End of transition: Brexiteers on Brexit – Part 3

Now we have left the Transition Period we asked Brexiteers if they feel Brexit is now complete, for their hopes and their predictions for the future. Part 3 below more (parts 4 and beyond) to follow….. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

“The 4½ year wait is miniscule in historic terms and will soon be forgotten. And what particularly pleases me is how Boris Johnson and his team have been able to claw back the amount of sovereignty they have from such a disastrous starting point bequeathed to them by Theresa May”

Crispin Williams local long term Brexit campaigner.

Did Brexit get done?  My short answer is yes.  If you had asked me on 23rd June 2016 if I would have been happy with the exit arrangements we now have, I would have ripped your arm off for them.

If you had asked me on 24th June 2016, I would have been disappointed with the 4½ year delay and the outcomes achieved.  If you had asked me in May 2017 or in the months before, I would have been delighted with the current outcome.

So, overall, I am very happy. The 4½ year wait is miniscule in historic terms and will soon be forgotten. And what particularly pleases me is how Boris Johnson and his team have been able to claw back the amount of sovereignty they have from such a disastrous starting point bequeathed to them by Theresa May.

It’s a long way from the perfect Brexit but, given the politics involved and the large minority of dissenters to the whole idea, it is realistically as good an outcome as we were ever likely to get.

How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms?  Ah, ‘hope’ versus ‘think’! I hope that we will widen our trading sphere, reduce bureaucracy and red tape, lower taxes to make the UK more attractive to invest in and invest the money saved in infrastructure projects that represent value for money. And control immigration so that all incomers are of genuine benefit to the country.

However, I worry that governments of all colours are inefficient, bureaucratically controlled and extremely wasteful of public money. If we can keep a government with the policies of the current one, we will come out much better off than before we left the EU, although probably not as well as we theoretically could. If, however, we get a Labour administration or even, in time, a Theresa-May type government, then I think things would back-slide to the point where we might as well have not left.

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next?  My initial answer is a negative one which is no Scottish independence. Although there seems to be an inevitable march towards demand for this, I cannot see how Scotland could operate as an independent nation; and if you think Brexit was complicated, just imagine how hard Scottish independence arrangements would be. Boris (or whoever) would need the very best negotiators to put Ms Sturgeon in her place as, for all her faults, she is a very shrewd politician.

In common with many people, I would like to see reform of the House of Lords. However, I am vehemently opposed to an elected chamber on the grounds that this would tend to mirror the lower house, it would lead to instability and, more pertinently, it would make it more party political. The Lords’ great strength is that its members can largely act on conscience without the worry of being deselected or voted out.

My suggestion is for members of the House of Lords to be selected by an appointment committee. This committee would be composed of ‘the great and the good’ by the position they hold in public life, not by personality. Thus, the holders of specific posts would automatically have a say in selection, whoever they may be.

Below I give some examples of the kind of positions that might comprise the appointment committee. As I say, these are just examples and there can be much further debate as to the final choice.

  • The Prime Minister and, say, three leading cabinet positions
  • The Leader of the Opposition and one other Opposition position
  • The Leader of any other party with X number of seats in the Commons
  • The Speaker of the House of Commons
  • The Speaker of the House of Lords
  • The First Minister of Scotland
  • The First Minister of Wales
  • The Mayor of London
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Prince of Wales
  • The Governor of the Bank of England
  • The General Secretary of the TUC
  • The Director-General of the CBI
  • The Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
  • The Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes

This would lead to a House of high quality people being elected by a committee with balanced views. Clearly, some of the above might also be Lords themselves.

The House of Lords would comprise 250 members, re-appointed on a staggered 10 year basis, with no restriction on the number of times a member could be re-appointed.

However, I would rather see the House of Lords remain as it is than become an elected chamber.

What do you think is next for the EU?  I think the EU will stagger on for a long while yet. It will attempt to hoover up as many peripheral nations into membership as it can. The Euro will continue to be propped up until this becomes totally unsustainable. The collapse of the Euro, combined with an increase in nationalist parties being elected to governments, will probably eventually result in the EU’s demise in its current form.

However, I believe that it is in the UK’s interests that the EU does survive for, now we are out of it, it does offer useful advantages in terms of collective co-operation with other countries and, particularly, security from conflicts.

“we are quite sure that the BREXIT was soon enough for GB to not get into an ever larger EU with more laws and much less freedom”

Friedrich Dominicus leader of Partei der Vernunft (Party of Reason) – the German Libertarians.

Did Brexit get done?  We surely hope so.

How do you think the U.K. should use the new found freedoms?  Don’t fall into “protection” mode. Keep your markets open and get your taxes down.

What do you think is next for the EU?  We don’t know really, we are running into a terrible debt (death) spiral. Covid is used to minimize freedom and to maximize what the governments are “allowed” to do. So we are quite sure that the BREXIT was soon enough for GB to not get into an ever larger EU with more laws and much less freedom.

“Make improvements to trade agreement with the Commonwealth and other African countries especially. Change some foreign policy especially towards Israel and Iran and other Middle Eastern counties. Talks with Dublin to broker better relationship with them”

Maureen Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance, GLA Candidate.

Did Brexit get done? Yes essentially, trade deal is not perfect but considering the unwillingness of Brussels to broker a mutually beneficial deal it is a better outcome than expected.

How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms?  Make improvements to trade agreement with the Commonwealth and other African countries especially. Change some foreign policy especially towards Israel and Iran and other Middle Eastern counties. Talks with Dublin to broker better relationship with them.  Give financial incentives for any British industry that needs to improve productivity and can create wealth for us by building new plant.

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next?  Reformation to House of Lords and proportional representation.

What do you think is next for the EU?  The UK success will incentivize more nations to leave. Also will need to refinance with major shortfall in their budget.

“For too long we have seen the rise and rise of the precautionary principle (better safe than sorry and just in case) with politically correct wokism stifling reasoned dissent and free speech”

Peter Sonnex Croydon Central Brexit Party Candidate GE2019.

Did Brexit get done?  Yes, legally. This ends the fight to achieve Brexit, leaving the peace to be won. I am mightily optimistic for our future as a global, generous, independent coastal nation.

Much of the government rhetoric is expressed in absolute terms, where it is clear our departure is conditional on significant alignment with institutions of the EU and the risk of an easy path to re-joining.

Practically, politically and subsequently, full sovereignty and control of money, laws, borders and fish were traded as an expedient to achieve the Trade and Cooperation Agreement – which goes much further than trade. Tariff and quota free trade is always the preferred trading understanding, though this should remain open for action in the national interest. With a £100Bn trade deficit with the EU, and wider trade opportunities opening up all the time – especially with Commonwealth Nations abandoned when we joined the EEC – we should not fear a tit-for-tat trade war; such are normal in adjustments to trade and diplomatic relations among sovereign equals acting in their own interests.

Of particular concern to me are:

  1. We did not leave the EU as one United Kingdom. The longer term workings of the Northern Ireland Protocol remain to be seen. I am reassured by the measured approach of the Northern Ireland Assembly and that the Protocol will be subject to review in four years’ time. There are opportunities and risks. Vital self-determination is preserved as are the workings and institutions of the Belfast Agreement – a bilateral agreement between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and no one else, it should be remembered;
  2. Defence, intelligence and security is less than autonomous for the UK. We know this well through our memberships with NATO, the United Nations and the 5-Eyes intelligence network. But, we remain bound to spending on EU Defence Programmes at least through our subscription to EU Horizon Europe. Even if we should refrain from becoming a troop contributing nation, where such may not be deemed to be in the national interest, we are still bound to funding defence, research, communications and other EU defence infrastructure – perhaps to further EU foreign policy with which we do not necessarily agree; Defence contracting remains bound by EU procurement laws. Tenders for UK defence contracts must be shared with the EU, even where this may be prejudicial to UK defence industry and jobs, perhaps even national security;
  3. The UK fishing industry has been let down. Intent to rebuild the UK fishing industry was never signalled during TCA negotiations. £100M to energise the industry is a lame sop;
  4. We remain bound, through the TCA hence international law, to the European Court of Human Rights. Though not an EU institution, the EHCR and the UK supporting legislation in the Human Rights Act have been counter to UK rights, responsibilities and immigration justice; and,
  5. As we leave the EU, in the TCA a raft of new bureaucratic institutions are created. Whilst there is no doubt negotiations will be ongoing, we must be vigilant to their motives and operation, and ensure transparency and parliamentary scrutiny.

Ultimately, we must continue to hold our elected representatives to account and to their word, exactly as I said I would when standing for the Brexit Party in 2019. I meant it.

The barometer on our Brexit future is expressed well by Brexit-Watch here:

https://www.brexit-watch.org/barometer-table

They assess the government’s performance on rhetoric and action, currently at 38% and 43% respectively.

If we do not trust our elected representatives, or do not like the direction they are taking us locally or nationally, we must change them. With so many available alternatives, I shall be advocating for people you can trust – so a vote other than for any established or establishment party currently represented it is then!

How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms?  Cancelling VAT on sanitary products and banning electro-pulse fishing on Brexit Day One were low hanging fruit, showing a lack of government ambition and boldness. Pulse fishing was already banned by the EU other than for “scientific purposes’. Banning supertrawlers would have signalled far greater intent, protecting our single biggest natural and sustainable resource. Fishing protection was, and remains, the acid test for Brexit if, practically, Brexit is to be other than in name only.

Particularly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, I would like to see aggressive moves on economic stimuli; reducing taxation and funding enabling national infrastructure, such as broadband,  nuclear energy (especially fusion energy), transportation, ports and housing.

Our parliamentarians, hitherto so used to EU initiatives, will be required to come up with their own. We can look to alternative media, such as Unlocked to lobby ideas:

https://www.facebook.com/unlockedunitedkingdom/

https://youtube.com/c/Unlocked_UK_

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next?  Reclaim of reason, tolerance, manners, fairness, and common sense in our institutions; local government, education, civil service parliament and established church. For too long we have seen the rise and rise of the precautionary principle (better safe than sorry and just in case) with politically correct wokism stifling reasoned dissent and free speech. So-called social justice warriors have been polarising and divisive, leading to a situation where to be anti-racist is actually to be racist in one of the most tolerant and inclusive countries in the world.

The interview below with Laurence Fox, whom I have been supporting, makes the challenges clear:

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/so-what-does-laurence-fox-stand-for/

https://reclaimparty.co.uk/

The House of Lords, with over 850 unaccountable members must be reformed or abolished. Enough said there! Then there is the NHS…

What do you think is next for the EU?  I am watching the progress of leave campaigns in other EU countries and supporting the French bid for a referendum (https://twitter.com/CH_Gallois & https://twitter.com/ReferendumUE). As the EU comes under increasing pressure by member states to be democratic, fair, effective and efficient – operating to their advantage, on balance, in the national interest – I see the EU having to reform enormously or fail as a project. This should not be feared, and those who claim the EU to be the only stabilising factor in post war peace are peddling a fear-mongering fallacy.

The institutions of the EU remain bloated and anti-democratic.

Not any more!

Back to Part 2 > On to Part 4

House of Lords Reform – a job half done

The House of Lords developed from the Great Council that advised the King during medieval times. By 1295 the first English Parliament which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and representatives of the shires and boroughs was being held.  The Lords moved from a body based largely on the hereditary principle to become all too often just a home for ex-politicians and their most favoured donors. 

Crispin Williams writes his opinion on what should happen next to complete the long overdue House of Lords reform.

“The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians”

Tony Benn

Opinion Piece by Crispin Williams

There is fairly general agreement that the House of Lords is in need of reform. It currently has more members (778) than there are physical seats in the chamber and many of these peers never do much more than turn up to collect their allowance. Furthermore, there has been a tendency in recent years to make an increasing number of political appointments, often by ‘promoting’ MPs who have lost their seats. The growth in the number of overtly political Lords lessens the one big advantage of the House: that it should be a scrutinising and revising chamber with little political agenda.

I am, therefore, vehemently against an elected House as this would just reflect the Commons and would make the Lords even more political; at least not having to worry about being re-elected Lords can (theoretically at least) speak their own mind.

My suggestion is for members of the House of Lords to be selected by an appointment committee. This committee would be composed of ‘the great and the good’ by the position they hold in public life, not by personality. Thus, the holders of specific posts would automatically have a say in selection, whoever they may be.

Below I give some examples of the kind of positions that might comprise the appointment committee. As I say, these are just examples and there can be much further debate as to the final choice.

  • The Prime Minister and, say, three leading cabinet positions
  • The Leader of the Opposition and one other Opposition position
  • The Leader of any other party with X number of seats in the Commons
  • The Speaker of the House of Commons
  • The Speaker of the House of Lords
  • The First Minister of Scotland
  • The First Minister of Wales
  • The Mayor of London
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Prince of Wales
  • The Governor of the Bank of England
  • The General Secretary of the TUC
  • The Director-General of the CBI
  • The Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
  • The Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes

This would lead to a House of high quality people being elected by a committee with balanced views. Clearly, some of the above might also be Lords themselves.

The House of Lords would comprise 250 members, re-appointed on a staggered 10 year basis, with no restriction on the number of times a member could be re-appointed.

What do you think of these proposals?  Write to us at Croydon Constitutionalists to share your views.

Main Photo by UK Parliament – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sLZBWcPklk @ 01:06, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56761114