The Battlebuses are on the Move
We are in the middle of an outbreak of elections. Last week, of course, with just one month to go before the General Election, much of the country went to vote in local elections. Amidst all the stories to come out of those results, the most unexpected must be the poor performance of the Scottish National Party. They lost seats as ordinary Scots continue to reject Nicola Sturgeon’s Remoaner push for, as their slogan says: ‘Independence in Europe’. The Scottish Conservatives, who respect the vote for Brexit and the 2014 vote to stay in the United Kingdom, made massive gains. Surely it is time for Remainers who claimed Brexit would lead to the ‘inevitable’ break-up of the United Kingdom, to think again.
With the local elections done and dusted, we now enter the final stretch before the General Election on June 8th. Prime Minister Theresa May is running a strongly ‘presidential’ campaign, claiming her leadership is needed to deliver a good Brexit deal, backed up by a strong Conservative majority in the House of Commons. Today, deep inside Labour’s traditional heartland of the North East, where 58% voted for Brexit, the Conservatives unveiled their election battle bus. The bus has ‘THERESA MAY: FOR BRITAIN’ written in massive letters on its side, while the Conservatives’ name and logo feature only on the door of the bus, written in considerably smaller letters. With UKIP running fewer candidates in working-class, pro-Brexit areas where they had performed strongly in the past, May has said the Conservatives must knock on every voter’s door to win the election!
On the other side of the aisle, we are disappointed, but not surprised, by the Labour Party’s failure to lay out a serious and democratic stance on Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly refused to rule out remaining in the EU, but Labour’s leaked draft manifesto yesterday rules out a ‘no deal’ Brexit. This, of course, would mean a Labour Government would have to either betray the will of the people, or let the EU browbeat them into a bad deal. This is serious for Labour – they have just a month to rethink their policy and devise a more acceptable option for the 17.4 million voters who want their Referendum vote to be respected. But we very much doubt this will happen!
It’s not just the United Kingdom going to the polls. France finished its Presidential election on Sunday, with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron defeating the far-right Marine Le Pen by 66% to 34%. Macron is a passionate Europhile who has been talking tough about Brexit. He says he wants to renegotiate the status quo over Calais, and encourage London’s financial services industry to move to Paris! Neither threat is credible, and Macron will soon realise France needs a good, mutually-beneficial Brexit deal. There are also positives which Macron’s election can bring for Brexit – his victory may reassure Eurocrats there is no ‘danger’ of France following Britain out, and therefore no reason to impose a ‘punishment’ deal on us.
At the end of last month, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, met Prime Minister Theresa May over dinner in 10 Downing Street. Initially, both sides insisted the talks had been constructive – but the mood soon soured. The unelected head Eurocrat’s team, led by his scheming chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, have been widely accused of leaking the supposed details of the private dinner. The leak forms part of an increasingly negative tone from some factions in Brussels. Juncker supposedly told May: “Brexit cannot be a success” at the dinner.
The infamous ‘Brexit bill’ has also been bumped up to a ludicrous €100 billion, a figure which Brexit Secretary David Davis has dismissed outright. And last week, Juncker made a bizarre ‘joke’ about the English language “losing importance in Europe”, proceeding to make his speech in French!
It is clear EU leaders must rein in Juncker if they want a good Brexit deal – and there are signs they are doing exactly this. President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, publicly castigated Juncker on Twitter, calling for “discretion, moderation & mutual respect”. Juncker is also believed to have been slapped down in private by German Chancellor Angela Merkel – and now he has been forced to admit the dinner leak was a “serious mistake”. It is finally dawning on EU leaders – they need a good Brexit deal just as much as we do.
According to the leak, Juncker supposedly claimed to have left the dinner “ten times more sceptical” about a Brexit deal being struck. We wrote on Reaction about how Juncker stands in a centuries-old tradition of leading figures on the Continent refusing to compromise with Britain, focussing only on their own prestige and legacy. Take, for instance, General De Gaulle, who unintentionally helped Britain by blocking its EEC accession in the 1960s. Juncker and his over-inflated ego might be running the show now, but his rule – and the EU’s intransigence in these negotiations – cannot go on forever. (Britain, Europe, and Jean-Claude Juncker)
Negotiations will get into full swing later in the year. In the meantime, what can Eurosceptics get out of the General Election? On Reaction, we wrote about how – regardless of whether we wanted a General Election now – it’s happening and we should be working hard to make the most of it. A strong vote for pro-Brexit parties will prove to the world the British people are serious about leaving the EU, putting a stop to any suggestion we might regret, reverse, or water down the Brexit vote. We should look forward to June 8th as a great opportunity to vote to make a real Brexit all but certain. (What Eurosceptics can get out of the General Election)
Many Europhiles are still surprised by the massive vote for Brexit in areas of the country which they claim are ‘reliant’ on EU funding. As we argue on CapX however, voters in places like Ebbw Vale, Cornwall, and West Bromwich know we send far more to Brussels than we ever get back. They also know much of the EU’s regional development money is squandered on white elephants which do nothing for the local economy. When we leave the EU, we should use the money to develop a serious and effective regional development strategy, which ensures the whole country makes the most out of Brexit. (Brexit means an end to EU boondoggles)
Do you remember when, during the EU Referendum campaign, Ken Livingstone threatened to emigrate if the Great British Public voted for Brexit, on the grounds a ‘Leave’ vote would cause economic collapse? Of course, he was slightly over-confident about ‘Remain’ winning, but now almost a year on from the ‘Leave’ vote, Red Ken has yet to make good on his campaign promise! On Comment Central, our Campaign Director, Jayne Adye, called on Ken to either stick to his promise and emigrate, or admit his Project Fear ramblings were wrong. (Why hasn’t Ken left yet?)
Remoaners and Eurocrats are ecstatic over the election victory of Emmanuel Macron, claiming his convincing win was a ringing endorsement of his pro-EU credentials. On The Commentator, we argued before the election that a Macron win would be nothing of the sort. Almost half of French voters in last month’s first round voted for Eurosceptic candidates, and Macron really won simply because many people voted tactically, to make sure the deeply controversial Marine Le Pen didn’t win. Remoaners and Eurocrats must realise there is no getting away from the fact Euroscepticism is still on the rise in France, as in other European countries. If the EU wants to survive, it must initiate real reform, and fast. (France going Eurosceptic regardless of election result)
Tony Blair is unfortunately back despite popular revulsion! The immensely unpopular former Prime Minister has hinted once again at creating an anti-Brexit movement, although Britain will breathe a sigh of relief at the news he has finally decided against an attempted return to Parliament. On The Commentator, we reminded Tony – who has spent much of the last decade advising dictators – what real democracy looks like. Our elected Parliament voted to hold a Referendum. We voted for Brexit, and now Parliament and the Government are respecting the vote. It’s as simple as that, Tony Blair! (Nobody wants you back, Tony)
Next week, the main parties are expected to unveil their manifestos for the General Election. As we argue on Comment Central, Brexit should be front and centre of these documents. The parties should commit – at the very least – to respecting the Referendum result. This means leaving the EU, the Single Market, the Customs Union, and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Parties might also do well to adopt some of Vote Leave’s proposals from their victorious Referendum campaign, such as extra cash for the NHS or an end to VAT on energy bills. (Brexit manifesto pledges key to election choice)
That’s it for now – remember – ONWARDS AND OUTWARDS!
Jayne Adye, Campaign Director and the Team at Get Britain Out
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Reaction: Britain, Europe, and Jean-Claude Juncker
Reaction: What Eurosceptics can get out of the General Election
CapX: Brexit means an end to EU boondoggles
Comment Central: Why hasn’t Ken Livingstone left yet?
The Commentator: France going Eurosceptic regardless of election result
The Commentator: Nobody wants you back, Tony
Comment Central: Brexit manifesto pledges key to election choice