Who would be the best candidate to be the next leader of the Conservative Party? Ideally, I would have preferred either of [Lords] Nigel Lawson or the Chingford skinhead Norman Tebbit. Both played distinguished roles under Margaret Thatcher, the first as her chancellor, the second as her “bovver boy.” At ages 84 and 85, however, Lords Lawson and Tebbit are now too frail to bear the burdens of the premiership. Fortunately, there are two outstanding candidates who are fighting fit and at the peak of their powers: David Davis MP and former Defense Secretary Dr. Liam Fox MP. Both are consistent long-term, hard-core Brexiteers.
You will note that this list does not include the most-talked about candidate, Boris Johnson. Despite his jovial populist image and the entertaining clown act, Mr. Johnson did a poor job as London mayor, is often not on top of his brief and is unpopular among Conservative MPs. His Brexiteer credentials are also doubtful, notwithstanding the major role he played in the campaign. He sat on the fence for a long time before announcing which side he would support. In fact, it has just been revealed that before deciding which side to take, he wrote two letters to be published, one supporting Remain and one supporting Leave. He himself then admitted that he found the Remain letter more convincing, but opted to join the Leave campaign instead. There is a lingering suspicion that he had calculated that he had nothing to gain if Remain won, but if Leave won, Cameron would be out and he could swan in as the man who had saved the Brexit cause to become Cameron’s obvious replacement. Mr. Johnson is, thus, an opportunist.
– Kevin Dowd
Read the whole thing, as it contains some excellent analysis.
My friend Preston pointed me at what the Adam Smith Institute calls the “EEA Option”, which would apparently provide many of the free trade and movement benefits of EU membership without being in the EU or beholden to most of its rules.
Certainly worth a read as people start contemplating what one would want the negotiated exit from the EU to look like.
There has been much speculation the government will simply ignore the LEAVE result of the Brexit vote and not invoke Article 50 to start the clock running to leave the EU.
So why do I not think that will happen?
The one word answer:
The slightly longer answer:
Look how many Tory (and indeed Labour) MPs supported REMAIN, but their constituencies voted for LEAVE: i.e. most of England.
Now imagine come the next election, and we are still in the EU because the political establishment basically said “fuck you, we are just going to ignore the vote to LEAVE”.
Does anyone seriously think UKIP will end that election with the one MP it currently has? In my opinion they could quite literally wipe out the Tories as a meaningful political party a la what happened to the Liberal Party by 1935 (and UKIP would probably take a nice big bite out of Labour in Northern England). I would rather that not happen, but if that is what it takes…
That is why I think Brexit will indeed happen. Political self preservation. But I hope Farage has bodyguards.
The Liberal Democrat party, with its host of 6 MPs (much reduced in 2015) have pledged to ignore the Brexit referendum result and to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.
“Nigel Farage’s vision for Britain has won this vote, but it is not a vision I accept”, declared Lib Dem leader Tim Farron yesterday. “Even though the vote was close, the majority of British people want us to leave. But we refuse to give up on our beliefs”, he said.
Mr Farron, the relatively obscure leader of the party of heavyweights such as Cyril Smith, went on:
Mr. Farron argued that his party’s proposition was justifiable in a democratic society as older people’s votes were somehow less valid and because a vote against the EU was really a vote against Westminster.
“This was not a vote on the European Union alone”, he said, but a “howl of anger” against politics.
So, once the votes are counted, and if that ‘fails’, they are then ‘interpreted’ and in line with socialist logic, they don’t mean what a plain reading might fairly be taken to show that they mean. But is he not also saying that the vote was against him, as a member of the Westminster Parliament?
I would like to contrast this attitude with that of General Pinochet, well-known ‘strongman’ of Chilean politics from 1973 to 1990, who held a referendum on his junta (well, him) continuing to rule Chile in 1988, and who respected the outcome rejecting his continued rule, with a little prodding perhaps from General Matthei, the Air Force member of the junta (and friend of the UK in the Falklands War), who called for the result to be respected.
I suppose what we are seeing is a political auto-endoscopy by the Left, each trying to get further up their own arses than the other, with Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister indicating that the Scottish Parliament may have a veto on Brexit, a surprising interpretation of constitutional law from someone who is a solicitor.
I am confident that the bulk of people will see through all this, and see the Left, in all their shades, for the totalitarians that they are.
And yet just because the establishment failed, that doesn’t mean the demos have won. Not fully, anyway. We must stay vigilant. For there will now be a concerted effort to thwart our democratic statement, to weaken it by calling into question its legitimacy. This is already happening. Apparently the demos behaved rashly. We ‘voted emotionally rather than considering the facts’, says Labour MP Keith Vaz. We were in the grip of fear, say others. Or we were making a xenophobic statement, they claim, overlooking the irony of their pontificating about prejudice while suggesting that the 17.5million people who said No to the EU, this vast swathe of people, is a tabloid-poisoned blob given to disliking foreign people. Demagogues ‘injected poison into the nation’s bloodstream’, commentators are already saying, the implication being that we were brainwashed, made mad by evil men. We know not what we do. We’re children.
The efforts to rebrand this vote as a kneejerk thing, an emotional thing, a racist thing, are already underway. And others will no doubt argue that because the vote was very close, perhaps we shouldn’t take drastic measures; perhaps we should reform our ties with the EU rather than sever them. We must stand against all this, and insist that the people have spoken, and the people are sovereign, or ought to be. Indeed, that is fundamentally what the referendum was about: do you think Brussels or the parliament in London should be sovereign? The people voted for themselves.
– Brendan O’Neill
“England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”
– William Pitt, the Younger
The Brexit vote has been an event of massive political importance, but what really fascinates me is that this has clearly not been a party political event.
The day before the vote I was chatting with a group of congenial LEAVE campaigners in Dover, and they were evenly split between Labour and Tory supporters. And as we nattered, the nastiest things I heard said about Corbyn were from the self-described Labourites… and the cattiest remarks about Cameron came from the self-described Tories… and both groups laughed as they listened to the others trashing the leaders of their own parties, as if it was a competition who could heap more expletives on their own nominal leaders. I must confess I have never seen the like in all my years.
The long term fallout from this will be very interesting indeed.
Brexit. How about that then. Well, well, well. Many other writers here have been thinking aloud about this, and so, now, will I.
The London weather was very wet yesterday, and violently so in the late afternoon. But, it then calmed down. Did the violent rain disrupt travel and permanently muck people up, so they didn’t vote? Or, did the abatement of the rain enable Londoners to get out and vote without too much discomfort. I have just got up and look forward to finding out. I took an umbrella to my (very) local polling station, around 7pm, but I didn’t use it. Someone said last night that it would be just typical if Britain left the EU because of the weather, but it looks like it wasn’t that close.
Re the Jo Cox murder. Many Remainers used this horror to imply that voting Leave was like voting in favour of MPs being murdered. (The Remainers who refrained from using this argument were not so audible.) I surmise that (a) some potential Leavers were persuaded, (b) some potential Leavers were angered and caused to vote Leave having only previously been thinking about it, and (c) quite a few continued to move towards Leave for reasons unrelated to the Jo Cox murder, but in silence. When the Cox murder happened, there was a shift towards Leave taking place. I surmise that this continued to flow, but underground, so to speak. Minds continued to move, but people stopped telling the pollsters. But, they’ve told them now.
The above two points were already made by me here last night, in comments on by Natalie Solent postings. Here are a few more Brexit thoughts.
→ Continue reading: Some more Brexit thoughts
I have been in Dover for the last week and a bit, and it is like a different world compared to my usual haunts in London (and by the way, I heartily recommend the Allotment restaurant).
And as I walked down the street wearing my LEAVE badge, I was constantly getting nods of approval or thumbs up gestures from complete strangers. As I headed back to London yesterday, the chap sitting behind me patted me on the shoulder and launched into a friendly diatribe about “accountable government!”, and the driver of the bus (rail replacement service actually) grinned broadly and gave me a thumbs up as I entered the vehicle! And I found myself doing the same to others when I saw them wearing a similar badge.
And yet the media was constantly telling me we had already lost, and we might as well not bother, and thus I went to bed last night with a heavy heart.
I should have believed what I saw in the streets with my own eyes, and not what I read in the media.
Senlac Hill, the figurative venue for the re-match.
And as before, the huscarls and fyrd shouted the battle cry: “Out! Out! Out!”
The enemy were not my Norman ancestors this time, but rather David Cameron in the role of William the Bastard, with his knights arranged around him with names like Jean-Claude Juncker, J.P. Morgan, Barack Obama, Tony Blair, and oh so many other members of the global establishment who disdainfully ordained that the order of things must not be upset, and snouts must be left undisturbed in the troughs to which they have become accustomed.
But this time… oh this time… it was not the embodiment of England who took an arrow in the eye but rather Dave the Bastard. This time just enough of the fyrd refused to take the bait, declining to rush forward off the hill leaving the huscarls exposed. This time they stood fast behind a forest of spears and a wall of shields, against which the forces of Dave the Bastard charged and died. We shall not be moved!
And in this glorious re-match, who has been cast in the role of King Harold Godwinson? It is hard to say, for he is wearing a helmet, but I have a sneaking suspicion when he takes it off, he will have very blonde tousled hair.
Britain has just angrily shrieked two words and they are: FUCK YOU!
I am a very happy man today.
Dave Rex Interfectus Est?
UPDATE: YES!!!! Dave Rex Interfectus Est!
That moon-faced toad David Cameron did indeed take the arrow in the eye he so richly deserved and has resigned! W00t!
It is not over, but things are looking good for Leave.
Update: Some internet sites where you can watch what is turning out to be a political earthquake.
The Guardian‘s live blog. Hats off to them, this is the obvious first place to go.
EU referendum rolling forecasts by Chris Hanretty, Reader in Politics University of East Anglia
Political Betting.com. Sample headline “The results so far have developed not necessarily to Remain’s advantage”. A student of history, then.
– THE UNITED KINGDOM WILL LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION.
– The working class did it. The issue was immigration. It wouldn’t have been my choice for main issue, but I am not ashamed to have been in a broad alliance. I’ll gladly bear the next election being won by a party I don’t like in exchange for elections mattering again.
– Talking of which, who will win the next election? Which parties will fight it? When will it be? No idea.
– Shy Leavers. And I hesitate to say this, but the atmosphere of blame following the murder of Jo Cox will have been perceived by many as moral blackmail.
– The EU is holed beneath the waterline. People worldwide have seen that impossible things can happen.
– President Trump? His visit to these shores is spookily well timed.
– Prime Minister Cameron? – 2010-2016
– Don’t assume that the SNP actually wants another Scottish independence referendum. Right now a second indyref would have the same result as the first.
Simon Gibbs, who will eventually have his own proper samizdata by-line that does not run across the Atlantic and back, has something else to say:
News from the front line. This comes via a brace of energetic libertarians and their allies who were giving out Libertarian Home branded leaflets today on Oxford Street. The office-worker demographic which was missing from our previous visit was back in force and so the tone of the crowd became much more hostile. Not just taking the other stance in greater numbers, but becoming rude and a little shouty. It seems anyone more removed from the coalface than a shop owner is much more inclined to be a Remainer, and perhaps less friendly too.
This may be hearsay, but the Remain camp were apparently out elsewhere on Oxford Street giving out croissants this morning. We had picked up news (from the ice-cream salesman next to Charing Cross) that the Remain camp had also been out there giving out cakes a week or so earlier. The lady selling Lion King tickets – in the same spot – had apparently feigned agreement and claimed an illegitimate hot-dog. Main course, pudding and a bonus breakfast all served up by the Remain camp.
From where does the money for large quantities of free-food come from?
The statistics to hand have 47% of the population clearly in the second category, where our direct experience had ~90% voting Leave. It seems there is a pivot point somewhere in the range of C1 or C2 where Remain begins to out number Leave. Just as there is apparently a pivot point at age 43. Where exactly the pivot points are will determine the result, but I fear we will find it was a wealthy elite that keeps us in Europe. Divisions like that have consequences.