Monday, 29 February 2016

Brexit – is it too late?

Leave or Remain the result's the same

As far as one can tell the EU referendum will be a close run thing, but does the result matter? A landslide victory for either side would have some impact of course, but what about a marginal victory for Leave? Unlikely in my view because we generally chicken out of meaningful political change, but what happens if Leave actually win? Apart from the delightful spectacle of Guardian fans crapping themselves that is.

Presumably there would be a protracted period of negotiation lasting for many years because no bureaucrat is going to miss such a golden opportunity for an orgy of nitpicking. During this slumbrous interlude, UK political fortunes would wax and wane and leaders would come and go. Would we have another referendum on the result of such negotiations? Then another?

It is possible that the UK would never actually leave the EU even after a narrow referendum victory for the Leave lot. Instead, the result may be lost in a maze of negotiations and technicalities none of which deliver genuine independence and none of which are ever pursued with enthusiasm or determination by UK bureaucrats. They are too busy enjoying the orgy. 

To my mind it was more important to deliver a large UKIP vote during last year’s general election. Whatever one thinks of UKIP it was the only option for those who think the UK would be better off outside the EU.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Labour and Conservative voters opted for the devils they knew, so even if we have a narrow victory for Leave it may turn out to be as hollow as everything else seems to be these days. The die was probably cast last year and possibly well before that. Voters just aren’t up for it and neither are the bureaucrats who actually run the show.


Demetrius said...

It looks like the night time economy in many UK town centres at the weekend. I am waiting for Project Fear to announce that leaving the EU means no alcoholic drinks will be available.

James Higham said...

Not long to go now.

Edward Spalton said...

Actually, there is rather a sensible, detailed scheme called FLEXCIT which would permit an orderly transition with the two years specified in
TEU ( Treaty on European Union), Article 50.
It involves the package deal of joining EFTA and staying in the EEA, ( European Economic Area), like Norway.

Our Norwegian friends of Nei til EU recently sent some details of what is involved. This is posted on

If you go to the publications section ( pamphlets) you can find a short version( 33 pages) of FLEXCIT and also the full works ( some 420 pages). For a very concentrated 35 minute explanation, go to the video section and click on FLEXCIT.

This scheme is attacked both by Europhiles like Mr Cameron and the more gung-ho independence campaigners who believe that everything will be lovely if we only repeal the European Communities Act.

When we held a meeting about this in Derby, the editor of the Derby Telegraph was quite generous with space. One chap wrote in to pooh-pooh the whole thing because Parliament could repeal th ECA " in the twinkling of and eye". I happened to know he is a keen Europhile. The "leap in the dark" is how the 'philes want the independence movement to go.

By kind invitation of Scarthin Books, I will (DV) be debating BREXIT issue ion Aoril 9 at Cromford Community Hall. Watch for details

Anonymous said...

What would the outers actually do. The antique fools among them might hope to revive Woomera as a tech hub and the Groundnut Scheme as a GM trial. As suggested some sort of Nordic deal might be a way forward, but that has the feel of a 'horse and cart' rather than the Ferrari the outers seem to be hoping for.

We could try the Asian approach, stop wasting money on 'justice' and 'democracy', force hard line streaming in schools etc. Might make some richer but would ruin the whole point of the UK as a depository for Asian and other wealth and ruin the demand for our commercial and legal services.

The brutal fact is we are a cold wet island stuck off the coast of France/Lower Germany that was historically successful not through any intrinsic virtues but because the French and Germans squandered their talents and forced us into world trade. Now almost the entire world is one trading bloc and a cold wet island with its main political and economic warmth stuck in one small corner is going to have a hard time. So the choice is between this horse and cart or that horse and cart, the outlook is the same - a horse's bum.

A K Haart said...

Edward - I know about FLEXCIT although I haven't read it. To my mind, whatever its merits the Civil Service and EU bureaucrats would never consider an off the shelf solution. It seems cynical to say so, but I'm sure many would aim to build their future careers around the negotiations and would have no incentive to achieve anything worthwhile.

We seem to lack the political will for an exit and without that it isn't easy to see a way forward. I hope I'm wrong but to my mind the boat has sailed.

Roger - I agree. The more I think about this issue, the more I see it as an irreversible trend we should have acknowledged decades ago. We don't even have the political will to make the best of our cold wet island so we won't.

Derek said...

Defeatism at its best. To quote another: -
"It seems to be almost an absolute that those who are most in favour of the EU are those who know least about it, and how it works."
(Dr. Richard North.)

A K Haart said...

Derek - I think defeat is almost inevitable. Not quite, there is still hope, but I have little faith in the wisdom of the electorate or the honesty of our media or political classes.

Derek said...

If we are defeated it will be by ignorance. Ignorance compounded by deliberate fear mongering which currently is in full spate through the mainstream media, and through politicians and government ministers intent on keeping the electorate ignorant of the truth about how as a nation we could return to being self ruled and self governed. For those who have had an easy ride over the past forty odd years, having to earn their keep might be just too frightening to contemplate.

The 'Fat Lady' is yet to sing.

Edward Spalton said...

David Davis made a very good speech on 19 Feb at the Queen Elizabeth conference centre. Around 2,000 people turned up and many had to stand. It was a most successful meeting with Labour, Conservative UKIP and other speakers - and excellent speeches too.

He quoted the poem (Chesterton) with the line
"We are the people of England and we have not spoken yet" - very effectively. Will they speak now? We'll see.

The only thing of note reported about this meeting in the media was that some people walked out when George Galloway came to the platform. I was walking out at the time - like others, to catch a train!
A friend, who did walk out on principle, told me that about 40 in all walked.

Yet when I saw my neighbour the following morning and said I had been to this exciting meeting, she said "The one where everybody walked out?" .

That was the impression the BBC had left her with. It is very clever at this sort of thing and has been rabidly europhile since Ian Trethowan sacked Jack de Manio at the insistence of his friend, Edward Heath. So the ignorance is reinforced and multiplied in the smoke and mirrors of the media, especially our impartial public broadcaster whose daily output in the early Seventies was directed in detail by a Foreign Office official, Norman Reddaway - later Sir Norman and ambassador to Poland.

What a strange inversion! It used to be the Foreign Office's job to represent our country to foreigners but, in the case of the EEC/EU, it was (and is) to represent foreigners to us.
I liked the story of the chap in Whitehall asking a policeman "Which side is the Foreign Office on?"
"Well Sir" saif the Bobby "I hope it's on ours" - but, of course, it's not.

A K Haart said...

Edward - yes the BBC is very good at this kind of misinformation, but people with an agenda are good at that kind of thing. It seems to come naturally to those who are absolutely sold on their side of the argument. I find it odd because there is a certain satisfaction in neutrality, but the BBC just doesn't get it. Or dare not get it.

A K Haart said...

Derek - yes, ignorance compounded by deliberate fear mongering, but people don't have to fall for it if only they would make some effort.