(29/7/17) By our Branch blogger, Cliff Edge.
Virtually all of the debate and media coverage relating to Brexit is dominated by its potential impact on the UK’s economy. The vast majority of this coverage has been, and is, negative and reflects the disproportionate share of voice in the media that the pro-Remain lobby has. Key people and organisations are successfully using this clout to sow doubt over the decision by a majority of the British people and are seeking to influence outcomes. Whether this onslaught is result of a well-planned conspiracy of Remainers or just a confluence of cris de coeur from the pro-EU elite, there is no doubt that we Leavers – and those negotiating in Brussels for us – are on the back foot.
A mortally-wounded Prime Minister has lost her personal and political mandate to deliver. A ‘soft’ Brexit is now entirely possible. The winning narrative, currently, is that without access to the Single Market and membership of the Customs Union, the UK would be committing economic suicide. Already, it is reported that Cabinet ‘Remainers’ have achieved a victory by persuading the government for a 'soft-landing' transition period that will ensure that we will have five more years of uncontrolled EU migration into the UK. Protests over this from die-hard Leavers have been either muted or suppressed in the media. The party that should be countering the backsliding, UKIP, is in disarray.
Indeed, the vocal champions of Brexit are outnumbered by pro-Remain commentators in the broadcast media – the media that matters. Instead, they’re left to talking to each other and their natural supporters in the sympathetic print and digital estate that they inhabit. They’re not talking to those ‘middle ground’ people wilting under the Remoaner campaign and whose opinion can be swayed by a reasoned, if unbalanced, argument. A government distracted by the Tory party internal power struggle is failing to get the good news stories about the economy and free-trade deals on offer out to the public at large. Meanwhile, we are told of Cabinet and cross-party plots to stop a ‘hard’ Brexit. Project Fear is back in force and we must counter its economic pessimism. We must fight back. Now.
The original Vote Leave campaign successfully used the mantra ‘Take control’. It is time for the theme of sovereignty to supersede that of the economy. This is the moral and legitimate case for Brexit and it can work again for us. We must take control of our laws, our money, our borders and our seas. There is an economic case – but it is an argument which we are losing as we fight on the battlefield that the Remain lobby has chosen. We must move the battle to new ground. The sovereignty case underpins the economic case – once in control we can control and grow our economy by making trade deals that we are currently prevented from having. Once ‘out’, we will no longer pay £9bn net to the EU – this can be re-invested in our own country’s creaking infrastructure instead of that of the eastern and southern countries in Europe who have benefited so long from our largesse with not a word of thanks. We must stop being the cash cow for the EU and look after number one.
Let us therefore recognise for once – and state loudly – that the individual’s decision on how to vote in the referendum was at first ideological and emotional, not one of economics. You either believe in Britain being part of a dreamy, utopian Europe. Or you believe in the UK being a sovereign, independent country as it used to be before the Common Market started on its metamorphosis into a United States of Europe. And be in no doubt, that is where the leaders of the project in Brussels are herding, not leading, the member states to. The ideological argument won before and it can win again now. It’s the sovereignty, stupid.