That second referendum: a logical absurdity
Two questions for Jeremy Hunt. Hunt has written a piece arguing that the UK should now negotiate new trade terms with the EU, and then submit the new deal to the British people in a second referendum. They could vote in the full knowledge of what to expect. What is the problem with that? Quite a lot, in fact.
Brussels will know that any new deal will be put to a referendum. They will seek to design an offer guaranteed to be refused, so that British voters will vote NO, and preserve EU membership (I hesitate to call it the “status quo” – EU membership has never been a status quo, but a work in process). They will therefore offer the minimum, or perhaps nothing at all. They’ve already said that Cameron’s re-negotiation is the best we can expect. So this is a guaranteed route to failure.
But just suppose they did make a half-credible offer. Suppose it were to be put to the British people. If we voted YES, so be it. But if we reject it – does that mean we want to remain in an unreformed EU? Or does it mean that we reject the compromise and therefore want to revert to the previous position of June 23rd – a rejection of EU membership? This whole idea is a logical monstrosity, a recipe for confusion on the greatest issue of our time. We’ve voted OUT. We must now get out.
Sajid Javid to push for Single Market access: Business Secretary Sajid Javid has said he will push for “access to the Single Market”. These are weasel words. If he were honest, he would say “continued membership of the Single Market”. All developed countries have access to the Single Market. Some have free trade deals, some don’t, but they all sell goods into the Single Market. So shall we.
Younger people have a problem
I am alarmed to hear young people complaining that the electorate has ignored their issues, that older people don’t understand them, that we have deprived them of their rights. http://qz.com/715653/to-young-people-in-the-uk-brexit-is-a-door-closing-and-a-sign-that-hate-is-winning/
Let me remind all seventeen year olds: we older people were once seventeen too. We understand their hopes, their fears and their aspirations, because they were ours too. And in my own case, after thirty years managing international businesses and seventeen years in the European parliament, I can assure them that on average, typically, older people understand the EU issue a great deal better than many of them do. And far from being unconcerned about the opportunities of the young, we older people have children and grandchildren whose future welfare is a key issue for us.
I was on the BBC East Midlands Politics Show last Sunday with a young man of seventeen who had previously heckled Boris Johnson on camera (he also seemed to be the son of a Labour Councillor – although the BBC didn’t mention that). He made those very points. My answer: we’ve given you back your country, your democracy, your right to elect and dismiss your own government. We’ve given you back a great global trading nation, not an off-shore province of a nation called Europe, with all the world-wide economic and other opportunities that brings with it. You should be weeping tears of gratitude, not crying into your beer. The problem, of course, is the vast weight of EU propaganda out there in our schools, aided and abetted by the BBC’s pro-EU stance, that has confused and corrupted the minds of our young people. We have a big job to set matters right.
Cameron’s Brussels Summit
Yesterday Cameron was called to the Headmaster’s office to explain himself and to face six strokes of the cane. His excuse? His failure in the EU referendum was the fault of the EU’s failure to control immigration! Bet they just loved that.
The Mirror claims he faced “humiliation”, and maybe for once it’s not wrong. The issue comes down to this: if we want the Single Market (and UKIP doesn’t), we must also accept free movement. But that’s what most Brexit voters were voting against. The Single Market solution is a non-starter in the face of the June 23rd vote. The Express has a different take, headlining “Brexit vote is the EU’s fault” – as, indeed, it is.
The Times strikes a more up-beat line headlined “Cameron’s immigration ultimatum”. He reportedly told EU leaders that they’d have to curb migration and free movement if they wanted a trade deal with the UK. It’s good to hear Cameron, however belatedly, speaking up as if he believed in his country, and recognising that trade with the UK is a valuable asset that Brussels would not dare to lose.
However the EU is absolutely wedded to freedom of movement, and EU leaders have insisted there will be no more concessions. If Cameron had struck that self-confident stance earlier, in his failed renegotiation, he might have done better.
… and Farage addresses the European parliament
Yesterday in the European parliament’s emergency debate on Brexit, Nigel Farage gave a solid broadside against the dying and dysfunctional European project. He reminded them that when he arrived in Brussels seventeen years ago (both he and I were first elected in 1999), he was laughed at for suggesting that Britain might leave the EU. And as he put it, “You’re not laughing now”. The anger in the chamber was palpable. Nigel was abused, maligned, vilified and booed. We should be glad that he has the resilience and strength of character to stand up for his country in the face of such hostility. It helped, of course, that he was right. And even more that his stance had been vindicated by the British people on June 23rd. Independence Day.
Cameron & Farage: It’s the EU’s fault: The Express unusually puts Cameron and Farage in the same headline: they both argue that the Brexit vote is the result of EU intransigence, especially on the immigration issue.
The BBC: talking Britain down
The BBC has pounced on the FTSE sell-off and the slide in Sterling to sow doubt and despondency about the Brexit decision. I’ve been asked again and again “Doesn’t the slide in the markets prove that Project Fear was right all along?”. No it does not. Volatility was entirely predictable around the Brexit vote, and I and others in fact predicted it. Brexit is about months and years, about our children and grandchildren, about freedom and democracy hopefully forever, and to pretend to judge it on a couple of days trading, while traders are clearly responding to the dire warnings from the Remain camp and the Treasury, is absurd.
The Times picks up the story, reporting that the Footsie bounced back yesterday — though true to form it predicts further problems. And as I have argued repeatedly, the slide in Sterling may be just the tonic our economy needs. OK, it will cost you more to go on holiday, or to fill your Jaguar with imported petrol – but Jaguar will sell many more British-made cars abroad. It will boost exports. Medium term, Brexit will galvanise our economy, free it from the trammels of EU regulation, and drive prosperity, growth and jobs.
The stock market sell-off seems to have been a global phenomenon, including Wall Street. And while I can well believe that the Brexit vote could affect European bourses, it would surely be hubristic in the extreme to imagine that a referendum decision in Britain could bring Wall Street tumbling. There are global problems out there which go far beyond the Brexit issue, and are partly responsible for the Footsie’s slide.
Tory leadership battle
The Telegraph reports a poll showing that only Boris can reach out to swing voters across the nation to achieve a Tory victory, despite a Conservative Home poll showing Theresa May marginally ahead (amongst its readership, at least).
BoJo storms ahead: The Sun reports that the Johnson camp is claiming the backing of 100 MPs – despite the Tory Whips pushing for Theresa May. I worry about Boris’s attitude to the “Norway Plus” model, but surely he is a better choice that the grey, drab Theresa may, who despite efforts to seem neutral on Brexit was in fact campaigning for Remain. If the Tories want a woman leader, look no further than Andrea Leadsom, who gave such sparkling performances in the Brexit campaign.
(Photo from Twitter)
Another Ice Age?
The Mirror reports that the quiescent state of the Sun (the star, not the newspaper) suggests that we may face a new cold period like the “Maunder Minimum” that lasted seventy years in the seventeenth century, and led to “Frost Fairs” on the River Thames. Is that an EU story? Well it casts a sharp light on the absurdity of the EU’s climate policies, which at best drive industry, jobs and investment – and emissions – overseas, and now, it seems could be made utterly irrelevant by real-world developments. Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Forum believes that following the Brexit vote, the new Tory administration, may take a more rational view of energy policies once free of control from Brussels.