NATHAN RYDING: Our Very Identity as a Nation is Forever in Danger of Being Lost to the Depths of History
Theresa May and the Conservative Party are very quick to claim they are delivering “the will of the British people” on Brexit. Indeed the argument often used by Remain campaigners is that while the British people voted to leave the European Union, they did not vote for a destination. This statement is entirely false. However in order to explain why, perhaps it is worth going back to the options available on the ballot paper during the EU Referendum on the 23rd June 2016; “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”.
The British people chose to leave the European Union by 52% to 48%. And LEAVE means exactly that; leave. It’s important to understand, however, that the European Union has many layers and is not just a single binary political and economic union of countries. Whether it’s the European Economic Area, Single Market, Customs Union or even Eurozone, many countries are inside such various ‘layers’ of the EU but not inside the European Union itself.
What ‘leaving’ the European Union actually means, is leaving this political and economic union entirely and all associated layers. However, this is simply not what the Conservative Party are attempting to do. Does an admission from the Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove, on allowing European Vessels to fish in our waters after ‘Brexit’ sound like leaving the Common Fisheries Policy? If we are really leaving the European Union, then why is our Government not building up a border force, immigration and customs controls, planning in detail for how to move forward and putting down concrete proposals into law which would help the UK start to move forward again after such a long period of disruption, confusion and corruption, caused by the UK joining the European Union in the first place. Whether it’s remaining inside the European Arrest Warrant, which fundamentally goes against the principles of our society, remaining inside the European Convention of Human Rights, or other such areas, it is clear this is a Government which does not want to properly break free from this evil union, and go out into the wider world.
Turning to Brexit negotiations, it is very clear the British Government at present has no idea what they are negotiating or have any idea what they want. In part, this is due to the destructive influences of Remain campaigners in the cabinet such as Phillip Hammond and Amber Rudd. However, if you look very closely at what the Government is actually negotiating, it has become apparent that even hard-line Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party such as David Davis have become ‘soft’ over the European Union issue in recent months. Why has our Government agreed to pay at least £40 billion on a ransom bill to exit the European Union? At a time when Austerity is decimating public services across the United Kingdom, the Government is prepared to pay a bill to the European Union- of which has no legal or constitutional basis at all and is purely punitive- whereby some of the projects our money will be spent on including free Wi-Fi in Greek Hotels, new roads in Romania, and on combatting Euroscepticism across the European Union. Why are our Government prepared to pay a ransom bill just to advance Brexit ‘negotiations’ onto trade talks?
This is in addition to the payments of membership we are currently paying into the European Union, payments which will continue into the transition period, and as well as this, the £3 billion a year is set aside by Phillip Hammond. The total Brexit bill will actually be around £80 billion, at current figures, when these additional payments are included- which is only just short of the £100 billion the European Union was originally asking for anyway!
On the type of trade deal which the Government are actually aiming for, 7% of tariffs would remain, if it can actually be negotiated successfully. If we moved to World Trade Organisation rules, we would only actually keep 2.5% of tariffs, which is a much better deal.
Not only this but because the Government is in such utter disarray under the stewardship of Theresa May, they are pushing for what is being branded as a ‘transition’ period out of the European Union. The European Commission has already confirmed the United Kingdom will have to obey all the rules and regulations of the European Union during this period, which presents yet more issues. First of all, if this is a transition period, then why aren’t we going to be transitioning? Secondly, this completely contradicts the European Union’s own legal documents which say in clear writing that any member state which invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be protected from all future EU legislation in the two year period that is set out within that treaty. Far from this transition period being in place to stop uncertainty, as it has been claimed, it is blatantly obvious that a backlog of legislation from the previous two years since triggering article 50 would immediately take effect once leaving the European Union in this way. This would cause a lot more problems for businesses to adjust to, and indeed all this period does is actually prolong uncertainty, not remove it.
Another factor to be concerned about with this transition period is the fact that should everything go according to plan, this would end approximately 2021 or could be delayed until 2022. The next UK General Election is currently scheduled for 2022, and it would become very easy for the Conservative Party to delay Brexit and campaign to win another election purely on the Brexit issue. Perhaps the most chilling of all concessions so far made by Theresa May, however, is the fact that she attempted to keep Northern Ireland inside the Single Market and Customs Union. Once this was vetoed by DUP Leader Arlene Foster, she instead turned to agree that in the event of no deal with the European Union, the entire United Kingdom would resort to full “regulatory alignment” with the European Union. This in effect, is leaving the European Union in name only, staying inside an EEA-styled layer of the European Union.
With this treacherous move by a British Prime Minister, she has utterly sold out the British Public and given away any negotiating skills and power which still remained. She will now either have to accept whatever deal the European Union offer or the UK will remain in full political alignment to the EU. In addition to this, the political dinosaurs of Brussels have given Ireland a veto over the entire deal should they not be happy with the Northern Ireland issue and Spain has a veto over any deal which affects Gibraltar. Why are we actively allowing the EU to mess with Sovereign British territories in this way? For Centuries the British Army, at the time the most professional force in the entire world, fought and died to save these territories from foreign control, yet here we have our own Government prepared to blindly look away from these issues.
Not only this, but the European Court of Justice will a further role in the UK for 8 years after 2019. Why should a foreign court be able to strike down Sovereign British laws or have any influence in a supposedly independent country? If we have truly left the European Union, then our legal systems would be totally independent from one another with no interference of any kind.
Remain Campaigners often say try to associate Donald Trump with Brexit, knowing that President Trump is deeply unpopular with some of those voters who also voted for Brexit. By linking Donald Trump with Brexit, and promoting an unpopular message, they will eventually alienate the economic markets of America; the next most important trading block for the UK is, therefore, the European Union, and they have managed to keep us tied in.
If the Conservative Government were genuinely committed to Brexit, they would not be betraying our fishermen. Instead, they would be preparing to take back our full 200-mile exclusive fishing zone around the coastline, as is our international right under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea- instead of simply taking back control of 10 miles off our shore.
The truth is that around 60% of the Conservative Party campaigned to remain inside the European Union anyway! With this fact in mind, should it come as any surprise that spineless Politicians have yet again put their own interests before those of the UK? From the other UK Political Parties, however, the picture becomes even bleaker: many people do not know where Labour stands on the European Union issue- though many of the Labour Leadership want to remain inside the Single Market and Customs Union, which is leaving in a way even less than the Conservatives are intending to. The Liberal Democrats are openly calling for a second referendum to overturn Brexit entirely, the Green Party wishes to continue the Free Movement of people and the other nationalistic parties of Scotland and Wales also want to overturn the result of leaving the European Union- all of these parties wishing to openly betray the democratic will of the referendum. The only single party which has maintained a consistent position on the European Union issue, and persistently, over many years, campaigned to leave has been UKIP. UKIP always was, and still is, the only hope to properly leave the European Union and I fear that unless the British public wakes up to the same establishment which has for years been decimating this country by stealth, Brexit may become little more than a propaganda term with no real change. UKIP forced the Conservative Party to give an EU referendum in the first place, and now only UKIP can achieve the real Brexit- really leaving the European Union, all layers in its entirety- that simply no other party has the interest in providing. The United Kingdom needs a strong UKIP, and without it, our very identity as a nation is forever in danger of being lost to the depths of history.
Nathan is the Chairman of Young Independence.