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.

Watching Boris


The look on my left leaning parents faces was a picture of horror as they stared down at my eight year old self, they looked at each other and said in shock and in unison: "Our son's a Conservative". 

My dear old dad, who I loved during all 84 years of his life, had been a member of the Communist Party in his youth, that was until they asked him to go and fight in the Spanish civil war, which as it seemed rather dangerous he gave up Communism and took up weight lifting instead. He and my mother came from the back street slums of Birmingham, where I was born too, so living in an area of poverty they were naturally drawn to the left of politics. However, by the time I was eight they had set up a small fireplace manufacturing business and had purchased their first home in Castle Bromwich with the aid of a mortgage but still voted Labour. So when they heard my youthful thoughts on the situations of the day, which came across as quite Conservative, they were astounded and horrified that I was obviously a natural Tory, which to be quite honest I did not fully understand at that age so I just shrugged my shoulders and thought that then is what I must be. I grew up from then thinking and knowing I was a Tory.

I was one of those who had to wait until I was 21 before I could vote, which ironically was around the time the voting age came down to 18, and I voted Conservative. My first general election I could vote in was in 1970 and I voted for the Heath Government, which in later life as a Eurosceptic I realised was a big mistake. From then on, come what may, I was one of those voters who, as the old saying goes, if you had stuck a blue rosette on a donkey I would have gone and voted for it.
The pinnacle of my Tory support and voting came with the election as leader, then followed as the PM, of Margaret Thatcher, she installed pride in my country once again as she set about with great vigour to tackle the many problems left by the previous Labour Governments along with their Trade Union chums. The night she sent in the SAS to sort out the terrorists in the Iranian embassy siege my chest burst with pride. Before her election as our PM the UK had been seen as the "Sick man of Europe". if not the world, from then on the eyes of the world looked on us in a different light, we were suddenly a nation once again you do not mess with. Although I had never been a Conservative Party member, just a voter, I had immense pride in the Conservative Party and the fact I considered myself a Conservative - that was until the Europhiles in the Conservative Party stuck the knife in Maggie's back after she began to realise just how dangerous membership of the European Community was and made her famous Bruges speech.

When she was betrayed and ousted I too felt I had been betrayed, then the dull grey man, John Major. was wheeled in as the new Prime Minister by his Europhile chums and for the first time in my life my support for the Conservative Party began to waver. What really finished me was the reply to a letter I had sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1991. By then I was in charge of the family business as my parents had retired to live in North Wales, sadly, due to the terrible recession at that time I was struggling to keep the business afloat. Other business were going bust, people were unemployed and many poor souls were losing their homes, things were so bad. As our products were expensive the VAT rate of 15% at the time added quite a bit to the final price our customers paid, so when the Chancellor increased VAT to 17.5% I was horrified and wrote to him to say so. Still being naive at the time about the influence of the EU it hadn't crossed my mind the reason we were experiencing such terrible economic times was due the UK joining the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) to comply with the EU in its efforts to prepare for the euro.

In my letter I requested that if the Chancellor really wanted to help businesses such as ours to recover from the recession and give us a fighting chance, instead of the folly of raising VAT which was the worst thing he could do in such terrible economic times, he should reduce VAT. I suggested it should be reduced to around 8% or 10% which would cut our prices to our customers instead of raising them. Amongst the waffle in the letter of reply from one of the Chancellor's minions was the statement that as we were members of the European Union we were not allowed to reduce VAT below 15%. I was staggered to learn that a high ranking Minister in my Government, elected into office by the majority of the people of Britain was not allowed to set a rate of tax to benefit the people and businesses in the UK by an offshore body, who the people had no democratic control over. "How can this be democratic", I asked myself. That was the start of my Euro scepticism and after many letters to the new PM and other ministers my days as a proud Tory voter and supporter came to an end - I was lost politically.
What saved me and gave me hope was the launch of the Referendum Party which I joined and was selected as its Parliamentary candidate in Walsall North, then my membership of UKIP after the death of Sir James Goldsmith. These two political parties were the first time I had joined a party and became active in politics. I watched from close quarters the rise of the then unknown Nigel Farage and as the five times UKIP Walsall South Parliamentary candidate reached the high of almost a 16% vote in the 2015 general election. I too watched the demise of UKIP from inside as it failed to find the right leader after Nigel stood down in 2016, I watched in despair Theresa May concede to the EU's unreasonable demands and the Euro fanatics inside Parliament, and out, wreck the democratic decision of the people to leave the EU. All seemed lost. I let my 22 years of UKIP membership lapse in June 2019 after seeing people with views I could not agree with running riot within the party I had give a chunk of my life to. After signing up to the Brexit Party, sadly, it failed to impress me and I sat at home inactive politically watching Brexit being torn to shreds.

Hope came with the election as the new Conservative leader and Prime Minister of Boris Johnson. Here, at last, was a Tory I felt I could support, he was saying and doing all the right things and I knew in my heart, despite being led by Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party would not have much hope getting anyone elected and our only hope of stopping the destruction of Brexit was to give my support to Boris, so after all my years away from the Conservative Party which was in the past my political home, I returned to it this time by joining and for the first time in my life I became a Conservative Party member. When the general election was called I campaigned for my local Tory candidate, who like me was a Eurosceptic. Sadly, despite taking 6000 votes away from my Euro fanatical Labour MP she did not win, but Boris won a fantastic victory demolishing the Labour "Red wall".

After three and a half wasted year with the EU and its acolytes rampaging over our democracy, Boris Johnson has given the nation hope and purpose again. During the coming months to December 2020 he must not allow himself to waiver or fail when it comes to the final outcome of our negotiations at the end of the transition period, even if that means leaving on WTO terms with no deal, the nation is Behind Boris and he must not fail us. We will all be watching him closely. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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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