghettoisation of communities who needed time to integrate the new arrivals, but were swamped instead by masses of culturally different people with whom they were often unable to communicate.

    Do you think we don’t know of the failures to control numbers by May and Rudd after promising to cut those numbers at every election ? Do you think we are blind to the Marxist cultural racism that lets crimes slip by undetected amongst immigrant communities for the sake of ‘tolerance’ ?

    We, the 52%, are watching you in your little cosmopolitan elitist bubble, make no mistake about it. We aren’t fooled by your propaganda and BS. You aren’t as intellectually brilliant as you think and we are far brighter than you know. We are slow to anger, but you would be wise not to provoke it.

  • DEvans

    Evgeny Pudovkin…… you are the current chancellor of the exchequer and I claim the £5.

  • PrivatEdukashun

    Another nay-sayer who cannot accept the truth….we are leaving….suck it up and digest it, have a foot-stamping tantrum, make up as many lies as you like, but the fact remains that the UK is LEAVING….hopefully without a deal and without paying a single penny to those crooks in Brussels.

  • William Cooke

    Is Evgeny Pudovkin, a George Osbourne or Nick Clegg pseudonym?

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