Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Brexitwatch: the bent referendum. A letter to the Prime Minister


Most MPs know Brexit will damage the UK. They have been proceeding with it only because of the referendum result. 

But we now know the referendum was won illegally by the Leave side, who broke spending rules. So why isn't Brexit being stopped? That is the question I have asked the Prime Minister:


'In view of the revelation that the Leave campaign won the Brexit referendum illegally, I am surprised you have not already been in touch with the EU to withdraw Article 50.
When do you plan to take this action?'

Monday, 14 May 2018

Brexitwatch; the referendum was won illegally. What is your MP going to do about it?


So the referendum WAS bent. The Leave campaign spent more than was allowed, and have been fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission. The police are now also investigating.

So the result is null and void, of course? With that surrealism that has become typical of Brexit, the first reaction of MPs seems to be to ignore this inconvenient fact, and hope it will go away or that no one will notice.

This is not good enough. All the evidence suggests leaving the EU will damage our country, and to continue with it because of an illegally procured referendum result is inexcusable. The only justification advanced for Brexit these days is the so-called 'will of the people' argument (see my post of of 15 December 2016) and that has now been blown out of the water.

Theresa May should by now have withdrawn Article 50. As she has not, MPs should be forcing her to. This is what I have written to mine (Labour's Brexit spokesperson, Sir Keir Starmer):


Dear Sir Keir,
I saw you on television yesterday admitting that there are no benefits to Brexit. I have written to you on a number of occasions urging you and the Labour Party to oppose this act of national self-harm. You have always maintained we have to do it (e.g, in your email of Jan 3, 2017) because people had voted for it.
As you know I have always rejected this, as Parliament itself ruled the referendum was 'consultative' only and not binding on MPs. Now, however, we also know that the referendum was ILLEGALLY won by the Leave side.
So what is Labour going to do about it?
I look forward to hearing from you,
Yours sincerely,
John Withington

Monday, 7 May 2018

Brexitwatch: Labour too cowardly to have an opinion. My letter to the party's Brexit spokesperson


A crucial vote comes up in the House of Lords tomorrow, with a decision on an amendment that would require the UK to Remain in the EEA, meaning we would stay in the EU's Single Market and Customs Union.

And Labour's view? Incredibly Jeremy Corbyn has ordered Labour peers to have no view - to abstain - just as they did over an amendment to guarantee us all a vote on any deal agreed with the EU. The result was a win for Theresa May's extreme right wing Tories and their extreme Brexit.

My MP is Labour's Brexit spokesperson. This is what I have written to him. Do you know a Labour lord to whom you could write something similar?

Dear Sir Keir,
'Staying in the EEA could preserve our rights to live and work in 27 countries, stop our economy being destroyed, preserve peace in Ireland, and, of course, it wasn't mentioned on the referendum ballot paper, so any 'will of the people' arguments are irrelevant. What does Labour think?'
'Er, we don't really have a view.'
How on earth do you expect to be taken seriously as a potential governing party when you are too cowardly or too clueless to take a position on the biggest questions facing our country?
I was horrified to see Labour sabotaging the chance of a referendum on any Brexit terms by ordering its members in the House of Lords to abstain, so ensuring the most reactionary Tory government I have ever seen would get its way. Now you are planning to do the same on the EEA vote. 
This is inexcusable. I urge you at this late date to change your mind and just for once, put country before party. Every Labour lord should be urged to support the amendment.
Yours sincerely,
John Withington

Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Brexit Tax: how much are you prepared to pay?




Nobody much now believes the biggest lie in British politics: that leaving the EU would produce an extra £350 million a week for the NHS. It is now clear that ANY arrangement that follows us leaving the EU will make us worse off - apart from a few of the hyper-rich non-elite who may be helped to avoid tax.

An assessment that Theresa May tried to keep secret shows that if we get a Norway-type deal of leaving the EU, but staying in the Single Market (the kind Nigel Farage used to favour but now considers insufficiently extreme) we will all be 2 per cent worse off. 

With a Canada-type free trade deal, we will be 5 per cent worse off, and if we go for the no-deal scenario favoured by the Brexit fanatics, which Theresa May is keen not to rule out, we will all be 8 per cent worse off. So instead of being paid, say, £30,000, you will get £27,600.

But it gets worse. Because we will all have less money, the government will get less from taxes to pay for the NHS and other public services. By 2033, the Norway model will leave a Black Hole in the public finances of £20bn or about £300 for every man, woman and child in the country; the shortfall for a Canada arrangement will be £55bn, or about £850 for every man, woman, and child in the country, while having no deal would cost about £80bn, or £1,230 for each of us.

Interestingly surveys on how much people are to pay for Brexit usually come up with the answer: £0.