This article was originally published on The Conservative Online
The historic result of the EU Referendum on 23rd June 2016 signified a crushing defeat of the establishment’s Project Fear. It was a rejection of the lies and scaremongering put forward by politicians, large sections of the media and a class of Guardianista political commentator who, up until this point, were accustomed to having things their own way. Rather than passively accepting whatever is thrown at them, the Great British Public revolted and opted to take back control of their country.
However, with lavish lifestyles to support, and mortgages on extravagant properties to pay off, some people still refuse to accept the democratic decision this country took, and come to terms with Brexit. Instead, they propagate their own career through increasingly outlandish column inches and news reports, devoid of truth, but brimming with hyperbolic alarmism to fulfil the needs of their Remoaner audience.
In the era of pay-per-click online journalism, the more hare-brained the claim, the better for the writer’s pockets.
Headlines – such as “Brexit will leave fruit rotting in the fields”, and “Theresa May’s Irish border nightmare” – do not serve to convey the realities of the Brexit process to the public. They are vastly more indicative of the author’s worldview; one of bleak pessimism and lack of nuance – an attempted resurgence of ‘Project Fear’, which failed in the Referendum campaign. Nonetheless, these views are increasingly creeping into the news, in an attempt to present Brexit as an imminent disaster, from which the only way to escape is to overturn the biggest democratic mandate in this county’s history and Remain in the EU.
Take, for instance, the debate over the Irish border. If we are to believe the claims put forward by gibbering Europhiles, such as those of Guardian columnist, Polly Toynbee, then they would wrongly be given the impression Britain has no choice on the issue. Arguments such as we must stay within the Customs Union and keep our regulations aligned, or jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement by introducing a physical border.
Clearly this dichotomy is bordering on the fictitious. In fact, there are a multitude of options through which Britain can successfully Leave the Customs Union whilst maintaining a soft border with Ireland. Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, has himself put forward one such suggestion, in the form of a “comprehensive customs and trade agreement” between the UK and EU. Even failing this outcome – and there is still the World Trade Organisation (WTO) scenario – advances in technology allow for many potential arrangements to be established which avoid infrastructure being placed at the border – some as simple as an online form! The UK Government has consistently reiterated it does not want to see a hardening of the Irish border, and are willing to waive tariffs and Customs inspections to ensure this is delivered. If any infrastructure were to appear, it would be entirely the fault of the Commission, who have dogmatically refused to display any innovation or flexibility on the issue.
To disingenuously suggest the Irish border is an unsolvable crisis is part of a broader strategy to undermine Brexit at every turn.
Rather than provide the details of each situation, the liberal media will always opt to report the most inconceivably extreme, worst-case scenarios, in tactics akin to the previous worst aspects of the Remain side during the EU Referendum campaign.
These scare tactics exploit the facts even more, with claims the UK will lose the 60 – mainly small-fry – trade deals the EU managed to negotiate on our behalf. Again, this assertion suggests ‘Armageddon’ post-Brexit, with the wholesale collapse of British commerce! However, on closer inspection this claim is blatantly based on a spurious misinterpretation of the facts, as are many others.
Leaving the Customs Union will allow us to renegotiate these deals – which are predominantly with small Commonwealth nations and with whom our current trading relationship would be a lot stronger if we had never joined the EU in the first place – gearing them towards our priorities. However, International law also means these existing arrangements will continue to apply until we choose to update them – it will be our choice to do this, rather than being forced to do so by the EU. The Principle of Continuity clearly stipulates Britain, having been party to the trade deals whilst a member of the European Union, will still participate in the arrangements until such time a new deal is agreed and therefore supersedes the old.
The trading opportunities available to an independent Great Britain are exciting and numerous. 90% of global growth in the next 10 years is set to take place in countries outside the EU’s Customs Union, and with old friends such as the USA, Australia and India who are queuing up to do business with us!
Our strong historic and cultural links with these nations – and countless others – will facilitate a speedy and harmonious approach to future negotiations, which will provide a mutually beneficial deal for both sides.
The Great British Public has voted to Get Britain Out of the European Union. Whilst it appears many politicians have accepted this decision and are intent on delivering Brexit, countless within the media bubble continue to propagate another form of Project Fear, conveying a distorted version of events.
This chattering coincides with a rejuvenation of many Remain campaign groups who have become emboldened following multi-billionaire George Soros’s, huge injection of cash into their coffers. The result will undoubtedly be a putrid cacophony of Europhilic scaremongering.
Fortunately, Project Fear failed miserably the first time of asking, and it will undoubtedly fail this time as well. The Great British Public are definitely not stupid!
Robert Bates is a Research Executive at cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out