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Labour is winning the Brexit revolution The party can capitalise on Tory failure

Happy Brexit Day. Credit: John Keeble/Getty

Happy Brexit Day. Credit: John Keeble/Getty


January 30, 2023   5 mins

Three years after Britain finally left the European Union, Brexit has not only lost its popularity, but also, it seems, its power. Today, according to new UnHerd polling, not only does a clear majority think the decision to leave was wrong, but a majority in every constituency in the country — bar one — feels the same. Even more significant than this, however, is the revelation that public views are beginning to harden down old party lines again, merging the old Tory and Labour divide with Leave and Remain. Brexit, that once-great scrambling event in British politics that sliced through the old partisan loyalties, has started to settle into a more easily understandable Left and Right-wing issue. And here’s the potentially transformative effect of this great re-formation: it is now Labour who stands to gain from the Brexit revolution, not the Tories.

Between 2016 and 2019, Brexit allowed the Conservative Party to win over parts of the country it had previously found almost impossible to conquer. Boris Johnson’s pledge to “Get Brexit Done” appealed to enough people in traditional Labour areas to flip scores of seats blue. Today, though the effect itself has flipped. Brexit has been done and most people have concluded it was a mistake. Swing areas in northern England, Wales and the Midlands have turned against Brexit more strongly than traditional Tory areas.

The problem for the Tories is that all those voters who regret Brexit also see it as synonymous with the Conservative Party. Labour, on the other hand, has become associated with Remain — even though it rejects the idea of rejoining the EU and has vowed to “make Brexit work”. Labour, then, finds itself in the enviable position of benefiting from the Tory party’s association with Brexit, but without having to actually risk reopening the old wounds of the referendum by pledging to rejoin the EU. “Making Brexit Work” is smart politics — for now.

We have been here before. Look at what happened in Scotland after the independence referendum. There, the No campaign saw off the independence movement in 2014, but the parties associated with its victory became unpopular shortly after. The same thing didn’t happen immediately after the Brexit referendum, but the effect might just have been delayed by parliament’s failure to deliver on that result until 2020. So, we may now be witnessing the “loser’s premium” that couldn’t kick in until Brexit had actually been delivered.

This could be potentially transformative, but is not without some peril for Labour — and the country. The more voters declare their regret over Brexit, the more pressure there will be from Remainers to re-open the constitutional question over Europe — in the same way that the issue of independence has not gone away in Scotland. It is at this point that the difference between believing that Britain should not have left the EU, and believing it should open negotiations (and almost certainly hold another referendum) to rejoin will also emerge. The old conditions of British membership, remember, have gone and so “Rejoin” is not “reverse Brexit”; it now means creating something new. Would this mean, then, even higher budget contributions than before, the adoption of the euro and accession to Schengen? It seems impossible that David Cameron’s renegotiated membership plan (remember that?) could somehow be resurrected. The history of Britain’s entry — and exit — negotiations suggests very strongly that it will not be Britain who sets the terms, but the EU.

Starmer is therefore right to conclude that “Making Brexit Work” is a far surer bet than Rejoin: he could capitalise on the public’s disappointment with Brexit. However, there is another challenge for Starmer and the Labour Party. Just as Franklin Roosevelt was said to have saved capitalism from itself in the Thirties (a disputed claim, of course) by deploying the full power of the state to wrench the country out of its great depression, it may fall to Starmer — the man who called for a second referendum — to save Brexit from itself. There are plenty of people, of course, who think it is simply not possible to make it work, who believe that the only option is ever more close alignment with the EU — thereby undermining the very purpose of Brexit in the first place. If the only way to make Brexit work is to give up control by adopting whatever laws are passed in Brussels, this, to put it mildly, does not seem a very sensible place to be.

Labour, though, insists this is not its plan — or, at least, not the entirety of its plan. It does want to reduce “unnecessary” trade barriers, seek more “equivalence” and “cooperation”, but it has pledged to “use our flexibility outside of the EU to ensure British regulation is adapted to suit British needs”. As it pushes this, the more Labour will create a record which it will, logically, want to defend but which would be impossible inside the EU and would have to be abandoned if the country rejoined. In other words, the more Starmer succeeds on his own terms by making Brexit work, the more he will have created a new status quo, embedding the very project more and more of his voters believe was a fundamental mistake. Fate is a funny thing.

Just because the Labour party is currently committed to making it work doesn’t guarantee the security of the Brexiteer project. In 20 years, Britain went from voting for Tony Blair to voting for Brexit. And it was only 25 years before Blair that Britain joined the Common Market. Nothing is set in stone: over time, attitudes and positions shift. What we now see as marginal, politically impossible propositions can suddenly become possible and then popular and then, after being adopted, apparently inevitable. Just think of monetarism and floating currencies, for example, both marginal policies in the Seventies that became government policy in the Eighties. The idea of leaving the EU itself was once considered too extreme for all but the most hardline eurosceptics as well. Then it became the majority view in the country. There’s nothing to say the same can’t happen to Rejoin.

This current shift in public mood against Brexit isn’t just a Labour victory — it is very much a Tory defeat. The referendum in 2016 revealed a pent-up frustration with the status quo. Taken literally, it was a vote, according to the Leave manifesto, to control immigration, spend more money (and by implication, improve) public services  particularly the NHS — and change the basic economic settlement to improve more people’s living standards which had stagnated. Those who voted Leave did so for lots of different reasons, of course. For some it was a vote in favour of dramatic changes to the economy and the country; for others to slow or stop the dramatic changes they felt were already happening and for which they blamed EU membership. Sevenoaks voted to leave, as did Sunderland.

Either way, it was a vote against the old system. Yet for most people, nothing has changed — or if it has, it has got noticeably worse. And so is it any wonder people believe it was a mistake? Britain has erected a trade border within its own country without bothering to enforce its own borders. It has signed trade deals which seem to make it harder for British producers to export without making it harder for foreign competitors to import into Britain. It has allowed immigration to increase, failed to stop the small boat crossings, let the health service fall to bits and begun a new round of austerity. The Tories couldn’t have designed a set of outcomes less in keeping with the spirit of the Leave vote. The truth is, the Tory party lost its grip on the revolution — and is now paying the price.


Tom McTague is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Typically, the author is using short-term and temporary views expressed in polling using stratification that can be notorious for its lack of accuracy (as on the eve of the Brexit vote in 2016) to draw the wrong conclusions.

Might i suggest that those who voted to Leave simply want to see the job completed? Of course, at this still early stage in the Brexit ‘revolution’ the initial extrication process is producing difficulties which skew the public perception; constantly highlighted by the Remain-leaning media and with the Tories off-balance and unable to make sufficient legislative progress

This will change with time. A warning to Labour: try to row back on Brexit at your peril. The EU is showing signs of coming to terms with our departure, for instance the admission by Leo Varadkar that “mistakes had been made” by the EU during negotiations. As wounds heal, a better accommodation can be acheived and the full benefits of Brexit will swing into place. So will the public mood.

If Labour understands this, all well and good, but somehow i suspect arch-Remainer Starmer just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it in just the same way he doesn’t get that only women have a cervix. Or at least when asked, he’s not sure, which is even worse.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Correct I think. The signal-to-noise ratio in any current polling is very low and the results really quite volatile.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I love this idea that polls are “volatile”, change over time and largely “noise”.
What was the Brexit referendum, if not a brief snapshot of “volatile ” opinion- a poll in effect, yet one carved into granite.
If public opinion is just leaves in the breeze, here one minute and gone the next, what was the referendum (mere public opinion on one particular day) supposed to prove?

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

At least in 2016, every voter had a chance to express an opinion. Not so with polls which also give no guarantee of accuracy.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

At least in 2016, every voter had a chance to express an opinion. Not so with polls which also give no guarantee of accuracy.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

..more wishful thinking. You’re hoping voters have no memories, no brains and no pockets.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I love this idea that polls are “volatile”, change over time and largely “noise”.
What was the Brexit referendum, if not a brief snapshot of “volatile ” opinion- a poll in effect, yet one carved into granite.
If public opinion is just leaves in the breeze, here one minute and gone the next, what was the referendum (mere public opinion on one particular day) supposed to prove?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

..more wishful thinking. You’re hoping voters have no memories, no brains and no pockets.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

This idea that Brexit hasn’t been given a chance and needs more time, is all very well. How much more time before we see a single crumb of vindication? The trouble is that as someone once said: in the long run we’re all dead.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago

So why do you feel it isn’t working?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Three for you as a start i) only G7 to not yet return to pre-pandemic size of economy ii) immigration has increased not reduced iii) NI gridlock due to protocol debate on-going.
Could add many others, but let’s just start with those.
Now explain why those three actually show it is working?

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The lack of growth or the lack of a reduction in immigration, is not down to Brexit. If the government doesn’t have a plan for either of them, then it doesn’t matter which trading bloc you’re in. As for the NI protocol, it’s a red herring. The protocol should have never been put in place, it was a tact by remainer MPs to try and keep us in. The question on the ballot paper asked remain or leave; not some parts leave and some parts remain.
I voted for Brexit because I believe a smaller state is better for the people as a whole. I can also see that our balance of trade (this is the important part) with the EU is improving. Over the last 20 or so years of being in the EU we had a trade deficit of around £800 billion. That’s £800 billion which left our economy and went to someone else’s, how anyone could possibly think that was a good trading relationship, is beyond me. Large deficits over long periods, leads to high debt and low productivity, I assume you see this in the UK?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Lack of growth – it’s more than a correlation. We’ve added trade barriers. Others haven’t.
Immigration – withdrawal from Dublin agreement led to surge in Channel crossings as we can’t send the back to France. Plus economic woes related to Brexit caused Govt to allow more immigration to try and buttress other sectors, but coupled with Border Force and Immigration office being overwhelmed much control lost.
NI protocol signed to ‘Get Brexit Done’ if you remember, by the politician who made Brexit happen. Your deflection of blame onto Remainers utter nonsense and a failure to take responsibility. Johnson was not a Remainer (although no doubt that’d be the next excuse!)
Your reason for voting – i.e. a smaller state – a legit reason whatever one might think but almost certainly not shared by millions of Brexit voters esp in Red wall area. They wanted more help from Govt and they ain’t got it.
Finally we had a trade deficit in ‘Goods’, but that rebalanced to a surplus with Services. You’ve been played if you only appreciated one side of things, although in truth we all have to be better at checking things out and not being immediately swayed by a bit of confirmatory bias.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Yet our growth over the last few decades, has been with countries that trade under WTO. During the same period, our trade with the EU, that magical bloc where trade is so easy, we shrunk.
We don’t grow oranges in the UK, yet the EU made us apply tariffs of circa 14% if we imported them in from none EU countries. Why would we make products more expensive for the UK population? The EU is a protectionist bloc, which is great, if you want your business protecting, but not so good for your population.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Too simplistic. Yes everyone’s growth was related to China’s growth for 10-15yrs. Germans done well out of that as did all of the EU. Nothing unique. But when you do 43% of all your trade with a Bloc you don’t decide to make that harder and not expect a negative economic consequence. You also get additionally mindful of the fragility in the South China sea and stop assuming the Chinese ‘motor’ lasts forever.
As regards price of oranges – if a cheaper orange was your priority then fine, but go ask our Farmers how much they’ve welcomed Brexit freedoms.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Having a ÂŁ800 billion deficit over the last 20 years, has negative economic consequences. Choice is a Brexit freedom.

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Too simplistic.

All you are doing here is displaying confirmation bias. You wanted to stay in, therefore all the reasons for doing so are good, and all the reasons for leaving (however valid) are bad.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Having a ÂŁ800 billion deficit over the last 20 years, has negative economic consequences. Choice is a Brexit freedom.

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Too simplistic.

All you are doing here is displaying confirmation bias. You wanted to stay in, therefore all the reasons for doing so are good, and all the reasons for leaving (however valid) are bad.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

There are 550 million people in the EU and you call it protectionist. Is planet Earth also protectionist as it doesn’t permit imports for Mars?
The whole idea of having a 27 state EU was to eliminate protectionism in European states!

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Too simplistic. Yes everyone’s growth was related to China’s growth for 10-15yrs. Germans done well out of that as did all of the EU. Nothing unique. But when you do 43% of all your trade with a Bloc you don’t decide to make that harder and not expect a negative economic consequence. You also get additionally mindful of the fragility in the South China sea and stop assuming the Chinese ‘motor’ lasts forever.
As regards price of oranges – if a cheaper orange was your priority then fine, but go ask our Farmers how much they’ve welcomed Brexit freedoms.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

There are 550 million people in the EU and you call it protectionist. Is planet Earth also protectionist as it doesn’t permit imports for Mars?
The whole idea of having a 27 state EU was to eliminate protectionism in European states!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Reality.. not a popular stance but a good one!

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Yet our growth over the last few decades, has been with countries that trade under WTO. During the same period, our trade with the EU, that magical bloc where trade is so easy, we shrunk.
We don’t grow oranges in the UK, yet the EU made us apply tariffs of circa 14% if we imported them in from none EU countries. Why would we make products more expensive for the UK population? The EU is a protectionist bloc, which is great, if you want your business protecting, but not so good for your population.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Reality.. not a popular stance but a good one!

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Precisely. Why people should imagine that another level of even more remote, even more unelected, even more corrupt & self-serving layer of bureaucracy on top of what we already have would improve our situation is beyond me.
At least we have the opportunity to kick the present bunch of dimwits out of office every 4 years; the fact the opposition is possibly even worse is largely our own apathetic fault. If enough people get sufficiently annoyed then a new party will win the day. It’s up to us, the electorate to kick both Labour parties out of office & replace them with a proper right-of-centre government.

Last edited 1 year ago by andy young
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  andy young

If you have local govt why have national govt and if you have national govt why have UK govt? The US has county, state and federal governments.. it’s a common approach.
If you have a British army why have NATO? If you havr NATO why have the UN?..If you’re able to answer even some of those questions you’ll probably be able to answer your own question.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  andy young

If you have local govt why have national govt and if you have national govt why have UK govt? The US has county, state and federal governments.. it’s a common approach.
If you have a British army why have NATO? If you havr NATO why have the UN?..If you’re able to answer even some of those questions you’ll probably be able to answer your own question.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

You simply can’t describe a near constitutional crisis in Northern Ireland and the erection of an internal trade barriers within the UK as a ‘red herring’, whatever view you might have of the situation!

It is also ridiculous to blame ‘Remainer MPs’ for the Protocol. Boris Johnson signed it, at the time claiming it was the most fantastic agreement!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Simplistic. Dismissive of serious issues. Total ignorance on economic realities.. but very popular despite those (minor?) deficiencies!

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Lack of growth – it’s more than a correlation. We’ve added trade barriers. Others haven’t.
Immigration – withdrawal from Dublin agreement led to surge in Channel crossings as we can’t send the back to France. Plus economic woes related to Brexit caused Govt to allow more immigration to try and buttress other sectors, but coupled with Border Force and Immigration office being overwhelmed much control lost.
NI protocol signed to ‘Get Brexit Done’ if you remember, by the politician who made Brexit happen. Your deflection of blame onto Remainers utter nonsense and a failure to take responsibility. Johnson was not a Remainer (although no doubt that’d be the next excuse!)
Your reason for voting – i.e. a smaller state – a legit reason whatever one might think but almost certainly not shared by millions of Brexit voters esp in Red wall area. They wanted more help from Govt and they ain’t got it.
Finally we had a trade deficit in ‘Goods’, but that rebalanced to a surplus with Services. You’ve been played if you only appreciated one side of things, although in truth we all have to be better at checking things out and not being immediately swayed by a bit of confirmatory bias.

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Precisely. Why people should imagine that another level of even more remote, even more unelected, even more corrupt & self-serving layer of bureaucracy on top of what we already have would improve our situation is beyond me.
At least we have the opportunity to kick the present bunch of dimwits out of office every 4 years; the fact the opposition is possibly even worse is largely our own apathetic fault. If enough people get sufficiently annoyed then a new party will win the day. It’s up to us, the electorate to kick both Labour parties out of office & replace them with a proper right-of-centre government.

Last edited 1 year ago by andy young
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

You simply can’t describe a near constitutional crisis in Northern Ireland and the erection of an internal trade barriers within the UK as a ‘red herring’, whatever view you might have of the situation!

It is also ridiculous to blame ‘Remainer MPs’ for the Protocol. Boris Johnson signed it, at the time claiming it was the most fantastic agreement!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Simplistic. Dismissive of serious issues. Total ignorance on economic realities.. but very popular despite those (minor?) deficiencies!

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Why do you think Brexit was all about immigration?
Why do you think many people care about NI?
And I don’t know where you’re getting your G7 numbers from, but I can assure the only ‘recovery’ in the Italian economy comes from the PNRR, a euphemism for incredible debt (yes much worse than the UK’s).
Nor was I aware France and Japan had recovered. Germany has broken even.
Yes, the USA, Canada and Australia are doing well (as is Switzerland). Go figure.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Ireland’s GDP grew by 13.4% in 2021 and by 12.2% in 2022 but then we are in the EU, though not of course in the G7.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

It is well understood how Ireland’s GDP growth is being achieved – tax arbitrage within the EU – and its continued viability is rather subject to the other EU countries tolerating Ireland effectively stealing their tax revenues.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

It is well understood how Ireland’s GDP growth is being achieved – tax arbitrage within the EU – and its continued viability is rather subject to the other EU countries tolerating Ireland effectively stealing their tax revenues.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

Ireland’s GDP grew by 13.4% in 2021 and by 12.2% in 2022 but then we are in the EU, though not of course in the G7.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Quite simply too much is focussed on the current economic success or otherwise of Brexit. I voted leave because we had no effective vote on EU policies which meant that the UK particularly had limited influence on it’s future. We had to trust that the EU elites would do the right thing. So yes there is much wrong both because of Brexit and the current state of our politics. But the NI issue is a mess that needed sorting and Brexit has shone a light on that. Some common sense could solve it. Immigration is potentially under our control but we can now see what a mess that is. Hopefully on all fronts these issues will gradually be resolved where as before they and many others were covered over. I may well be living in a dream world though, where politicians and civil servants can make things better.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The lack of growth or the lack of a reduction in immigration, is not down to Brexit. If the government doesn’t have a plan for either of them, then it doesn’t matter which trading bloc you’re in. As for the NI protocol, it’s a red herring. The protocol should have never been put in place, it was a tact by remainer MPs to try and keep us in. The question on the ballot paper asked remain or leave; not some parts leave and some parts remain.
I voted for Brexit because I believe a smaller state is better for the people as a whole. I can also see that our balance of trade (this is the important part) with the EU is improving. Over the last 20 or so years of being in the EU we had a trade deficit of around £800 billion. That’s £800 billion which left our economy and went to someone else’s, how anyone could possibly think that was a good trading relationship, is beyond me. Large deficits over long periods, leads to high debt and low productivity, I assume you see this in the UK?

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Why do you think Brexit was all about immigration?
Why do you think many people care about NI?
And I don’t know where you’re getting your G7 numbers from, but I can assure the only ‘recovery’ in the Italian economy comes from the PNRR, a euphemism for incredible debt (yes much worse than the UK’s).
Nor was I aware France and Japan had recovered. Germany has broken even.
Yes, the USA, Canada and Australia are doing well (as is Switzerland). Go figure.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Quite simply too much is focussed on the current economic success or otherwise of Brexit. I voted leave because we had no effective vote on EU policies which meant that the UK particularly had limited influence on it’s future. We had to trust that the EU elites would do the right thing. So yes there is much wrong both because of Brexit and the current state of our politics. But the NI issue is a mess that needed sorting and Brexit has shone a light on that. Some common sense could solve it. Immigration is potentially under our control but we can now see what a mess that is. Hopefully on all fronts these issues will gradually be resolved where as before they and many others were covered over. I may well be living in a dream world though, where politicians and civil servants can make things better.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Three for you as a start i) only G7 to not yet return to pre-pandemic size of economy ii) immigration has increased not reduced iii) NI gridlock due to protocol debate on-going.
Could add many others, but let’s just start with those.
Now explain why those three actually show it is working?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Keynes.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

Correct.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

Correct.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

This idea that Brexit hasn’t been given a chance is largely a projection. If the objective was to recapture political power from a supranational corporate elite then Brexit is already partially successful. All that remains is to reform the British state to return power to the demos.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Exactly that.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Ok, let’s assume that’s the case – what you’ve done last 6 years? And what reforms, practical, publicly supported and fundable are you referring to?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I haven’t done anything – I’m not a politician. The politicians haven’t done anything either because we only left the EU a couple of weeks before the pandemic struck.
The reform we need is de-centralisation – as even some in the Labour Party are beginning to realise
One day even guys like you might begin to understand that the idea that a complex society and economy like ours can be successfully managed by fifty or sixty people at the centre is just plain stupid.
The entire that a continent with a population of five hundred million can be successfully managed by twenty seven unelected bureaucrats isn’t just stupid, it’s insane.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I agree with further decentralisation. If Brexit was going to mean anything it couldn’t be even more centralisation within the Exec at Westminster. Lack of devolved power may be one reason we have such a north-south divide.
But the other is what have the Brexiteers leaders been doing? Heard Farage or Hannan come up with some practical ideas recently? I think the former was grumbling about Bankers moving to Milan last wk or so. You couldn’t make it up.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Another classic example of remainer projection is this idea that we were all bamboozled by Farage etc. Have you read the Maastricht Treaty. No, you haven’t, have you? I have. I don’t need Farage to tell me that it was a coup d’etat.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Not all for sure, but enough were bamboozled to make a difference.
Re: Maastricht – yep the biggest thing it did was establish roadmap to intro of the Euro etc, for which we negotiated an op-out. And your point?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Nope, you haven’t read it if you think that was what it was about.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The UK did not negotiate an opt-out of the, it had the right not join.
The Euro was just the first on a long line of ‘ever tighter integrations’. The UK does not want to roll into a single state, but by exercising a right to stay out it would end up not being able to participate in many systems and mechanisms, but unable to make alternative arrangements.
You should take a look at what has been introduced post Lisbon.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Nope, you haven’t read it if you think that was what it was about.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The UK did not negotiate an opt-out of the, it had the right not join.
The Euro was just the first on a long line of ‘ever tighter integrations’. The UK does not want to roll into a single state, but by exercising a right to stay out it would end up not being able to participate in many systems and mechanisms, but unable to make alternative arrangements.
You should take a look at what has been introduced post Lisbon.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The real coup was the Lisbon treaty.
But if Labour try to go back into the single market they will be rudely reminded of the truth!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

To quote Stephen Fry, “absolute arsegravy”

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The best thing to do when you have nothing at all to say is to say nothing at all.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The best thing to do when you have nothing at all to say is to say nothing at all.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Not all for sure, but enough were bamboozled to make a difference.
Re: Maastricht – yep the biggest thing it did was establish roadmap to intro of the Euro etc, for which we negotiated an op-out. And your point?

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The real coup was the Lisbon treaty.
But if Labour try to go back into the single market they will be rudely reminded of the truth!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

To quote Stephen Fry, “absolute arsegravy”

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Another classic example of remainer projection is this idea that we were all bamboozled by Farage etc. Have you read the Maastricht Treaty. No, you haven’t, have you? I have. I don’t need Farage to tell me that it was a coup d’etat.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Beautifully put

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I agree with further decentralisation. If Brexit was going to mean anything it couldn’t be even more centralisation within the Exec at Westminster. Lack of devolved power may be one reason we have such a north-south divide.
But the other is what have the Brexiteers leaders been doing? Heard Farage or Hannan come up with some practical ideas recently? I think the former was grumbling about Bankers moving to Milan last wk or so. You couldn’t make it up.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Beautifully put

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

As a point of fact, after a period of prolonged constitutional crisis, Brexit was enacted 3 years ago (31 January 2020) not 6, a point which seems to escape lots of people. Then of course we had the pandemic which completely dominated government bandwidth, so to be fair it is very early days in the Brexit story.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

So the distraction of Brexit can’t be blamed for the loss of focus on other key issues? I think that’s a weak argument. This was a choice and a choice to do a ‘Hard’ version added to that.
It is fair that pandemic took over focus for a period, but many depts would still have been able to work on the industrial and education/training plans in the meantime. And besides moment we were leaving and Tories eschewed a ‘soft’ option it was clear a massive Govt effort was needed to realign a whole raft of policy. Where for example, 6 years on, is the workforce plan for education and health care? (if we are not to continue trekking round the world trying to recruit).
Part of why I think we aren’t better prepared now is because the Brexit leadership assumed we’d get a better deal with the EU via the TCA than we did. That was naive, and worse, deliberately misleading via the ‘cake and eat it’ theme. We still haven’t completed all the negotiations (NI protocol being but one) and many of the articles within the TCA come up for renewal/renegotiation over next 2-3 years.
The point is that once we’d made the decision to Leave the Brexiteers needed to quickly get very honest with the public about the trade offs and the decisions that would then be needed. That would have shown integrity and we could potentially get behind it. They didn’t, in part because Brexit continues to have significant contradictions of Vision from it’s exponents.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

So the distraction of Brexit can’t be blamed for the loss of focus on other key issues? I think that’s a weak argument. This was a choice and a choice to do a ‘Hard’ version added to that.
It is fair that pandemic took over focus for a period, but many depts would still have been able to work on the industrial and education/training plans in the meantime. And besides moment we were leaving and Tories eschewed a ‘soft’ option it was clear a massive Govt effort was needed to realign a whole raft of policy. Where for example, 6 years on, is the workforce plan for education and health care? (if we are not to continue trekking round the world trying to recruit).
Part of why I think we aren’t better prepared now is because the Brexit leadership assumed we’d get a better deal with the EU via the TCA than we did. That was naive, and worse, deliberately misleading via the ‘cake and eat it’ theme. We still haven’t completed all the negotiations (NI protocol being but one) and many of the articles within the TCA come up for renewal/renegotiation over next 2-3 years.
The point is that once we’d made the decision to Leave the Brexiteers needed to quickly get very honest with the public about the trade offs and the decisions that would then be needed. That would have shown integrity and we could potentially get behind it. They didn’t, in part because Brexit continues to have significant contradictions of Vision from it’s exponents.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I haven’t done anything – I’m not a politician. The politicians haven’t done anything either because we only left the EU a couple of weeks before the pandemic struck.
The reform we need is de-centralisation – as even some in the Labour Party are beginning to realise
One day even guys like you might begin to understand that the idea that a complex society and economy like ours can be successfully managed by fifty or sixty people at the centre is just plain stupid.
The entire that a continent with a population of five hundred million can be successfully managed by twenty seven unelected bureaucrats isn’t just stupid, it’s insane.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

As a point of fact, after a period of prolonged constitutional crisis, Brexit was enacted 3 years ago (31 January 2020) not 6, a point which seems to escape lots of people. Then of course we had the pandemic which completely dominated government bandwidth, so to be fair it is very early days in the Brexit story.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Don’t hold your breath. Brexit was more than a little about certain people evading EU interference in their tax affairs. Those same people are far from inclined to return power to the likes of you and me.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Exactly that.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Ok, let’s assume that’s the case – what you’ve done last 6 years? And what reforms, practical, publicly supported and fundable are you referring to?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Don’t hold your breath. Brexit was more than a little about certain people evading EU interference in their tax affairs. Those same people are far from inclined to return power to the likes of you and me.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Isn’t it time we stopped thinking only in the short term? That’s one of the key problems in the political landscape. Our forebears thought in decades, if not longer, otherwise the building of our magnificent cathedrals would never have happened. Or more latterly, our canals and railways (even with HS2 being dragged out still!)

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

How long to see the long term effects in a change of course on economic strategy? A single crumb?

Your biased knickers are showing Simon! Vaccines, Ukraine – the two most important political events in the last 50 years, where the U.K. led the way as the EU prevaricated, and then threatened others. They’re pretty big crumbs, except to people who look the other way.

And putting those immediate positives to one side, every forecaster said we wouldn’t get the long term benefits for at least 10 years, more like 20. I’m happy with that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I’ll put my hands up to charges of bias. I suppose if my sales to Europe hadn’t been wiped out; my ability to travel in support of those sales hadn’t been hobbled by red tape and additional cost and my dream of retiring somewhere sunny and civilised hadn’t been scotched (can I say that?) then I’d be a little more sanguine about things. I’m a remoaner not a rejoiner and I fully understand there’s no going back. But boy am I going continue complaining about it. And sovereignty ? The organised crime group currently running the country: there’s yer sovereignty.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Blanchard
Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago

Having just been to sunny Spain I can assure you you’ve over-egged the problem of retiring there. They will more than happily facilitate the acceptance of your hard earned pension.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Ah you’re chagrin is understandable – I’d be moaning too in your situation!

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago

Having just been to sunny Spain I can assure you you’ve over-egged the problem of retiring there. They will more than happily facilitate the acceptance of your hard earned pension.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Ah you’re chagrin is understandable – I’d be moaning too in your situation!

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

There’s a distinct irony in the idea that the supposed “positives” of Brexit won’t be seen for twenty years, given, the fact that the majority of Brexit voters where over fifty, and vanishingly few young people voted for it. Which mean most of those who voted for it knew, apparently, that they’d never see the benefits.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Correctimundo as some comedy soap character would have said.
And it’s beautiful, not ironic, that these older people voted selflessly for something that would benefit their kids and grandkids. They understood what the EU had become, and the long term threat of its imperial strategy.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Correctimundo as some comedy soap character would have said.
And it’s beautiful, not ironic, that these older people voted selflessly for something that would benefit their kids and grandkids. They understood what the EU had become, and the long term threat of its imperial strategy.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I’ll put my hands up to charges of bias. I suppose if my sales to Europe hadn’t been wiped out; my ability to travel in support of those sales hadn’t been hobbled by red tape and additional cost and my dream of retiring somewhere sunny and civilised hadn’t been scotched (can I say that?) then I’d be a little more sanguine about things. I’m a remoaner not a rejoiner and I fully understand there’s no going back. But boy am I going continue complaining about it. And sovereignty ? The organised crime group currently running the country: there’s yer sovereignty.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Blanchard
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

There’s a distinct irony in the idea that the supposed “positives” of Brexit won’t be seen for twenty years, given, the fact that the majority of Brexit voters where over fifty, and vanishingly few young people voted for it. Which mean most of those who voted for it knew, apparently, that they’d never see the benefits.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago

So why do you feel it isn’t working?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Keynes.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

This idea that Brexit hasn’t been given a chance is largely a projection. If the objective was to recapture political power from a supranational corporate elite then Brexit is already partially successful. All that remains is to reform the British state to return power to the demos.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Isn’t it time we stopped thinking only in the short term? That’s one of the key problems in the political landscape. Our forebears thought in decades, if not longer, otherwise the building of our magnificent cathedrals would never have happened. Or more latterly, our canals and railways (even with HS2 being dragged out still!)

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

How long to see the long term effects in a change of course on economic strategy? A single crumb?

Your biased knickers are showing Simon! Vaccines, Ukraine – the two most important political events in the last 50 years, where the U.K. led the way as the EU prevaricated, and then threatened others. They’re pretty big crumbs, except to people who look the other way.

And putting those immediate positives to one side, every forecaster said we wouldn’t get the long term benefits for at least 10 years, more like 20. I’m happy with that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Any views you personally dislike are viewed with contempt, as they are “short-term and temporary” views.
Just a mass national speed-wobble everyone sees the light coming from the sunlit uplands, eh?
But if you’re right, and views tend to be “short-term and temporary”, then it supports my view that referendums – on any subject – have no place in a representative democracy. 
Referendums are too intrinsically febrile, and too susceptible to troll-farm / mob-capture. A system of representative democracy moves more slowly and any change emanating therefrom will be less socially divisive and longer lasting. That is, if you don’t like something, you need to get out there, form a party, sell your ideas to the electorate and get into government on your manifesto. That takes real commitment and tends to weed out the dilettantes, like Farage (he just forms a company, fails repeatedly to get elected, and institutes social media and PR campaigns, all of which can be achieved merely by money). By contrast, voting in a referendum is no more onerous than voting in a bake-off competition. 
Ideally, you’d never have a referendum. They are a crude import from an entirely different system (a plebiscite democracy), and have no place in a representative democracy,
And as Margaret Thatcher (quoting Clement Attlee) noted: “Perhaps the late Lord Attlee was right,” she observed, “when he said that the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues.”
Hear, hear. But if the current fashion is to insist on having one of those wretched modern degenerations into governance by panem et circenses, there should at least be a mandatory supermajority (of at least 75%), and there also should be compulsory voting (fine no-show voters via PAYE or in their benefits) to get above (e.g.) a 75% turnout. Absent those conditions, it’s just a recipe for endless division.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

As an archetypal “Plastic Paddy”, how would your theories have worked out in the benighted Republic of Ireland or the “Kerrygold Republic” as we used to know her?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

We don’t live in a ‘representative democracy’.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The 2016 referendum result was amply confirmed by the 2019 General Election result. Both of those, national polls, not testing the water of 10,000.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I note what you say, but representative democracy has a weakness of its own, which has for some time now been the subject of increasing disquiet among large numbers of the electorate (notably of the UK and the USA).

That is, political parties do as you say, offer their ideas to the voters over time (rather than in a once-only referendum issue).

But then, once elected, the representatives don’t implement their own prospectus. So in reality it isn’t representative democracy, because it’s just the ‘representatives’ doing what appeals to them.

And the growing narrative about ‘the elites’ is that their preoccupations and values are not at all ‘representative’ (if I can use that term) of what the demos wants.

Problem.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Absolutely. It must be thirty of forty years since electoral rhetoric had any impact at all on policy. And it’s not as if the bulk of those policies have been more successful, or even wiser, as a result.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Absolutely. It must be thirty of forty years since electoral rhetoric had any impact at all on policy. And it’s not as if the bulk of those policies have been more successful, or even wiser, as a result.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Nailed it. Although I was thinking 66% with all non voters counting as a vote for the status quo. On that basis hardly anyone voted in favour of Leave and a sizeable chunk will be dead by now anyway.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Of course you can’t count non-voters. If you do that then the government would always get re-elected, simply by claiming the 30% of people who didn’t vote “supported the status quo” !!!
You’re just making this up. Truly desperate marketing.
Yet again, the fallacy that people do not change their views as they grow older. I and many others did.
Basic errors. Must do better.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The point is that the great “Will of the People” rhetoric is bollocks. “The People” had no “will” about Brexit then, and even less so now.
A very slim majority of those who bothered to vote- a majority based overwhelmingly on age, not the “left behind” or any other lame rhetorical device favoured by some- voted for it on the day, and now, on a different day, quite a lot of them have changed their minds, or died. So now we must make the best of something that a minority of a minority think was a great idea.
So no, not, in reality, The Voice Of The People.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I meant votes in referenda not general elections. Sometimes I’m unclear in my pursuit of brevity. Will try harder.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The point is that the great “Will of the People” rhetoric is bollocks. “The People” had no “will” about Brexit then, and even less so now.
A very slim majority of those who bothered to vote- a majority based overwhelmingly on age, not the “left behind” or any other lame rhetorical device favoured by some- voted for it on the day, and now, on a different day, quite a lot of them have changed their minds, or died. So now we must make the best of something that a minority of a minority think was a great idea.
So no, not, in reality, The Voice Of The People.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I meant votes in referenda not general elections. Sometimes I’m unclear in my pursuit of brevity. Will try harder.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Of course you can’t count non-voters. If you do that then the government would always get re-elected, simply by claiming the 30% of people who didn’t vote “supported the status quo” !!!
You’re just making this up. Truly desperate marketing.
Yet again, the fallacy that people do not change their views as they grow older. I and many others did.
Basic errors. Must do better.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Australia is generally considered an open, democratic, stable society. It’s had 44 nationwide referendums since 1901. Nineteen were about constitutional changes. Indeed, the Constitution can’t be changed without one.
But you’re right. The 2016 Referendum rules for conducting it should have been better thought through. But I wonder if they would have stopped the highly personal insults and belittling of Leavers by some Remainers.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Point 1: the “rules” were written by a remain dominated Parliament and civil service. If they don’t like them, they have only themselves to blame. But they’ll never take responsibility for their own mistakes (or I’ve never seen the slightest recognition of it). I’d have more respect for them if they did.
Point 2: it is quite clear that nothing would have prevented the slurs and insults still being made. Wear it with pride: if you’re taking flak, you’re probably over the target.
Point 3: when Remainers roll out the line that “referendums aren’t the right way to do this (they cause division/don’t work/the people are too stupid/excuse du jour”, I always ask “Well how should the public be consulted on this then ?”. And they never have any answer.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Point 1: the “rules” were written by a remain dominated Parliament and civil service. If they don’t like them, they have only themselves to blame. But they’ll never take responsibility for their own mistakes (or I’ve never seen the slightest recognition of it). I’d have more respect for them if they did.
Point 2: it is quite clear that nothing would have prevented the slurs and insults still being made. Wear it with pride: if you’re taking flak, you’re probably over the target.
Point 3: when Remainers roll out the line that “referendums aren’t the right way to do this (they cause division/don’t work/the people are too stupid/excuse du jour”, I always ask “Well how should the public be consulted on this then ?”. And they never have any answer.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

As an archetypal “Plastic Paddy”, how would your theories have worked out in the benighted Republic of Ireland or the “Kerrygold Republic” as we used to know her?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

We don’t live in a ‘representative democracy’.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The 2016 referendum result was amply confirmed by the 2019 General Election result. Both of those, national polls, not testing the water of 10,000.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I note what you say, but representative democracy has a weakness of its own, which has for some time now been the subject of increasing disquiet among large numbers of the electorate (notably of the UK and the USA).

That is, political parties do as you say, offer their ideas to the voters over time (rather than in a once-only referendum issue).

But then, once elected, the representatives don’t implement their own prospectus. So in reality it isn’t representative democracy, because it’s just the ‘representatives’ doing what appeals to them.

And the growing narrative about ‘the elites’ is that their preoccupations and values are not at all ‘representative’ (if I can use that term) of what the demos wants.

Problem.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Nailed it. Although I was thinking 66% with all non voters counting as a vote for the status quo. On that basis hardly anyone voted in favour of Leave and a sizeable chunk will be dead by now anyway.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Australia is generally considered an open, democratic, stable society. It’s had 44 nationwide referendums since 1901. Nineteen were about constitutional changes. Indeed, the Constitution can’t be changed without one.
But you’re right. The 2016 Referendum rules for conducting it should have been better thought through. But I wonder if they would have stopped the highly personal insults and belittling of Leavers by some Remainers.

Eryl Balazs
Eryl Balazs
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Do you need to bring women’s cervixes into into it?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Eryl Balazs

I was referencing the other, highly topical essay in today’s Unherd. It’s also highly relevant to this issue with regard to Starmer’s ability to think through the fog of current trendy media noise to pursue anything remotely resembling a ‘revolution’, as this piece would have it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yet another list of excuses and deflections SM.
Would be more useful to the discourse if you suggested ideas, policies, practically deliverable and fundable, we could do now given where we are.
What we are getting alot of is Brexit supporters disengaging from the challenge we now face. No, you got us here, now start thinking practically how step by step we can make the best of this.
Slogans were never going to be enough.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Please desist from this nonsense. I pointed out to you in another thread that the responsibility of creating and executing government policy belongs to the government and civil service. It is not the responsibility of “Brexit supporters”, nor do they have the legal authority or resources to do so.
If those responsible (government, civil service) are making a pig’s ear of it, please take it up with them and stop trying to pretend the responsibility lies with people who were merely asked their opinion and promised (David Cameron) that the government would execute whatever they chose.
I sincerely hope I don’t need to repeat this yet one more time.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Please desist from this nonsense. I pointed out to you in another thread that the responsibility of creating and executing government policy belongs to the government and civil service. It is not the responsibility of “Brexit supporters”, nor do they have the legal authority or resources to do so.
If those responsible (government, civil service) are making a pig’s ear of it, please take it up with them and stop trying to pretend the responsibility lies with people who were merely asked their opinion and promised (David Cameron) that the government would execute whatever they chose.
I sincerely hope I don’t need to repeat this yet one more time.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yet another list of excuses and deflections SM.
Would be more useful to the discourse if you suggested ideas, policies, practically deliverable and fundable, we could do now given where we are.
What we are getting alot of is Brexit supporters disengaging from the challenge we now face. No, you got us here, now start thinking practically how step by step we can make the best of this.
Slogans were never going to be enough.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Eryl Balazs

Would you have preferred another word?
If so, which one may I ask?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

It is really **** weird that daily discourse is now polluted with describing a gender by people’s body parts. I do resentfully feel the trans activists and pseudo progressives have won a big cultural point on that aspect.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

‘They’ have indeed.
‘We’ shall have to fight back!

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Fight the good fight, Charlie! You’re a bloody hero!

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

Fight the good fight, Charlie! You’re a bloody hero!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

‘They’ have indeed.
‘We’ shall have to fight back!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

It is really **** weird that daily discourse is now polluted with describing a gender by people’s body parts. I do resentfully feel the trans activists and pseudo progressives have won a big cultural point on that aspect.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Eryl Balazs

I was referencing the other, highly topical essay in today’s Unherd. It’s also highly relevant to this issue with regard to Starmer’s ability to think through the fog of current trendy media noise to pursue anything remotely resembling a ‘revolution’, as this piece would have it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Eryl Balazs

Would you have preferred another word?
If so, which one may I ask?

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Certainly.
We’ve had Brexit in Name Only and those of the UniParty now with Ministerial posts aren’t interested in finishing the job.

Then we’ve had the Scandemic and ramped up nonsensical Net Zero with academia, the media and the pollies played like a fiddle by WEF, Gates, Soros, the Nudgers and whatever is pulling Biden’s strings.

All headingfor the cliff edge, pedal to the metal.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

You forgot to mention the Woke Brigade!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Brumby

You forgot to mention the Woke Brigade!

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It won’t take long before the spotlight shines on the Labour Party and its internal contradictions, not least the luvvies of North London versus the party’s traditional ‘labourist’ support in the north. Anyone seriously expect Starmer to reconcile their views about the EU without reviving the bitterness of the whole Brexit issue? For sure at this stage Labour might look a refreshing alternative to the Tories but things are relative and to suggest that Labour offers a credible alternative with a government of substance is nonsense. Don’t raise your expectations about Starmer or his party.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Dewhirst
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Starmer and Labour’s now silenced but extant Second Ref Legion (surprising how these socialists embrace global capitalism’s Single Market triumph so ardently.. but hey ho) are not the main danger. It is the permanent pro EU State and Technocratic & legal clerisy established by Blair and Brown who are. EU laws are still embedded. The precautionary principle and bureaucratism of Brussels lives on in them. All efforts to exploit our faster freedom of actions (Ukraine/Vaccine/Energy) have been sat on and sabotaged by The Unelected, our ruling cliques, not just the post Covid exhaustion and chaos of the battered useless Tory Executive.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Wishful thinking I’m afraid, bordering on the delusional. There are some things in life that cannot be undone. Joining the EU was one of those things.
What is wrong with aligning with the EU? Does absolute sovereignty have any real meaning in a Unipolar world? That train left the station decades ago.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“Does absolute sovereignty have any real meaning in a Unipolar world?”
The dictionary is your friend. Use it.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

A. “The dictionary is your friend”
What is it about modern discourse on the internet that makes such daft and tedious cliches so universal, from teenage girls in LA to angry old men in England? Might it be, ironically, the “Unipolar world”?
B. The commenter you’re trying to respond to asked a question; a “dictionary”, even if it were their “friend”, wouldn’t help them to answer it. That’s not what dictionaries do.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

A. “The dictionary is your friend”
What is it about modern discourse on the internet that makes such daft and tedious cliches so universal, from teenage girls in LA to angry old men in England? Might it be, ironically, the “Unipolar world”?
B. The commenter you’re trying to respond to asked a question; a “dictionary”, even if it were their “friend”, wouldn’t help them to answer it. That’s not what dictionaries do.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Different communities have different interests and hence it is important that they maintain sovereign control over their affairs. Do I really have to explain that to you?
You can rectify most mistakes. Joining the EU was one of those mistakes. I have less confidence in the long term future of the UK than I would wish, but I have even less confidence in the future of the EU: A ramshackle empire that will collapse under the pressure of the competing interests from which it was cobbled together. European empires have always collapsed (chaotically). Perhaps if you acquainted yourself with the history of Europe you would be aware of this.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“Does absolute sovereignty have any real meaning in a Unipolar world?”
The dictionary is your friend. Use it.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Different communities have different interests and hence it is important that they maintain sovereign control over their affairs. Do I really have to explain that to you?
You can rectify most mistakes. Joining the EU was one of those mistakes. I have less confidence in the long term future of the UK than I would wish, but I have even less confidence in the future of the EU: A ramshackle empire that will collapse under the pressure of the competing interests from which it was cobbled together. European empires have always collapsed (chaotically). Perhaps if you acquainted yourself with the history of Europe you would be aware of this.

Au Contraire
Au Contraire
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Walking away from what was effectively a “Common Market” arrangement we had while in the EU – giving up on a frictionless access to a market of 500 million people and significant opt outs – was bound to deliver the damage we are now suffering, no matter some of it is hidden under the Pandemic and the Ukraine War consequences.
Where I disagree with the author is that if we were to contemplate re-joining – that without a fresh referendum is not feasible and such a referendum cannot be held so soon again – then we would probably find the EU would be happy to accommodate our renewed membership under the previously prevailing terms and opt outs. Even if this gets dressed up as the outer ring that would change the dynamic of our present lack of access to the Common Market (or CU and SM). UK is too big a deal for EU not to make that exception and what better affirmation than that in terms of relevance of the European Union so derided and despised by the Brexiters!

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The trouble is the Conservative government and Whitehall are full of die hard remainers working to undermine Brexit by blocking any economic or immigration reforms to make it work.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Correct I think. The signal-to-noise ratio in any current polling is very low and the results really quite volatile.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

This idea that Brexit hasn’t been given a chance and needs more time, is all very well. How much more time before we see a single crumb of vindication? The trouble is that as someone once said: in the long run we’re all dead.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Any views you personally dislike are viewed with contempt, as they are “short-term and temporary” views.
Just a mass national speed-wobble everyone sees the light coming from the sunlit uplands, eh?
But if you’re right, and views tend to be “short-term and temporary”, then it supports my view that referendums – on any subject – have no place in a representative democracy. 
Referendums are too intrinsically febrile, and too susceptible to troll-farm / mob-capture. A system of representative democracy moves more slowly and any change emanating therefrom will be less socially divisive and longer lasting. That is, if you don’t like something, you need to get out there, form a party, sell your ideas to the electorate and get into government on your manifesto. That takes real commitment and tends to weed out the dilettantes, like Farage (he just forms a company, fails repeatedly to get elected, and institutes social media and PR campaigns, all of which can be achieved merely by money). By contrast, voting in a referendum is no more onerous than voting in a bake-off competition. 
Ideally, you’d never have a referendum. They are a crude import from an entirely different system (a plebiscite democracy), and have no place in a representative democracy,
And as Margaret Thatcher (quoting Clement Attlee) noted: “Perhaps the late Lord Attlee was right,” she observed, “when he said that the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues.”
Hear, hear. But if the current fashion is to insist on having one of those wretched modern degenerations into governance by panem et circenses, there should at least be a mandatory supermajority (of at least 75%), and there also should be compulsory voting (fine no-show voters via PAYE or in their benefits) to get above (e.g.) a 75% turnout. Absent those conditions, it’s just a recipe for endless division.

Eryl Balazs
Eryl Balazs
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Do you need to bring women’s cervixes into into it?

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Certainly.
We’ve had Brexit in Name Only and those of the UniParty now with Ministerial posts aren’t interested in finishing the job.

Then we’ve had the Scandemic and ramped up nonsensical Net Zero with academia, the media and the pollies played like a fiddle by WEF, Gates, Soros, the Nudgers and whatever is pulling Biden’s strings.

All headingfor the cliff edge, pedal to the metal.

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It won’t take long before the spotlight shines on the Labour Party and its internal contradictions, not least the luvvies of North London versus the party’s traditional ‘labourist’ support in the north. Anyone seriously expect Starmer to reconcile their views about the EU without reviving the bitterness of the whole Brexit issue? For sure at this stage Labour might look a refreshing alternative to the Tories but things are relative and to suggest that Labour offers a credible alternative with a government of substance is nonsense. Don’t raise your expectations about Starmer or his party.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Dewhirst
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Starmer and Labour’s now silenced but extant Second Ref Legion (surprising how these socialists embrace global capitalism’s Single Market triumph so ardently.. but hey ho) are not the main danger. It is the permanent pro EU State and Technocratic & legal clerisy established by Blair and Brown who are. EU laws are still embedded. The precautionary principle and bureaucratism of Brussels lives on in them. All efforts to exploit our faster freedom of actions (Ukraine/Vaccine/Energy) have been sat on and sabotaged by The Unelected, our ruling cliques, not just the post Covid exhaustion and chaos of the battered useless Tory Executive.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Wishful thinking I’m afraid, bordering on the delusional. There are some things in life that cannot be undone. Joining the EU was one of those things.
What is wrong with aligning with the EU? Does absolute sovereignty have any real meaning in a Unipolar world? That train left the station decades ago.

Au Contraire
Au Contraire
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Walking away from what was effectively a “Common Market” arrangement we had while in the EU – giving up on a frictionless access to a market of 500 million people and significant opt outs – was bound to deliver the damage we are now suffering, no matter some of it is hidden under the Pandemic and the Ukraine War consequences.
Where I disagree with the author is that if we were to contemplate re-joining – that without a fresh referendum is not feasible and such a referendum cannot be held so soon again – then we would probably find the EU would be happy to accommodate our renewed membership under the previously prevailing terms and opt outs. Even if this gets dressed up as the outer ring that would change the dynamic of our present lack of access to the Common Market (or CU and SM). UK is too big a deal for EU not to make that exception and what better affirmation than that in terms of relevance of the European Union so derided and despised by the Brexiters!

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The trouble is the Conservative government and Whitehall are full of die hard remainers working to undermine Brexit by blocking any economic or immigration reforms to make it work.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Typically, the author is using short-term and temporary views expressed in polling using stratification that can be notorious for its lack of accuracy (as on the eve of the Brexit vote in 2016) to draw the wrong conclusions.

Might i suggest that those who voted to Leave simply want to see the job completed? Of course, at this still early stage in the Brexit ‘revolution’ the initial extrication process is producing difficulties which skew the public perception; constantly highlighted by the Remain-leaning media and with the Tories off-balance and unable to make sufficient legislative progress

This will change with time. A warning to Labour: try to row back on Brexit at your peril. The EU is showing signs of coming to terms with our departure, for instance the admission by Leo Varadkar that “mistakes had been made” by the EU during negotiations. As wounds heal, a better accommodation can be acheived and the full benefits of Brexit will swing into place. So will the public mood.

If Labour understands this, all well and good, but somehow i suspect arch-Remainer Starmer just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it in just the same way he doesn’t get that only women have a cervix. Or at least when asked, he’s not sure, which is even worse.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

There really isn’t any good reason why people should regret Brexit other than the ceaseless drip of corporatist propaganda from the overwhelmingly remain dominated media. The EU hasn’t suddenly ceased to be an institutionally anti-democratic technocracy.

The reason most of us are disappointed is simply that Brexit should have been the precursor of a return to accountable government in the UK. However, as we saw with the pandemic, the grip of the Oxbridge mafia responsible for most of this country’s woes is actually stronger than ever.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I fear Brexit will become like communist revolutions. They fail not because the idea of a communist revolution is flawed but because it was not ‘done properly’, or reactionary forces undermined it, or it was not revolutionary enough. And so it goes on.

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Butler
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Except for the simple and obvious fact that for most of Britain’s history, we were an independent nation outside the EU and that worked just fine. Brexit simply restores the status quo ante – which was not fundamentally broken. So the analogy with communism simply doesn’t apply here.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

We were still an independent nation in the EU.
Anyway that aside, your historical point has a weakness in that pre EU membership we had operated an imperial preference system for almost 2 centuries. You’ll have noticed that we can no longer revert to that. The idea we just float amongst much bigger trading nations and blocs has not existed for centuries. So your point deliberately underplayed that.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

What nonsense, making you lose any credibility – we were not an independent nation within the EU. Everyone knows that, and the Northern Irish protocol breaking up the U.K. proves it.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Remind me again who were the two parties that devised the NI protocol? I know the EU was one.. who was the other?
Btw the NI protocol is the best thing that ever hit NI.. check the growth of NI since the inception vs its pitiful growth before. Then check it against GB growth. Being in the Single Market as well as the UK has done wonders for NI. Only DUP dodos are upset by the NI protocol!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Remind me again who were the two parties that devised the NI protocol? I know the EU was one.. who was the other?
Btw the NI protocol is the best thing that ever hit NI.. check the growth of NI since the inception vs its pitiful growth before. Then check it against GB growth. Being in the Single Market as well as the UK has done wonders for NI. Only DUP dodos are upset by the NI protocol!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

In what way were we ‘still an independent nation in the EU’? A steadily growing numbers of our laws and regulations were being made by people we didn’t elect and couldn’t get rid of.
The most striking thing about the entire Brexit debate is how little anyone – and particularly the average remainer – knows about the workings of the EU.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

In exactly the same way the other 26 are. Pooling sovereignty on some things doesn’t make you not independent. You’ve chosen to do that and you have a say in the conclusions. We also had lots of veto exemptions.
Compromise occasionally rattles some, but we’ll get that in any international deal as we’ve found.
I suspect actually the folks who didn’t really understand the EU and how it worked are more on the Leave side (albeit many did not know the detail in truth on all sides). The fact we are in such muddle proves the point.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We didn’t ‘pool’ sovereignty in the EU, we surrendered it. Read the Maastricht Treaty. Those twenty seven bureaucrats were not accountable to us even as citizens of the wider entity. I expect you still think that the Commissioners are appointed by national governments. They’re not. They’re not accountable to the EU’s Potemkin parliament either.
The EU was created by men who believed that the the imposition of ‘Anglo Saxon democracy’ on Europe in the wake of WWII should be overturned and that government should be solely the province of ‘experts’, and designed the institutions to facilitate that.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

“They” have never forgiven us for allowing Napoleon’s p***s to to sliced off and stolen during his post-mortem on Saint Helena in 1821.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Presumably written by a white man who thinks himself anglosaxon and educated?? Shame.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

“They” have never forgiven us for allowing Napoleon’s p***s to to sliced off and stolen during his post-mortem on Saint Helena in 1821.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Presumably written by a white man who thinks himself anglosaxon and educated?? Shame.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Precisely, we had an alignment of paperwork to facilitate free movement of trade and services and personal opportunities. We voted for that. Everybody has to live within some rules or another. Falsely placed ego has no room in intelligent policies.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We didn’t ‘pool’ sovereignty in the EU, we surrendered it. Read the Maastricht Treaty. Those twenty seven bureaucrats were not accountable to us even as citizens of the wider entity. I expect you still think that the Commissioners are appointed by national governments. They’re not. They’re not accountable to the EU’s Potemkin parliament either.
The EU was created by men who believed that the the imposition of ‘Anglo Saxon democracy’ on Europe in the wake of WWII should be overturned and that government should be solely the province of ‘experts’, and designed the institutions to facilitate that.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Precisely, we had an alignment of paperwork to facilitate free movement of trade and services and personal opportunities. We voted for that. Everybody has to live within some rules or another. Falsely placed ego has no room in intelligent policies.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That is absolute nonsense. Every post in the EU is elected every committee and even the leader and if you didn’t vote that is your fault. However here you are condescending given a cross in a box every 5 years for people you can’t get rid of. The EU cared about us, and supported us and brought us from a post war wreck. Our politicians didn’t. Even poor Romania had to pay for us.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Siv White

Indeed. It’s such a mess I can only resort to comedy. I think of Python’s ‘what did the Romans ever do for us’ sketch. As is said of staid accountants, leavers know the cost of everything and the value of little, prefer rhetoric to reality. All they’ve got in the face of the almost universal criticism of Brexit – in business, academia, politics, medicine, education, unions, internationally and nationally – now joined by farmers, fishermen and the population – are shallow slogans, ‘we’ve taken back control’, ‘it’ll work in the end’, and the non apology, ‘we didn’t get the Brexit we wanted’ (even though, as Danny Dyer put it, Brexit is a riddle within a riddle – there was never any clear sense of the details of what it would involve, just a fantasy team of wishful thoughts.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

The comedy scene I’m often reminded of when I jump into the comments here is Jimmy showing Reggie Perrin his stash off rifles, ready to be used in “the fight for Britain, when the balloon goes up”. Rapists, papists, fascists, NEO fascists, CRYPTO fascists
 anyway, it’s on YouTube, obviously.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Beautiful! They heyday of British comedy is sorely missed, and we are all worse of for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Beautiful! They heyday of British comedy is sorely missed, and we are all worse of for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

The comedy scene I’m often reminded of when I jump into the comments here is Jimmy showing Reggie Perrin his stash off rifles, ready to be used in “the fight for Britain, when the balloon goes up”. Rapists, papists, fascists, NEO fascists, CRYPTO fascists
 anyway, it’s on YouTube, obviously.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Siv White

Indeed. It’s such a mess I can only resort to comedy. I think of Python’s ‘what did the Romans ever do for us’ sketch. As is said of staid accountants, leavers know the cost of everything and the value of little, prefer rhetoric to reality. All they’ve got in the face of the almost universal criticism of Brexit – in business, academia, politics, medicine, education, unions, internationally and nationally – now joined by farmers, fishermen and the population – are shallow slogans, ‘we’ve taken back control’, ‘it’ll work in the end’, and the non apology, ‘we didn’t get the Brexit we wanted’ (even though, as Danny Dyer put it, Brexit is a riddle within a riddle – there was never any clear sense of the details of what it would involve, just a fantasy team of wishful thoughts.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

In exactly the same way the other 26 are. Pooling sovereignty on some things doesn’t make you not independent. You’ve chosen to do that and you have a say in the conclusions. We also had lots of veto exemptions.
Compromise occasionally rattles some, but we’ll get that in any international deal as we’ve found.
I suspect actually the folks who didn’t really understand the EU and how it worked are more on the Leave side (albeit many did not know the detail in truth on all sides). The fact we are in such muddle proves the point.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That is absolute nonsense. Every post in the EU is elected every committee and even the leader and if you didn’t vote that is your fault. However here you are condescending given a cross in a box every 5 years for people you can’t get rid of. The EU cared about us, and supported us and brought us from a post war wreck. Our politicians didn’t. Even poor Romania had to pay for us.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I said nothing at all about our trading relationships in my comment.
In any case, I dispute your claim that we had “an imperial preference system for almosty 2 centuries”. Not to any significant extent. Recall the “tariff reform” debate of the early 1900s which resulted in a massive Conservative defeat. One again (as with the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846), Britain chose free trade over protectionism. And explicitly free trade over “imperial preference”.
In 1972, however, it seems we chose higher food prices over free trade for the first time since the introduction of the Corn Laws.
So I dispute your claim. Free trade is arguably in Britain’s DNA. Far more so than the EU’s.
So thanks for bringing up this point. It really does need repeating that Britain is inherently a far more globally oriented, free-trading country than the EU bureaucracy. And gaining the benefits of competitive trading and pricing over protecting the interests of producers.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

So free trade is now a scientific DNA trait!! Despite the Norman’s et al. We stole from the empire, we no longer can. Update yourself. We need easy, beneficial. Peaceful agreements all 28 sides agree to. Its not rocket science.

Last edited 1 year ago by Siv White
Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

So free trade is now a scientific DNA trait!! Despite the Norman’s et al. We stole from the empire, we no longer can. Update yourself. We need easy, beneficial. Peaceful agreements all 28 sides agree to. Its not rocket science.

Last edited 1 year ago by Siv White
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

What nonsense, making you lose any credibility – we were not an independent nation within the EU. Everyone knows that, and the Northern Irish protocol breaking up the U.K. proves it.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

In what way were we ‘still an independent nation in the EU’? A steadily growing numbers of our laws and regulations were being made by people we didn’t elect and couldn’t get rid of.
The most striking thing about the entire Brexit debate is how little anyone – and particularly the average remainer – knows about the workings of the EU.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I said nothing at all about our trading relationships in my comment.
In any case, I dispute your claim that we had “an imperial preference system for almosty 2 centuries”. Not to any significant extent. Recall the “tariff reform” debate of the early 1900s which resulted in a massive Conservative defeat. One again (as with the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846), Britain chose free trade over protectionism. And explicitly free trade over “imperial preference”.
In 1972, however, it seems we chose higher food prices over free trade for the first time since the introduction of the Corn Laws.
So I dispute your claim. Free trade is arguably in Britain’s DNA. Far more so than the EU’s.
So thanks for bringing up this point. It really does need repeating that Britain is inherently a far more globally oriented, free-trading country than the EU bureaucracy. And gaining the benefits of competitive trading and pricing over protecting the interests of producers.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You forget the peace the EU brought. GB like most other European nations wasn’t “just fine” for the 100s of years before EU membership, it was mired in war and bloodshed. You may have forgotten about WW1 and WW2 to mention just two have you?

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

We were still an independent nation in the EU.
Anyway that aside, your historical point has a weakness in that pre EU membership we had operated an imperial preference system for almost 2 centuries. You’ll have noticed that we can no longer revert to that. The idea we just float amongst much bigger trading nations and blocs has not existed for centuries. So your point deliberately underplayed that.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You forget the peace the EU brought. GB like most other European nations wasn’t “just fine” for the 100s of years before EU membership, it was mired in war and bloodshed. You may have forgotten about WW1 and WW2 to mention just two have you?

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Yep, it’s the same psychological flaw. It’ll never entirely go away for some. Too much personal identity baked into it.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

The EU gave us the greatest freedoms, opportunities and aid since a Roman had in the Roman Empire

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Except for the simple and obvious fact that for most of Britain’s history, we were an independent nation outside the EU and that worked just fine. Brexit simply restores the status quo ante – which was not fundamentally broken. So the analogy with communism simply doesn’t apply here.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Yep, it’s the same psychological flaw. It’ll never entirely go away for some. Too much personal identity baked into it.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

The EU gave us the greatest freedoms, opportunities and aid since a Roman had in the Roman Empire

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I suspect you don’t run a SME that trades with European partners much HB?
Or an industry with a labour shortage and no national plan to address that?
Or a Border force employee dealing with channel crossings knowing we can’t send them back to France as we’ll pulled out of the Dublin agreement?
Or even the fella now queuing for ages at Passport control?
We could go on, and on.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

… and no doubt you will. As it happens my largest client is a French company based in Paris. Working on and off in France was what convinced me that we needed to leave the EU.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

*nods in approval at the pricking of false assumptions*

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

*nods in approval at the pricking of false assumptions*

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Yeah, but erm
 sovereignty!!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

… and no doubt you will. As it happens my largest client is a French company based in Paris. Working on and off in France was what convinced me that we needed to leave the EU.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Yeah, but erm
 sovereignty!!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Thankfully Brexit won the vote and we got out, never to return. This article fails to reference the fact that the EU is always in short term economic crisis because of the Euro and long term trade decline as the rest of the world improves its productivity – soon the rest of the world will be dictating to the EU what trade terms and standards should be, and it’ll disappear into irrelevance.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Wishful thinking I suspect. Although keep the phraseology as it’ll apply to us.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

As I pointed out to you in a reply on another thread, this has already happened in many areas. Specifically my own area of semiconductors and technology.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

As I pointed out to you in a reply on another thread, this has already happened in many areas. Specifically my own area of semiconductors and technology.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The euro is one of the world’s strongest currencies. It is costing us a fortune to trade or buy. If we had joined the euro we would be 19% better off but the shiny arse brigade in London want to hold us to ransome changing our money.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Perhaps the Remainers should console themselves with the EU’s own self destruction
https://www.politico.eu/article/the-eu-covid-19-european-fund-appetite-for-borrowing-is-a-slippery-slope/

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Wishful thinking I suspect. Although keep the phraseology as it’ll apply to us.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The euro is one of the world’s strongest currencies. It is costing us a fortune to trade or buy. If we had joined the euro we would be 19% better off but the shiny arse brigade in London want to hold us to ransome changing our money.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Perhaps the Remainers should console themselves with the EU’s own self destruction
https://www.politico.eu/article/the-eu-covid-19-european-fund-appetite-for-borrowing-is-a-slippery-slope/

Janny Lee
Janny Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Just the best comment I have read on here today.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Janny Lee

Thank you.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Janny Lee

Thank you.

Siv White
Siv White
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I regret Brexit because it has ruined the happiness of my house, stopped me even taking my dogs to NIreland due yo health certificate fees of ÂŁ500, stopped my retirement in the sunny, friendly, well run EU and cost me a fortune for goods that have made it to the depleted store shelves, and ruined the value of the pound down 19%. We have also lost billions in aid from the EU while our corrupt politician line their pockets and buy EU passports. Voters need to wise up. Is that enough reality to be going on with?

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I fear Brexit will become like communist revolutions. They fail not because the idea of a communist revolution is flawed but because it was not ‘done properly’, or reactionary forces undermined it, or it was not revolutionary enough. And so it goes on.

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Butler
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I suspect you don’t run a SME that trades with European partners much HB?
Or an industry with a labour shortage and no national plan to address that?
Or a Border force employee dealing with channel crossings knowing we can’t send them back to France as we’ll pulled out of the Dublin agreement?
Or even the fella now queuing for ages at Passport control?
We could go on, and on.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Thankfully Brexit won the vote and we got out, never to return. This article fails to reference the fact that the EU is always in short term economic crisis because of the Euro and long term trade