Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Operation Killing Brexit

A calculated campaign is underway to effectively nullify the 2016 referendum and keep the United Kingdom in the European Union for the foreseeable future. The latest development in this ongoing saga is the attempt by the Prime Minister to extend the transition period bringing it closer to the next General Election in 2022.

We all remember that during the campaign, several civil servants and public figures alike warned of the consequences of Brexit. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, spoke of a "post-Brexit financial crisis" in March 2016. The late Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of Civil Service, insisted "that government analysis of the impact of Brexit during the referendum campaign was 'factually correct and objective'." We now know this turned out to be pure scaremongering. Since the vote Project Fear, as it was dubbed at the time, has never left the public discourse - this time focusing on the consequences of No Deal, when we are told that Britain will have to stockpile food and a shortage of medicine supply will ensue.

These near apocalyptic statements are an insult to Great Britain itself and appear to be seldom challenged. There are actually few reports about what the European Union will be losing and why it is so desperate to keep us in. Operation Killing Brexit is in full swing and the various ways used to cancel our electoral primacy deserve our attention.

Still in campaign mode

Since the Referendum, several media outlets seem to have forgotten about the results, pursuing an active campaign to stop Brexit at all cost.

Barely days after the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom Jean-Pierre Jouyet welcomed Franco-British companies at his residence, over 50 business leaders signed a letter to be published in The Sunday Times newspaper "that will say there should be a new public vote on the final terms of Britain's exit from the European Union".

Recent media reports claim a majority of Britons would rather than stay in the EU especially when considering the PM's poor handling of the negotiations. Furthermore, and allegedly, a "majority of British voters would back staying in the European Union if the 2016 Brexit referendum were to be held again" according to a poll published in on 6th November 2018. Several media outlets for instance report on marches near Westminster where people demand a second referendum or a vote on the deal, rarely reporting on the fact that, first, London backed Remain and is not representative of the whole of the United Kingdom and, second, people marching may not even have the right to vote if they are not British. Any attempt to rewrite history is an attack on Britain's electoral primacy and can only be described as political subversion.

It goes on: a couple of whistle-blowers sprung to life to discredit Brexit. Shahmir Sanni questioning the legitimacy of the referendum because of the Leave campaign's overspending. He claims that the British people have were lied to, thus undermining and insulting the intelligence of of 17.4 million people. Chris Wylie argues that Cambridge Analytica's data use biased both the EU referendum result in the United Kingdom and Trump's victory in the United States.

These are all parts of a deconstructive campaign aimed at discrediting Brexit.

British campaigner Arron Banks has been referred to the National Crime Agency over suspected electoral law offences but no mention of the possible Remain campaign overspending as outlined in this report. Media reporting can at times seem one-sided, with the same outlets backing remain while claiming to accept the result and wishing the withdrawal is conducted in an orderly manner.

The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Observer, The Economist and Bloomberg as well as powerful think tanks such as Chatham House have focused their attention on the causes of Brexit to discredit it or pursue the ultimate buyers' remorse argument – positing that the majority of people who voted to leave did not understand the consequences of their action and alluding to Leavers' educational attainments as an explanation for what was an unfathomable act which the establishment must rectify at all costs.

One may argue that there are media outlets such The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail who have made the case for exiting and are still trying to defend their position. But why do they feel the need to defend their position? The referendum was won and 17.4 million people, the majority, backed Brexit.

So what has happened?

Political vacuum

The most outspoken figures of the pro-Brexit campaign are now at the periphery of the debate.

First Nigel Farage retired leaving his party in search of meaning after the referendum and the United Kingdom Independence Party took a beating at the last general election. He is effectively no longer on the frontline of political life.

Second, Boris Johnson was swallowed into the cabinet to prevent attacks on the Prime Minister. Polls stating that Britons prefer Theresa May as Prime Minister to Boris Johnson are meant to crush the former Foreign Secretary's hopes of ever replacing her in Downing Street and to damage his public image. May is aware that her public appearances have been likened to those of a robot and she that she would probably not survive a debate in public with the former Mayor of London who achieved more in his tenure during one of the greatest financial crises of modern times than May whilst she was Home Secretary.

Third, Michael Gove's political ambitions have blinded his actions. A leading Brexit campaigner and formidable debater, he has simply disappeared and seldom makes public appearances.

A public perception has been crafted of a determined Prime Minister moving the country forward in a 'pragmatic' way whilst leading Brexit campaigners fade in the public psyche.

Those who backed Brexit have never anticipated such resistance on their way out of the European Union. Nor did they appreciate how the EU would not let the UK leave the block under any circumstances, ensuring the process would be as cumbersome as possible and enforcing the maintenance of as close ties as possible with the block.

Enter the Chequers Deal and now the Withdrawal Agreement, which tie the UK legally to the EU unable to influence key issues. Boris Johnson rightly describes Britain under the May's plan as a 'vassal state'.

Enemies within

Brexit was never difficult, but the establishment and subsequent meddling of various public figures have transformed it into a political quagmire, which will ultimately define the future of the Tory party - for the worse if it does not take action rapidly.

The European Union has always been a divisive topic for the Conservatives and it continues to be so. Members of Parliament such as Anna Soubry and more recently Jo Johnson have been fighting for either a final vote on the deal or a second referendum ignoring the fact that democracy was served in June 2016. Also Dominic Grieve has been an outspoken member of the campaign against Brexit, endeavouring to table an amendment which will prevent a so-called 'hard Brexit' (a clean break between the United Kingdom and the European Union).

They are not the only ones. French Ambassador to the UK Jean-Pierre Jouyet, who could be credited for masterminding the political assassination of Francois Fillon during the last French presidential campaign, has also made the position of his president clear and even travelled to Ireland recently whilst in post. Philippe Etienne, Head of the French Diplomacy, was at Chatham House a few weeks ago to discuss the role of France in the world. Despite the current climate, he did not delve into the subject of Brexit, see full video here.This is completely nonsensical and shocking! How could we welcome such a figure into the UK and avoid touching on the subject of Brexit? In ignoring the issue, perhaps the French position shows itself to be not as transparent as it should be. The debate about our leaving the European Union has effectively been censored at the Establishment level.

There are also colluding voices who, whilst appearing disparate, serve to create and reinforce an echo chamber of Remainers. There is no better example than the tweet above:

Martin Sandbu from the Financial Times retweeted anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller who commented on the Evening Standard's article about Brexit Minister Dominic Raab. And we should recall that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne is at the helm of the evening paper. Sandbu's articles are aimed at business leaders, opinion makers and political figures and designed to influence their views on Brexit. Years of infiltration into think tanks and ostensibly respectable newspapers have led to the current climate.

French-born and London-based Isabelle Mateos Y Lago, BlackRock's Chief Multi-Asset Strategist, has also tried to influence the Brexit debate by offering her views (close to that of French-born Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier) on Brexit. See her opinion piece in The Financial Times or one of her many interviews on Bloomberg.

There is a fine line between the healthy political debate which took place in the run-up to the referendum and an attempt to reverse a democratic vote. The former was a democratic process. The latter is dangerous.

France is the perfect example of what is wrong with the European Union. Its population may have voted against the European Constitution, but it was passed anyway as soon as Nicolas Sarkozy became president. Those who wish to reverse Brexit have been playing a similar game taking the debate away from the population and into the sphere of the political establishment where they believe that there will be enough EU support .

A deal? What deal?

There is no way Britain can organize a deal unless we leave the European Union, whatever Theresa May says. Her signature to an agreement does not indicate that she will remain in post much longer afterwards.

The PM has effectively been toying with a different kind of Project Fear. This time it is the Red scare, in the form of Jeremy Corbyn. She has instilled enough fear of a possible Labour victory that the Tories would rather keep her in post even if it means they will lose the trust of their voters for years to come. To Brexit voters it is astonishing to witness such inaction from Brexiteer MPs who should have got rid of the PM before she commits the ultimate crime against our country.

The Chequers Deal, which was Brexit In Name Only, was obviously going to render our institutions obsolete depriving us of the right to make our own laws and follow our own destiny outside the EU project.

The EU runs a system which is an economic disaster. The economic disparities between Germany and the rest of the European Union are becoming clear and economic freedom seems to be what. Hungary, Poland and most importantly Italy are now demanding. And, without a doubt, the biggest loser in this house of cards will be France.

Germans will be pragmatic enough to come to the negotiating table and protect their industries, but France is dependent on the United Kingdom from a financial standpoint with UK harbours approximately 40% of its investments. France owns a large portion of Italian debt, and its allies are few. The President is more unpopular than his predecessor - so much so that both Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy seem to believe they could have another shot at the top job, despite their respective disastrous records.

The 'deal' in front of us now is but a cover to award more power to the European Union and the European Court Justice, so they can gradually dispose of the Statute Book. Our system is a threat to their survival and,therefore, Brexit matters; not because we want the death of the EU but because the EU will be the death of us - if we do not opt for a clean break.

It is inevitable that, should we make a success of Brexit, more countries will follow us out of the cumbersome and bureaucratic world of the European Union.

At the end of the day, we have always held the keys to our freedom and our destiny. Letting the Prime Minister dispose of both our freedom and destiny in the way she is doing is an outrage, and she must be stopped.

There are still a few hands to play in this game but publishing them would defy the purpose of the article. The weakness of those fighting for the European Union is that they are fighting in the light not understanding that those in the shadow have the upper hand.

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