Monday, 19 November 2018

Whatever it takes, Britain will be free


Should Theresa May sign the deal on offer, Britain will be a colony of the EU. When that happens there will really only be one man to blame. Nigel Farage.

Ukip wasn't always centred on immigration. There was even a time it didn't want to talk about immigration at all. I think was in 2005 or thereabouts, I was at the Ukip conference in Scarborough. Nobody on the platform really mentioned immigration until they took questions from the floor.

Eventually somebody asked the inevitable question and there was audible clucking from the floor. The membership were acutely aware that the media were present and did not want to do anything that would tarnish Ukip as a racist party. I don't recall what was said but Farage wasn't comfortable giving a reply. He skirted around it. It wasn't until the BNP started hoovering up votes in the North that Ukip pivoted to immigration just to sweep up the votes at the euro-elections. It worked. But it wasn't a good idea. 

One can easily argue it was the move that landed Ukip as a feature of mainstream politics. Arguably the only way to grab media attention was to become the bogeyman. But in so doing Farage sacrificed sustained growth of an anti-EU movement to rapidly bloat it as an anti-immigration populist party - almost to the point where leaving the EU was a peripheral policy. Fast forward to today and we now find there are two miserable consequences of this.

It is only in the last three years that the so-called Norway option has been out of favour with eurosceptics. Rejoining Efta was always a eurosceptic talking point and Norway was always held aloft as an example of how it could be done. Being though that Farage had wedded the cause to immigration control, those arguing for it are a growing, but outspoken minority.

Having taken the one viable avenue off the table, we are now faced with the grim reality that any comprehensive agreement with the EU will leave the ECJ as the supreme authority over trade and regulatory affairs. Here Theresa May has done the electoral calculus and believes that she can fudge Brexit just so long as freedom of movement comes to an end. She might very well get away with it too. 

Here the Brexiters can wail all they like but the government will press ahead with it, most likely with the backing of the establishment, largely because the Brexit camp have no workable alternatives. Having ruled out the EEA option the cupboard is bare and they are left to hold a crumbling line in pushing for no deal. 

This again is the fault of Farage. By rights, with Vote Leave having been an artificial establishment construct with no grassroots support, the designation for lead campaign should have gone to Ukip. Ukip should have been ready to drop everything and pivot into a nationwide campaigning machine. That didn't happen.  

It didn't happen because Ukip simply lacked the expertise, the talent and organisational ability required to pull it off. The 2016 Ukip was a talentless rabble largely a consequence of Farage having surrounded himself with acolytes and yes men. This allowed the radical wing of the Tories to swoop in and hijack the campaign to push for their hard economic right revolution. That Ukip have simply gone along with it speaks to the lack of strategic acumen. Little do they realise that their movement was stolen from them.

Though the original sin was that of Farage, the movement as a whole is guilt of failing to plan. Having won the referendum, leavers should be calling the shots but since they didn't have a plan and cannot muster a single issue literate spokesman, they are left to stamp their feet in impotent rage as their accomplishment is stolen from them. All the while, their tactical mistakes could very well lose us the prize. 

Having persuaded themselves that only no deal honours the referendum, the Brexiters now push for an option so extreme that remainers who ordinarily would have reluctantly gone along with Brexit are now more vocal and motivated than ever. Though they recognise May's deal for the monster that it is, they will back it if push comes to shove. 

It is difficult to say which way this goes now. The deal on the table does not enjoy much in the way of parliamentary support, but it could still squeak through with some skilful parliamentary manoeuvring. The establishment can convince itself that the 2016 vote has worn out and so long as they throw us the bone of limits on freedom of movement they can go back to business as usual. 

We then know exactly rhetoric they will deploy. Matthew Parris has probably already written it: "Brexiters complain that their Brexit wasn't delivered - but there was no Brexit that could deliver on their promises of unicorns". That then closes the book on the issue and they will ensure leavers take the blame for our predicament. We are then back to square one. 

In fact, the establishment will grow to like the vassal state deal more than membership in that it doesn't mess with the status quo, but it neuters leavers very nicely in that they can simply say we have left the EU and this is as good as it gets. I suppose our crucial error was pushing for a referendum at all. One largely suspects that the establishment would always collude with the EU to keep us on a tight leash. If voting made a difference they wouldn't let us do it.

One could actually get quite depressed about this but then I remind myself that one way or another Britain will be free of the EU. They can fudge Brexit but we will simply chalk it up as yet another betrayal in a long line of establishment stitch-ups over Europe. They may be able to bury it for a while but they can't kill it, and the referendum has certainly been an excellent recruiting agent for the cause. This is essentially a battle of wills between democrats and the establishment. There is no doubt about it. We will win eventually.

Over the course of the Brexit saga I must have had a thousand conversations about the EU. Most of them repetitive and dull as dishwater. Remainers tell me that what's wrong in this country is not the fault of the EU. To a point they are right. The EU is not the cause of our problem, rather it us a symptom of it.

We have a democracy-phobic establishment caught up in its own sense of infallibility and moral fortitude. It is dazzled by the bright shining lights of the EU believing it to be the alpha and omega of internationalism and liberalism. It suits their vanity. They never hesitate to hand over powers because the ends justify the means. The EU will adopt every passing humanitarian fad and our politicians fall for it every time. It is pure, unadulterated narcissism.

At the heart of this is a paternalistic establishment which believes in the supremacy of technocracy over democracy. The most they can understand is GDP as the sole measure of wealth and wellbeing. Everything else comes a distant second. They are not going to let people like us make our own choices. 

This shows in the way they have responded to Brexit. Brexit to them is just a massive inconvenience - a disruption to the schedules programme. Their politics isn't about ideas. It's just about taking office and having their go at telling people what to do and imposing their values on us. They take us for fools which is why they think they can fudge Brexit. 

They have, however, made a fatal miscalculation. We see right through it. Moreover, they have run out of political authority and they are simply not equipped to produce solutions for a number of ever more acute problems. The centre cannot hold.

Were you to tune into a James O'Brien radio show (the new Lord Haw-Haw) you'll here him disingenuously asking "What is it we want to be free from? clean beaches and workers rights and freedom to live and work anywhere in Europe?". Or words to that effect. But the urge to be free is the urge to free ourselves from our establishment - to decide for ourselves who and what comes into the country and on what terms. Presently we are held hostage not by Brussels, but by our own establishment.

In any debate with a europhile you can point out that the EU is not a democracy. They then point out that the UK has its own democratic deficiencies as though that somehow excused it. But no Brexiter is going to argue that point. We know our system is not democratic and that is the problem. Not only will our politicians not do as instructed, they have put their powers away in the Brussels locker to ensure that they couldn't even if they wanted to. 

The struggle for democracy is a thousand year long story in Britain. The battle is never won but the trend is toward ever more democracy. For a time we have settled on this system of Westminster representative democracy, which as it happens is not democracy at all and is wholly obsolete. As much as it is obsolete it is also broken. It perpetuates the bubble effect whereby its values are alien to our own. If then we are to make major reforms to our democracy, so that the wishes of the people are heard, respected and implemented, then leaving the EU is a prerequisite.

Here the establishment will fight tooth and nail to prevent it. It wouldn't be much of an establishment if it didn't. Being that it won't honour the referendum result is all the proof you need that we are not a democracy. It further underscores the need to remove them not least because if we don't they will continue to give powers away. May's deal ultimately surrenders the last of our sovereignty and they will cave into it just so long as it keeps them in power. 

Our struggle for democracy is a long war. Brexit was D-Day. All we did, though, was establish a beachhead. We face a long and bloody battle to victory and the enemy won't go without a fight. They will use every weapon they have. Through the incompetence of the Brexit blob in London it looks like our D-Day is turning into our own Market Garden. We could very well lose this battle, but the war goes on.   

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