by Robert Williams

Almost the entire political class in the UK is a pathetic, cowardly disgrace. I don’t mean the committed Brexiteers, those anti Europeans who hate the idea of co-operation with our closest neighbours, and who fantasise about turning the UK into the 51st state of America, or some sort of low tax, low regulation, low quality, cheaper, nastier and colder version of Singapore.

Neither do I mean the strange group of Labour MPs, including the Dear Leader and his shadow chancellor, Dennis Skinner and Kelvin Hopkins, who believe in a left wing version of Brexit (“Lexit”) because they think the EU is a capitalist club, and they want to deliver “socialism” in one country.

These groups represent nothing but a tiny minority of their parties, and are even less representative of the country. They know this, which is why they scream and shout about the “will of the people”, deliberately ignoring the fact that the “people” amounted to 37% of the electorate voting to leave.

If you believe that leaving the EU will be a disaster, diminishing Britain permanently and wrecking our economy, those you should have real contempt for are the moderates. Some of these pro Europe centrist MPs, the vast majority in the Labour Party, and still making up the majority of conservative MPs, are now meekly and pathetically accepting that we will, in some form or another, indeed leave the EU.

It cannot be stressed enough that the Brexit referendum was utterly flawed and based on nothing but lies and fantasy. Young people between 16 and 17, most affected by the decision, were excluded from the vote. British expats were excluded from the vote. It was a non-binding referendum, won by a flimsy majority, following a campaign based on outright lies, misrepresentation, distortion, funded by extremely dodgy sources and with likely malign influence of American billionaires and Russian cyber bots.

Last year’s referendum was the most shameless example in British history of our democratic deficit.

And this was just the process. As events have developed the never ending stream of bad news about our economy, our credibility, our ability to take control of anything at all should be enough to make a sane and rational MP, to think again.

And yet we have the truly incredible sight of the weakest, most divided and intellectually enfeebled government in modern history, utterly clueless in what sort of Brexit they desire, who show not the slightest understanding of how the EU works, how trade agreements work, who can’t plan, prepare or negotiate, and are fast turning Britain into a banana republic, an international laughing stock.

And this is supported by the Labour Opposition, with the courageous exception of 52 Labour MPs who voted against the Brexit Bill. The rest really should know better.

Caroline Flint must understand that we already can control our borders. Most immigration comes from outside the EU and we could control that far better, should we desire. EU citizens coming to live in the UK do not, and never have had, the unqualified right to come here. We have chosen not to implement directives that already give us the right to remove people who are a burden on the taxpayer.

You would think that Dennis Skinner, of all people, would be able to grasp that it is our pathetic non-contributory benefits system and our model of insecure, low paid jobs, with top up funding by the state are to blame for Britain becoming a magnet for many east Europeans, not the EU.

And Jeremy Corbyn really should understand that you can nationalise and intervene in the economy under current EU rules. Again, the UK has chosen not to do so, but not because the EU says we can’t. Perhaps, as Rafael Behr pointed out in the Guardian, “if Corbyn could not be satisfied with egalitarian social democratic policies practised for decades in Scandinavia, if he is shopping for a system beyond the leftmost frontier of EU rules, he must be looking at something altogether more drastic.”

Most Remainers recognise that the EU is far from perfect, but at least we are aware that no modern country can go it alone in today’s increasingly interconnected world. But now we have a government and opposition making policy based on the fantasies of ultra libertarians and free marketers, who exploited the ignorance and prejudices of the least well informed sections of society to vote leave on a lie.

The government, together with the cowardly and craven Labour Opposition, are about to take away our rights to live and work in 27 other countries. It is entirely possible that we will have to have a visa to cross the Channel.  If you’re a scientist, an academic, a student thinking of learning a new language while working in a bar in Italy, these opportunities will soon be denied to you.

How dare the government and opposition do this and claim to be improving anyone’s opportunities. Add up those small, but significant benefits. EHIC cards, no roaming charges, recognition of qualifications, and this is the biggest retrograde step in post war history.

There are no “positives”, as Corbyn claims, in leaving the EU. The trade deals that allegedly will more than compensate for what Britain is losing do not exist. Brexit is a monumental, self-inflicted wound, delivered by the attempt to build an imagined Thatcherite utopia and “global Britain” that are undeliverable fantasies. But in less than 400 days, Britain will crash out of the EU and be left to sink in a mire of its own making.

It is no longer possible to argue for a “wait and see” approach, nor to watch the Tories implode under the weight of their own contradictions. The economy is already worsening, investment is being put on hold, the pound slips ever downwards and firms continue to exit the UK or scale back their involvement. We have until next March. Decisions will be taken for the next financial year by companies who will quit the UK. EU workers are leaving the NHS, EU academics departing our universities, and we’re losing our place in EU-wide research.

Labour is betraying the future of Britain, and the MPs the future of their constituents – who will suffer most – because they are too scared to say that voters were lied to. Most know very well that there is no deal as good as our current one, but they are too cowardly to do anything apart from sit at the margins of a cult like group fantasy (previously known as Labour conference) and call out the lies.

Sitting on the fence is not an option here. Time, and cowardice, is the enemy.

Robert Williams works in public affairs and as a journalist

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15 Responses to “J’accuse”

  1. anon says:

    “Last year’s referendum was the most shameless example in British history of our democratic deficit.”

    You couldn’t have been around when an EU constitution was rammed down our throats in the form of the Lisbon Treaty then?

    I think that you need to re-assess your view of democracy, my friend.

  2. Tafia says:

    Yawn. Another nobber article

  3. steve says:

    “the cowardly and craven Labour Opposition”

    Why on earth remain in a party if that is how you view it?

    We have been shown that 75% of Labour MPs do not support Corbyn yet the 75% are happy to swallow their principles in order to remain on the gravy train and enjoy the prestige their position brings.

    I understand that pompously j’accusing, down on their uppers ‘communication consultants’ will want to hang about, yearning for the opportunities to be derived from the return of The Once and (allegedly) Future King. But, if things are so desperate and if they believe their analysis to be accurate, they should surely join and campaign for the LibDems.

  4. John P Reidd says:

    So aharold Wilson wanted us to be in the EEC AND THE 51st state, in the 60’s and Gairskell s devotion to the commonwealth, was far more patriotic, than siding with Europe first,

  5. Toby Ebert says:

    Instead of ranting and raving about the cowardly and craven Labour Party you would be better off trying to persuade by reasoned argument. It’s going to be a tough job though because most people, i.e. all the Leavers and half the Remainers, think the result of the referendum should be respected.

    After all, you wouldn’t like it if the result had gone the other way but the losers had immediately demanded a recount/rerun/overturn-in-parliament etc.

    It’s just possible, if the Govt make a total pig’s ear of the negotiations and there is no deal at all, that the people may take fright and change their minds. But there’s no sign of it yet.

  6. paul barker says:

    There were 2 words mysteriously missing from this piece : Liberal & Democrats. There is an alternative, at what point do Labour Centrists take it, rather than simply moaning ?

  7. Anne says:

    Certainly things seem to be going from bad to worse. Mrs May now back to talking about a no deal which would be the worst position and Hammond suggesting that flights to Europe to be cancelled. It is an absolute shambles. All of this money that has been spent on these negotiations could have been spent on infrastructure, building schools and houses. I do think for all of this amounts to negligence and there should be some accountability – top of my list is Boris Johnson.

  8. Vern says:

    Your outlook on life is too bleak Robert. The UK is an amazing country, it’s people are amazing and there exists enormous potential for us when we are free of restraint.

    I’m not sure why you should have such a gloomy outlook but I see you are a journalist and very few of your profession are given to writing words of encouragement or positivity.
    Try looking for the good stuff and report this – it will hopefully make you feel better about yourself.

  9. Will says:

    Its a relief to read something like this. The country seems paralysed, like acrabbit in a cars headlights, we all know that Hard Brexit, leaving with out an agreement, trading on WTO terms, will hit living standards, jobs, possibly triggering a recession and cost growth decades into the future.

    Now Theresa May is seriously talking of spending millions ( probably to become billions,) sending signals to the EU negotiators as the prospect of No Deal gets ever closer due to government division.

    If the majority of MPs of all parties know we are heading for disaster, why the hell don’t they stand up and say so, nobody will thank them for their silence in the post brexit netherworld!

  10. Anne says:

    Talking about responsibiliy and Brexit I also think that some journalists are also accountable for some of the rubbish they try to pass off as investigative research, which most certainly contributed to the way in which people voted in the referendum. I am still old fashioned enough to read a newspaper but have long since started to ignore what some journalist write – most is poorly researched, what is written is of poor quality, and poorly analysed – most is opinion, and very misguided. The best daily newspaper is by far The i paper – well written articles. Unfortunately for us some of these poor journalists get invited on to tv programmes and we have them to listed to their uninformed drivel. It is time that not only some politicians were give their P45 but also some journalists and editors. They have certainly contributed to the mess this country is now in. Brexit, as a subject, is becoming like the aftermath of the Irac war were no one wants to take responsibility – ‘oh,oh,oh it wasn’t me, I didn’t vote for it, er,er,er it was Johnson, he put me up to it.’

  11. swat says:

    All good fighting stuff from Jack Hughes.
    Skinner represents nobody but himself these days and it’s a fair point about non contributory benefits attracting some, but not all who in fact just want to work, and contribute to Britain.
    Flint states that the laws are already there, only nobody has the will or the guts to prosecute them.. especially MPs because that would put them out of a job…of legislating on just about anything except important things like PR the Lord’s and the National Care Service.

  12. ad says:

    These groups represent nothing but a tiny minority of their parties

    Brexiters probably make up the great majority of Conservative Party membership. The desire of their party’s leadership to appease them was what caused Brexit.

  13. john P Reid says:

    Paul Barker, whoa re the centrists John Mann, John woodcock, if anything they’re more likely to join Ukip or the tories

  14. Paul says:

    I think the press and those who are pro EU must take much of the blame.

    If the EU is mis-understood, then they have allowed it to happen. They have had nearly 40 years to make the case for it and to help us understand what it is.

    Even if it were a serious simple trading block, there would have to be some pooling of sovereignty. To lame it fair there would have to be some commonality.

    For the record, I voted to leave. Not because of the sunlit uplands of a post Brexit UK or because of migration. I voted to leave as I don’t see it as being acccountable to me. I have some limited practical experience of this. My experience might have had more to do with the incompetence or deceit of the officials, councillors, MPs and MEPs that I dealt with, but it was enough for me. If the people we elect tell us they are powerless, then we are powerless.

    The alternative is even more integration, but as I don’t like the bit that I have seen, I am afraid I can’t buy anymore.

  15. Paul says:

    Having read my last post I have spotted two problems with my text.

    *lame – predictive text it should have been, make

    In my last paragraph, I create the impression that the officials etc. were incompetent or deceitful anyway. That is wrong. I meant they were either powerless or incompetent. In any event the elected representatives could not help resolve a bureaucratic problem.

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