True Colours Part III

I didn’t want to believe it was a stitch-up.

I didn’t want to believe it when the Tories chose a high ranking Remainer for Prime Minister.

I didn’t want to believe it when the government agreed to a negotiating sequence organised around political rather than economic objectives. I grumbled but kept my eye on the prize when the UK agreed to pay the European Union £39 billion, basically for nothing.

I started to worry when Theresa May ambushed her own cabinet at Chequers, suddenly producing a previously unpublicised plan which she’d covertly created alongside arch federalist Olly Robbins. Boris and his Brexiteers made a big mistake that day. They’d have been better served by taking that rather pleasant walk down the drive and cadging a lift to Wendover station. I’m sure someone in the press corps would’ve been thrilled to oblige. It’s not far.

Still I clung to the belief that Parliament would never agree to this “turd” of a treaty because it’s so obviously intended to tie us still closer to Brussels, while ensuring the idea of a membership referendum can never trouble the establishment again. Well, I was half right about that.

Has the Prime Minister set out a clear choice between her deal and no deal? No, although she’s been quick to threaten us with no Brexit at all if her deal is not approved, although in doing so she’s finally given the game away.

I still don’t want to believe it’s a stitch-up…but it’s true.

Now the establishment have finally made their move, coming out of the shadows with an unprecedented soft coup attempt as they try to reverse the roles of the executive and the legislature. It’s interesting to note that Dominic Grieve and the other wreckers have not been de-selected or otherwise admonished by their own party machines, despite all of the froth and noise. A cynic might say that it’s all part of the plan.

This is as serious as it gets, and it’s really hard to resist the word “betrayal” as the mask slips entirely at last. Now we can truly see the ugly mendacity of our elected representatives and their media enablers as they strain every sinew to corral us into a spurious choice between accepting Theresa’s turd and not leaving the EU at all.

I’m not easily shocked, but even I’m taken aback at the breath-taking audacity of those openly plotting to preserve the status quo by either ignoring the referendum result, or by adding yet more labyrinthine layers of complexity which always, always preserve Brussels’ position as the UK’s final arbiter and rule writer. Either outcome would suit the metropolitan machine just fine, despite all the faux outrage spilling over the airwaves right now.

This slow strangulation of the Brexit dream has been long in the making, and now the endgame is upon us.

Our mendacious MPs may succeed in stifling Brexit, for now, but I wonder if they have any conception of the price they will ultimately pay for their naked duplicity. When even hardcore Remainers like Dan Hodges are turning away in disgust, then something has gone seriously and dangerously wrong.

If the establishment believe the electorate won’t see through their smoke and mirrors act then they’re making a serious miscalculation.

This isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.

Images courtesy of Nico1 & Alison Scott at FreeImages.com

Labour’s Brexit Reckoning

It’s coming.

I know it doesn’t look that way at the moment, especially with the Tories tearing each other to pieces right now, but the Labour Party’s Brexit bunker is not nearly as impregnable as many inside it might like to imagine.

Brexit’s been a blast for Labour so far. For them it’s been the gift that keeps on giving. How they must be laughing themselves silly as they deliberately face every which way on the issue, carefully constructing a trail of quotes to ensure that everyone in Britain hears exactly what they want to hear from Her Majesty’s Opposition. It gets better though, because Labour knows perfectly well that no Brexit deal of any kind can pass their impossibly ambiguous six tests. A cynic might say that hurdle was deliberately set so high that nobody could ever find it, let alone clear it. Ironically, those tests may come back to bite them if Jeremy Corbyn ends up in Downing Street.

For more than two years the Labour Party has sat back and enjoyed the show, safe in the knowledge that no matter how hard they try, the government can never capture the unicorn they’ve demanded of them. Such is the privilege of sitting on the opposition benches.

To the casual Labour voter it might seem like the Tories are currently destroying themselves over the vexed issue of Brexit, while the opposition reclines in the back seat and enjoys the ride. This is half right, but Theresa May’s shameful Brexit sell-out has created a constitutional vortex which will suck the Labour Party into it just as surely as it will crush the Conservatives.

There is no way that Theresa May’s disastrous stitch-up deal will be approved by Parliament unless Labour changes its mind on the issue, something they have absolutely no incentive to do. It’s also been made clear that, true to form, the EU will not consider any form of renegotiation, save for some vague, non-binding “assurances” which will only increase mistrust among Brexiteers.

Those increasingly immovable facts leave the government with only two options. The first is to go for broke and declare a no deal Brexit, the second is to extend the Article 50 process in the hope that some hitherto unimagined solution falls from the heavens before the next election (it won’t, by the way).

Although either course is deeply unpalatable for the Conservative Party, it’s also extremely dangerous for Labour too. Whether the government attempts to extend Article 50 or declares no deal, Labour will be forced to finally whip its MPs and take a single, unambiguous and coherent position on Brexit.

I’ve written at length about how the entire Brexit process has exposed the establishment’s true colours when it comes to their real interests, and the Parliamentary Labour Party will not escape the day of political judgement. Whatever course of action the government decides to follow, the Labour Party will have no choice but to either support or oppose it. Then, at last, Labour’s true position on Brexit will finally be revealed.

Image courtesy of Dimitri_C & Carlos Sotelo at FreeImages.com

True Colours part II

“No deal is better than a bad deal.”

At least we know what will be written on Theresa May’s tombstone when that day finally comes. It must be hard for her to realise that her legacy will be the poisoning of our domestic discourse for a generation, but that’s exactly what she’s achieved.

Our looming constitutional crisis could so easily have been avoided if she’d played anything resembling a straight game with the British public. Instead the Prime Minister has secretly conspired not only to negate the benefits of Brexit, but to force this unwilling nation into an even more restrictive and abusive relationship with the EU, the polar opposite of the electorate’s clearly expressed desire. This shoddy stitch-up has no democratic mandate whatsoever, and it is in direct contradiction not only to countless public statements she has made, but it is also in conflict with the Conservative Party’s 2017 election manifesto. Now the PM is shocked…shocked that her re-heated helping of the toxic status quo has been roundly rejected by MPs of every political stripe. In short, it stinks.

Whatever their true motivations, parliamentarians are right to torpedo this outrageous attempt to re-join the EU through the back door, but I suppose we shouldn’t really be surprised at May’s behaviour. After all, the EU establishment is a Michelin-starred master of rebranding rotten legislation as some new and democratic concession to public opinion. Just as the Lisbon Treaty became a de facto EU Constitution, so the Irish Backstop would become a de facto cancellation of Article 50, with a few spicy “aspirations” thrown in to cover the stench.

Back in July of 2017 I said we were unlikely to strike any kind of meaningful exit deal with the EU, chiefly because Brussels would never willingly surrender the sovereignty it had so cunningly captured over the past forty years. On the other hand, I also wrote that the Brexit process has been invaluable in forcing the establishment both here and in Europe to show its true colours at last. If nothing else, the past two years have stripped away the veneer of collegiate co-operation and shared sovereignty to reveal the EU’s true, ugly, vengeful, authoritarian and devious face. There can no longer be any doubt about who this organisation represents and what its true motivations are. Anyone who still believes we should be a willing part of such an enterprise should ask themselves some hard questions about their own motives.

Following the referendum, I still naively believed that our new PM would at least make some effort to stand up for the British electorate, even if Brexiteers like me couldn’t get absolutely everything we wanted. Instead, she has deliberately run down the clock and is now trying to bulldoze us into a treaty that would make it even harder to escape the legal labyrinth of the EU. This is no accident, and it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the establishment has set out to teach the uppity electorate a lesson by ensuring the calamity of voting incorrectly can never again threaten their house of mirrors.

As a result, Theresa May’s disastrous and frankly insulting deal looks set to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Good riddance to it!

Where we go from here is less clear, but if Remainers think they can use the confusion to prevent Brexit from happening, then they’re the ones being naive. The genie is out of the bottle, and the revolutionary idea of honouring the largest democratic mandate in our history won’t just go away, no matter how much our elected rulers officials hope that it will.

Images courtesy of Guido Giardino & Marc Puig at FreeImages.com

The Irish Border is just an Excuse

It’s on, it’s off. Oh wait, now it’s back on again…hang on though, it was never really on in the first place…and now we’re back to square one and it’s halfway through October. Tick tock, tick tock…

That seems to be the general consensus of our political commentariat, who’ve been following every tortuous twist and turn of these increasingly fraught and fanciful Brexit negotiations. Once again the thorny issue of the Northern Irish border has thrown a spanner in the works, accompanied by pie in the sky expectations of frictionless borders between two independent and self-governing jurisdictions.

Whilst the EU indulges the fantasy that it can maintain some kind of legal control over the UK post Brexit, Britain daydreams about sending goods and products into a foreign jurisdiction without so much as a cursory customs check.

If there was the political will to manage this change in a pragmatic and co-operative way, there would simply be no need for these circular conversations endlessly revolving around some non-existent, magical border solution, which is how we know this is a political issue rather than a legal or technical one.

For example, more than 4,000 passenger vehicles and 10,000 commercial vehicles cross between the US and Canada every single weekday via the Ambassador Bridge
alone. In other words, the Irish border problem is eminently manageable if each party is willing to abandon its unattainable political goals.

It’s also a bit rich for the EU to be so suddenly concerned with border management, after deliberately letting more than a million undocumented migrants literally break down the gates and march straight into Europe. No such danger exists along the Irish border.

It’s no coincidence that our one and only land border with the EU (aside from Gibraltar) is presenting the biggest single obstacle to progress on any kind of meaningful Brexit deal. As I’ve watched these increasingly preposterous discussions unfolding, I’ve come to believe the EU isn’t really interested in the Irish border per se, but they’re especially interested in sending a message to twenty-seven other nations for whom land borders would be a much bigger issue if they decided to leave someday.

I think this is the real agenda behind the EU’s illogical insistence on continued regulatory control over a nation which will no longer be a member of the bloc. They know perfectly well that no sovereign nation worthy of the name would ever agree to such an outrageous demand, but they also know that the remaining twenty-seven members are paying close attention.

The Irish border problem isn’t really about the Irish border. It’s about showing those other nations within the EU just how difficult and bloody-minded Brussels intends to be if its authority is challenged. We could solve this problem fairly easily if the European Union had any political interest in doing so, but they obviously don’t, because it was never really about that.

I’ve said for some time now that the EU has no political interest in reaching some kind of reciprocal deal with any nation that dares to leave. It’s now clear that the Irish border has been chosen as the pretext for a no-deal Brexit.

Don’t be afraid. It could not be otherwise.

Images courtesy of Ted C & Phillip Flores at FreeImages.com

FCO30/1048 Initial Request

This is something of an unusual blog post for me, but I’ve a feeling it could be the first of many on this obscure but nonetheless important subject.

I have today written to the Chief Executive of the National Archives at Kew to request that the fabled FCO30/1048 report be digitised and made freely available online.

You can click this link to read my letter in full, and I’ll keep you posted with any developments…

Image courtesy of philipp k. at FreeImages.com

Let’s Hope Theresa’s Learned her Lesson

Well I guess there’s some life in the old gal yet. After more than a year of obfuscation, humiliation and repeated capitulation, Theresa May at last seems to be waking up to the cold, stark realisation that the European Union is a thoroughly hostile, untrustworthy and deeply anti-democratic institution. After her completely unnecessary and gleefully stage-managed humiliation in Salzburg, our Prime Minister seems to have finally understood that the people she’s dealing with will do anything and everything they can to undermine her at every turn, and what’s more they’ll enjoy doing it.

With her name fast becoming a byword for political miscalculation, Theresa May’s decision to come out swinging following the EU’s pre-planned political ambush was exactly the right move at the right time. We’ve all been forced to endure the endless scorn and derision of Brussels’ bloated little big men since the day of the referendum, and we’ve all had a bellyful of it now.

After the astonishing scenes at Salzburg, anyone who cannot now see exactly who and what we are dealing with is either woefully misinformed or dangerously dishonest. Either way, we can now safely discount the mournful wailing of those continuity Remainers who still rush to bend the knee to this smug, ossified and overbearing boys club. Their breath-taking and barefaced mendacity shows just how well they’d get along with those Brussels bureaucrats who think that sniggering Instagram posts are an acceptable form of international diplomacy.

So it was with a renewed sense of relief and optimism that millions of hopeful voters watched our most senior elected official finally standing up for herself, and by extension, the scores of us who would’ve happily told the likes of Tusk and Barnier exactly what to do with their damned cherries several months ago.

It’s taken a right royal spanking in front of the whole world to shake her out of her complacent stupor, but it seems that our Prime Minister is beginning to understand that the EU27 are no longer our friends. Theresa May’s newfound belligerence is a breath of much-needed fresh air, and a welcome reality check for those Europeans who believe that if they just fold their arms and say “non” often enough we’ll suddenly change our minds and realise the error of our ways. We knew this was coming on the day we cast our votes, and every petty, petulant insult and snide jibe merely confirms our worst suspicions about the motives and demeanour of those who, even now, refuse to relinquish control of our future.

But let’s not be too hasty in our optimism. After all, we’ve been here before. It’s no accident that those heady days of double-digit poll leads and solid party support coincided exactly with the Prime Minister’s firm and mature attitude towards those Brussels bullyboys in expensive suits. I believe that Theresa May can find that level of support and respect again, but only if she listens to the wisdom of her own experience, rather than to the poisonous, weasel words of an elitist establishment that’s always been embarrassed to be British for some reason.

Whilst it’s true that we’ve seen this more determined and less wobbly PM before, there’s an important difference this time around. Post Chequers, she knows full well that she’s spent every penny of political capital she once held while trying to conduct her own legislative ambush against both her own Cabinet and the country at large. Having first cleared her hugely unpopular plans with her “friends” in Europe, she now realises that her only achievement is to severely weaken herself at home while getting nothing in return from the EU. In short, they knowingly lied to her when they quietly tipped her the wink and said they would support the Chequers plan.

It must be comforting for Theresa May to know that with friends like those, she can still rely on her enemies among the Brexiteer faithful to help her do the right thing.

These are strange times indeed.

Image courtesy of Krzysztof Szkurlatowski at FreeImages.com

The Swivel-Eyed Brextremists were Right

“Brexit means Brexit…there must be no attempt to remain inside the EU, no attempt to re-join it through the back door and no second referendum.”
Theresa May, June 30th 2016

Like many Leave voters, I’ve been chewing my lip and trying to keep my own counsel for months as I’ve watched our government surrender concession after concession to the EU, while receiving the grand total of nothing in return. The exit bill, the order of negotiations, the transition period and the unending stream of calculated insults emanating from Brussels have been difficult to endure, but I’ve kept my eye firmly on the greater prize of Britain once again becoming a self-governing and independent nation state, ready to plot a new course in our rapidly changing world.

I’m not easily shocked, but the revelation that our own Prime Minister has been actively plotting to do the very thing she swore not to do when she was entrusted with the keys to Downing Street has taken some getting over. I know the word “plotting” has some very dark and emotive connotations, but it’s completely justified. There’s absolutely no chance that the Chequers agreement is something that was just scribbled on the back of an envelope as the PM awoke from a recurring Brexit nightmare one stormy night. It’s far too sophisticated for that, having been deliberately designed to deceive by talking positively about sovereignty, while vaguely referring to some unspecified “common rulebook.” Anyone who understands anything about the EU will spot Brussels’ fingerprints all over a document such as this.

And just who will be writing, updating, interpreting and arbitrating this exciting new common rulebook I wonder? Now let me think…

Who would’ve thought that those swivel-eyed Brexit extremists were right all along when they warned against putting a Remainer in Number 10? However, it’s now crystal clear that our Prime Minister hasn’t really embraced the idea of leaving the European Union and making autonomous decisions without its advice or approval. Indeed, we now know that she’s been consciously and secretly plotting to keep us shackled to that failing institution and bound to their our shared “common rulebook” indefinitely. If that’s not re-joining the EU via the back door, then I really don’t know what is.

However, even if this chequered “turd rolled in glitter”
does come to pass in its current form, there’s still good cause for optimism in the longer-term. Let’s not forget that Article 50 has already been triggered and, more importantly, the European Withdrawal Act has now passed into law, despite a co-ordinated campaign of sabotage by an increasingly desperate establishment which has demonstrated it will never accept the referendum result.

The significance of these Brexit triumphs should not be forgotten, because they mean that EU law will no longer be supreme in the UK after March 29th 2019. This date is now enshrined in UK law, and the dread European Communities Act 1972 is set to be repealed on that same day. The current babble of loose talk about simply abandoning Brexit altogether fails to acknowledge that any changes to our current exit arrangements would require further legislation via Parliament. Good luck with that.

Although at least half the country (and I suspect more) is rightly up in arms about May’s sloppy stich-up at Chequers last week, any future legal partnership with the EU must, by definition, be an arrangement ratified by the UK Parliament, and there’s little evidence that such a disastrous deal would ever make it through the Commons. How deliciously ironic it is that we can thank the reliably condescending and galactically over-entitled Gina Miller for that Supreme Court precedent. Thanks Gina, I know you’ll be pleased because I’m sure this is exactly what you had in mind when you set out to recycle, re-package, and re-brand an establishment attempt to overturn the referendum as a deeply held and strangely sudden conversion to the cause of Parliamentary sovereignty. Is anyone giving odds on Miller taking up some kind of Brussels role when we’re finally out? She’s a natural.

I could continue writing here, but my eyes have started to swivel.

Images courtesy of Peter Skadberg & Lorenzo Gonzalez at FreeImages.com

 

The Unstoppable Undead Remain Campaign

There is no escape from the nightmare! We cannot wake up!

No matter how far we run, how many times we knock them down or how many new Acts are passed to finally end their monstrous non-lives, the eternal protest horde still lumbers through the streets as it seeks to feed on the brains of the gullible and terminally entitled.

Just when you thought that Royal Assent for the European Withdrawal Act would be the final blow that just might bring peace to these tortured and insatiable fiends, still we hear their blood-chilling refrain whenever we turn on our televisions or dare to glance at a newspaper.

Remaaaaaaaain!

Cruelly unaware that it actually passed away in the early hours of June 24th 2016, this hollow, shambling echo of a hard fought political campaign still stumbles through our streets and TV studios, forever tortured by the vague recollection that it once dwelled among the living and was once loved.

None are spared by this new and seemingly unstoppable political pathogen. Young or old, high or low, the Remainia virus can strike anywhere at any time, and its victims would be pitied if their symptoms were not so horrifying and dangerous.

Formerly high functioning doctors, lawyers and politicians are inexplicably stripped of all but the most base collective instincts as they herd together with others of their own kind, mocked by their shared recollection that once upon a time the world listened when they spoke.

You can’t reason with political zombies because they don’t even know that they’re dead.

Their cognitive functions are too greatly impaired to understand that they were on the losing side of the single biggest democratic mandate in British political history. Instead, they will simply try to eat your braaaains with sharp-toothed sophistries about not really knowing what Brexit meant, even though they fail to understand that both options on the ballot paper were equally unconditional.

Robbed of their most basic human wits, these pitiful parodies are unable to conceive how any second referendum would require parliamentary assent. They are simply too befuddled to realise just how many years it took first to secure and then to win the 2016 referendum, and they sincerely believe the result can simply be reversed because they happen to think it’s a bad idea. Pity the afflicted, it’s not their fault.

Victims of the Remainia virus are so cognitively impaired that they cannot even grasp how a second referendum would probably go the same way as the first one, and it certainly would have no legal bearing on the Lisbon Treaty now that Article 50 has been triggered. Instead of displaying the human instinct to argue for re-joining once we’ve left, the blind, instinctive drive of Project Fear sends them headlong into the brick wall of reality, before the next scare story sends them stumbling back into that very same wall in an endless cycle of destructive and embarrassing self-humiliation. I’m just glad they can’t feel much pain at this late stage.

Although some brave lawmakers have tried to help, nobody has yet been able to develop a cure for this most callous and cruel cognitive affliction. There was a brief hope that waving a copy of the newly passed EU Withdrawal Act might trigger some form of basic political reasoning process, but to no avail. Remainia sufferers are incapable of understanding that repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act is now a constitutional reality, which can only be reversed by still further parliamentary legislation.

At present, there is no known cure or vaccine against the Remainia virus, and the only effective countermeasures are quarantine or containment. Remainia victims can be dangerous, although their habits and responses are fairly predictable when observed over time. Above all, remember that the nice middle class lady shambling around Whitehall with her placard is no longer what she appears to be. She will surely devour your braaaaains with hollow sophistry and leave you just as empty and bereft as she herself is. One more lost soul to swell the ranks of a politically undead army.

Just be careful out there.

Images courtesy of H Assaf and Julia Freeman-Woolpert at FreeImages.com

Decision Time for Theresa

Whatever you might think of her politics or personality, there’s no denying Theresa May’s tenacity and dogged determination. So far she’s confounded all the doomsayers who prophesised that the Brexit talks would never get this far. Predictions of Jeremy Corbyn celebrating Christmas in Number 10 have vanished from more than one blog, and gleeful tweets about the imminent local election meltdown have been recycled into memes of mirth all across cyberspace.

Despite being a little grating and not especially charismatic, the Prime Minister has nonetheless managed to retain, and in some cases gain, the loyalty of an electorate which has come to grudgingly admire her patient if bureaucratically dull approach to an increasingly ill-tempered, intransigent and deliberately discourteous European Union.

Contrary to what the more unhinged factions of the Remainosphere might say, the Brexiteer who thought this would all be a breeze is a rare and strange beast indeed. The British electorate backed Brexit in the full knowledge that there would be more than a couple of bumps in the road as we embarked on the biggest constitutional upheaval in a generation. How could there not be?

This typically pragmatic, balanced and, yes dammit, British attitude explains why both the voters in general and the Tory Party in particular have continued to support the PM through the increasingly difficult and tortuous Brexit process.

However, with her latest and, quite frankly, downright dishonest sounding customs union fudge, the PM has finally run out of creative ways to yield ever more ground to Brussels while kicking the can down the road at the same time. It’s been a really neat trick which has served her well so far; but beneath all the noise and shiny distractions swirling around the Brexit debate, the influential European Research Group has finally delivered its considered verdict.

“Completely cretinous.”

The back benches have lost patience with Britain’s seemingly endless procession of one-way concessions. Their letters to the 1922 Committee are poised and ready. They have the numbers, they’re no longer scared of Corbyn, and I believe they mean business this time.

Soon we will know for sure whether the PM has been doing her best in good faith, or whether her talk of “no attempt to remain inside the EU [and] no attempt to re-join it via the back door” was just another carefully measured dose of duplicity made in Brussels.

At the moment, Theresa May seems to be the only person in Europe who hasn’t learned that there can be no compromise with the EU. I don’t know why she finds this concept so difficult to grasp. God knows, they’ve told us often enough.

Images courtesy of Adrian Olguin & Anja Ranneberg at Freeimages.com

Hooray for the 2nd Referendum!

It’s nice to agree with your most implacable opponents every now and then. That’s why I was especially cheered to hear Patrick Stewart’s reasoned and measured arguments as he championed the new People’s Vote movement in various television studios nearly a fortnight ago. It’s hard to deny that we’d never make different, better decisions if we could see further into the future. After all, how many of us wouldn’t want to turn back the clock and not have a particular argument, or choose a different path that didn’t lead to a dead end?

When it comes to weighty matters of state, we all cast our votes based more on hope and belief than any meaningful knowledge of the future. That inescapable truth probably explains why we’re permanently disappointed that our destination bears only a passing semblance to the exciting postcard we received. So it’s with a big dose of hindsight and a little humility that I’ve come to embrace the idea of a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The landscape is so dramatically different and so many arguments resoundingly disproved that I can see no other alternative. We’re just not where we thought we would be.

In 1975, the UK Government’s official pamphlet informed voters that a Council of Ministers would make Europe-wide decisions. However, that competency was transferred to the unelected European Commission in 2009. The UK electorate was not consulted about this change.

In 1975, the UK Government’s official pamphlet assured voters that “no important new policy can be decided in Brussels or anywhere else without the consent of a British minister answerable to a British Government and British Parliament.” However, both the Maastricht
and Lisbon Treaties handed many important policy powers to the same unelected European Commission. The UK electorate was not consulted about this change.

In 1975, the UK Government’s official pamphlet declared that “through membership of the [Common] Market we are better able to advance and protect our national interests. This is the essence of sovereignty.” I can’t possibly speak for 17.4 million leave voters, but I’ll bet the farm that a significant majority of them believe that regaining control of UK border policy, money and laws is the true essence of sovereignty. It’s taken a little over forty years for that glib official statement to be tested in the real world and found so desperately wanting.

In 1975, the UK Government’s official pamphlet stated that Commonwealth countries would not be disadvantaged by Britain’s membership of the EEC. Yet less than two pages later, the very same leaflet states a UK voting to leave the EEC would no longer be inside the Common Market tariff wall – but outside.” The pamphlet didn’t try to explain how splitting the Commonwealth between those behind and those outside the EEC’s tariff wall was beneficial to the countries left outside. The eagerness of those same nations to embrace new trading ties with the UK shows that statement to have been utterly false, and I suspect Edward Heath and a large portion of Parliament knew it back in 1973.

Whilst some of the Government’s claims regarding the Common Market may have been accurate in 1975, an awful lot has changed in forty years. New treaties, new power structures and new laws have transformed the EEC beyond all recognition, and in the light of those radically altered conditions, it was right and proper that at long last a second referendum on EU membership took place on June 23, 2016.

Some of the more embittered remain factions highlight the fact that older voters were the deciding demographic in the referendum result, as though that somehow counts for something. Despite ridiculous and condescending claims that older voters represent a non-existent past, they are in fact the very same people who’d voted to remain in the EEC in 1975. They’d just developed a better understanding of what they were really voting for this time around. Sound familiar?

Mr Stewart and his chums at People’s Vote HQ can celebrate the fact that we’ve already had a second EU referendum. When considering new developments and changed circumstances that were unknown in 1975, the electorate has soberly and very sensibly changed its mind.

The North London, 2nd referendum set can sleep soundly knowing that democracy was well served by the 2016 vote, and they can focus on really important things like writing letters to the Guardian.

The People’s Vote of 2016 was a triumph for democracy.

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