I stood on the stage in front of the Gathering of the Tory Faithful to welcome them to my home town of Birmingham at the Opening of their Conference last October. With the Prime Minister in the audience and speaking as someone who came with no party tribal baggage (I have never belonged to a political party) I explained that the creation of wealth in Britain (and the consequent jobs and taxes that flow) faces a far greater threat than Brexit: the election of a Hard Left, Business-hating, America-hating Government, the likes of which no one has ever seen. I begged them to focus on the real threat to our Country and to stop obsessing about Brexit.
Well, it’s Groundhog Day! The people have been badly let down by the Political Class of the Country. When Gina Miller won her Supreme Court Ruling ostensibly to give Parliament the final say but really to sabotage Brexit, little did anyone realise how successful she would be.
– The Governing Party is incapable of getting through its Flagship Policy, due to infighting, personal ambition, slavery to ideological pursuit and (despite such exemplary stoicism and admirable, selfless public service) a failing PM who is seriously lacking in the skills of leadership, communication and negotiation so essential in such situations.
– Her Majesty’s Opposition cannot subsequently win a Vote of No Confidence in said Government (cue constitutional crisis) and despite such disarray and incompetence is even lagging behind in the Polls. So openly sitting on the fence, being as obstructive as possible to try and force a General Election, placing the National Interest a very poor second to Power-seeking ambition is backfiring badly.
– Parliament is now well and truly on The Power Trip. It is emphatically saying what it doesn’t want but cannot state what it does want. There appears no majority for any particular way forward. The Parliamentary Power Junkies can’t come down from the high of bossing the Executive. “Beware the Tyranny of Parliament!”
……..and all the time, the clock is ticking down to 2300 29/3/19. It focusses the mind; and the EU has previous on doing deals at five to (their) midnight.
I find much in the PM’s deal that I can live with:
– a unique positioning with the EU to be in the Single Market for manufactured goods (so what if we “take it” from Brussels on regulations in this sphere; we have already done so for decades since, in the EU what Germany wants Germany gets and that won’t change.
– our Services Sector (80% of our GDP) and especially Financial Services free of Brussels
– control of our borders (impossible if we were to stay in a customs union, Sir Kier Starmer note)
– the ability to do our own trade deals around the World
– Supremacy of our Law and the rulings of our Judges
BUT a Backstop ( in place to keep us in the EU until the Irish border is satisfactorily sorted from a trade compliance enforcement viewpoint) that gives Macron, Merkel and Sanchez the right to not let us leave until they are happy is utterly unacceptable. I can hear it now: “You can go if you give us your fishing”. “We want Gibraltar before we let you go”. 17.4 million people voted to leave for a million different reasons but of one thing I’m certain: they did vote to leave!
Parliament cannot hand this back to the people. Just because the 2016 result is not to the liking of the majority of MP’s they want us to vote again (and presumably again) until we get it “right”! I’ll agree to a Second Referendum if we can have the best of seven! Oh, and what would The Question be? and how do we control the civil strife that would ensue (which may well make the Gillets Jaunes look like Enid Blyton)? “You voted Leave because you feel we don’t take notice of you; so you matter so much to us that we’re ignoring you again!”
And a No Deal scenario would not be Armageddon. Desperately difficult for the first few weeks but eminently sortable no matter how undesirable. Why don’t we play tough with the EU and stop acting as apologetic supplicants? Germany and France are terrified of No Deal; their businesses will face huge problems, as great if not greater than ours. The PM must NOT give up this leverage (and why Labour want us to is beyond me: thank heavens they’re not negotiating for us).
Next week Parliament’s going to have another go. I’d frankly lock us all in until white smoke appears!
But meanwhile, the UK continues to face a real and present danger: A Labour Government. The flight of talent and capital will be enormous. A vicious, disincentivising tax regime will be bad enough, but the atmosphere of hate and vilification will be suffocating. Ideological nasty targeting on religious, business or political grounds will become the norm. The wealth and job creators will sadly leave. 25% of all income tax revenue is paid by the top 0.6% of earners: 300,000 people earning more than £150,000 a year are the Shadow Chancellor’s target.
No wonder Guernsey saw a ten-year high in property transactions last year. December was the strongest month ever. Average prices rose by nearly 50%. Seemingly every time a Corbynista opens her or his mouth, the phones at the Islands’ Selling Agents just ring some more!
If that situation is extrapolated across Jersey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar and then on into Portugal or Italy, Cyprus or Malta, Spain or Ireland (and neither Brexit nor Corbyn has arrived yet!) just imagine the threat to the capital base of the Nation!
The ancient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” has never been more applicable……..and I fear we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!