Suella Fernandez: She chairs a secret group of Brexit-supporting MPs [Image: Rex].
People who still argue fervently for the UK’s departure from the European Union still haven’t got to grips with this simple fact:
The leaders of the biggest ‘Leave’ campaigns didn’t want to free the UK from EU interference; they simply want all the power for themselves.
All their talk about freeing us from an undemocratic power bloc is nonsense.
They want to reduce our access to democracy still further, ensuring that they make all the decisions and the rest of us have no choice but to do as we are told – without recourse to the international checks and balances offered by the EU.
Hence the proposal by Michael Gove – a member of the group – to strip UK workers of the protections offered by the European Working Time Directive.
It should be no surprise that Suella Fernandez, who wrote a ridiculous propaganda piece on Brexit in The Independent which This Writer rubbished last week, chairs this secretive organisation.
They want to distract us with inconsequentialities like the colour of our passports.
Go on believing that this nonsense matters, if you want.
Alternatively, wake up and recognise your oppressors.
Six leading members of Theresa May’s cabinet are paid-up subscribers of the secretive European Research Group, the hard-line anti-EU caucus of Conservative MPs who have serially refused to publish their membership list.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, Penny Mordaunt, the newly-promoted defence secretary, David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, and Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, have all used official expenses claims to pay for “ERG subscriptions” over the last 12 months.
Stewart Jackson, who lost his Peterborough seat in June’s general election, and is now chief of staff to David Davis at the Department for Exiting the European Union, also used his official expenses to pay for ERG services during the last years.
Five other subscriptions from former Tory cabinet ministers and whips, plus the current chair of the ERG, means this group alone have claimed more than £32,000 from the public purse.
Among the myriad of amendments to the current European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, Liberal Democrat MPs are seeking a second EU referendum to reverse the first and stay in the European Union. This is a misguided and deeply divisive plan. Misguided because it misunderstands the EU and our EU partners and divisive because it democratically pitting MPs against the electorate.
No it isn’t. We are told that 17 million people voted Leave – a little more than a quarter of the UK’s population. Of these, many did so because they believed the lie that leaving the EU would provide £350 million of extra funding for the National Health Service every week. Others believed the lie that the UK would be better-off. But what has happened? Just the announcement that we were leaving caused a near-catastrophic fall in the value of the pound; companies are leaving the UK; and even Brextremist Iain Duncan Smith has admitted that trading conditions will be extremely difficult.
Some ‘Leave’ voters are hard-liners – Brextremists like Ms Fernandez who want to be out as a matter of principle. For them, it has nothing to do with the benefits or drawbacks of membership; it is about national pride (misplaced, in the opinion of This Writer). But many, who voted ‘Leave’ on the basis of the false arguments, now know they were deceived. And they want a chance to put that right.
Brextremists like Ms Fernandez know that they won’t be able to fool these people twice. That’s why they oppose calls for a second referendum.
Firstly, holding a referendum where one of the options is to rejoin the EU makes little sense.
True. We haven’t left the EU so we can’t rejoin it. The option in the referendum wold be not to leave in the first place.
One suggestion, a referendum on a “final deal” where rejection would require the UK Government to seek to stay in the EU, is deeply flawed. There may be voters who vote to reject a final deal for many reasons: either too much say for the EU or potentially not enough say for the EU.
The amount of influence the EU has after Brexit has nothing to do with it. People would vote to reject a final deal because they don’t believe the people of the UK would be better-off. One reason they might have this belief is the behaviour of the Tories who are running Brexit. Many of them seem to want to use it to strip UK citizens of their working and/or human rights. I wonder what view Ms Fernandez holds with regard to this.
Rejecting an agreement with the EU cannot be interpreted as a sign the electorate wish to stay in the EU.
True. But nobody suggested that – apart from Ms Fernandez.
It would simply mean they reject the deal. What is the Government supposed to do with such an outcome?
Seek a better deal, of course. A vote on a proposed Brexit deal is a vote on that – not on Brexit itself. I wonder why Ms Fernandez seeks to conflate the two.
If the Government is forced to seek to prolong our EU membership there is no guarantee the EU27 would or could agree.
Again, that is not what is suggested.
Seeking to rejoin the EU misunderstands the dynamics of the EU.
We have not left; we cannot rejoin.
There never was a status quo. In the last year we have seen many new visions for a future EU. The powerful German leader of the Social Democrats, Martin Schulz, has taken the opportunity to call for a “United States of Europe” while President Macron of France has called for a new Government of the euro area. If we tried to rejoin the EU it would be a very different EU and one where the UK would be even more out of place.
As we have not left, this is nonsense. And who says the UK is out of place in the EU? Oh yes – Brextremists like Ms Fernandez.
Secondly, those arguing for a second referendum misunderstand the nature of the UK’s parliamentary democracy. David Cameron promised a referendum in 2013, and won the 2015 election on a manifesto commitment to a referendum. Parliament voted 544 to 53 to hold the referendum and later by 498 to 144 to notify the EU of our intention to leave.
Yes – Parliament voted to support the referendum because the 2015 election result suggested that this was what the people wanted. Of course, only 11.3 million people voted for the Conservatives who were proposing a referendum, but there you have it. Politicians are as prone to misinformation as anybody else.
And yes – Parliament voted to notify the EU of the intention to leave because that was the result of the referendum. It was only advisory, according to the man who devised it, but Parliament took it as the “will of the people”.
Afterwards, we heard that the vote was based on lies, interference by foreign powers, and contravention of electoral law. The suspicion of these things is enough to void the referendum result or at least suspend it until we know the facts, but Ms Fernandez doesn’t want you to think about that.
If that was not enough parliamentary involvement, 85 per cent of the electorate voted for parties committed to leaving the EU this year’s election.
Yes – based on a decision that was informed by lies. If the electorate had a chance to reconsider, and voted to remain, then these parties would take a different view.
The electorate’s and Parliament’s clear will is to leave the EU.
No, because polling is currently showing that the electorate’s clear will is to remain.
Which brings us back to the small group who do wish to reverse the referendum result.
At least 51 per cent of the UK public, according to the latest polling.
Why do they think there would be a different result?
Because they would not believe the lies of the ‘Leave’ campaign. Because this time, there would be a demand for every claim – by both sides – to be checked for factual accuracy and lies publicised prominently.
Some hold the unsavoury view that they only need to wait for older voters to die to overturn the result. Others believe they could ask the same question to a different electorate, including EU nationals or 16-18 year olds. Still more hold the distasteful view that somehow the electorate did not or were incapable of understanding what they were voting for. These views tell us more about the holders of them than they do about British society.
But most of us hold the view that a significant proportion of the electorate were conned into believing a pack of lies.
The fact that Ms Fernandez does not mention this tells us much about her.
There is no sign that the British people have changed their minds.
The most recent poll is a very clear sign that the British people have changed their minds and Ms Fernandez knows it. This is nothing but a lie.
Voters were subjected to threats of recession, WWIII and even the end of civilisation.
Hyperbole. We had threats of recession – and those threats have proved accurate. Growth has fallen by nearly a whole percentage point – and Brexit hasn’t happened yet.
Yet they still decided that, despite all that was said, they wished for our Parliament to make our own laws.
If this is true, then the referendum vote was certainly based on a lie. Parliament has always made its own laws. Any laws made by the European Parliament have always required ratification by the UK’s Parliament before being implemented in this country. Ms Fernandez, as a member of the UK Parliament, knows this – so she must also be lying.
The truth is the electorate were perfectly qualified and made a clear and informed choice.
The electorate made a clear choice, but the rest of the statement is a lie. The electorate would only have been qualified to make a choice if voters had been properly informed, but we now know that they weren’t.
We have a great opportunity to use Brexit to do things better.
If we pay attention to Ms Fernandez, we will merely be proving that we have learned nothing and will go on allowing our politicians to go about their business in the same corrupt way – lying to us in order to secure our support and then doing whatever they like, whether we like it or not.
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