Tuesday is the start of the final battle over the Brexit civil war as Parliament returns after its summer recess. Before looking at the potential outcomes it's worth a refresh as to how this bloodless civil war has unfolded and to review the various battles to date.
- The Insurgency and the Brexit Referendum.
Thanks to Nigel’s Farage and UKIP, which was drawing away conservative voters, Cameron under advice from his chancellor George Osbourne (who thought that a strong economy would sway the matter) agreed to a public referendum to settle the matter of in or out of the EU, once and for all. This was a major victory for the Brexiteers who had moved the decision from the establishment to the people.
- The Brexiteers win the first battle of the referendum
During what we have described as a very British civil war, the establishment, in the form of the Remainers, lost to the public vote during the referendum despite using every form of government agency, now known as Project Fear, to shape and induce the outcome they expected. The elites failed by a whopping 52% to 48% in the biggest electoral turnout in British history. The matter seemed to be settled once and for all and Brexit assured. However no one expected the Establishment would fight back with every tool at its disposal,seeking to undermine the democratic process.
- The establishment plays dead and recoups
Having lost the first two battles the establishment regrouped by playing dead.The fightback started when rather than electing Boris as their leader (through nefarious internal machinations, and the betrayal of Gove) the Conservatives crowned a Remainer as PM, with many knowing full well that as a Remainer May would not facilitate Britain’s departure, despite numerous public assurances. May then called an election during which the main parties all publicly announced that they would respect the referendum result and Britain would leave. However May’s complete lack of personality and credentials as a Remainer destroyed the Conservatives majority, setting the scene for complex political dynamics in Parliament that would frustrate Brexit. However in light of post-election commitments to Brexit by both parties, Parliament agreed to renounce article 50 and that if no deal was done they would by default leave on March 31st. Once more the scene appeared set for a clear path to Brexit enshrined in law, on the surface at least!
- The Establishment fights back with the battle of the Irish Backstop
May started negotiations by ruling out a no-deal and in so doing offered Britain’s neck to Barnier at the first encounter. The EU side then went further to ensure that Britain was shackled and diminished forever and agreed on the Irish backstop. The product was an agreement that would turn Britain's war dead in their graves, as those who that had fought for our national integrity and paid the highest price. Even a leave orientated parliament could not agree to her unacceptable deal. So out went May as the worst leader since King John.
- The Brexiteers take the Conservative Party (The turning point of the war)
Thanks to the formation of the Brexit Party and its success at the European elections the Conservatives were forced to elect the one man whose Brexit credentials could trump Nigel Farage and also win a general election. And thus the Conservative Party and the power of the Government moved into the hands of Boris and the Brexiteers. For the first time, the Brexiteers controlled the high ground and the levers of power. A victory that almost has guaranteed that Britain will leave on October the 31st 2019.
- The Battle of Parliament (the Remainers last stand)
Boris inherited a weak position in the house with a slim majority and a group of die-hard Remainers desperate to have their way. The Remainers made their first play when cross-party coalition of some 140 MPs publically stated that they were determined to stop a no-deal. Boris knew that as long as the EU thought parliament would stop a no-deal, there was no way that he could get the EU to re-negotiate May's unacceptable deal. So taking inspiration from Churchill's incredibly tough decision to attack the French fleet at Mer el Kebir, to ensure the Royal Navy's supremacy in the Mediterranean sea. Boris prorogued Parliament by an extra four days in additions to the normal term for the rising for party's conferences. Although legal and constitutional, this was a clear statement of intent to the EU that there was a serious risk of a no-deal so that they should start negotiating. Then on Saturday the 30th Barnier threw his political hand grenade, by saying that the Irish backstop would not be changed. By doing so he was specifically manipulating Parliament knowing that it would insight the Remainers to do their damnedest to stop a no-deal. So the scene is set for the last stand of the Remainers this week. So what outcome do we expect?
- The Battle Ground is Parliament with its preponderance of remain MPs who do not represent the majority of the population's wishes. Also, Parliament is led by the Commons Speaker John Bercow who described the proroguing of Parliament as a constitutional outrage. However there is inaccuracy and hypocrisy in his words and actions as he has departed from the long-held tradition of being impartial as the speaker to allow all views to be heard equally. Instead he has set himself up as an alternative power base seeking to actively and relentlessly support the Remainers cause.
- Who has the high ground? Brexit is enshrined in law that Britain will leave the EU on the 31st of October. So Boris and the Brexitiers have the high ground and all they have to do is beat off the attacks as they come.
- Who are the real Rebels? Well let us be very clear that it is the Brexiteers who represent the expansive right-brained energy of change, whilst the Remainers are the left-brained establishment. As such the rebels are very clearly the Conservative Brexiteers who have fought an asymmetric battle and now gained the upper hand against a much bigger, if not ponderous and predictable opposition. The rebel leader Hammond typifies a left-brained leader similar to May, without empathy or emotional intelligence so vital in connecting with the electorate and fellow Mps.
- What do the Remainers stand for? To be clear they seek to overturn the democratic will of the people and to block a no deal. In so doing reverse the referendum result and keep Britain in the EU to maintain the status quo on the top echelons of British society, rather than create an outcome that would benefit the whole of British society.
- Who has the natural advantage of leadership? The tables have been reversed and it is the Remainers who have now been banished and reduced to a resistance movement. As a left-brain movement, the Remainers just do not have the strategic thought process to win this asymmetrical last stage battle. So the odds on this basis are firmly in Boris’s favour. More so because Boris has harnessed government to his and his teams right-brained lateral strategies, maximising the impact of each movement on the chessboard towards checkmate.
- What is Remainers Strategy? The last throw of the dice has been to cast themselves as the rebels using the so-called threat to democracy of proroguing of Parliament! The reality is the Boris has extended the rise for only four days. However, they are trying to make it appear as if they (the Remainers) are the last best hope for democracy and are defending Parliaments sovereign rights. But this can only be described hypocritical and laced with projection as remaining in the EU would have guaranteed the loss to parliament’s sovereignty and control. Also to be clear Parliament as a body was designed to represent the people and thus has never had the legitimacy to overrule the popular will; as clearly expressed by the majority on the 2016 referendum to leave the EU are positioning themselves. The Remainers have a very limited time to deploy their only two strikes.
- There is no doubt that the hardcore Remainers inside the Conservative Party under Hammond will consider voting against the government if they can stop a no-deal. Boris’s warning that in so doing they will be deselected may deter many, but with a working majority of just one it is unlikely that Boris will win all of them to his cause and so in all probability he will lose any votes in the house.
- The first is legislation to block Article 50. Whilst this would pass the house of Parliament it could be blocked and or delayed in the House of Lords such that it could not be enacted before October 31st. Even if a bill is passed it does not mean that the Government has to enact it.
- The second is a vote of no confidence; Boris could either ignore this vote (as the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 may give him wriggle room) to delay a general election until after October 31st.
- The Conclusion
Overall Boris has demonstrated a powerful intention to leave and follow through on his commitment, by the proroguing of Parliament. Boris is bold and has a very lateral right brained team at No. 10 who have gamed out the battle ahead in detail and no doubt has prepared some surprises for the opposition. Critically Boris also has the full resources of Government at his disposal, which he is using to it fullest extent. With Brexit enshrined in law for October the 31st the Remainers will have to dislodge Boris from the high ground, knowing that if they force him into an election and he commits to a no deal outcome Nigel Farage will join forces and victory will be inevitable against an ineffectual Corbyn Labour Party. This will in effect combine the two right-wing forces of British politics who will inevitably win a large majority. In conclusion Brexit is inevitable- and so is an election result with a Conservative/Brexit Party majority. One could go even further to postulate that the proroguing of Parliament has forced the Tory Remainers into the open where they can be deselected and the party cleared once and for all of the old moribund establishment energy that chooses not to adapt and change in line with the nations needs of a rapidly changing world. This will then set the scene for a post-Brexit Government and a Conservative Party with a majority of the house that is dedicated to taking the full opportunities provided in a post-Brexit world to carve out a new and expansive path for Britain, as described in our Vision Global Britain 2025 campaign.
The below article, which is an excellent perspective on Brexit, is well worth reading.
Why Hasn't Brexit Happened?
Posted: August 15, 2019
This article appeared in The Clarment institute : Volume XIX, Number 3, Summer 2019
By: Christopher Caldwell