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.

The Cost of BRINO


Margaret Thatcher broke the mould of British politics. A grocer's daughter raised above the family shop. She benefited from free state education including university. She believed in equal opportunity. She believed in wealth distribution through hard work and getting rid of as much state intervention as possible. As Prime Minister she encouraged private ownership by introducing the right of Council House Tenants to buy their property and by allocating shares in privatised industry. Her most successful Chancellor Nigel Lawson slashed taxes and loosened the state's grip. Many imagined that we could at last pick up where war had interrupted.

Under Neville Chamberlain as Chancellor growth averaged 4% a year in real terms between 1934 and 1939. In 1934 he was able to declare, "We have finished the story of Bleak House, and are sitting down this afternoon to the first chapter of Great Expectations." Hitler put paid to economic Great Expectations. Atlee, the Trade Unions and a succession of weak governments (of both parties) intent on appeasing the unions reduced the UK to the sick man of Europe. A condition that, according to Heath, could only be cured by joining the EU.

Thatcher dealt with the unions, liberalised much of the economy and set an agenda that should have led to Chamberlain's dream being fulfilled. Then, came Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and May. In many respects the lot of ordinary voters worsened. To deal with anger and demands for proper values and a fight against wokery a new word was invented, 'Populism'. Those who believe in traditional values and democracy were (and still are) branded as reactionaries. The blob supported by vociferous minorities have pushed through bans on coal mining, Oil exploration, Fracking to say nothing of supporting idiotic so-called trans rights. In all this the rights of the vast majority have been pushed aside. The majority has been marginalised.

With a promise of getting BREXIT done, Boris Johnson won a landslide victory. He dealt well with the Covid Pandemic and has led the world's response to the Ukraine crisis. He is a credit to the country. But, and it's a fatal but, Liberal Left Boris keeps popping out as if he were Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It has been obvious for years that we need to extract our own oil, frack our own gas and mine our own coal. Instead, we import. In the case of coal, from Russia. What warped thinking promotes the idea that fossil fuel produced elsewhere makes us green? Come to that, what scientific ignorance lies behind the absurd commitment to wind power? In 2020, despite estimated subsidies of £6 billion, wind farms contributed just under 4% to our energy generation.

Boris drags his feet in dealing with the EU. When the 30 year rule expires will we discover there was an agreement between the EU and UK that they could have Northern Ireland? Nothing else can explain the shameful behaviour and refusal to deal with an issue that is dismembering our country. The EU deliberately makes our lives difficult in many areas and our government meekly accepts the punishment.

Why do we have a tax and spend government? Slashing taxes and unleashing the full potential of BREXIT would transform our country. We could be one of the most energy self-sufficient and prosperous countries on the planet. What is holding it up? Plainly, Rishi Sunak has been captured by the blob. This is dangerous. It endangers democracy and the future health and prosperity of us all. Along with delivering BREXIT we were promised that the Blob would be dealt with. No amount of success in fighting Covid and supporting Ukraine will make up for failure elsewhere.

Levelling up is supposedly at the heart of the government's agenda. What does it mean? Failure to deliver a complete BREXIT impoverishes us and denies people the opportunities they voted for. Margaret Thatcher understood that it was not the government's job to 'give' opportunity, rather that it is responsible for creating the conditions under which individual enterprise can thrive. Relying on other countries to fail so that we could import cheap labour has damaged society and deskilled our workforce.

Successive governments have turned property into a casino bubble by encouraging a variety of means by which the overinflated bubble continues to expand. Joint ownership, Interest only Mortgages and Equity Release have all contributed to a nightmare for hard-working people seeking the security of their own home. The spin off is a rental market that is un-affordable for many. If they move to better themselves Credit Agencies mark their score down as a result. Free enterprise works because it regulates itself. A natural catastrophe sends prices soaring. Producers, in response, produce too much and the price falls. This simplicity is largely lost in a market that is rigged in favour of Banks and money markets who caused the problem, but are protected at the expense of those who were forced to bail them out.

Indeed, successive governments have created a situation that in a material sense can be summed up by quoting Matthew 13.12 " For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him."

The government is failing those it should be empowering. It is failing to deliver BREXIT and the advantages we voted for. Selling a nationally vital security asset, a Welsh Microchip manufacturer, against the National Security Advisor recommendations, is nodded through. Against all the evidence the green levy adding 25% to energy bills is maintained. Defenders claim Boris is a 'Big Picture Guy', plainly in terms of the EU and the domestic agenda he's looking at the wrong picture. It is a dismal picture where one can tell the relative prosperity of an area by a simple method. Better off areas have Estate Agencies cheek by jowl. Poorer ones, Betting Shops. A divide is being created. We should be spreading opportunity by completing BREXIT to supercharge the economy. It would turn the UK into a land of genuine opportunity for all. Our democratic decision is being betrayed.

The government talks in terms of percentages, of putting £150 a year into people's pockets. We can better understand the problem by looking at two residents of North Kent. Below are the circumstances of a BREXIT voting young married couple who supported the Conservative party at the last election. They did so not in the anticipation of handouts, but in the belief that they could look forward to a better future. They are typical of the majority. He is a Welder, age 28 and earns £32,000 pa. After tax and NI, he will have a net income in the current year of £25,450. His benefit from the budget, starting July is an extra £29 per month. His wife, age 25, is a teaching assistant and earns £15,812 pa. After tax and NI her net pay is £14,645. Her benefit from July will be £30 per month. She goes to work by bus and he drives because there is no service to where he works. They have a modest lifestyle. They belong to a Gym and go out to dinner twice a month. The following is their joint spending:



Car cost






Shopping (food etc)






IT & phones




Bus pass


Cloths & Shoes






Expenditure totals £31,796 leaving them a surplus of £8,326. Last year they had car repair bills that ate into their savings. This year Inflation, the rising cost of rent, energy and utilities will see the budget squeezed and of course unexpected expenses are always possible.

Although House prices are now at a multiple of nine, most mortgage providers are only prepared to lend up to 4 - 4.5 times annual income. A £300,000 house (the current average for North Kent is £326,436) requires a minimum net income of £66,667 - £75,000 a year. Based on their joint income they can only afford £170,000, which will not buy them a three bedroom house. Without a bank of Mum and Dad they have no choice but to save a large deposit. At the present rate that will take years. With house price inflation running at 11% they feel they can never catch up with the moving goal posts. In addition, rents are also rising. Their dream of having a family is fast vanishing as they need both incomes to achieve housing security. Indeed without both incomes they would not be able to maintain their current lifestyle. The couple described are hard working tax payers. Working to stand still, even go backwards, is not what they expected from BREXIT.

During our membership of the EU, industry got used to cheap labour and landlords to high returns from multi-occupancy. That these 'benefits' depended on the failure of other societies to provide their citizens with the opportunities for a decent life is shameful. BREXIT is the opportunity to create the conditions that will reward our own citizens and those who legitimately join us. The EU was our Bleak House. Boris and this government must seize the opportunities, failure to do will condemn us to a very bleak future. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
United Kingdom
Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames