The informal Salzburg summit has driven home the bitter truth behind the Brexit saga. It has become unnegotiable. Mrs May now has a constitutional duty to admit that truth. There is no positive outcome that is equally acceptable to the EU and to the UK, argues Jolyon Howorth.
The British people, who voted in a narrow majority to leave the EU, were disinformed and misled in fundamentally devious ways by the Brexiters. President Macron stated this baldly and he is right. The Leavers had no idea what they were getting the country into and the overwhelming majority of voters would have been incapable of outlining how they saw things developing during and after the negotiations on exiting. They did not know the difference between a “hard” or a “soft” Brexit. They had no information about the relative merits and demerits of the “EEA model” as opposed to the “Canada model” or the “no deal model” or indeed any other exit model. In short, the electorate was sold a myth. They were sold that myth by a handful of ideologues and careerists who had no clearer idea than the voters themselves about what Brexit actually involved.
Theresa May’s apparent fixation on respecting the verdict of the electorate is therefore misguided, unnecessary and dangerous. It is dangerous because all of the serious studies about the impact on the UK of Brexit, including the government’s own comprehensive study, make it quite clear that, under any scenario, the country will be worse off after the UK leaves than it was before. How could any prime minister accept such a stark outcome in the name of a badly flawed “democratic decision”? The “Chequers plan” is currently being spun even by some of the most serious Brexit analysts as having merit. That is only the case if one accepts that, in comparison with all the other “plans” proposed by the hard Brexiters, or with either the EEA model or the Canada model, it is, for the UK, almost by default, the least unacceptable of the lot. But that does not make it acceptable to the EU. It has been firmly rejected by the EU-27, as Donald Tusk said, because “it will not work”. If, as a plan for UK-EU relations going forward, it will not work for the EU, it will not work – full stop. Mrs May has argued that it is now up to the EU to propose its own plan. That is not the case. If the UK wishes to forge a new relationship with the EU, it is up to London to set out a plan that will work for both sides.
Mrs May has no alternative now, if she is to be honest with herself (a Remainer) and with the British people (who were misinformed). As the country’s leader and the person most invested in seeking a positive outcome, she must finally admit the truth in a full and frank address to the British people. Brexit was a mistake. There is no positive outcome that meets the red lines of the two parties. To her credit, she made an honest and valiant attempt to negotiate what finally transpired to be the unnegotiable. It is not her fault that she failed. The only sensible course, therefore, is to suspend Article 50 and request a return to the status-quo ante. Hard-line Brexiters will continue to fret and froth, but the vast majority of English citizens (and Brexit is overwhelmingly a problem for the English) will recognize that Brexit was, quite simply, a bad idea. They will then get on with their lives.
There could be one unanticipated positive outcome. The British people (and particularly the English), who have been in search of their identity since 1945, might finally recognize that it lies not in the distant past (Empire/Commonwealth), nor in the recent past (“special relationship” with the US) but in the future: the creation of a Europe whole, free and at peace. It is better that they draw this conclusion today rather than in 2040 after a period of harsh isolation in the middle of the North Sea. Mrs May has the political and constitutional responsibility to head off such an outcome by finally telling the truth.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the LSE Brexit blog nor of the LSE.
Jolyon Howorth is Jean Monnet Professor ad personam and Emeritus Professor of European Politics at the University of Bath. From 2002 to 2018, he was Visiting Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale University. He is currently Visiting Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
What a message to wake up to.Shall I place myself back into my EU straight jacket.
Best. LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
You can be influenced by thinking about “straight jackets”. I’d rather, you thought about choices, because all choices of belonging results in obligations. And we usually are happy to agree to those obligations because we want to have the benefits of belonging.
The English do like the idea of belonging to “clubs” and they readily adhere to their clubs’ rules. However, it is understandable because of recent history that the older English folk are not fond of the idea of belonging in the EU club. The “Empire” still lingers and it hurts that the Germans and French are doing better in some way or another. And therefore it is very easy to blame all this country’s misfortunes on the EU. Who else could they blame? Surely not the daft FPtP electoral system?
The younger generation mostly consider the future rather than the past, i.e. what they and their children will risk to lose by leaving the EU. To hear from the Brexit Club that all will be well (maybe) in about 50 years is not helpful for them. The Brexit Club is rich and will not suffer and they will mostly be dead by then. Their offspring will have moved to New Zealand or other more reliable and prosperous places.
And the rest of us will try in vain to bring those who caused this mess to justice. And even if found, they will always be able to quote the “will of the people” – so you only have yourself to blame.
At present, we can join these two types of club: the EU one and the Trump one. You all have the right to chose, but my view is that the absolute right to chose is with those who have to live with it. And that is not the Brexit club members who are mainly “a foot in the grave”.
I believe those figures are reasonably accurate.
It would be easy to blame the Governments for allowing things to happen but I think the main reason is the faliure of parents to be responslble for their children. Also the law has been changed by those who speak loudest and intimidate others. Television has shown the world to be a free and easy place.The courts are led by
Persons not wanting to curtail the freedom of others who do wrong. Criticism is not allowed for fear of lawyers
Saying the wrong word was spoken and the recipient of those words was offended. Litigation is rife. An apology is no longer sufficient because our badly educated children are not guided by their parents to forgive. How silly is it when we cannot give someone a black look. Sorry I meant speak that I would give somone a black look. Thinking to do so is still allowed but I feel that freedom will disappear soon.
No problem. What I cannot control I do not worry about.
I thank you for your reply.
I find your comment about the age of Brexiteers (Although true) unnecessary. Be assured that we do have the interests of younger people at heart. We have worldly experience that they do not. Looking to future EU expansion it seems that control of people and their rights will be enforced. The manner in which it has been done so far leaves Brexiteers voting to leave the EU. You yourself must be aware of the way the EU is going.
Why do you wish it to carry on in the manner it is?
” The Brexit Club is rich and will not suffer and they will mostly be dead by then. Their offspring will have moved to New Zealand or other more reliable and prosperous places.”
In my village a number of youngsters had already moved to New Zealand prior to 2015. One family have lost all three of their children. Housing costs are a major reason why these youngsters moved. One of my children moved abroad largely because of housing costs. Free Movement has helped to exacerbate this situation and would continue to do so if we remained in the EU.
So is it better to commit to a Europe that the French aspire to lead and which the Germans fund and appear to own? Have the Remianers explained the consequences of the Brussels vision? Are we destined to be a minor player in the US of E? Do we simply accept that we have to kneel before the bureaucrats who drive forward their version of the EU almost regardless of the will of all peoples – not just Brits. We can all agree that Brexiteers made false promises. But let’s also be honest and say that the Remainers have deliberately hidden from the UK electorate the consequences of staying in. There is no “status quo ante” – there is only the maniacal drive to do as Brussels wants which is evolving at pace.
Stop lying. You are a liar. The U.K. is the EU as much as France or Germany. We made the EU. No one is kneeling to any bureaucrats. The EU is run by the heads of state of its member countries. You are a liar.
Brexit was never negotiable in truth. The EU said right from the start that they had no interest in helping the UK make a success of Brexit… That is the hard fact of this matter.
A very rational article but I fear we will suffer a generation of regret before this analysis is accepted. Look on the bright side, it will only be 20 years more of austerity, its not as if we are going to war!
Europes is not at peace and has never been in peace. They are always sending troops to kill people. If not that they are not helping countries like Greece and allowing its population to kill themselves.
May and her band of silly people have done exactly what they wanted with the negotiations. They have spent two years mucking about so the BoE can adjust the UK economy, weakon the pound ready for when we actually leave.
It is all smoke and mirrors with a vast amount of panto for people with zero imagination.
Hahahahaha, really? Oh my… hilarious
Actions have consequences.
One could easily see this Ultra Brexit fiasco as having been baked into British polity
by Ted Heath refusing the Irish republic’s request to have the UN troops help mediate Northern Irish civil rights activists and insisting on it being a UK only problem, promptly sending in the British army to shoot
at their own citizens, whilst also working to illicitly trick the UK into entering the common market.
The anti EU sentiment displayed by the Ultras dates back from the early 1970s.
The DUP, an extreme fundamentalist reactionary unionist faction, were established in response to the violent local nationalist reaction created by the British army’s highhandedness in 1971. They now are in de facto total control of Brexit negotiations in Westminster.
Historically dark deeds cast long shadows.
What is it that the EU has done, that so offends you?
Is it the 40 years of peace and prosperity brought to a contintent that was at war for over 1000 years? maybe that’s it. Or is it the improvement or environmental and workers rights that annoys you? Or maybe the enshrinement of Human Rights that really gets under your skin.
Or is it that the EU accepted “the sick man of Europe” (as Britain was known in the 70s) into their club on an equal basis and with veto rights and helped to build Britain up from post-war depression into the 6th largest economy in the world by allowing free access into their domestic markets?
@ Anthony: “What is it that the EU has done, that so offends you?
Is it the 40 years of peace … brought to a contintent that was at war for over 1000 years?”
This argument always irritates me. It presupposes that in a counterfactual world where the EU (or its predecessors) had never existed, Germany would have invaded Belgium again. I really can’t see Adenauer, or any of his successors as chancellor, or any substantial proportion of the German people being that stupid, in or out of the European Union.
The astonishing thing is not that Germany hasn’t invaded anyone in the last 70 years but that the Cold War in Europe never got hot. I think this owes more to Willy Brandt than to the EU or its predecessors.
I left out “and prosperity” from the passage cited by Anthony as that is another argument and I think I might agree with Anthony there.
@Alias – When you say, you can’t see it happening again, do you mean while the EU exists or in any scenario? You may need reminding that there were 2 World Wars…. so they already did ‘do it again’.
The EU is a great leveller. Except for Britain in 2016, populism and nationalist fervour have been have been kept to a minimum. Boarder issues are not aggressively contested within the EU and trans-continental problems are discussed and arbitrated through the Council. That means peaceful resolutions to international problems.
You argument seems to be, since it’s happened before it won’t happen again. Whereas the truth is that it is because of the political and economic structures that were put in place (the EU) after the war are the very thing stopping war from happening.
@Claire: Germany’s leaders in WW1 were clever enough to throw in the towel before half Germany was reduced to rubble. Unfortunately this allowed the Nazis to propagate the legend that Germany only lost WW1 because it capitulated too early (or was “stabbed in the back” by rich financiers at home). But this certainly couldn’t be argued about WW2.
Even if you are stupid enough to ignore or doubt the Nazis’ crimes against humanity, you are still left with the fact that they managed to make much of Germany homeless and split the country into a large number of fragments (I reckon about 9), some of which are gone for ever, the rest with much difficulty and over many decades reunited. So you have to be really stupid to want a repetition. The EU doesn’t have much to do with this.
Maybe your schoolbook knowledge that both wars were just Germanys fault blinds you here. This knowledge is too simple. These wars did not happen because Germans a hundred years ago were so eager to loose their lives on the battlefield. Let’s have a closer look there.
WWI: The tension between the nations had been building up. The alliances forged by Bismarck (after the German unification in 1871) that isolated France and guaranteed peace had long been lost. There were two fractions (UK, France, Russia vs. Germany and Austria-Hungary) looking for advantages, playing the power game. And in this situation the provocation (We remember, the final spark to blow it all up was the assassination of the Austrian prince by a Serbian nationalist.) lead to a chain reaction that could not be contained. Such a chain reaction cannot happen now because through the EU (and NATO) the countries keep talking and working together.
As you were also at least imprecise there: the German emperor and his government were not clever enough to throw the towel. They were swept away by a revolution that installed a true democracy, surrendered and got the Versailles treaty as a burden that overshadowed the whole Weimar republic period.
WWII: Well, ultimately if the humiliation after a lost war is too great, the economic burden of reparations too big, extremists may find a way to power. And this is what happened. After WWII the US ensured through the Marshall plan that the same could not happen again for Western Germany. The situation in Eastern Germany was different.
Anyway, beside the EU it has also been NATO that held together first the Western part and now also Central Europe. And as far as I know you do not plan to leave NATO. And even if you did, it would not risk peace in Europe. But the circumstances matter much more than you think.
Btw. Brexit is a good topic to see how easily tensions can build up again. Look at how your media and probably also some politicians have for decades told you that everything that goes wrong is the EUs fault. You are not the only ones there, but somehow in the details the effect has been different in other countries.
And do not underestimate how much the Brexit process has estranged you from the peoples of the EU.
@Mathias, we are getting into deep waters. You are right that I am not a professional historian and I know my previous response had errors. I don’t want to dispute your various assertions. But even assuming that they are all true, this would not make the EU solely responsible for the fact that Western Europe has enjoyed 70 years of peace. The Marshall Plan and NATO were also factors, as you point out.
“And do not underestimate how much the Brexit process has estranged you from the peoples of the EU.” Who is “you”? Although British, I live in Germany. I don’t feel estranged. My guess is that, typically, educated Germans regard the decision to leave the EU as incomprehensible. But at the same time they are used to the British being odd in all sorts of ways (cue Monty Python, driving on the left and keeping out of monetary union). The existence of the AfD (whose leaders Gauland and Weidel make Nigel Farage look positively cuddly) and the recent troubles in Chemnitz are enough to stop Germans feeling they are better than other nations at avoiding crude nationalistic populism. So I don’t see Brexit leading to estrangement.
The reason why Europe has been peaceful is NATO. That and the fact that we have nukes and the Germans don’t.
Without the reconciliation between Germany and especially France and the Benelux countries (ie the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) founded in the treaty for the European Community of Coal and Steel, which explicitly stated that a new war between Germany and France would be made impossible by pooling the steel and coal resources, the peace project wouldn’t have been successful. Germany and France abandoned with that treaty being the nucleus of the future EU their century old “inherited enmity”. My post war German generation is the first thinking overwhelmingly of especially France and the Benelux countries as our close friends and not as our enemies. And that reconciliation at the middle of the Continental started by men as for example Generale de Gaulle and Adenauer for France and Germany needed a foundation in international treaties as that of the European community of coal and steel and there development to closer forms of a European unity People start such a process but only supra-personal and supra-national institutions can stab
@Patricia, can you imagine Adenauer and de Gaulle, or any of their successors, going to war, even without the EU and its predecessors? I can’t. One can abandon inherited enmities in other ways. France used to be an inherited enemy of England, up to about 1890.
@Mathias. The German version of history is that it was the adversity of the Versailles treaty that gave rise to the Nazis. Shame on them then, they should try to impose punitive measures on the UK for its decision to leave the EU.
@Teejay, I’ve read various German accounts of the origins of the Third Reich (if you want a good history of Germany up to 1945 you could do worse than Golo Mann’s) but haven’t found this “German version of history” in them. Can you cite one?
One example here.
“The debt continued to fuel deep feelings of resentment, which Adolph Hitler exploited to catapult himself to power in 1934. Nothing played a greater role in Nazi propaganda than the refusal of Versailles and the promise to go back on the treaty,” says Gerd Krumeich of the University of Düsseldorf, a World War I historian. “It gave rise to a campaign of propaganda and hatred.”
“Without the Treaty of Versailles, the course of German history would have been quite different,” agrees Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich of Berlin’s Free University. “
@Teejay, none of this says that “it was the adversity of the Versailles treaty that gave rise to the Nazis” but that the Nazis were able to use Versailles for their propaganda.
‘“Without the Treaty of Versailles, the course of German history would have been quite different,” agrees Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich of Berlin’s Free University. ‘
Given the context of this quote. My interpretation (and imagine that of most people) is that without the treaty of Versailles there wouldn’t have been the rise of the Nazis. Carl-Ludwig Holtfreich would know that this is how people would interpret his words, if he had something else in mind, then he should have clarified his words, (particularly since it is difficult to imagine what else he might have meant).
Either way my original observation stands. The Germans are fully aware that punitive negotiations can have unexpected detrimental outcomes and they should be ashamed of their response to Brexit.
@Teejay: “My interpretation (and imagine that of most people) is that without the treaty of Versailles there wouldn’t have been the rise of the Nazis. Carl-Ludwig Holtfreich would know that this is how people would interpret his words, ” I think you are interpreting too much based on a snippet from the CS monitor of something which is probably a translation.
No-one denies that the Nazis were helped by the Treaty of Versaiiles. But there were a lot of other contributing factors, which I think were more fundamental. Imagine if a woman had a row with her boyfriend and threw him out of the common appartment, changing the locks. The boyfriend then came back with a gun and proceeded to murder the woman, her relations and most of the neighbours. Perhaps it would be reasonable to say that the woman locking the man out was a proximate cause of the massacre, but it’s fairly obvious something was wrong with the man as well, almost certainly before he started killing people. This seems to me a reasonable analogy. There were definitely things wrong with Germany before 1914 which would develop into Nazism. Germany before 1914 was a long way away from being as bad a place as the Third Reich but nevertheless it had rampant anti-Semiticism (OK; so they had this in the UK as well but I don’t think it was as bad), a uniform fetish and lacked real democracy.
Er, can we get back to discussing Brexit?
One question for Brexiteers: What do you personally gain from Brexit?
I mean as an individual citizen. What do you (or I) get from Brexit? I know that Brexit will give the Gov. the power (or ‘freedom’) to get rid of environmental and worker protections, but what do you personally get as a benefit from Brexit?
I get protection for my meaningful vote.
I get the option to play my small part in dismissing a government by my vote if the majority of the country agrees with me.
Just cut the nonsense about backtracking on workers rights. Who has ever said or indicated that tat would happen?
We are all workers, done harder than others.
I get my freedoms of speech returned to me.
I get to live in a democracy.
I get to trade with the rest of the world if I do choose without permission required from unelected Eurocrats.
“I get to live in a democracy.”
Yep! So in the pre-referendum negotiations there were two parties who both wanted the UK to remain in the EU. Both parties failed in their objective. On one side, the principal player resigned his post and policy was changed in response to vote. On the other side no one resigned and the same policy of inflexibility was retained. The first response is indicative of a democracy, the second isn’t.
It was in response to the blogger who asked what I or we get out of Brexit
We get to be allowed to subsidise ( if we chose to) industries that face unfair competition,
Ask the steel workers.
Ask the motor industry.
Any many many more.
We cannot, under current Eu legislation, that we have never been asked ( until 2016 ) if we wish to be part of.
We get to Spend the money we contribute
On what we chose not what Eurocrats chose!
We get to say who comes into our country not who the Eurocrats say will come in.
We get to say who we can deport from our country who OUR courts say must be deported, not the Eurocratic court of Human rights.
Don’t w just know that the British pms with a straight bat but the French just ignore human rights of terorists( quite right in my view) and out them out to sea.
For years we have said what about the human rights of the innocent???????
No doubt there will be pain
But to get rid of a bad tooth you have to take it out.
That comes with pain.
Ignoring most of your other points are just ill-informed, you can just subsidise anything you want under WTO either.
Can’t just subsidise. Damn auto-wrong.
It is absolutely right to say that Cameron at least fell on his sword.
All be it he would have been forced anyway.
The man let his victory on Scottish regerendum get to his head!!!!
It is he that has caused this. Not May!
But equally the inflexibility from Junker was enough to swing the narrow majority to leave.
Why has Junker not resigned????
Because he is also an idiot.
He is power mad just like Cameron.
He has stayed on to demonstrate that as an unelected leader he can demonstrate the same inflexibility/dictatorship that most find abhorrent.
Whilst this attitude persists I feel comfortable with out!
Junker should hold the same responsibility for this situation.
He should resign
But we all know he won’t!!!
“a period of harsh isolation in the middle of the North Sea” is probably the only thing which will make the English see sense. By that time Scotland and NI will be back in the EU, and there will be a viable independence movement in Wales, and possibly Northern England.
The professor argues that Brexit will make Britain “worse off”.
He has not acknowledged the marked inaccuracy of the Treasury, IMF and many other economic forecasts that were issued before the referendum, and which formed the basis of the Remain campaign. The Treasury’s forecasts for the two years after 2016 assumed, for instance, that there would be no countervailing government or central bank action to cushion the immediate impact of the referendum shock; an assumption that was not only incorrect but unjustifiably so.
Remain campaigned heavily on the prediction that London’s financiers would leave for Frankfurt in the event of a Leave vote, because London would no longer be able to serve as the EU’s financial capital. It is incumbent on Remain, therefore, to explain why Britain should even wish for London to serve as the EU’s financial capital, given that this EU-era economic model exposed Britain to the acute volatility of global financial markets, inflicting acute damage to average incomes after the 2008 crash, while doing nothing to revive the formerly industrial economies of Northern England and Wales, now the poorest regions in Western Europe.
The relatively small disbursements such areas receive from the EU have not corrected this relative poverty, and in any case it must be noted that those payments are British taxpayers’ money that is round-tripped via Brussels, Britain being a net contributor to the EU budget.
It is likely that any cancellation of the referendum, on the basis that the EU is making exit talks “unnegotiable”, will see the rapid growth of extremist political movements in Brexit-voting areas of Britain. Such movements will point to assurances from both sides that the referendum vote would be acted upon, the heavy majority of MPs who voted in favour of holding the referendum, and the well-funded but opaque movement behind the anti-Brexit “People’s Vote” campaign, to cast Britain’s democracy as a sham orchestrated by shadowy elites. The professor does not seem to factor these political risks into his assessment, which seems a serious omission given the rapid outgrowth of extremist parties in continental Europe over recent years.
The post is typical of a deluded remainer who only speaks to people who voted remain and thinks all though those that voted leave are less intelligent beings. A negotiated settlement will be announced in November.
I have to take issue with the idea that the economic forecasts were markedly wrong though.
Treasury forecast that GDP would be 3.6% lower after 2 years than it would without a Brexit vote. Growth over last two years is 3.1% (average 1.55%). In the two years previous to Brexit the average growth rate was 2.75% p.a. So with a basic assumption that this rate continued between May 2016 and 2018 we would have 5.5% growth not 3.1%. So difference is 2.4%. Not 3.6% based on treasury but not ‘markedly inaccurate’, particularly when you look at the hit the pound took on trade weighted basis (still 10.5% below rate on day before Brexit vote).
The figure 3.1% is correct but I have no idea where you got the figure of 2.75% p.a. for the preceding two years. You can look at the graph here and download the data.
My understanding from the downloaded data is that in £m the figures are 2014 Q2 471155; 2016 Q2 490502, 2018 Q2 506029. So I make that a 4.1% rise in the first 2 year period and a 3.1% rise in the second 2 year period.
The Treasury also predicted a fall in house prices of between 10% and 18% and a rise in unemployment of between 520,000 and 820,000. The predicted fall of 3.6% GDP was the most favourable of the two predictions. The other was a fall of 6%. The Treasury also said that any delay in the Brexit process would produce an even worse outcome, but they are now blaming the inaccuracy of their forecasts on the delay in raising article 50.
The timbre of their report is best summarised by the following written in bold print in the executive summary.
“A vote to leave would cause an immediate and profound economic shock creating instability and uncertainty which would be compounded by the complex and interdependent negotiations that would follow. The central conclusion of the analysis is that the effect of this profound shock would be to push the UK into recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment.”
I agree with the tenor, but am not sure you explain why the duty is constitutional?
I would like to have Canada ++++
A border with Eire and UN troops to keep the peace.
Border to keep terrorists out and in and then eliminate them if they are not happy with a democratic life
We were led into the EU plan like sheep.
Like a black sheep we will leave the manger as we the people are not happy with EU plans .
EU supporters of Remain would have us be like a contented flock
Instead of Baa Baa give us BYE BYE.
Peace to all you who pontificate
There is currently peace in NI, why not just leave it alone? The UN will hardly want to send troops on behalf of a government who reneged on a peace agreement.
The author makes a category error. The point of Brexit is not to negotiate a better relationship with the EU. That was Cameron’s negotiation. The point of Brexit is to restore sufficient sovereignty that taking a different path as a nation is feasible.
Brexit is extremely easy to achieve. Send a letter; wait two years. Done. The negotiations with the EU are a separate matter.
I think the article is spot on, except I do not see the constitutional imperative mentioned further beyond the title.
I believe there should be one, and it is likely to be that the original referendum was won by cheating, BUT, there is a problem that the Supreme Court has already ruled that the referendum has no constitutional significance whatsoever, as Parliament are not bound by it…
The upside in all this is, Theresa May is doing so badly, there will be no hard Brexit in the end, and if we get very lucky, no Brexit at all.
The Prime Minister’s primary duty under the Constitution, broadly understood, is surely to protect and promote the national interest of the UK. She is responsible to the British people, via Parliament, for this duty. If she knows, as by now she must, that all potential Brexit options will be harmful to the long-term interests of the UK, she has a duty to state that clearly, via Parliament, to the people, and to recommend a change of course, rather than to continue to try to find a fudge that can be passed off as the “best deal on offer”. The responsibility of leaders is to lead.
The Supreme Court case meant that the MP;s had to vote for article 50 to make it legal. If that vote had not happend then the Govt could just have ignored the referendum.
Gina Miller did the brexit cause a fantastic service by forcing MP;s to vote, made leaving legal with the default option being no deal.
The Miller case only determined that the Prime Minister needed to get parliamentary approval, but it still does not bind parliament, because parliament cannot be bound, and issue the Supreme Court confirmed, but did not rule (directly) on.
Again it is irrelevant where we stand in the world or what the deal is.
Leave vote won full stop.
Mark has pointed out very clearly.
It is not Theresa Msy’s fault, it’s the voters say so.
She is carrying out the will of the people
The majority who voted in 2016.
Already the arguments are raging about what we euoild be asked to vote on.
That could take years to agree on.
Then a repeat of the raging debate that we saw last time.
Don’t you remoaners or mind changers understand?
We’re leaving, it only a matter of how and then what the deal is.
The deal is simple
Do you want our money or not?
If you don’t we will spend it elsewhere!
Do you want our goods or not?
If not we will sell it elsewhere.
It won’t be easy.
But it will be done.
A good article. In my view it’s a battle between ‘science’ & ‘faith’. ‘Science’ of course rationally dissecting the idea of Brexit and using data to hypothesise the possible outcomes. ‘Faith’ distrusting experts that don’t agree with their own viewpoint and choosing to follow their gut feeling of “I believe therefor its true’ (combined with a longing to return to Britain’s pre-70’s past) as well as demanding to get taken seriously.. much like flat earthers but with more memes.
Arguments of faith can’t be won with science and the reverse is equally true.
Can you please explain to me the science behind the idea that people can indefinitely continue under free movement to arrive in this country at a far greater rate than we can build houses or infrastructure and yet this will improve all of our lives?
How do other EU countries manage then? Perhaps they actually invest in housing and infrastructure unlike our HMG which instead of investing in the basics prefers grandiose schemes that no-one wants or needs…
I suspect that other countries will begin to experience similar problems especially if free movement to the UK is ended. Unfortunately, the EU has painted itself in a corner on this, so however difficult free movement becomes they can’t lose face now by trying to restrict it.
The free movement of people has been a bad idea from the start.
Our very. clever politicians said “don’t worry it will only be about 600,000”
It turned out to be ten times that amount from Poland alone.
Now whilst I acknowledge that the polish especially work very hard and contribute to our economy.
There are other factors.
Our roads are overcrowded.
Our schools are overcrowded.
Our towns and cities are over crowded.
Hospital are overcrowded.
Not enough police, doctors, nurses, etc c etc etc.
There is one common factor.
The UK is full!!!!!
It’s like building housing estates, if there is no infrastructure to accommodate, like schools, amenities, police, teachers hospitals etc.
It leads to disgruntlement
Hence the vote to leave.
We take control! And if our politicians don’t perform, we can oust them.
But we can’t oust EU leaders
As for terrorists don’t get me going!!!!!
We’re not full, all of those issues, roads, schools, etc are a direct result of deliberate and sustained underinvestment in our country, while continuing to trouser our tax pounds, council tax, etc.
The issues blamed on the EU are purely created locally by our own government.
A good article and a valid point. We will see if British politicians are able to turn back.
Camerons referendum was really a bad move for UK. Again the UK threatening the rest of the EU to leave if the EU does not move the way UK wants. But this is now over. If you go, you are just another country for the EU, like Norway or Canada.
And if you turn back and stay … Well, next time a British PM talks about leaving we would all know what happens if the bluff is called.
Btw. Britain leaving is also bad for Germany. Although the UK public opinion seems to never have realized, but the EU is made of compromises and the UK position had weight and helped to repel some of the socialist ideas of countries like France.
And something personal: Entering the UK in March for one-week vacation felt like entering the US. Friendly but firmly we were questioned to see what we are up to and that we would leave again. What a difference to 10-15 years ago …
“the creation of a Europe whole, free and at peace.” You jest surely. What peace? Europe is being trashed by immigrants. Those of us who don’t have their eyes glued to the BBC Propaganda Service see film of it in Sweden, Germany, France, Spain & Italy via other sources of news. Even ardent “diversity” lovers like Frans Timmermans saw the writing on the wall:
“If we don’t get this right I truly believe Europe will not remain the Europe we built, Europe will not remain a place of peace & freedom for very long.”
And the EU didn’t get it right – they made the most absurd errors imaginable. Crime in London is appalling. .
:”In June 2010 The Sunday Telegraph, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained statistics on accusations of crime broken down by race from the Metropolitan Police Service. The figures showed that the majority of males who were accused of violent crimes in 2009–10 were black. Of the recorded 18,091 such accusations against males, 54 percent accused of street crimes were black; for robbery, 59 percent; and for gun crimes, 67 percent. Between April 2005 and January 2006, figures from the Metropolitan Police Service showed that black people accounted for 46 percent of car-crime arrests generated by automatic number plate recognition cameras. Street crimes include muggings, assault with intent to rob, and snatching property. Black males accounted for 29 percent of the male victims of gun crime and 24 percent of the male victims of knife crime. Similar statistics were recorded for females. On knife crime, 45 percent of suspected female perpetrators were black; for gun crime, 58 percent; and for robberies, 52 percent.”
Are you unable to connect up the dots? Brexiteers didn’t have to rely on “lies” – the real truth was self-evident.
While I can’t comment on events in Sweden, France, Spain or Italy I do spend a lot of time in Germany & I can tell you these alt-news sources are talking rubbish, while there are incidents (& believe me there just as many incidents of racially motivated crimes against immigrants in the east & south of Germany) it’s not the epidemic these alt-news sources would have you believe. Perhaps you should visit & see first-hand instead of accepting the garbage alt-news sources are fond of spewing out.
So you quote crime statistics committed by black people, what does that have to do with the EU? These black people could be British for all you know, so leaving the EU is hardly going to make a difference to those statistics..
Trigger warning: sexual violence, war crimes.
Geoff, you seem to have very little idea what ‘peace’ means if you think
that ‘a handful of black people committing crimes in London’ is comparable
with an actual war. You also omitted the fact that the Telegraph mentioned
the stop-and-search rates for black people are 6x those for white people,
and the dismissal rate for proceedings against black people is more than 2x
that for (group unspecified), both factors that imply the prosecution rate
difference is greater than the difference (if any) in rate of actual criminal
activity. For example, the gun crime figures would reasonably be expected to
be much higher for black people because simple posession of a gun is a crime
in the UK.
Now, let’s crunch the numbers.
18,091 crimes in a single year out of 7.5 million? So, in London, you have
a police-worthy crime rate of about 1 crime per 415 persons that gets pursued.
I’m assuming since the Telegraph posted their story in the middle of 2010 that
this is a one-year period including part of 2009 and part of 2010.
Meanwhile, Billings, Montana, in the US, with no EU laws involved and a
significantly whiter population than London, had a population of 106,290
(2009) and 104,554 (2010). City-data.com gives the crime rate in 2010 as:
2 murders, 28 rapes, 71 robberies, 158 assaults, 848 burglaries, 3,811
thefts, 362 auto thefts, and 14 arsons, for a total of 5294 crimes in a
single year, or a little over 1 crime per 20 persons.
Now, the astute reader will note that the Billings figures are REPORTED crime
and the London figures are crime where a suspect was identified. This is
an apples-and-oranges comparison, and while it’s not nearly as bad as
implying that a nonzero peacetime crime rate is equal to a war, it’s still
bad. How do we get comparable figures?
The BBC reports that the Home Office says the year from April 2017-March 2018
saw 4.6 million offenses reported in the UK, and 443,000 charged. That’s a
.0963 charge rate. This is not perfect, we really want the reported crime
count for London in the same year, but it’s close enough to start
So, if we want to match Billings stats to London stats, we need to divide
the London crime rate by .0963. That gives us an estimated crime rate of
1 per 40 persons in London. So, if the EU and the blacks are to blame for
London’s crime rate, then sure… blame the EU and the blacks for making
London twice as safe as the whitest city in the US.
Now let’s compare peacetime crime rates to WARTIME crime rates.
The population of Yugoslavia in 1991 was 23.23 million. Then there was a war.
Wikipedia’s low end death toll estimate is 130,000. The internal displacement
estimate is 4,000,000. Tresnjevka Women’s Group estimates 35,000 women and
children detained in rape camps. Note that these are far more serious crimes
than the overwhelming majority of police actions in London or Billings.
The war lasted 10 years, 7 months, 12 days. We’ll call it 10.65 years.
You might be tempted to do the math and say that comes to 1 crime per 60
persons per year, a notable improvement over London, and invite a bunch of
ethnonationalists to carve up the UK into competing factions while Trump
and Putin pour troops in to help their proxies win control.
This would be a mistake, because while most people are only *killed* once,
internal displacement and being placed in a rape camp actually represent
an ongoing series of crimes significantly more severe than the thefts
which dominate the crime rate in Billings. I’m not sure how to get the
averages, so I’m going to guess here. All averages are mean averages.
Let’s assume the average internal displacement lasted for a year, and
treat each month of displacement as a distinct crime. 48 million. Let’s
further assume that women and children in rape camps were prevented from
leaving the camp every day that they were present, that the average
detention was 30 days, and that they were raped an average of two times
per day. 3.15 million crimes associated with the rape camps. We will
also count the two million land mines in Bosnia as distinct crimes –
I’m pretty sure ‘leaving a land mine lying around’ is an offense
in both London and Billings. This gives us a crime rate of 1 per 5 people
per year – 4x worse than our chosen white city in America, 8x worse than
London, and exclusively made up of severe crimes while the American
and EU figures also include relatively minor stuff like getting punched
in the nose or having your wallet stolen.
Nice research work, well presented.
The Brexit supporters are not happy with facts, though. They much prefer opinion and gut feeling. ?
Pity that people chose to believe what was written on a red bus as well as hanging on every word said byNigel Farage and others. In fact, there was plenty of serious information available to inform any voter who wanted to really know the facts. This included the material produced as required by the 2015 Referendum Act.
After the referendum, the Miller case handed Parliament a golden opportunity to place some controls over what Mrs May might do. Instead she was simply authorised to trigger Article 50. No need to present a Brexit plan to Parliament and have it approved first.
All the red lines were set by Mrs May and she – and her Party – must carry the can for this disaster.
An article steeped in prejudice and ignorance. Any study that doesn’t agree with Howorth’s prejudiced position is dismissed as not being “serious” and thw fact the majority of the Welsh electorate voted to leave is also ignored in his eagerness to foam at the mouth about the English. This article is at the “Let them eat cake” level of ignorance.
The problem with this article is that ignores the disadvantages of remaining in the EU.
Principle among these is the fact that by far the second language most taught in EU schools is English. Naturally, youngsters who wish to broaden their experience by working abroad will preferentially wish to come to the UK. This means that Free Movement will necessarily be unbalanced to the detriment of the UK. The population will continue to grow at an unsustainable rate. Trains will get more crowded, roads will become more congested, and housing will become more expensive and so on. Our legacy capital (the stuff built by previously generations) will be divided out among more and more people. Income per head may rise but legacy capital per head will fall so that our infrastructure will be inadequate for the population size.
Youngsters cannot afford housing now and it will only get worse. Of course we could try to build houses at a faster rate but that would need more people to come and build them and then they would also need somewhere to live. (As it is I have just seen the proposals in our Local Plan and they wish to make the village I live in four times bigger.)
Of course the population increase won’t continue indefinitely. At some time, housing costs will be so high and conditions so poor that as many people will wish to leave as wish to come. Unfortunately this will not happen until such time the quality of life in this country is notably worse than any other country in the EU.
And they accuse remainers of promoting Project Fear!
This article should immediately be published by the broadsheet and tabloid newspapers of this country. The ordinary people of this land have been either kept in the dark, or else fed biased views and opinions by vested interest factions.
This article is easy to read and makes its points clearly. Its about time that people in general were able to read something like this.
The real reason why the UK is leaving the EU is that the Establishment could not tolerate the consequences of the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive (2016/1164) applying to Britain and the British, which it would have from the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year on Monday the 1st April 2019. Britain leaves the EU at midnight, central European time, on Friday 29th March 2019. This will not be put at risk by this government.
Always amusing to see people in comments telling someone vastly more educated and intelligent than themselves why they are wrong.
Sometimes one just has to accept that someone has more expertise. I don’t tell a heart surgeon how to do their job.
These comments are profoundly depressing, demonstrating the whole gamut of Brexit falsehoods and misunderstandings, from how trade works to our ability to control our own borders.
Reading these comments alone is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Brexit should never have been the subject of a referendum.
Hard-line Brexiters are impervious to facts and reality. You cannot reason or present logical debate with hard-line Brexiters. They fall largely into three groups:
In column A you have Brexiters like ‘GeoffG’ in the comments here, who are enjoying that Brexit allows them to exercise their rampant xenophobia, bigotry and racism in a way they’ve been seething about having to generally hide until now. They frame it as concern for their country, but you only need to scratch a little below the surface to find the bare reality (as amply presented in the latter part of ‘GeoffG’s’ comment).
In column B you have the insidious Brexiters – wealthy Tories and right wingers who are rich enough and well connected enough to weather the storm. They present themselves as standing up for the little man, but are hoping for either a bonfire of regulations (that will hit the little man hardest) or looking to make money from the chaos (whether that’s shorting or other forms of disaster capitalism). Many less important wealthy people will follow the path beaten out by these people.
In column C you have the ignorant and the willfully ignorant. Most will snarl about how they weren’t fooled or that they made up their own minds about Brexit, but are in fact the useful idiots for people from columns A and B.
An apposite quote is surely “arguing with idiot is like playing chess with a pigeon – no matter how good you are, the bird is going to s**t on the board and strut around life it won anyway”.
@Dom Guitar: “xenophobia, bigotry and racism.” Oh, come, come, you can do better than that – you missed out Hitler, Nazi, jackboots, fascists etc. – the usual shrieks from Lefties, Liberals, apologists & handwringers against anyone that doesn’t want to see their country, their culture, their religion destroyed by masses of Third World, incompatible, unemployed & unemployable legal & illegal immigrants. I don’t have the time or inclination to educate you on the subject, but it will gradually dawn on you in the end – at which point you deny every tenet you once held.
Based on this article, I wish we had never joined the EU. It looks like it is not possible to leave it
Send thia article for the newspapers to reprint.
It is not alarmist,just factual.
Anyone with.common sense can envisage that the future is happening now.
So let’s summarise the logic of this article.
1) There was vote to leave the EU or remain within it. Leave won.
2) We can’t leave because to do so would be to breach the EU’s red lines. Ergo, even when the British public vote to be sovereign they cannot be sovereign because the EU won’t let them. So the Leave vote is cancelled.
3) Instead of acting like normal human beings and being so outraged by this that they decide to overthrow the Government, the people decide that, yes, we were silly to think we could ever leave; and, knowing the limits of our actual ability to decide things for ourselves, we can now peacefully reconcile ourselves to our natural destiny in a federal EU that our betters couldn’t convince us to actually vote for.
I mean, seriously mate – what country do you think you live in? Do you have any basic understanding of voters, of the British public, of actual humans? In what extraordinary parallel universe do you think the chain of events you have outlined is going to fly? Of all the crazy, blinkered, anti-democratic, totally barking mad Remainer screeds that I have read, this one takes the biscuit.
Nail, head; head, nail.
Fine, we go out on WTO terms if those EU arseholes want to carry on being idiots..
It matters not what pros and cons are argued about.
The remoaners will have their time and can vote in the next General election to have their say about who leads our country.
Which is more than they could have in any election of the eu leaders.
Remainers and Leavers both had influence in the election of EU leaders, just as they do in the House of Commons. Anyone actually living in the UK will have noticed that MEPs are elected. Anyone who cares to follow will have also noticed that UKIP had a much larger showing in the European Parliament than in the Commons, even if they couldn’t be arsed to actually show up and vote on anything.
MEP’s are indeed elected.
But they merely rubber stamp the decisions of beuroctsts and unelected leaders in Europe.
Not to mention the extremely influential Angela Merkel. Who we all know pulls all the strings, but would never admit that.
Shortly to he followed by the French president rapidly failing and hated by the French.
Jean-Claude Juncker. Appointed by: national leaders (heads of state or government of EU countries), Not the electorate.
The European Council and the Council of Ministers (the two bodies where member countries meet) still hold many sessions in private or only partly make their records public, which makes it difficult to always know who has said what, or how individual countries have voted;
Much implementation of EU laws still happens under the opaque ‘comitology’ system, although it has been changed recently;
The European Parliament lacks some of the powers normally associated with national parliaments. It cannot formally propose new laws or raise taxes, for example;
There is no clear alternation of power. While different groups might gain more seats in the European Parliament, this is not necessarily matched by similar changes in the ‘executive’ branches of the EU—the European Commission, and the national governments in the Council;
The complexity of the system also makes it hard to ensure that EU funds are not misspent;
Perhaps most significantly, most EU citizens do not identify strongly with the EU, so some will argue that it doesn’t have the same legitimacy that national systems enjoy.
That is because it is not a nation state parliament (or commission, or council); its primary function is to harmonise rules within the remit of its founding treaties.
Our elected heads of government propose rule-making, because they are the elected representatives of countries. The EU’s parliament must confirm rule-making, so is fully democratic.
Had the EU been a country, your points would make sense, it is, however, a supra-national organisation, intended to up-hold the EU treaties, and harmonise trading rules within the bloc.
A nation you say.
Would that nation be the united federal state of Europe???
That’s helped me no end in being even more certain that I voted correctly.
A) We’re not a federal state;
B) Facts would never change your mind.
But it’s no secret, Germany has made it clear that they desire “ever closer union”
And a federal state.
Except Merkel suggested that approach may no longer be palatable; but Brexit and Trump’s attacks on NATO and the UN show Europe must pull closer on military co-operation.
I agree with her.
So, er, not really a gotcha at all.
Our liberation of Europe against the Germans in WW2 ended at Dunkirk because we underestimated the problem.
We surrendered Burma quickly.
America and Russia won world war 2 – we just followed along.
About time that some realism about Britain’s place in the world is accepted.
@Ade P: What abject nonsense and a hideous insult to the British & Commonwealth fighters of WW2 who lost their lives. My own father was an RAF Bomber pilot (DFC & DFM) who was in action from 1939 to 1943, when he was shot down & captured spending 2 years in a POW camp in Sagan. During the latter part of the war, when the RAF was carrying out 1,000+ massed bomber raids the attrition rate for pilots rose to about 50%. In Bomber Command alone 55,500 RAF aircrew lost the lives. Britain certainly couldn’t have won it alone, but to say “we just followed along” is insulting. It’s the type of statement made by conscientious objectors.
In fact Ww2 turned on pearl harbour.
Woke a sleeping lion!