The heart of the 2016 Brexit promise

2nd October 2019 / United Kingdom
The heart of the 2016 Brexit promise

By TruePublica: It’s just worth remembering some words that formed the very heart of Brexit campaign back in April 2016. In a keynote speech, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary of the day, Michael Gove, set out a positive vision for the UK’s future outside the EU. The speech was dissected and quoted as part of the ‘sunny-uplands’ rhetoric espoused across the airwaves throughout. It was enhanced by the Dominic Cummings slogan of ‘taking back control.’

To read the full speech please click here. (pdf – voteleavetakecontrol)

This is the speech that laid out what leaving the EU for Britain would look like. It painted a picture of ‘freedom’, of a fully functioning democracy, of free-trade and a new found wealth for the nation and state and it is worth reminding ourselves every now and again exactly what was it that 17.4 million people for. The country is now facing something entirely different.


On the Brexit debate

“Democratic self-government, the form of Government we in Britain actually invented, has been a roaring success for most of the nations who’ve adopted it. While we enjoyed democratic self-government we developed the world’s strongest economy, its most respected political institutions, its most tolerant approach towards refugees, its best publicly funded health service and its most respected public broadcaster.”

Reality: The democracy that Gove talks of has been heavily challenged by illegal campaigning, illegal funding, the involvement of police, crime agency and electoral commission investigations ever since. Democracy itself is now being investigated as Boris Johnson is accused of pandering to free-market extremists and profiteering from the chaos that Brexit has caused so far. All the political institutions Gove talks about have been undermined by this same government. The government has pitted itself against the monarchy and judicial systems and about to set parliament against the people. Britain’s once tolerant society is now divided and being incited into civil unrest with racially motivated attacks at all-time highs, not to mention far-right extremists now on the terrorism hit-list of the security services.


On terms of trade:

‘So the process and pace of change is in our hands. There is no arbitrary deadline which we must meet to secure our future – and indeed no arbitrary existing “model” which we have to accept in order to prosper.

‘It has been argued that the moment Britain votes to leave a process known as “Article 50” is triggered whereby the clock starts ticking and every aspect of any new arrangement with the EU must be concluded within 2 years of that vote being recorded – or else…

‘But there is no requirement for that to occur – quite the opposite. Logically, in the days after a Vote to Leave the Prime Minister would discuss the way ahead with the Cabinet and consult Parliament before taking any significant step.

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‘Preliminary, informal, conversations would take place with the EU to explore how best to proceed.

‘It would not be in any nation’s interest artificially to accelerate the process and no responsible government would hit the start button on a two-year legal process without preparing appropriately.

‘Nor would it be in anyone’s interest to hurry parliamentary processes. We can set the pace.

Reality: It was right to point out that no responsible government would hit the start button on a two-year legal process without preparing appropriately. But they did it anyway. It was right to say it would not be in anyone’s interest to hurry parliamentary processes. But they did it anyway. This government has been irresponsible and the ‘pace’ is now set by the EU on the one hand and parliament on the other – but not the government itself.


On EU free trade

‘There is a free trade zone stretching from Iceland to Turkey that all European nations have access to, regardless of whether they are in or out of the euro or EU. After we vote to leave we will stay in this zone. The suggestion that Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and the Ukraine would stay part of this free trade area – and Britain would be on the outside with just Belarus – is as credible as Jean-Claude Juncker joining UKIP. Agreeing to maintain this continental free trade zone is the simple course and emphatically in everyone’s interests.’

Reality: By crashing out of the EU with no deal, Britain will no longer be in the world’s largest trading bloc, its food security is unknown and medical supplies are already in short supply either by stockpiling or as is expected, price gouging and unscrupulous profiteering. Brexit negotiations were never going to be simple as promised.

On taking back control of immigration’

Further, there are five more countries – Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey – in the queue to join the EU – and the European Commission, as we have just experienced ourselves during the recent negotiation process, regards ‘free movement’ as an inviolable principle of EU membership… And my ambition is not a Utopian ideal – it’s an Australian reality. Instead of a European open-door migration policy we could – if a future Government wanted it – have an Australian points-based migration policy. We could emulate that country’s admirable record of taking in genuine refugees, giving a welcome to hard-working new citizens and building a successful multi-racial society without giving into people-smugglers, illegal migration or subversion of our borders.

Reality: While Serbia and Montenegro, the most advanced candidates, are both expected to join no earlier than 2025 they have a joint population about the same size as London or 0.5% of the EU. Turkish talks have ended. There is no chance of Turkey joining the EU in anyone’s imagination. The Australian points-based system was supposed to have been worked on by now but the government department ultimately responsible for designing such policies has not even been asked to start the process.


On Europe and Britain’s future

‘The UK’s success will send a very different message to the EU’s peoples. They will see that a different Europe is possible. It is possible to regain democratic control of your own country and currency, to trade and co-operate with other EU nations without surrendering fundamental sovereignty to a remote and unelected bureaucracy. And, by following that path, your people are richer, your influence for good greater, your future brighter… Our vote to Leave will liberate and strengthen those voices across the EU calling for a different future – those demanding the devolution of powers back from Brussels and desperate for a progressive alternative…

‘But for Europe, Britain voting to leave will be the beginning of something potentially even more exciting – the democratic liberation of a whole Continent.

‘If we vote to leave we will have – in the words of a former British Prime Minister – saved our country by our exertions and Europe by our example. We will have confirmed that we believe our best days lie ahead, that we believe our children can build a better future, that this country’s instincts and institutions, its people and its principles, are capable not just of making our society freer, fairer and richer but also once more of setting an inspirational example to the world.”

Reality: Total nonsense – but this is best left entirely to your own judgement.






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