Those dogged campaigners on the Remain side of the EU argument face one central problem: how do they legitimately justify their attempts to overturn the biggest political mandate in British history? As you would expect, the question lacks an acceptable answer – forcing them instead to construct convoluted arguments on what is fundamentally unstable ground. Rather than accept defeat, they have performed mental somersaults and established a movement based upon misrepresentation and deceit.
Take, for instance, the string of high-profile anti-Brexit court cases which have become common throughout the process – with yet another currently underway. From providing Parliament with the opportunity to delay the triggering of Article 50, to demanding a second Referendum, the plaintiffs of these cases perversely claim they are not seeking to thwart Brexit. Instead, the likes of Gina Miller and Eloise Todd of ‘Best for Britain’ hide their true intentions under the guise of a crusade for “democracy” and “Parliamentary Sovereignty” – both concepts they were only too happy to relinquish during our membership of the EU.
Without a hint of irony these campaigners profess to be representing the majority of the Great British Public, failing to realise they are fighting the tide of public opinion. As a poll released just yesterday demonstrates, the appetite amongst the electorate for a rerun of the Referendum is dwindling to ever-new lows and, despite their heavily concerted efforts, they have done pitifully little to change the minds of Leave voters.
Realising the desperately hopeless nature of their struggle, they have started to espouse gibberingly nonsensical statistics about how “63% of the population did not vote for Brexit”. This number combines the minority number of Remain voters, with the 28% of the electorate who did not cast a ballot, and its use is clearly intended to add an air of respectability to what is a fundamentally despicable campaign. Of course, it does not, and only serves to illustrate how low these contemptuous campaigners will sink.
A second tool being utilised by Remain campaigners is the Irish border issue, which allows them to justify their actions as driven exclusively by concern for the peace process in Northern Ireland. Britain, they claim, simply must Remain in the Customs Union, or face the prospect of a hard border being reconstructed. This dichotomy demonstrates a blatant ignorance of the numerous technological solutions which have already been proposed. Whether it be the mere completion of an online form before crossing the border and pre-registering operators under the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) system, or border passes being sent to drivers’ phones – the capabilities are available.
The conversation has moved on rapidly in recent weeks, and despite the inclusion of the “backstop” option in the UK-EU Withdrawal agreement, the desire and innovation to secure a politically feasible outcome has seen the issue of the Irish border become the hot topic for many think-tanks – churning out countless enterprising and viable blueprints.
Perhaps the more infuriating line peddled by people like arch Remoaner MP, Anna Soubry, is that the EU, as a “rules-based organisation”, is unable to approach the trade negotiations with any degree of flexibility and has no choice but to offer us a meagre deal. For them, and their innate pessimism, this is a good enough reason for Britain to just call the whole thing off and stay within the familiar confines of the Single Market and Customs Union – whatever the constrictions would continue to be.
This was the response touted by many following the release of the EU’s draft guidelines earlier this month, with Soubry claiming they were an example of “Brexit reality”. This naïve outlook fails to appreciate the document merely represents the EU’s starting position in negotiations, not the final deal itself. In fact, just last week the guidelines were updated to include a commitment towards a “balanced, ambitious and wide ranging” deal – clearly signalling movement in the right direction!
On top of this, the EU’s own track record shows an ability to bend the rules of the Single Market in response to specific situations – when required. In June last year rules on State Aid were overlooked by the European Commission, as it allowed €4.8 billion in subsidies to be used to save several Italian banks. Such flexibility was also demonstrated during the Greek bailouts of 2011, where the rules were altered to deal with real world practicalities. Continued access to the British market is of vital importance for countless European exporters – from German car manufacturers to French farmers. Meanwhile, the necessity to secure British co-operation in guaranteeing future European security will undoubtedly be on the minds of European negotiators. It is therefore inconceivable to imagine a situations whereby similar concessions are not made to Great Britain.
The Great British Public voted by an overwhelming majority to Get Britain Out of the EU. The fact many Remain campaigners are still refusing to accept this simple fact is a sad indictment of their contempt for democracy. However, the core tenets upon which they base their arguments, paint an even more reprehensible picture of these individuals.
Robert Bates is a Research Executive at cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out