Brexit is a deceit.
Following the largely unexpected Tory victory in the May 2015 election, the Labour party decended into disarray after Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader. Although Corbyn had the support of party ‘members’, most of them hastily recruited, he failed to get the support of the majority of Labour MPs. The Labour party had rediscovered its self-destruct button. Effective opposition in the House of Commons came to an end in 2015. And the Tories? They couldn’t believe their luck. With no effective opposition, life was suddenly, and unexpectedly, sweet.
It can’t have been long before the strategic thinkers in Conservative Party Central Office realised that this situation gave them a unique opportunity. A huge prize loomed before them, one that would give them the chance not only to unite the party, but to command the heights of British politics for the foreseeable future. All they had to do was to hold the EU referendum early – and lose it! Gone forever would be the bickering and mithering of the right wing Eurosceptics. A united party, what a prize! The Brexit deceit was born.
Cunning plan or conspiracy theory? That isn’t clear yet, but the evidence that there was a cunning plan is mounting. Tory strategists are very clever and should never be underestimated. If they had the foresight and cunning to plan and implement the destruction of their Libdem coalition partners over tuition fees, they were more than capable of finding a way to take advantage of this new opportunity.
So what was the plan? Running scared of the UKIP threat, in January 2013 David Cameron had pledged to hold an ‘in – out’ referendum by the end of 2017. This pledge was repeated in the Tory election manifesto.in 2015. However, having won the election there was certainly no rush to hold a referendum, in fact had he so wished he could have probably delayed it indefinitely. Instead, and a mere eight months after the election, he announced the referendum would be on June 23rd 2016.
His haste to announce the referendum date surprised many including the Cabinet who he didn’t bother to consult. Strange that he didn’t have the courtesy to consult others before he announced something as important as the date of the referendum. And surely, if you were planning to win the referendum, you would do whatever you could to stack he cards in your favour, wouldn’t you? Of course you would, but Cameron did exactly the opposite.
He started by refusing to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote. The Scottish independence referendum gave him the precedent to include them. Most 16 and 17 year olds, about a million and a half people, would have voted to remain a part of the EU. He then decided to hold the referendum before the ‘Votes for Life’ Bill received Royal assent, and by doing so excluded 1 million expats who would have been eligible to vote and would have supported Remain. With household voting registration coming to an end, he allowed no time for individuals to register and sent out no warning that the law was changing. This excluded approximately 700k voters. He purposely excluded over three million potential Remain voters. David Cameron may be a fool, but he’s not stupid. Are these the actions of a man determined to win a referendum? No! Are they the actions of a man trying to lose one? Yes!
And then there was the last-minute Damascene conversion of Boris Johnson. Was it blind ambition that persuaded him to support the Leave campaign or brilliant Tory party choreography? His celebrity certainly did a huge amount to legitimise the Leave campaign and give it a huge boost. It now looks likely that there was a distinct possibility that Johnson was in on the plan. He was recently seen having dinner with David Cameron in New York. Bullingdon pals or not, would you have dinner with the man who effectively lost you the most powerful job in the land? Highly unlikely.
And the Remain referendum campaign? Tories of all people know how elections are won. Emotions win elections better than facts. The Remain campaign was lack-lustre, it lacked energy and enthusiasm and it traded on facts, not emotions; and David Cameron? He seemed less than ehthusiastic about the whole thing.
Remain lost, and the Tory party won a very sweet victory. The final irony being that they were gifted victory by their arch enemy UKIP, and by some of the many millions who had been worst affected by six years of mean-minded Tory austerity.
The downside to the cunning plan? David Cameron lost his job, which was always a possibility, and there had been no preparation for Brexit. Brexit was going to be a huge challenge, but Brexit would be the ultimate in distraction politics. For years to come everybody’s attention would be focused on the Brexit negotiations. The Tories would now have endless opportunities to slip whatever legislation they chose under the radar. Best of all they could now command the heights of British politics for the foreseeable future, and from behind the Brexit smoke screen, introduce the low-state, low-welfare, libertarian state they had been dreaming of.
But what of David Cameron, would he really have given up his premiership for the party? Well, he had already said that he wanted to stand down before 2020, he said nothing about timing. If he was prepared to put his party before his country, it’s probably fair to assume he was probably prepared to put his party before his premiership.
David Cameron was succeeded by Theresa May, a Remain supporter. Well, we all thought she was, but like Boris Johnson she too had a convenient Damascene conversion, and on first day as prime minister vehemently declared that ‘Bexit means Brexit’. A clever, well considered phrase that gave Brexit an air of inevitability. Here was a woman who clearly had only one political sign post, political expediency. Here was a prime minister who had only one over-riding loyalty, the Tory party. From day one she made her determination to deliver Brexit very clear. She would use what she repeatedy called ‘the wishes of the British people’ to secure the spoils of the cunning plan for the Tory party regardless of the consequences that Brexit might have.
At the time of Mrs May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ speech, the country was still reeling from the referendum result, which had not been expected by most commentators and certainly not by Europe. In retrospect, the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ statement now seems suspiciously hasty and more than a little clumsy. What sort of prime minister would immediately commit herself to Brexit without taking advice and considering all her options? May knew full well that the referendum was not legally binding. The European Referendum Act 2015 stated only that a referendum had to take place. She had every right to treat the referendum result as advisory, particularly as Cameron had carelessly agreed to a simple majority referendum on such a major constitutional issue – and because the result had been so close. If she had wanted to act in the national interest, her first speech as prime minister in Downing Street would have been very different. However, like her predecessor, Mrs May put her party before her country. Nothing was going to get in the way of party unity and years of uncontested Tory rule. Brexit was not only a deceit, it was a well orchestrated Tory party coup.
As each day passes the sheer lunacy of Brexit becomes more apparent. It is a real and present threat to the peace and security of Europe, and it will have catastrophic economic consequences for Britain for decades to come. What rational, sensible prime minister would follow such a calamitous policy? Absolutely nothing about Brexit is in the national interest. It is being pursued only because it is in the Tory party’s interests to do so.
But how long can this deceit go on? The idiocy of Brexit is becoming more apparent every day, and more difficult to defend. The cost of living has increased significantly directly as a result of the government’s commitment to Brexit. Companies are lining up to move to mainland Europe. Uncertainty is mounting. Slowly the tide is turning. Opinion polls now show a majority of British people now want to remain part of the EU.
Soon the Tory decit will be revealed. The party that authored the mean-minded malice of unnecessary austerity, the conscious cruelty of welfare cuts, that deliberately ignored the housing crisis, undermined the NHS, shredded public services, and stripped the public realm bare, will get its comeuppance. When the British people realise the scale of the Tory betrayal, Brexit will be dead in the water.
When Brexit is dead in the water, the Tory party will be dead in the water too. And British politics? It will be a total shambles. It is already dysfunctional, corrupt and in need of reform. Could the demise of Brexit be the catalyst for polital change, for a new beginning, for a new Britain? Absolutely! It’s time to clear out the old and bring in the new, no Tories, no Labour. New parties, new prople, new rules. Maybe every cloud really does have a silver lining.