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Labour’s flawed Brexit policy

This from Paul Cawthorne in Italy, an economist, international consultant and long-term member of Reboot Britain. Image by Patricia Paton, Editor Bylines Scotland, from the related article Hard Labour, which you shoud read in conjunction with this piece.

Labour’s current “Make Brexit Work” policy is seriously flawed and, at best, will have no positive or negative impacts on their immediate electoral prospects. Labour is going to win power because the Tories are imploding after 14 damaging years (including Brexit) and Labour are now more trusted on all the key bread-and-butter issues (the NHS, the economy etc). Labour will win the general election despite, not because of, its unnecessary “no rejoining” red lines. If Starmer left the door open to rejoining the single market and customs union he would still be winning the election by a large margin.

1. Poor advice based on outdated (2019) focus groups and internal polling data.

2. Overestimation of the enduring support for a hard Tory Brexit in the so-called Red Wall. Confirmed by John Curtice.

3. Underestimation of the the impact of Brexit’s evident failure on public opinion. See also The Sun’s reaction to the £5 Billion wasted on border checks just yesterday.

4. Underestimation of the impact of demographic changes on the electorate.

5. Overblown fear of the reaction of Tory tabloids to any perceived watering down of Brexit. See The Sun yesterday and the Telegraph.

6. Misplaced belief that “Make Brexit Work” will be a convincing winning 3-word slogan in 2024.

7. Nostalgic belief that Labour is still essentially a “working class” party and needs to prioritise at all costs the views and prejudices of these traditional “core supporters”.

See also Tectonic Plates

See also Blank Canvas

See also Hard Labour

The run up to an election is a critical time to influence politicians. Make sure you tell your Labour MP or candidate that your support is conditional on a change on policy.

Share relevant articles that accord with Paul’s analysis.

Expect better. Remainers are all too often on the back foot.

I ambushed Keir Starmer this morning (23.05.24) at Gillingham Football ground with a message about Brexit and Rejoining the EU. It went down rather well with Labour activists. A few locals scowled as is normal in the area when Brexit is mentioned. My message was short as there are always just a few seconds to make your point in such circumstances : “Brexit is a game of two halves. Let’s make sure Mr Starmer is not on the losing side in the Euros”.

Hannibal Lecter Brexit T-Shirt
A warning from the future for Keir Starmer.
Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

The Labour Party knocked on my door at the weekend. An extremely pleasant man began the canvassing by introducing himself and then asked me if I had any local issues that were troubling me. I replied with one word : BREXIT. I also apologised later on for telling him things he probably did not want to hear. He seemed fine with that and our conversation was cordial. Some of the hoops we jumped through are here for the record.

I began by explaining that I was finding it hard to vote for a Brexit party and revealed that I knew some senior Labour people who had told me that they would commence Rejoining in 2032. I explained that nobody would know what Brexit was by then and, in any case, the damage wreaked by Brexit would be mostly complete and much of it irreversible. I went through my usual argument that growth was for the birds, with a 4.5% resilience knock from Brexit, akin to trying to swim the English Channel with a 4.5 kg block of concrete around one’s neck.

Brexit resilence concrete
Brexit resilence concrete

He listened carefully and then tried a few gentle pieces of pushback:

Well the Conservatives won’t reverse Brexit” … I replied that I was not so sure, citing the fact that there was evidence of incremental movement to undo some of the worst elements of Johnson’s Brexit deal via the Windsor framework and our rejoining the Horizon science scheme. I went to point out that David Cameron had not come back to politics for a game of tennis and that one scenario would see Cameron pivoting towards the centre leaving the ERG loons in a boat on the Channel. I pointed him towards our articles Tectonic Plates and Cameron.

Read Tectonic Plates

He went on to say “But the Tories will pivot towards the far right” … Again, I had to disagree, citing my appearance on James ‘O Brien, where I said that the votes were in the centre and that whilst it may appear that the far right are in ascendancy, this was only due to the loudest voices on MSM, such as Braverman and was not supported by the numbers. He nodded. I went on to say that Labour now have a major PR problem, having decided to partner with someone who supports sex pests and who relishes the thought of drowning children in the English Channel.

He found it very hard to argue against this recent development with Nathalie Elf Thick, but did ask me “What was Keir Starmer supposed to do?” … I replied that he should have simply thanked her for her kind offer and politely declined. Elphicke’s arrival in Labour offers them few advantages but also may cause them significant problems. I have wondered if she has actually been sent in under a false flag. We shall see. It seems rather fishy that the Tories instantly denounced her. Smells like a double bluff to me.

My canvasser’s parting shot was that he’d put me down as a floating voter, after I said that I may even have to hold my nose and vote Tory if Labour would not change its position on Brexit. I explained that Brexit was at the heart of many of the things he was hoping I might talk about (cost of living, NHS, migration etc.) and showed him my Brexit iceberg in the window of my house. It was a bit like doing a slightly nerdy keynote address with a poster in my window instead of a PowerPoint visual !!

Brexit Iceberg
The Brexit Iceberg.

I am hoping that he’ll report all of this back up the channels to Labour strategists. I was really impressed at our dialogue and how well he listened and constructively challenged me.

On the other hand, I heard from one of our group that Labour are banning posts on their Facebook groups that mention words like Erasmus, Horizon, ULEZ, Brexit etc. Labour are just as bad as the Tories in terms of censorship. I’m pleased to say that this has not extended to my local fb group, although the levels of misinformation are beyond comparison in the group. Some examples are below:

There are still industrial levels of misinformation out there. Don’t be like Steve.

Never give your voting intention away as you lose power to influence policy by doing so. I am still contemplating standing a candidate for the Rejoin party or possibly a cat again.

Buy us a coffee

Not grasping the nettle. Sir Keir Starmer. Image by P Paton.

Faulty Towers

I’ll keep this simple. Labour insiders tell me that Keir Starmer will ‘get round’ to rejoining the EU in 2032 when nobody’s looking. Here’s why this is a unicorn to placate Labour ideologues and silence debate. It is 2023 now. Cast your mind forward 9 years ….

By 2032, few will remember what Brexit was, let alone care to do anything about it

Even in 2023 Brexit has disappeared from the news cycle and from public discourse. The poor attendance of around 5000 at the Rejoin march is an indicator of ‘Learned Helplessness’ and ‘Brexit fatigue’ amongst the general public, who either believe that Brexit is done or that we can’t do anything about it. Climate denial, bully dogs, ULEZ, mythical meat taxes, Holly Willoughby, potholes, HS2 and a stream of Tory gaslighting has effectively clogged the media channels and occupied the minds of people who are attracted to the next shiny bright object in the news. We fall for it every time.

By 2032, Horizon type deals and other ‘mini pay as EU go’ deals will reduce the pool of people who still think that Brexit is an issue

See our article Pay as EU go for more on Rishi Sunak’s strategy to pick single issues off one at a time and thus dilute the community of people interested in the underlying issue of Brexit.

By 2032, the damage of Brexit will be complete, much of it irreversible, thus little point in rejoining

For example, once the car industry leaves Britain due to rules of origin issues, they will not rush back just because a rejoin strategy is in place. Business relocations are big decisions etc. By 2027 our premier position in financial services will have declined as companies relocate or take key staff out of Brexit Britain. And so on. Like a chemical reaction, some are irreversible. Labour know all of this but fail to act. Even Prof Anand Menon is making excuses for Keir Starmer based on ‘here and now’ research. The word Brexit may have been silenced by all the political parties, media and people not wishing to re-open family wounds but all the products of Brexit are being talked about per our Brexit iceberg. Importantly, Brexit won’t go away if we keep not talking about it. It will remain a festering sore in many families for a generation until ‘gran and grandad Brexit’ have spun off this mortal coil.

The Brexit Iceberg
The Brexit Iceberg.

By 2032 the EU may well have worked around us

This is not an insignificant point. Although there is value on both sides from rejoining at this time, there will be precious little socio-economic capital in the EU accepting us back in 2032. Just the much larger asset of political capital for the EU … they would be able to day that “the prodigal son returned”. However, the EU may well have speeded up accession of other nations seeking to join and may feel that Brexit Britain are just not worth the trouble. As a business person I fully understand that sometimes people choose the easier paths rather than the more difficult ones.

By 2032, our divergence from EU standards will make it technically more difficult to rejoin

Although this is perhaps the smallest issue, it makes the whole matter less tractable and politicians prefer to do easy things rather than difficult things.

The time is now. Join the True and Fair party

Only the True and Fair party have a clear position on Brexit in England. See Rejoin the EU.

Write to your Labour MP with the above points. The long game began with Jeremy Corbyn. It must end NOW.

From the Vault – Lib Dem conference feat Madeleina Kay and Steve Bray
Red Brexit Blue Brexit

Red Brexit, Blue Brexit

No doubt this will make me unpopular, but I cannot and will not vote for a Labour party who wish to maintain the illusion that Brexit can be made to work as Keir Starmer declared yesterday. By turning their backs on the greatest socio-economic, political, legal, ethical and environmental catastrophe of our age Labour are mortgaging our children’s futures, the very opposite of what Keir Starmer claims he wants:

From The Guardian – click the extract to read the article.

My Labour chums tell me “shh, Keir has a secret plan to rejoin in 2032“. I’m sorry, but this lacks any sense of pragmatism for three major reasons:

1. By 2032, nobody will know what Brexit was. Micro Pay as EU go deals by Sunak et al will mean that the number of people caring about Brexit will get smaller and smaller. The end losers will be 68 million people without rights to live and work in the EU.

2. The economic and social damage to UK will be deep and mostly irreversible like an irreversible chemical reaction. For example, the bleed of financial services away from UK. The final destruction of the UK car industry. Fishing. Farming. Scotland and Northern Ireland’s departure from UK. and so on.

3. Our divergence from EU standards will be so great as to make it much more difficult to join anew.

Other optimistic Labour colleagues tell me that “Keir is simply saying what people want to hear. Once he gets into power he will change his mind“. They cannot explain how the Mail, Express and Sun will not eat him for breakfast for being no better than Boris Johnson as a liar. None can explain the difference between a red and blue Brexit.

Brexit's compared
The only good Brexit is a dead Brexit.

Starmer’s proposal appears to be based on a fear of facing down a few red wall racists and maybe some of the remaining hard left in his party. He ignores the vast majority of his membership and of course 63% of the nation who say that Brexit has Failed. This is a morally and pragmatically bankrupt position and must not be rewarded by voting Labour in a General Election.

Labour ignores its membership. Click image to compare.

Granted, the Tories are awful, but one cannot put a cigarette paper between Starmer’s position on Brexit and Sunak’s. Politics is so often the choice between the lesser of two evils rather than something aspirational and pragmatic. This is why I shall be supporting Gina Miller’s True and Fair party and hoping that we reach a hung parliament, given that the Tories have already destroyed themselves. A hung Parliament with a rainbow coalition offers the best chance to end the Brexit nightmare and all of its products as represented by our Brexit iceberg:

The Brexit Iceberg
The Brexit Iceberg. Keir Starmer says that he wishes to work on root causes. All of the issues and more above the water line have their roots partially or wholly in Brexit.

Putting power before the people.

Write to your Labour MP or prospective candidate with this article. You may also wish to mention the Bylines piece Hard Labour and anything else you can muster. Demand a EU turn on Starmer’s position in exchange for your vote.

Help us make a stand in the Mid Beds by-election by giving Gina Miller’s True and Fair party a decent share of the vote. It’s only a by-election and it will make Labour (and the Lib Dems) think really hard about their position on Brexit. We need help on the ground with canvassing and social media amplification.

Please support our work

The Disney Longstocking prison ship
Although the Tories are truly awful, it does not do to preserve the binary tryst that delivered Brexit.

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner

I like Angela Rayner. As some who started life in a council house, who pulled myself up by my bootstraps, with a wife from Manchester, I identify with Angela’s straight talk on many things. I was therefore even more dismayed to hear her spinning myths and lies on LBC this week about Brexit. Angela came up with many of the Brexiteer arguments in this interview. Here are some of her ‘whoppers’.

The will of the people must be respected

Horseshit. We are fast approaching the point where 70% of people in Britain believe that Brexit has failed. Angela does not understand that democracy is NOT a project. It is a process. She would not even be an MP if democracy were a project as women would not have a vote or be able to participate in society. We would be more like Saudi Arabia under Angela’s view of democracy.

We can’t just rejoin

Bollocks. Whilst it’s true that all takes time, the only thing preventing us from starting the process is a backbone in politics. Read our article on the matter at Byline Times.

I met with four Labour Councillors campaigning in my area on Sunday. All said they fundamentally disagreed with the exec. Are they prepared to do anything about it? Of course not. We need ‘different’ and not more of the same. In contrast, Gina Miller leads the only party in Britain who unequivocally favour rejoining the EU. It is possible and need take no longer than 3 years.

Join the True and Fair party today

We can’t rejoin on the same terms

This was perhaps Angela’s cleverest deception. By not being specific, she allowed people to fill in the dots by themselves … for example “oh we’ll lose the pound, Shengen, pints”, and many other myths put forward by the Brexiteers. These feed the Labour project fear narrative and Angela should really know better.

It is true that Old Albion will need to learn some appropriate humility as part of the joining process, instead of the English exceptionalism which characterised the Brexit vote. However, it is unwise to place more constraints in the way of success than is necessary before negotiations begin. When I reflect on the conversation I observed with Barnier, I know that rejoining is possible. Yes, it will be difficult and everything will be on the table. If Britain decided that it must keep the pound for example, I’m sure it would be considered. Since all is a trade, the EU may come with some other things we may have to move on to keep the pound, perhaps in the finance domain. For example, we have just seen concessions on Northern Ireland traded with changes to the Erasmus scheme. Nonetheless, what we must do is establish the principle of rejoining and political will to do so. Once that is secured, we must then leave the negotiators to do the work, as we did in the Brexit negotiations.

Dodging the Brexit bullets.

HARD FACTS – click to read more

Only 18% of British people believe Brexit is a success

Joining anew is both possible and desirable

The terms of joining come down to skilful negotiation

Remainers must demand better of Labour

Labour run the risk of losing if they do not address Brexit

Find all our stuff.
Sunakered

Brexit Chaos

In the wake of the first Labour local council victory in Medway since 1998, I draw some post-election consequences for the Lib Dems, Greens, SNP, Labour and Conservatives. Undoubtedly, this was a disaster for the Tories and Brexit in terms of what was predicted. The Tories lost 1061 local council seats. The question is, is this enough to get the Tories done and Brexit undone?

My part in the Tories’ decline

At a personal level, I was delighted to play my part in the Tories’ decline in Medway, through long term campaigning, mass Brexorcisms in pubs, cafes, supermarkets, bus stops etc., and doorstepping in Tory voting areas over the last few weeks. My family loaned 8 votes from my family to Labour last week and some to the Lib Dems and Greens. However, we shall not repeat this performance in a General Election, unless Labour turn on Brexit and Europe. I have put their Councillors on notice to this effect.

My Tory MP Rehman Chishti became so desperate about the decline in his party’s fortunes that he decided to attack Suella Braverman about her recent demonisation of Pakistani Muslims in The Observer. This is significant, in so far as Mr Chishti has an impeccable record in voting with the prevailing cabinet. His unbridled attacks appear to have sprung from sheer desperation and a desire to pick up the Pakistani vote in my area rather than any serious conviction that Braverman is an evil spirit who was herself an immigrant. He failed. Given that the Tories have a stronghold in my area, I plan to stand an independent candidate in Gillingham and Rainham and need your help to do this NOW. Please click on the link below and back us.

Get the Tories out in 2024

Lib Dem renaissance

Perhaps the story less covered in the mainstream media is that of the Lib Dems renaissance in last week’s elections. The Conservatives losses were fairly evenly distributed between Labour and the Lib Dems, with the Greens taking a very good proportion of votes as well. If this were to continue, the Lib Dems could find themselves as Kingmakers in a General Election along with the SNP. The Tories and Labour like the binary system which both believe they profit from. But we could find ourselves in a rainbow coalition in 2024. A lot can happen between now and then. Coalitions mean that politicians have to do things they really don’t like doing : listening to opposing views ; coming up with better decisions ; occasional compromises and so on. It’s all good with me. The people may just be the net winners in such a system … ?

The big winners here were the Lib Dems and Greens, with the losers being the far right (Tories) and the far right parties.

Green revolt

The Green party cleaned up, gaining a very respectable 241 seats in England and taking control of one Council in Brexity Mid Suffolk completely. Increasing awareness of sewage, climate catastrophe and possibly a protest vote against the far right parties aka Tories and UKIP may all have contributed to this. Let’s hope this continues into a General Election. Check our film out, based on our music composition ‘How do we want to be remembered‘.

Climate Crisis is the number one issue facing our planet.

How do we want to be remembered?

Rishi Sunakered

Sunak is under pressure from the ERG to go further right with his policies. As a holding statement on The BBC on Friday, Sunakered simply repeated his five priorities. He claims that people who cannot afford to eat were more interested in stopping the boats. Even James O’Brien is not sure what Sunak means by lurching to the far right. O’Brien frivolously suggested on LBC that it might involve bringing back the birch. I’d add bear bating, the rack and the drowning of witches, to take us back fully to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s 18th Century Brexit idyll.

An 18th Century Tory Synthpop Trance Floor dance groove we composed.

I called James to discuss Sunak’s options. Paradoxically, I suggested that Sunak would be better advised to move towards the centre ground of politics to pull the Swordaunt from the stone. James and I riffed away to my catchphrase ‘Sunackered’, which I coined in the summer of 2022. James said that Sunackered (or Sunakered) is worthy of a Daily Mail headline ‘if some guy wasn’t going to wear his mum’s hat and sit on a chair on Saturday’. Listen into to our riotous dialogue at LBC James O’Brien. #Sunackered is trending on Twitter as I write this.

Sunakered
I coined the phrase at the end of Summer 2022. Sunakered is free to use by the populist press. Please download the album to support our continuing work to banish Brexit bullshit.

Early indications suggest that Rishi Sunakered listened to my advice on LBC. Yesterday, Kemi Bad Enoch Powell announced that the Government has rowed back on its promise to have a bonfire of EU laws, 98% of which British politicians helped to make! Unusually, Jacob Rees-Mogg has called Sunak out as a traitor. Bad Enoch was sanctioned by TWFKASLH (The worm formerly known as Sir Lyndsay Hoyle) yesterday. Hoyle is a man who has allowed all sorts of bad behaviour to pass in the House of Commons but decided that enough was enough with the Nigerian Brexit fraudster. Mogg never calls the Government out. He even backs rapists. His outburst on the bonfire of EU law is clearly a smokescreen to get more than 20 Tory signatures on a letter to shaft Rich Tea Sunakered. I confidently predict that the approx 600 laws to be incinerated will be the ones with no large scale impact or connectivity to the main body of EU law. In other words, it will look as if we have taken back control of our laws, but, in reality, nothing will have changed, unless you indulge in some arcane Brexity manufacturing processes. For example, making car engines from English oak, impact-destructing cricket bats or pepper grinders without holes. Otto English sums up one of the many contradictions:

Arse Nicked by Brexit

And, once again, the ERG are fighting like cats in a sack. Andrew Bridgen has split the fascist parties by joining Lozza Fox’s Reshame party instead of Ricardo Tice’s Rebjorn Again party. It’s all good. Rishi is doing exactly what I predicted in order to save the Tory party from Brexit oblivion. Next he will steal Keir Starmer’s clothes, see Hard Labour. Perhaps Rishi is not Sunakered after all?

Sunackered or Sunakered – The theme tune – we were the first to convert the catchphrase into an EDM dance groove in 2022!!

Go now

In his weakened state, Sunak now needs some scapegoats. Given that the Select Committee has not yet reported on Boris Johnson’s multiple illegal, immoral and indecent behaviours, a convenient distraction would be for this committee to make a strong verdict against Johnson soon, such as full suspension from parliament. Accordingly, this would allow Sunak to blame the current malaise in the Conservative party on Johnson and Truss’ catastrophic mishandling of the country. It would also allow him to exorcise Johnson’s ghost without having to do anything himself. This is the way that Sunak likes to handle his HR decisions, through outsourcing to other agencies.

If Johnson is suspended for more than 10 days, The Rejoin Party have a plan to issue a recall petition to remove him from office and break the spaffer’s spell for good. Please join them in readiness.

Voter Suppression

The other big news about the election was voter id and voter suppression. For more on this read our full article on the subject. Early indications suggest that this will have disadvantaged specific demographic areas, such as ethnic minorities, the disabled and young people. The Government now runs the Electoral Commission and they decided not to record any data from polling stations. Correspondingly, it is quite likely that there is serious under-reporting on the extent of voter suppression in these elections. Edwin Hayward reports on over 70 case studies of voter suppression. They are almost certainly the very small tip of a very large electoral fraud iceberg.

These elections have demonstrated that the voter id system is totally unfit for purpose. I made my own small protest to the Electoral Commission. Above all else, please make your voice heard. Add your name to the call for action at electoral reform.

Say no to voter suppression

The Scottish position

Although the local elections are a hammer blow for the Tories, they are not catastrophic. Labour needed to reach the magic number of 40% vote share in these elections to win a General Election outright. They won approximately 35%. This explains why Labour want to take 30 seats in Scotland. I predict an informal coalition of aggression between Labour and Conservative to viciously attack the SNP on any agenda and exploit the change of leadership. Admittedly, the SNP’s transition could have been smoother. However, I believe we will see some very bad behaviour from both Labour and Conservatives in the coming weeks and months. They must be dealt with accordingly.

That said, the SNP’s problems are temporary. The essence of SNP support and the values underpinning them will be largely unchanged by a few sensational tabloid headlines in the longer term. For comparison, I note that Boris Johnson’s many breaches of the law did not attract police tents in his garden and officers in fancy dress Hazmat suits. Added to this, Brexit delivers a daily stream of bad news, both in the short, medium and long term. Robert Peston reported that 86% of young people wish to rejoin the EU. In consequence, Starmer’s position on Brexit is ultimately untenable. I reported on Labour’s position on Brexit in the previous article “Hard Labour“. If Labour’s results are not good enough to win a General Election outright, a hung parliament still seems a likely outcome of the current optimism about the local elections.

Read our page on Scotland