Tuesday 16 October 2018

The Point of Accession

Face it, while the entire Opposition is going to vote against whatever Theresa May brings back, the number of Conservatives doing so will be lucky to reach two dozen, and will consist mostly of people best known for their fancy dress. The rest will be utterly obscure.

This is Maastricht all over again, pretty much. I remember when John Redwood was standing for Leader against John Major, and an interviewer, I have a feeling that it was Jeremy Paxman, asked him which of his supporters was going to be in his Cabinet. Teresa Gorman in the Cabinet? Tony Marlow in the Cabinet? The very question was a joke. And here we are again.

Having the same heartlands as the Remain vote, the Conservative Party lives in open dread of losing 10 or 20 seats, if not more, to the Liberal Democrats in the South. Had the last Parliament run its full course, then that would have happened in 2020. 

But here in the areas that decided the EU referendum, we voted to reject 39 years of failure under all three parties, beginning with the Callaghan Government’s turn to monetarism in 1977, the year of my birth. Had we not done so, then Remain would have won. 

We looked up our wealth and power at the point of accession in 1973, then we looked at our wealth and power in 2016, and the question answered itself. Had it not done so, then there would have been no Brexit. 

Therefore, Brexit needs to suit us. Free from the Single Market and the Customs Union, we need State Aid, capital controls, free trade agreements with the BRICS countries even while remaining thoroughly critical of their present governments, the integration of every part of the country into the Belt and Road Initiative, an extra £350 million per week for the National Health Service, and the restoration of the United Kingdom’s historic fishing rights in accordance with international law: 200 miles, or the median line. 

Another hung Parliament is coming, and our people need to hold the balance of power in it. Otherwise, that balance would be held by 10 or 20 Southern Lib Dems, if not more, to whom the economic changes since 1973, accelerating since 1977, had been just fine and dandy.

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