“But Brexit ISN’T ‘The Will of the People’!” #Brexit #BRINO #WillOfThePeople @Anna_Soubry @StevenEdginton @WestmonsterUK

Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP who stood for election on a 2017 Manifesto which committed to delivering Brexit and who herself in 2017 said “you can’t vote for a Referendum & then renege on delivering the result because you don’t like the result”, has famously reneged. She has done nothing in the last year but attempt to overturn the decision to leave the European Union, most recently voting against her own Government’s position on the recent Customs and Trade Bills by trying to tie the UK into a Customs Union with the EU.

How times change…

But by now, all politics junkies know she’s unprincipled (although I’m not sure to what extent the general public is aware of the extent of her unprincipledness). What has piqued my interest, however, is that now she’s talking absolute rubbish on Twitter, again. Specifically, she’s parroting the oft-repeated, in-vogue line that, actually, the vote to leave the EU wasn’t the will of the people after all! Why? Because whilst it is true that more than half of those who voted did indeed vote to Leave, many people did not vote at all. Some 27.79% of the eligible electorate didn’t bother to vote, in fact. This means that, of the total electorate eligible to vote in the EU Referendum, 34.74% voted for Remain, and only 37.47% voted for Leave — considerably less than 50%!!

Soubry fails logic

However, this is a completely bogus argument. There is always a huge percentage of the electorate who don’t vote. Indeed, as one Twitter user (@AlastairJT) has helpfully pointed out to Ms. Soubry, she herself was elected in 2017 on less than 50% of the electorate; the turn out in her constituency of Broxtowe was 75.0%, of which she achieved 46.8%, giving her a grand total of 35.1% of the electorate — a lower percentage than voted for Brexit.

But actually, the issue is even larger than that. More people voted for Brexit (17.4 million) than for anything else in British history. Moreover, and this is the master stroke I feel, you have to go back to the General Election of 1959 to see the winning party earn a higher percentage of the total electorate than the 37.5% who voted for Brexit. 1959! When Britain was a virtual two party state. And indeed, you have to go back to the 1931 General Election before a party achieved a higher percentage of the turn out than Leave achieved — and that was because the Liberal Party had imploded and split four ways.

If the vote to leave the EU wasn’t “the will of the people”, then nothing is…

As they say in football, “you can only beat the teams that are put in front of you”. That more than a quarter of the population stayed at home does in no way invalidate the result of the EU referendum. If the benchmark for a vote to qualify as the “will of the people” and be so enacted is more than half of the total electorate voting one way, then no General Election since 1959 has been “the will of the people”, and nor was the election of Anna Soubry herself. If the vote to leave the EU wasn’t “the will of the people”, then nothing is.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Boris Johnson, The EU, Hitler @vote_leave @LeaveEUOfficial

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The EU debate just gets sillier and sillier. Last week, Boris Johnson said that the EU shared Nazi Germany’s goal for a final solution, seeking the total and ultimate destruction of Jewry.

Or not.

Johnson, by even mentioning Hitler, erred; as a journalist and a very intelligent man, he should realise that any mention of Hitler and the Third Reich would backfire. As a journalist, he should know that facts don’t matter; the headline does! Therefore, he made a mistake mentioning Hitler. Of course it was going to be used against him and the whole Brexit campaign! Indeed, someone on LBC radio even suggesed that BoJo might be the Bremainers secret, fifth columnist weapon! However, what Johnson actually said was quite reasonable.

Two decades on, Johnson has broken the glass and pressed the big red button marked “Hitler comparison – only to be used in an emergency”. In his interview, he declared that Hitler, among others, had aspired to entrench European unity, “and it ends tragically … The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods.”

The Guardian‘s savaging of Boris Johnson doesn’t feature a quote worse than that — because it doesn’t exist. It really is a fact that since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the idea of a bygone heyday in the form of Rome has haunted the minds of many Europeans. Be it Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire, the Hapsburgs, Napolean, and yes, Hitler’s Third Reich, there have been many attempts to unite the continent, in some ways always hearkening back to the glory days of Rome. Just look at Nazi plans for a rebuilt Berlin complete with Triumphal Arc, a direct echo of Roman imperial glory.

So, Boris Johnson spoke accurately, albeit stupidly; of course such comments would get him into trouble. And yes, he was right to say that these enforced unions of peoples have always led to tragic consequences; war and discord. But this controversy is really a minor point in the debate. The key point has to be an argument over the vision of Britain in the time to come: do we have an independent nation making its own decisions, or do we become a state within a United States of Europe with no more independence than Massachusetts or Maine? Both are respectable views; I, however, am firmly of the opinion that the right to self-determination of all peoples is key to the healthy functioning of liberal democracy and, therefore, to the continuing relevance and influence of our values in the wider world. Therefore, I will be voting to leave.

Boris Johnson’s accurate but ill-advised comments, or rather the headlines around them, are the mud that may stick. If even 1% are influenced to vote remain because of this furore, then Team Brexit will have been done a great disservice. Hopefully this is just a storm in a teacup.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Pax Europa? @vote_leave @LeaveEUOfficial @BetterOffOut @voteleave #Brexit #EUReferendum @hilarybennmp

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Hilary Benn MP, son of the late great Tony Benn, today said the following on BBC News:

The EU’s biggest achievement has been keeping the peace for seventy years.

This is getting things backwards. Europeans have not slaughtered each other (Yugoslavia and Ukraine aside) for seventy years because they do not want to, and not for the reason that Benn gives: that the EU has prevented it. The EU is a symptom of the desire for peace in Europe, not a cause.

Of course, from the very beginning — despite what British politicians have traditionally claimed and often still do claim — the “European Project” had as an explicit aim the dismantling of the independent infrastructure of the sovereign states and their consequent incorporation and integration into a new Federal United States of Europe. One reason for this was to prevent war in Europe again.

DETERMINED to establish the foundations of an ever closer union among the European peoples
From the first sentence of the Preamble of the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) “Treaty of Rome” 1957 [1]

Any war between France and Germany [would become] not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.
Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, 1950, in the declaration which launched the project [2]

I find it very hard for a man of Benn’s cleverness and standing to truly believe what he says. Either he lacks basic knowledge of history and thus condemns himself as unfit to be an MP or public figure, like so many others who repeat the same statement. Or he is misleading the public. Either way, he is wrong.

Please, dear reader, do not believe the hype. Frechmen and Germans would not be slaughtering each other today had the model been intergovernmental dialogue as opposed to centralised European Unionism. The idea that the EU has been a cause of the peace in Europe is as inaccurate and almost as ridiculous as David Cameron’s recent claim that we would be risking World War Three or a new European War if the UK were to leave the EU.

Repeating something ad nauseum doesn’t make it true. But unfortunately, modern psychology shows us that it does end up convincing a few people. And “a few” might be enough to swing the referendum. Therefore, I will keep repeating the opposite, the truth:

The EU has not caused or kept the peace in Europe; the EU is merely one symptom of the desire for peace in Europe. The EU did not cause peace; peace helped cause the EU.

Indeed, the EU’s dogged following of an outmoded model of a United States of Europe is itself counter to the will of the people, counter to democracy, and therefore is ironically more likely to cause conflict than the alternative inter-governmental model of a brotherhood of sovereign states working together in close alliance.

Love Europe, Hate the EU. Let’s take back our democracy! Let’s fight for the truth! The EU doesn’t keep and hasn’t kept the peace in Europe; a free association and close alliance of likeminded sovereign nation states does (see NATO). Vote Leave on Thursday 23rd of June.

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/archives/emu_history/documents/treaties/rometreaty2.pdf

[2] The European Union: A very short introduction (2013, 3rd Ed.) John Pinder and Simon Usherwood. OUP, p.1

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

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