essential national sovereignty
European Union

If Brexit can’t be done, then Ted Heath lied, and our “essential national sovereignty” is gone

According to Alastair Campbell, Brexit can’t be done. That’s apparently what Theresa May has concluded and, if she were honest and any kind of leader, that’s what she’d tell the electorate and her party. He suggests the words which ought to come out of her mouth:

“But precisely because I have a profound sense of duty, I want to tell you the absolute truth as I see it. It cannot be done. Yes, you can shout. You can storm out. But I have looked at it every which way. And, as your leader, I have concluded that it cannot be done without enormous damage to our economy, to your living standards, to our public services, to our standing in the world. This is damage I am not prepared to inflict. The cost is too high.”

There is, of course, some distance between saying something “can’t be done” and weighing the consequences of doing so as being “too high”. Even if the costs of Brexit are too high, it may manifestly still be done, or the true scale of those costs (if they exist) can never be established.

Setting aside the manifest continuation of ‘Project Fear‘ (and still the apocalypse pours forth), the Bishops (except +Shrewsbury) are tending to side with Alastair Campbell:

And so it came to pass that the EU Referendum yielded the ‘wrong answer’ (just like the referendums held in Denmark, France, Ireland, Greece and the Netherlands), and the people must be asked again in order to secure the ‘correct’ result (or, better still, Parliament should simply ignore the ‘advisory’ referendum result, revoke their triggering of Article 50, and go cap in hand to Brussels with a fulsome apology on behalf of 17,410,742 recalcitrant Britons who are an embarrassment to the nation).

If Brexit can’t be done – if the majority of the voting public may never gain secession from the EU – then Ted Heath lied when he assured the people in 1971: “There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty.” As Ian Marten MP observed (rather presciently) during the debate on the White Paper (line 1508):

People say that we shall not lose our sovereignty. Indeed, the White Paper says that there is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty. That depends on what is meant by “essential national sovereignty”. But let us trot through the list of powers which we shall have to transfer from this Parliament to Europe. On signature, we transfer the right to make trade agreements with third countries. We transfer our policy over agriculture. By 1973 the value-added tax has to be harmonised at the European level, whatever it is. By 1980 we shall have monetary union and probably a common currency with a federal reserve bank in Europe.

We are told that we must go in for defence reasons ; in other words, to relieve the Americans of some of their burden, presumably, of conventional weapons in Europe. We shall have to take over part of that burden. If we do that the sensible thing is to integrate the European armies under one European commander. [Interruption.] We have N.A.T.O. aleady with the Americans in it. I do not see, if it is to be just N.A.T.O., how there will be any improvement in the security of Europe. Clearly, something more will happen.

Once we get a major matter like defence debated in a European Parliament with a European Government taking decisions, foreign affairs will be brought in and people will say that they want unity in foreign policy. It seems that all the major aspects of our life will at the end of the day be transferred to the European Parliament and the European Government. This is what the debate ought to be about. These matters ought to have been discussed in the negotiations so that the British people know where they are being led.

We may quibble over definitions of sovereignty, and cavil over what aspects of it may or may not be essential, but if the people – in whom democratic sovereignty (by definition) resides – may never reverse the decision to join the EEC; if they may never vote to repeal the European Communities Act 1972; if they may never reverse the 1975 referendum result, then essential national sovereignty has not merely been eroded; it has been abolished. It has gone altogether.

Your sovereignty has been removed’ (Daniel 4:31, NASB).

The judgment of God upon King Nebuchadnezzar is a constant reminder that the kingdoms of the earth belong to the Lord: they are His to give, and His to take away. Throughout the entire history of Israel, God judged its rebellion and idolatry by permitting numerous invasions by foreign powers: ‘And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant…’ (Jer 27:6).

My servant?

If Brexit “can’t be done”, perhaps we are destined to sit and weep in captivity by the rivers of Babylon, as the Lord’s servants Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker faithfully do His divine will, as the Bishops (except +Shrewsbury) long for and pray.

  • magnolia

    Ah, how the British public came to love the weasels of spin during the Blair era. Surely we must have missed them, they believe. Not enough carnage to fill the news, not enough powerlessness before the big guns the Blair flunkies loved so much….

    So here comes Campbell. Many Campbells are really lovely people, but others might seem to have disproportionate multiple rations of the Glencoe massacre betrayal spirit gene, and this one has great intent to betray his compatriots for some gilt-sprinkled messes of porridge..

    • Graham Wood

      Alistair Campbell? Who he? Apart from himself I wonder who he represents?
      Did someone elect him to parliament when we weren’t looking?

  • Manfarang

    If Britain isn’t part of the single market many foreign firms will relocate.
    http://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000185466.pdf

    • magnolia

      From the country whose most recent gift to world economics is Abenomics. You have to be kidding me. Do you not know the difference between a threat and an action, anyway?

      Do you not understand that the cost of a hard Brexit would fall disproportionately upon the rest of the EU. All this posturing about paying your bar bill is to cover up the fact that as we pay so disproportionately into the whole shebang they cannot afford, monetarily, for us to go, and are desperate to stop us at all costs, not least the truth. They need our cash-badly. Do some sums.

      • Manfarang

        In contrast with last year’s urgent call for prime minister Shinzo Abe to “reload” his economic policies, the IMF said it was comfortable with Japan’s policy stance, and declared that Abenomics was a “success”.

        • Chefofsinners

          This would be the IMF which said Brexit would be an immediate disaster, and said it lots of times in the run-up to the referendum.

    • David

      Ahh Japan’s pre-referendum advice.
      Don’t be so naive !
      This was delivered under political pressure from Obama and Cameron.
      Once the referendum result came in they stated that they remained committed to invest in the UK whether in or out of the EU. This is evidenced by their continuing decisions to invest in their manufacturing plants.
      We all know most economists said the sky would fall in if we voted Leave – but it hasn’t has it !

      • Manfarang

        The UK is still in the EU.
        And the pound sterling did lose value because of the Leave vote.

        • Little Black Censored

          The pound is now roughly at the level that the experts told us it ought to be in 2015. They told us it was overvalued by about 15%.

          • Manfarang

            And it is not likely to recover.

          • So now you’re more competitive worldwide, export more. Even here, it’s amazing how few British products are available, the one that are are very good, but we’d likely buy more. Our people tend to like to buy American when they can, but I think British would do, handily.

    • Sarky

      They’ll come back.

      • Manfarang

        The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 was at least partly related to the withdrawal of funds from Japanese banks and other institutions. One Japanese businessman I spoke to before it happened said things in Thailand would get rough and he was right.

        • Royinsouthwest

          How has the Japanese economy been growing in the last 20 years?

          • Somewhat worse than the EU, the lost decade and all that. In truth, not all that much worse, the EU is at best, stagnant and getting worse. Germany many reports are saying, cannot compete with high technology, if those report are correct (I think they are) Britain has been carrying them. Chief Justice Rogers would no doubt say, “”It’s a tax” and he’d be right.

          • Manfarang

            Ageing population, no immigration (younger workers).

  • IanCad

    “The cost is too high.”
    That is, for us to recast ourselves as an independent nation.
    Maybe, for the wretches who would trade liberty for security; those unwilling to risk a temporary or uncertain downturn for the future benefit of ourselves and posterity.
    Most certainly, for those with characters more suited to sheep or fowl, or ants; equalitarians, TV addicted proles, sports fanatics, assorted bleaters for the collective. Followers, not leaders. Unadventurous, uninteresting, unimaginative and thoroughly dull company.

    “–The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.”

    Lay of the Last Minstrel. Sir Walter Scott.

    • David

      Yes well said Ian.
      I believe we shall prosper outside the bureaucratic claws of the EU, but even if we were to become poorer, better to be less well off and free than a vassal slave to an cruel Imperial Empire.
      If previous generations were prepared to risk life, limb and treasure to stay free from continental dictators surely we can rise to this challenge ?

      • “Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils.” said General John Stark, it’s one of the things that have made the Anglo-Saxons lead the world since we invented the modern world.

      • Indeed. Well said.

    • meltemian

      There is almost no cost too high for us to regain our independence!

  • David

    Who in their right mind would believe a word from the master of spin, Alistair Campbell ? His spin feeds off the Prime Minister’s difficulties in extricating the UK from the tyranny of Europe. Who can understand the sad psychology of anyone who wants to become a vassal state of a huge bureaucratic, distant and heartless empire, paying vast sums of money annually into the Franco-German project to destroy each nation state and take us firmly into a post-democratic age ? I suppose the EU represents a politicians wet dream, with limitless career potential and responsibility without democratic accountability – that’s the main lure isn’t it for those types ?
    This is why the parties of the left are no longer loved by those they were set up to serve, namely the interests of the working class. For how can unlimited numbers of foreign workers, travelling from far poorer countries than our own, and therefore prepared to work for rock bottom wages, possibly benefit the people of this country ? This is especially so when the public social infrastructure of schools, hospitals and housing became even less accessible to the permanent inhabitants of the UK.
    But of course such low wages, subsidised through benefits by the average taxpayer, is immensely beneficial to the giant corporations of country, who are in bed with the so called ‘ left wing ‘ party leadership. What a cosy relationship exists at the top or the corporate world and the traitorous politicians who have gone globalist, despising their own people. So the gap between rich and poor increases. Presumably our esteemed bishops lack even a basic understanding of the world and economic literacy to see how that process is grinding the working class into deeper poverty and the ignominy of relying ever more on state handouts ?
    Moreover everyone, except the elite, of whatever class needs to be feel a sense of community, of being part of a group of peoples, a demos if you like; something that the EU can never provide. Are our bishops so lacking in understanding of human group loyalties and psychology to not see this too – that communities need common bonds ?
    The poisonous words of the spin doctors will continue no doubt. But there is also no doubt that a clear majority of the electorate want us to leave the EU, meaningfully, with the reestablishment of controls over our laws, taxes, trade policy, borders and sea. Indeed since the referendum poll after poll shows that the percentage wanting OUT has increased. As the EU becomes ever more imperial the pressures to break up the unholy Empire can only increase, as the recent vote in Austrian shows. Responsible nationalism is on the march – the era of the globalists having undisputed sway has arrived. Alistair Campbell can go hang !

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      You had me with your first sentence!

      • David

        Happy to be fellow travellers.

  • Father David

    Thank God, the voice of common sense and good reason at last! Mrs. Dismay is taking us along the Primrose path to the sunny uplands and the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. Mr. Campbell has seen where this actually leads to the cliff edge amidst a disastrous Brexit fog. Hopefully, last night’s Brussels dinner has taught her that there will be no real acceleration until the divorce settlement is on the table.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      You think Alistair Campbell I ‘the voice of common sense’? BBbbbbwwwahhhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      • Father David

        Careful Ma’am, you might just bust the whalebone in your corset if you continue in this fashion.

    • David

      It’s not a divorce and we break no contract. We’re in the EU by virtue of a treaty, which free nations can make and break at will.

      • Father David

        I repeat, no accelerated progress and an EU foot firmly on the break until the UK money for the parting of the ways is on the table.

        • bluedog

          It’s all a question of risk and reward. If Campbell is reading Mrs May correctly, and that’s always possible, we can say that Mrs May is failing on two potential fronts. Firstly she is unable to do the risk-reward equation, and secondly she lacks the ability to manage the enterprise. And enterprise it is.

          • Father David

            I think we agree, is this a first?

          • bluedog

            There must be some mistake…

          • Father David

            Strange, but true!

        • Hi

          That’s not a negotiating strategy, but intransigence on behalf of Europe. The UK has been making concessions on the issues Europe brings up. They can compromise but won’t. The negotiations are a political problem and not anything demonstrably practical.

        • David

          Your obviously on their side !

          • Father David

            I hadn’t realised that there were “sides” – I thought that we were all in this together? However, I do know the sheer folly of breaking our ties with one of the world’s largest free trade areas.

          • Tell the Zollverein to sod off and come join your progeny, you know, speaking English and applying the Common Law. We’re (a lot) bigger than they are anyway, and you’ll live better and cheaper as well. It’s time and past time for Mummy to join the Revolution.

          • DespiteBrexit

            We are not breaking our ties, you fool. Not unless the EU insists on it. We had ties long before 1973 and have ties with many countries outside of the EU.

          • Father David

            Well, we can’t all be “supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” can we?

          • Even if the cost is national sovereignty and rule by an unelected body?

          • Father David

            As we are seeing by the current chaos which the result of the Referendum has caused – the benefits of being a member State of the EU by far outweigh the downside of being a pariah State on the edge of the European continent,
            After months of negotiations no progress has been made on three essential areas
            i) The Divorce Settlement
            ii) The future status of British Nationals living in the other 27 E U countries and E U citizens living in the U K.
            iii) The Irish Border issue

        • vsscoles

          It will be to the detriment of the EU if we walk away, but those shysters are attempting to blackmail the UK into handing over vast amounts of money which they will never be able to account for. They are being aided and abetted by the UK media, and by weak kneed remoaners, whose trousers fill every time they hear a BBC news bulletin blaming poverty, hurricanes, disease and a big loss on the favourite in the 4 o’clock at Kemptown – on Brexit.

          • Father David

            Next thing you’ll be referring to our European partners as “the enemy”, as Mr. Hammond regretfully did. That’s how wars start!

          • There are worse things than a just war.

          • Father David

            Good Lord, deliver us

          • Is there such a thing as a just war (just in intention and execution)?

            And is there much, in this world, worse than war?

          • You tell me, and in English not Spanish or German. Of course there is. Have we all fought sum unjust ones? Sure. Doesn’t mean they all are.

          • There are some wars that are just in intention but I doubt if any have ever been just in execution. The theatre of war releases primal and destructive forces that quickly justify the unjustifiable.

          • Well, Jus in Bello says these are the conditions

            1) Distinction

            2) Proportionality

            3) Military necessity

            4) Fair treatment of prisoners of war

            5) No means malum in se

            Using those criteria, I would say the western allies in World War II, waged a just war. Because a few men or small units exceed them is not enough to make the war unjust, it would if they were directed to by a leader, not in combat, perhaps.

          • Was the indiscriminate aerial bombing of German cities just? Was the bombing of Hiroshima just and proportionate? Was the sending of soviet dissidents back to Soviet Russia just? Was the secreting of Nazi scientists to America without facing trial just? And what of the postwar forced migration of German-speaking people on a grand scale? To say nothing of the many, not few, examples of atrocity perpetrated by the allied armies.

            It is not good enough to dismiss atrocities of armies as incidental and not related to just war theory. Just war means a war fought for just ends by just means. Where armies pillage leaders are rightly held responsible.

            Just war is good in theory but has little hope of translating from theory into practice.

          • Yes, there were industries targeted. Not to mention transportation, which is always a target because of military necessity. RAF did their best, USAAF did a bit better, and took the casualties for it.

            Yes, the announced war aim was unconditional surrender, casualties (Japanese) would have been much higher in the invasion, not to mention they were starving from our submarine campaign and the conventional raids were actually more destructive. If they had been rational at the time, they would have surrendered before Hiroshima, and were asked to several times. BTW every Japanese I’ve heard interviewed that survived the war agrees.

            Problematical, but post war and therefore non applicable. I’d say we shouldn’t have, but the Soviets were still allies at the time.

            Who knows, were the Soviets a clear and present danger? Our government thought so. And the Sovs had the rest of the scientists. And they played a key role in defeating the Soviet Union, which they couldn’t have done sitting in Spandau. I’ll let God sort that one

            Again post war, and done mostly by the Soviets, who were not bound by Geneva accords, which is why I specified western allies. Eastern front was a different sort of war, evil there was about 6-5 and pick ’em. Or so say the Germans that fought on both..When you are shooting your own wounded to keep them from being captured, well…

            There were some, but I know of none that were done under orders, and some soldiers were prosecuted, especially for rape. More perhaps should have been, but I wasn’t there, and don’t know either the mitigating or aggravating factors.

            Nobody is ever going to make people anything but people and emotional, without that theory war would go back to kill or be killed even after the battle. All one can do is one’s best. And war is sometimes justified.

          • Chefofsinners

            Was is justified when the alternative is worse. So WWII was justified by the prospect of a Nazi Europe.

          • I agree war was appropriate. I was making the point that its over simplistic to hide behind just war theory. No war meets its criteria.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Who is making the threats, who are the appeasers, and who are the traitors?

          • Father David

            Who is making the threats – NO ONE
            Who are the appeasers – NO ONE
            Who are the traitors? – NO ONE

          • Royinsouthwest

            Of course the EU is making threats. It is constantly demanding money for the privilege of leaving. Furthermore you know perfectly well that the remainers are trying to appease the EU.

          • Father David

            The trouble is that the EU negotiators are having to deal with two tribes within the current Party of the U K Government. They look across La Manche and see the Tories at war with one another. One tribe calling for the sacking of the totally ineffective Foreign Secretary (a national embarrassment) and the other tribe seeking a P45 for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No wonder the EU negotiators are frustrated when they view the current Civil War raging in the Conservative and Unionist Party. How on earth can they reach a settlement with such an absolute shower as the Tories?

        • Royinsouthwest

          Why on earth should we offer any money to the EU at all? If we wish to cooperate with them on certain projects, e.g. some of a scientific, cultural or educational nature we can offer to contribute to the costs of those, but no others.

          Over the years we have been the second biggest net contributor. Only Germany has contributed more but Germany has been one of the very few beneficiaries of the Euro. If Germany had kept the Deutschmark its exchange rate would be higher and German exporters would find it harder to compete with rivals both inside and outside Europe.

          • Father David

            “Why on earth should we offer any money to the EU at all?”
            Answer – if we want to move the talks on to Trade then the offer of billions from the UK will break the current deadlock and accelerate the talks. It’s as simple as that.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Do we pay the Americans, Chines, Japanese, Australians, Canadians, Indians, Singaporeans etc. etc. etc. to be allowed to trade with them? Do those countries pay the EU to be allowed to trade with them? Will the EU pay us to be allowed to trade with us? You do not seem to understand the nature of trade.

          • DespiteBrexit

            That may be true, but it is simple blackmail.

          • Father David

            More like realpolitik
            “Fantasists and Fanatics” opt for and encourage “No Deal”.
            Not very good new tonight – inflation at 3% with the blame being laid firmly at the Referendum result’s door

          • Little Black Censored

            Did you know that if Yorkshire were a separate country it would be the twelfth largest economy in Europe?

          • If we have tied ourselves into any obligations we should fulfil these befor leaving.

          • Royinsouthwest

            No British parliament can bind its successor. That is the point of holding elections. The EU needs to learn how to cut its cloth according to the change in its circumstances just like any national government, local council, any private or public organisation, family or individual does.

          • I’m not sure this is true Roy. If one government signs an agreement undertaking obligations subsequent Governments surely have a duty, at the very least a moral duty, to honour these.

  • Martin Sewell

    Our friends in the Remain camp never quite manage to explain precisely why the EU are incapable of simultaneously negotiating on the ultimate financial liability ( if any) and the shape of our future trade agreement ( if any).

    So the Remainers want us to be governed by bureaucrats who are so intellectually impaired as to be unable to ” walk and chew gum at the same time” as LBJ famously said of Gerald Ford.

    Except what he actually said was earthier – and funnier, but His Grace likes a bit of decorum.

    • David

      Well said ! They never answer that question “why can’t negotiations take place along multiple fronts”, do they.
      The answer of course is that they are not negotiating in good faith, and they have no sense of fair play. They simply want to back us into a corner, where we are committed to financially support their ambitions, and then throw us at best scraps of a decent trade agreement. This is what Empires do – they don’t negotiate but only dictate !

    • IanCad

      Excellent Martin. Not only humorous and concise, but also a testimony to your self-confidence; so much so that I see you have awarded yourself an uptick!

      • Martin Sewell

        Not pride – incompetence! I thought it would open up comments!!

  • Ray Sunshine

    In Switzerland and Norway at this moment there’ll be a lot of people nodding to themselves and muttering, “There but for the grace of God … ”

  • And yet Alistair used to have such a “can do “attitude when it came to things like wars & mass immigration. What’s changed I wonder? He couldn’t be hoping for a first class seat aboard the EU gravy train for himself or Tony could he? If it was good enough for Mandelson, it’s good enough for him.

    • David

      Self interest stalks the political parties. There are few men and women of principle.

      • IanCad

        Ironic, in that Ted Heath’s campaign slogan was:
        ” Edward Heath – Man of Principle!”

  • Of course Heath lied. he said it was all about economics not political union. Traitor Heath. Guilty of electorate abuse.

    • vsscoles

      Indeed there were lots of lies – you could tell when you saw his lips moving…

  • bluedog

    Curious that the leading Remoaner in the Cabinet, Phillip Hammond was recently castigated for calling the EU ‘the enemy’. He was of course, absolutely right, the EU is very much the diplomatic enemy of the UK. Campbell seems unable to recognise that there is indeed a trade-off in Brexit, and that freedom does not come without cost. In the short-term the cost could be significant, but to follow Campbell’s proscription requires a total lack of self-confidence and a complete inability to accept brief pain in the interests of long term gain. None of the nations that won their independence from Britain in the post-war period were afraid of the challenge or the cost of freedom. It is very disappointing that there are so many in the UK who are afraid.

    • David

      All nations contain the lazy, the corrupt and the faint hearted.

      • About 66% of our population at the time were either loyalists or neutral. We still became the US. If you want to be Great Britain, its a matter of will, not numbers.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I think you will find that sometimes it is difficult to win when one side has its hand on all the levers of power, and all the money.

          • We did, it took seven years of war. Lord North and Farmer George were quite powerful opponents. We are finding it difficult again now, but again, I predict we will win through. So will you, if you want to enough. 80% (at least) of winning is showing up. You guys have all the good arguments, preach them unto the multitudes.

        • Little Black Censored

          The apalling Polly Toynbee was on “Dateline London”, when almost all of the panel were agreeing that referendums were bad because they put power in the hands of ignorant people, who might then outnumber the wise and learned. Then she kindly added that of course referendums for “self-determination” were the exception. She and many other remainers do not accept that our referendum was about self-determination above all else.

          • It was obvious at the time that the main drivers were self-determination or as many of us put it, sovereignty. That’s why so many of us, compared it to the American Revolution. Same cause, a milder form, if possible, but we had been trying for ten years or more in 1776. Stubborn people, those who know what freedom is.

    • Manfarang

      How much freedom did the Burmese enjoy years after independence?

      • Little Black Censored

        What dictator do you see lurking in the wings here?

        • Royinsouthwest

          As they chanted at Glastonbury, “oh, Jeremy Corbyn …”

      • bluedog

        As is so often the case, you are not comparing like with like. If the Burmese went from British colonial status to a military dictatorship, they only have themselves to blame. They were offered the same opportunities as neighbouring India.

        • Manfarang

          Millions died or were displaced during Indian independence.
          In Burma the roots of instability were sown with the Panglong Agreement.

          • bluedog

            Millions died in British India as a result of the Partition demanded by Mahommed Jinnah.

    • Anna

      “None of the nations that won their independence from Britain in the post-war period were afraid of the challenge or the cost of freedom. It is very disappointing that there are so many in the UK who are afraid.”

      Freedom can indeed be frightening; after you have wrecked a system of government, you must first clear the rubble and begin building afresh, and people’s strength can give way, as Nehemiah discovered. Yet, all those nations were driven by their poverty and suffering to fight for something better, despite the risk and uncertainty involved. In contrast, people who have lived for decades under a welfare system have grown too soft.

  • Bishop Graham desires a second referendum on the grounds that the Leave campaign lied to the people but he must surely be aware that Britain joined the then Common Market on the basis of lies.

    The bishop would do well to read this 2012 article by Christopher Booker, ‘Monumental deceit: How our politicians have lied and lied about the true purpose of the European behemoth’, and this analysis by Richard North of the 1971 Foreign Office paper, ‘Sovereignty and the European Communities’. While Heath was pretending that the Common Market was scarcely more than a trading arrangement, the FCO was advising him (¶18):

    …it will be in the British interest after accession to encourage the development of the Community toward an effectively harmonised economic, fiscal and monetary system and a fairly closely coordinated and consistent foreign and defence policy. This sort of grouping would bring major politico/economic advantages but would take many years to develop and to win political acceptance. If it came to do so then essential aspects of sovereignty both internal and external would indeed increasingly be transferred to the Community itself.

    It seems Bishop Graham has no objection to lies which produce his desired result.

    • David

      The truth is always sharp !

      • @ David—The truth is always sharp

        But not sharp enough to prick the conscience of Bishop Graham and his fellow episcopal Europhiles.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Most of the lies came from the remain campaign. Cameron said leaving would lead to war. Clegg said there were no plans for a European army and as for the Chancellor of the Exchequer (anyone remember him?) he made Alastair Campbell look honest!

  • Hi

    Israel with a population of 8.4 million people and surrounded by hostile states, has negotiated free trade agreements with The EU and USA, two big economic blocs and significantly is considered first world in terms of GDP per capita and education . Israel isn’t in the EU. Neither is Canada or Australia. Are they incapable poor nations ?

    Why Mr Campbell , can’t the UK – who pioneered the industrial revolution – not do the same with a population of 63 million and the sixth largest economy in the world?

    • Dolphinfish

      A small correction, if I may. Israel only “negotiated” a free trade agreement with the EU. America, it simply told what to do. But congratulations on sneaking that bit of “Look at me, I’m Israel!” into a piece about Britain and Europe.

      • bluedog

        Well done. You’ve completely missed the point.

      • Hi

        “Israel only “negotiated” a free trade agreement with the EU. America, it simply told what to do.”

        So you’re now sounding like a creepy conspiracy theorist. What next? The ZOG , Jews, sorry Zionists control the world etc etc .

      • P.S. I mentioned Canada and Australia too. The point being that one doesn’t have to be part of a United States of Europe to trade within and between nations without massive tariffs or quotas. Israel is a small country and can do it. Therefore I see no reason why Britain cannot survive outside of the EU.

        • Anna

          Unlike Israel, Britain has more enemies within than without.

      • Little Black Censored

        Congratulations on sneaking that bit of anti-Semitism into a piece about Britain and Europe.

    • David

      Hello Hannah,
      These extra special difficulties in agreeing our trade deal, stonewalling the PM in fact is down to two factors. Firstly they want vast amounts of money from us. Secondly deep down the EU maniacs wants us to be punished for daring to escape from their evil Empire.

      • CliveM

        David their desire to punish is not deep down, its there on the surface for all to see.

        • David

          You’re right Clive.

      • Then tell them to come and get it. Lord St. Vincent said, “I do not say the French cannot come, I only say they cannot come by sea”. What’s changed? Other than maybe the British will.

        • Chefofsinners

          The Channel Tunnel?

    • Manfarang

      Britain has been in industrial decline.
      Beirut was once the main financial centre in the Middle East. Its political situation put an end to that.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Are you expecting war with the EU?

        • Manfarang

          Violent conflict is not unknown in the UK.

          • Little Black Censored

            There have been terrorist attacks much more recently than that, or didn’t you want to mention them?

    • Well, the answer is clear. We know Jews are far more intelligent and inventive than your average Brit, don’t we. Jack is only half-Jewish and consider his brilliance.

      • Chefofsinners

        The other half must be Neanderthal.

        • Morologus es! How dare you call my dear, departed mother Neanderthal. Podex perfectus es.

          Besides, Jews are selective about who they mate with. It would appear the same cannot be sad about your progenitors. Filius canis!

          • Chefofsinners

            Nothing personal, Jack. I merely ‘considered your brilliance’ as instructed and applied deductive reasoning.

          • Pisseurs at dawn.

  • Dolphinfish

    Do forgive me. For a moment I thought our host was talking about Scotland.

    • Hi

      Well I suppose Britain didn’t do to Scotland what Spain did with Catalonia and their referendum.

    • CliveM

      Congratulations on sneaking that bit of “Look at me, I’m Scottish!” into a piece about Britain and the Europe.

      • Royinsouthwest

        What is wrong with his comment? If leaving the EU after 46 years is complicated leaving the UK after 310 years would be more so, but probably not as difficult as Catalonia leaving Spain.

        • CliveM

          Look at his response to Hannah and you’ll get the context and point.

  • CliveM

    Congratulations on sneaking that bit of “Look at me, I’m Scottish!” into a piece about Britain and Europe.

  • Hi

    Welcome to hotel EU: you can check in and never check out….

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    The time has come for the nation to tell Alistair Campbell, ex-pornographer, atheist and Blairite arselicker to bugger off.

    • Manfarang

      Language Mrs. P language!

    • *gasp*

    • David

      Well said Mrs Proudie !

    • Mike Stallard

      Except that he is completely, utterly and incontrovertibly right! The system is designed to fail so that we have another referendum just like every country that had the guts to stick up for its freedom. Only Iceland, Norway and tiny Liechtenstein had the courage of their convictions. (Okay – and Switzerland). We, however, are too weak to join them.

      • Little Black Censored

        Probably!

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Oh fiddlesticks!

    • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

      You forgot to add “war criminal” to his list of “Honours”

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        How on earth did I miss that?

  • Israel’s weeping was for reasons of faith not politics. I understand the analogy but there is a danger that what is a loose analogy gets taken more seriously and exactly. Britain is not the Promised Land. The British are not the New Israel. The Brexit issues are political not religious. Europe is not Babylon.

    This being understood, the analogy stands.

    Is there a real probability Brexit won’t happen?

    • Sybaseguru

      We are not talking about Europe – that’s a geographic area – I presume to mean the EU, and compare it to the Babylonian empire as they are the political entities. I can think of many similarities, the main one being the subjugation of the peoples by a self serving elite.

      • That is what I said – the issue is political not religious. Israel was different; it was both, and the primary problem was religious – how can we sing the lords song in a strange land.

        In fact, if we apply the biblical parallel exactly, like Jeremiah, we may understand the EU (Babylonian power) to be God’s judgement on the nation and sumbit to it rather than Brexit… the problem of lifting analogies becomes plain.

      • I agree they are both political. But the issues for Israel were political and religious (and geographical and social), though religious was primary – how can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.

        Actually if we apply the Israel/Babylon analogy rigorously then we will resist Brexit. Like Jeremiah we will see the EU (Babylon) as God’s judgement on an apostate nation and accept the subjugation by a foreign power as a just punishment to be borne and not resisted.

        This is the knots such theologising can create.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Faith and politics were intermixed in Old Testament times since Moses, Joshua and the Judges were political as well as religious leaders. Some of them were also military leaders.

      • Indeed. But not in the NT. or at least, the politics is different. God’s people are still a theocracy, however, their country is heavenly not earthly. Our hope and home is neither Britain nor Palestine. It is a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells. We are citizens of a heavenly city ( one belonging to a renewed universe where heaven and earth are in some sense one).

    • IrishNeanderthal

      I largely agree. No national or political body should, in my view, seek to identify itself with the people of God.

      Even so, I wonder about the people who took Albrecht D¨rer’s Tower of Babel as a model for the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

      And I am far from convinced that Brexit will actually happen.

      • Indeed. The choice of model does seem to signal an intent in the face of God.

  • Skidger

    That dear Uncle Alastair knows best of course, as he did with the Iraq war.

  • Irene’s Daughter

    The Israelites complained – see Numbers 11:4-5 (CJB)
    Next, the mixed crowd that was with them grew greedy for an easier life; while the people of Isra’el, for their part, also renewed their weeping and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt — it cost us nothing! — and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic!

    But God simply punished them with quail and led them to the Promised Land anyway.

    Campbell may not ‘do God’ but God has His purposes and for the UK they doe not lie in Europe. And what He has started He will complete. Campbell is a fool – ignore him.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Who needs to “do God” when you have got Tony Blair?

  • Dominic Stockford

    If Brexit isn’t done it’ll signal the end of the current political parties in parliament – all of them.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Indeed, we will know that we are no longer living in a democracy and if the politicians won’t play by the rules then there is no reason for the rest of us to either. A mass campaign of civil disobedience should follow. Not yet, but if Parliament does renege on Brexit civil disobedience should follow. All sorts of things could be done but here are a few suggestions to start of with.

      1. Do not pay the television licence since the BBC has acted as a propaganda vehicle for the remoaners.

      2. Do not accept Harriet Harman’s bogus Equalities Act. It was reported yesterday that the NHS in England has ordered doctors to ask patients whether or not they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual etc. and to record the answers in order to comply with the Equalities Act. No doubt the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will do the same soon if the NHS gets away with it in England. Patients can refuse to answer the question but that is not enough. They should tell the doctor that they do not approve of the government doing things the electorate has not asked them to do and refusing to do things we have asked them to do.

      3. Reject the current attempt by politicians to push “transgenderism.” Refuse to accept invented pronouns to be used alongside “he” and “she.” Insist that sex is a matter of biology not opinion.

      4. Refuse to accept limitations on freedom of speech. Tell the authorities that the police should be investigating burglaries and crimes of violence etc. not “hate speech” on the Internet except where it involves clear threats or is repeatedly directed at the same individual, excluding MPs who can expect criticism (as long as it is not threatening).

      5. Do not accept restrictions on freedom of religion.

      6. Reject attempts to de-christianise society. Insist on using BC/AD not BCE/CE. After all, naming is the privilege of the inventors and discoverers. The monk who invented the practice of dating things from the birth of Christ named the system. (Those who don’t like it can use a different dating system, like Jews and Muslims do in their own calendars). Teachers and historians do not “own” history anymore than you or I do and therefore have no right to rename the existing system. Similarly firms like the one that used a photo of a Greek church in its packaging but digitally removed the cross from the photo should be boycotted.

      • Dominic Stockford

        1. Yes. Today’s BBC lunchtime so-called ‘news’ was the most appalling disgrace I’ve seen in a long time. It seemed as if every article was anti-Brexit, Brexit-fear-inducing, or downright lies. At least Sky had the decency to report on the freeing of Raqqa before they went of on their anti-Brexit rant. The BBC repeated the lie about increases of hate-crime ‘because of’ the referendum.

        2. Yes. The AA ask my gender at the end of the on-line surveys I do, they give the option of ‘other’, then ask you to state what it is. Today I was mainly identifying as a “cranefly”. I hope that wrecks their stupid figures.

        3. Yes. I have frequently written to teachers as ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’. I refuse to use the other nonsenses.

        4. Yes. Tell people to ‘man up’…. I tend to say to my children, when they complain at me complaining at someone who has put themselves on TV, ‘aw diddums’.

        5. Key one. And this cuts into this new ‘Party’. Anyone teaching the Christian faith accurately simply has to teach that other faiths are, of their very nature, evil – because they oppose the single truth of salvation through Christ alone, by faith in Him alone.

        6. The PTS produce an annual diary (not called that) which starts each week with Sunday, just as a beginning. Rev Dr Garry Williams pointed out correctly that history cannot be regarded as accurate if it doesn’t openly acknowledge the place of God in it – unbelievers may whinge, too bad.

        • Little Black Censored

          If I don’t know whether to write Mrs or Miss I use Mrs as a courtesy title except for the very young.

      • Little Black Censored

        When a doctor asks an impertinent question we can tell him off. Enough of that and they will soon stop. It is bad enough to be asked, as a matter of routine, how much alcohol you drink. Even dentists are told to ask this.

    • It certainly should do. Whether or not it will remains to be seen.

  • Sybaseguru

    It may be tricky to get out. But when you consider the alternative of staying in its even worse.

  • vsscoles

    Who would trust a word written or said by A Campbell? Any word!

    • Mike Stallard

      He is quite right.
      How would you solve the Irish border question, and the AEOs and the BIPs and the “divorce settlement” to the satisfaction of M. Barnier?

      • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

        Mike there is NO Irish border question – do you really think there wasn’t a border there before and do you really think there isn’t a border there now? This “question” is yet another fake “question”

        We actually have no obligation to make any financial settlement at all as there is nothing written in the EU treaties to say we do AND remember that the EU is an organisation that has never produced a set of approved accounts to anyone’s satisfaction so they don’t know how much anyway – and probably never will!

        • Mike Stallard

          If two countries are in the EEA, then trade can flow back and forth across the borders without hindrance.
          If one of those countries is not in the EEA (cp Kaliningrad) then border posts are set up which check the goods as they pass. This can take up to an hour on each one. That means serious delays as the products coming into the EU will not conform to EU specifications.
          And the EU checking place for incoming goods is at present in Shannon – well inside the borders.

          • Chefofsinners

            It works for Norway.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Who would want to do anything to satisfy M. Barnier?

  • Ya Know, the smart people said that about some other group of people back some 241 years ago. It was quite analogous, in fact Juncker and Lord North could play each other quite easily. Well, you know, it was hard, in fact lots of people died, but it worked out fairly well. I’ve gotten to know a lot of you Brits, you could use Tom Jefferson, and George Washington, but you, like we, (not to mention all the others in our joint history) have their words, and that will suffice, if you keep confidence in yourselves. If you’d rather sink with the Germans, well that will also be your choice.

  • There is, of course, some distance between saying something “can’t be done” and weighing the consequences of doing so as being “too high”. Even if the costs of Brexit are too high, it may manifestly still be done, or the true scale of those costs (if they exist) can never be established.

    True but how many people would have voted in favour of leaving if they understood this? Were the British electorate properly informed of this possibility honesty and openly? We were led into the EU through lies and deceit. Are we now being led out the same way? Was there any serious consideration of the risks and benefits? We all know that modern politics is dishonest and plays to the lowest common denominator and panders to people’s fears and prejudices, so the superficiality of the campaigning is no real surprise.

    Alistair Campbell, that man of virtue and integrity, claims that Brexit: “cannot be done without enormous damage to our economy, to your living standards, to our public services, to our standing in the world.” Music to the ears of those in Brussels undermining Britain’s attempts to achieve a negotiated settlement.

    Now we have voted to leave, in Jack’s view, we should stay on the chosen path. If there is trouble ahead of the sort predicted, then any responsible democrat would begin to prepare the country. And if our Prime Minister believes (and there is no evidence she does): ” This is damage I am not prepared to inflict. The cost is too high.”, then she knows what she ought to do.

    What we don’t need is Gríma Wormtongue.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Grimetta Wormtongue…mmmm move over Mrs. Dismay,I may have a new name for you…

    • Little Black Censored

      Oh poor little me, I’ve been lied to and made the wrong choice. It never occurred to me that I should have thought things out for myself. How irredeemably pathetic!

      • We can’t all be as bright and knowledgeable as you, you know. Some of us have to rely on information received from those we elect to political office.

        • Chefofsinners

          Which is why the vote to leave wasn’t much larger.

  • Intonsus

    If “Brexit can’t be done”, then we can see quite clearly and starkly that Edward Heath and every PM and most politicians since him have lied, and lied, and lied again about the nature of our membership of the EEC/EU. If this cannot be undone, then the UK has already been abolished, along with our democracy, our law, and our hope of governing ourselves; all has already be sold and abolished.

    • Mike Stallard

      I think he’s got it…
      “Castle of lies” by Christopher Booker and Richard North.

  • Mike Stallard

    When Ian Martin was speaking, Britain was in the EEC. We ought to go back to that position by joining EFTA. We would, at a stroke, be free to negotiate our own trade and standards deals. We would be free of the Common Agricultural policy and the Common Fisheries policy too. In addition we would be free of the European court. We would also be given no less than four negotiating platforms to fix our future.
    But it is not going to happen because of the head bangers and perhaps even because of Legatum, that sinister force lurking in the background.
    Roll on 29-30th March 2019 when we will find out if this is just another millennium scare. Or not.

  • Inspector General

    What, no Brexit? Unthinkable…

    That’s the end of the Conservatives, then. That party stands in the same place the Liberals did a hundred years ago. There was a new man around then too, the Labour Party.

    So, another election is called. UKIP forms a government. A government of furious types, and so they should be. But a government voted in by types who would never have voted Conservative, as well as types who never voted anything else but Conservative. And most especially, by types who never voted before they came out for the referendum…watch the last crowd most of all…

    Far fetched?

    We’ll see…

    • Ray Sunshine

      Be careful what you wish for, Inspector. Another election now, or at any moment in the foreseeable future, would be more likely to elect a Labour government, even with the horror-film prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as PM.

      • Inspector General

        Hardly, sunshine. The old Bolshevik may have been misunderstood but everyone now knows where he stands on student loans. Anyway, Dianne might be in charge by then and we all know her views on those of us unlucky to have been born white…

        • Royinsouthwest

          She would not agree that we were unlucky. She would describe us as beneficiaries of white privilege.

          • Inspector General

            “You only here cos you broke White Man’s laws, hon. By the way, who was it you killed/knifed/raped/mugged….”

        • Little Black Censored

          And it is becoming clearer where he stands on Brexit.

  • Bernard from Bucks

    “But precisely because I have a profound sense of duty, I want to tell you the absolute truth as I see it. It cannot be done.”
    The ‘impossible’ I can do at once. But ‘Miracles’ may take a little longer.

    (“QUOTATION: With willing hearts and skillful hands, the difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a bit longer.
    ATTRIBUTION: Author unknown. Inscription on the memorial to the Seabees (U.S. Naval Construction Batallions), between Memorial Bridge and Arlington Cemetery.)

    Go to it.

    • Little Black Censored

      “I want to tell you the absolute truth.”
      When was Campbell converted?

  • Little Black Censored

    I want to hand the Government a blank cheque, and for us to fall over a cliff and crash out without a deal, also to use European residents as a bargaining chip. I am a bad person.

    • Chefofsinners

      You probably are a bad person, but not for thinking this. The EU drives one to think this way by it’s determination to inflict maximum damage on the UK in revenge for Brexit.

      • Little Black Censored

        It is an honour to be recognized as a bad person by the Chief of Sinners.

        • Chefofsinners

          It takes one to know one, as they say. Pancakes and tiger ghee for you…

  • William Lewis

    I believe that Brexit will happen because it is a part of God’s good plan for the UK. I hope and pray that He is merciful to this country, in consideration of our collective misdemeanours, along the way.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Perhaps Mrs. May flew to Brussels and believed she’d landed at Munich…

    • Royinsouthwest

      We cannot expect her to be another Churchill but even another Neville Chamberlain would be an improvement. Chamberlain did at least set rearmament in motion so that by the time war broke out we had spitfires, hurricanes and radar. If Mrs Dismay had been around and in charge in 1938 she would have said that rearmament would be provocative but we might review our defence policy after the next general election.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I see her as a second Lord Wilmington….

        • Royinsouthwest

          I must admit that I had to Google Lord Wilmington. The article about him in Wikipedia includes the sentence below.

          Wilmington was a forceful Prime Minister, and grew notorious amongst his cabinet for taking measures without reaching consensus.

          Mrs May gets accused of many things but being “forceful” does not appear to be one of them!

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I was more referring to

            “a plodding, heavy fellow, with great application but no talents”.

            also from Wiki…

          • Royinsouthwest

            That’s more like it!

  • Inspector General

    If there’s no Brexit, then this Inspector will do what he can to destroy the Conservative party.

    • Dreadnaught

      I think that is already underway.

      • Inspector General

        Think you’re right. Queer Marriage was just the first step ( still can’t get over that. Probably never will. The Conservatives of all people! It’s like looking out the window and finding the sky green and the grass blue), and there’s that business of entrusting the last election strategy to what appeared to be a couple of under graduates…

    • DespiteBrexit

      You wouldn’t be alone and it would undoubtedly be destroyed. Reading Conservative Home it is evident that many there realise it. It also seems to me that some would regard it as an acceptable price to pay.

      However it would be scant consolation and – ultimately – irrelevant.

      • Royinsouthwest

        The Conservative Woman website is worth visiting regularly too, even for men. It is evident that the Conservative party is turning its back on its core vote in hope of gaining support from the Guardian and the BBC.

        Conservative Woman
        https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk

      • Inspector General

        “Anything sailing under a false flag should be sunk. Survivors to rescued and brought to Greenwich to be hanged as the scoundrels they undoubtedly are”

        God Save The Queen

      • Royinsouthwest

        In case my reply was ambiguous I should point out that the writers at the Conservative Woman website, and most of the people who make comments there, consistently oppose the PC line taken in recent years by the leaders of the Conservative party.

    • not a machine

      you might need your efforts in some other places Inpsector ,looks a little like nibbles before the soup, bit of way to go for desert yet.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      The Conservative doesn’t really need any help at the moment.
      It is destroying itself. But every little helps Inspector. I’m with you all the way.
      Of course this may be a ‘cunning-plan’ to let in Corbyn and hence scupper Brexit?

    • Chefofsinners

      Join it?

  • Dreadnaught

    Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states
    (2) A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal…

    My reading of this is that the onus to ‘negotiate’ a mutually agreed settlement is laid decisively on the shoulders of the EU. It does not state that an EU acceptable financial settlement has to be met before negotiations on trade and the future relationship between the exiting state and the EU must be in place as a precursor to a detailed trade accord.

    • David

      Correct ! We are under no legal or treaty obligation to pay them a penny. It’s just blackmail – pay us £squillions or you’ll get no trade deal. I am all for paying nothing, not having a trade deal and trading under WTO rules. They are just greedy bully boys !

      • Mike Stallard

        We pay them something like £10 billion a year. Germany pays 13. After that, the next three countries together pay about the same as we do. All the rest either pay very little or are takers. Poland alone takes what we put in. Without our input, they are screwed. And do not forget that until 2020 we have agreed to pay up our dues.
        And the EU is not a trading bloc at all. Mr Wilson lied about that. It always has been a political construct leading to one big, united continent under some commissioners. We want trade; it is not a priority for European Commissioners.

        • David

          That sums up much of the position nicely I’d say.

  • Chefofsinners

    It is not true that Brexit can’t be done.
    It may well be true that it very nearly cannot be done.
    That is why it must be done, now, before it is too late.

    • Michael64

      As I see it UK has had a revolution – voting against the wishes of the ruling elite and the civilservants etc.
      Now following such a revolution it is clear madness to expect the ruling elite and the civilservants to implement what they would never have voted for.
      Do you not agree – or what am I missing (being a Dane and not living in UK I’m at a clear disadvantage).

      • Royinsouthwest

        Is it mad to believe in democracy? After anti-communist riots in East Germany in the 1950s some party hack stated that the people had lost the confidence of the government and party. The dramatist Bertold Brecht said in reply “shouldn’t the people be dissolved and a new people elected?”

        • Michael64

          No but to believe that politicians (or for that matter anybody) would faithfully implement anything that they do not believe in perhaps is – if not mad then perhaps naïve?

          • Royinsouthwest

            OK, I would agree with that. The solution, in the longer term, would be for constituency organisations to replace existing MPs as candidates at the next general election and for selection to the service to be broadened so we don’t recruit people who have exactly the same opinions.

          • Michael64

            That is exactly my point leaving is quite difficult when the ruling clases have vested interest in remaining. But not impossible – but as I have pointed out it either takes a more sizeable majority – so as to secure the politicians backing – or a more disorganised form chucking out the elite and replacing them – You know the standard revolution fashion. Failing that only having a propper political party fully backing a leave policy with a well defined program to once elected replace the civelservice manarins and progress slowly towards a leave before triggering a article might just work for a country as large as UK (i.e. not be so costly as to lose the party its majority).

          • Chefofsinners

            You make the mistake of assuming that our politicians believe in anything beyond what willl get them elected. Do not think Theresa May has any principles. She campaigned for Remain in the referendum and for Brexit in the general election – and lost both times!

          • Michael64

            I may be guilty of that… I knew that Boris had a clear lack of principles, and I in general suspect that most of them are willing to compromise some of their views for higher positions.
            But when undertaking a moonumental task like leaving EU then I do believe you need leaders that are leaders and not weather vanes – it will be difficult and there will be pain – and someone needs to motivate people to perseveer.
            So if the current lot is the best you have then I’m very doubtful about the project.

      • Chefofsinners

        This is not a revolution, it is democracy in action. If it transpires that the elite is utterly corrupt and the civil service has no intention of serving society, then there will be a revolution.

        • bluedog

          Interesting thought, and a Corbyn govt. could be the catalyst. The M25 may well define the position of the two sides.

          • Chefofsinners

            See you on the barricades.

          • bluedog

            Circumvallation will be the operative word.

          • Chefofsinners

            No, I’m not Jewish. You can keep that Stanley knife to yourself.

          • bluedog

            I’ll send Hannah round with a Number 23 scalpel to check and make adjustments as required.

          • Chefofsinners

            No skin off my nose.

          • Little Black Censored

            You could use one of those gadgets for cutting the foil off a wine bottle.

        • In a sense it is, in the sense of completing the revolution, in which the people again take back control from the elites. It’s something we use in US history when we say the American revolution was a continuation of the English Revolution, and our civil war flowed from both. In the matter of: put back in the correct place.

          • Little Black Censored

            Yes, and there was widespread sympathy here for the colonists in the War of Independence.

          • Indeed so. The only time Pitt the Younger, Burke, and Charles James Fox (who wore American regimentals into Parliament) agreed on anything. They say the English population was about equally divided as ours was. But Lord North couldn’t recruit soldiers for American service, thus the Hessians, and making the break beyond repair. That was when the Union Jack in our flag’s canton disappeared, as it changed from a tax revolt to a revolution. If HMG had listened to Pitt, we would have been the first member of the Commonwealth, our founders were quite proudly British.

        • Michael64

          I meant it only in that it is the manifest will of the people against the wishes of the majority of the ruling classes.
          The point then is that it is difficult to see how you can expect the ruling classes to implement a decission that not only goes against their wishes, but that they often have a very difficult time understanding.
          Like
          ‘people did not vote leave to be poorer’
          when the remain probaganda was that poorer they would be, how do you then conclude that Brexit has to be profitable in each period?

          • rapscallion

            It doesn’t matter what the ruling classes want. The essential point here is that parliament decided that the decision to remain or leave be put to a referendum. Whatever the result it had to be respected because that is what the majority of those who voted wanted.

            The result frankly is irrelevant because this is what democracy is all about. If the government decided not to implement Article 50 or decided at a later stage not to complete Brexit then democracy in this country is dead for several generations. What would be the point of voting if politicians could ignore the result? Frankly there would be not point in voting in any further General Election if we remained in the EU as pretty much most decisions are made in Brussels.

            The EU is not so much undemocratic as anti-democratic.

          • Michael64

            If they treat you like they did in Denmark then you may end up feeling that democracy is dead in UK for quite a while. Here hving lost a referendum, but not wanting to live with the consequences the politicians got together and made a national compromise – which we were than allowed to vote on about a year and a half after the first referendum (which was aboout as closely decided as yours).
            Second time around they got the vote they wanted and they have tried to wriggle out of each compromise position ever since.
            In UK the ‘out’ side is much better represented in parliament so this may be harder for the UK politicians, but I would look for a EFTA/EEA compromise – no FTA will be possible in the short time available after December. So they would agree on the principles for a future FTA but opt for the EFTA/EEA in the ‘shortø term to avoid the then pointless massive disruption to trade (the cliff edge) that would otherwise be the consequence (- my guess as to what they would say). Then after 6-7 years in EFTA they will put the newly minted FTA versus getting back in the EU to a referendum.
            I’m sure you will feel that democracy is then pointless, but I’m less certain that it will be a general attitude – maybe amongst UKIP and anti EU groups, but it is my guess that the elite would not be overly concewrned if these groups feel that voting is pointless. Just as the republicans are quite happy that the poor vote less frequently in the USA. I happen to think that it is a major sign of problems with Democracy – though I would like UK to remain in EU I would not like it to be so because the people were cheated out of a say.

  • not a machine

    I am still mulling it all over ,Mr Campbell can say what he thinks your grace makes a point in his post and its implication is rather difficult to consider as one prime minister did say “no no no” rather than every prime minister has lied .The trouble with Mr Cambells is that he points a uk scenario ,but fails to mention the effects on the EU .

  • Philip Rosen

    It’s not so much that Brexit cannot be done, but that the EU will ensure that it cannot be done, lest it serve as a model for other states to follow.

    • ^This^ This is the key point. Europe, specifically the EU cannot survive Brexit, long term anyway. There’s far too much dead wood on the continent, and Germany ain’t what it used to be, the best of France is already in London (and New York) what else is there. It will fail anyway, but there is no reason for Britain to impoverished because of it. Socialism always makes everybody equal – equally poor, that is and always unfree as well.

      • dansmith17

        The socialists are losing elections all across the continent, and have been for years.

    • David

      Yes Germany and France the core of the EU Imperial dream want to punish us, make an example of us despite the threats to their trading self-interests. The ego of the those politicians have been dented that’s the point. All must bow to the Imperial power of the EU – that’s their sick mentality.

  • Brian

    The time has come for Alastair Campbell to tell the nation: ‘I’m sorry for all the bad things Blair and I did to Britain.’
    But don’t hold your breath.
    This is just another example of the Jedi mind tricks he used to hoodwink the nation and trying to destroy confidence. It’s astonishing that this traitor I still allowed to live in the UK. He should be behind bars – not serving drinks but time.

    • Royinsouthwest

      It is not many years since Blair apologised for the Irish potato famine. We cannot expect Blair and Campbell to get around to apologising for the Iraq war and the other damaging things they did until they have finished apologising for all the historic injustices that they had nothing to do with.

      • Little Black Censored

        Still, you must admit that the famine was very bad, and he did not use his powers as a supernatural time lord to stop it. There was a Matt cartoon a few years ago of a child saying to his father, “Daddy, why does Tony Blair let earthquakes happen?”

  • jsampson45

    There is a difference between Brexit being impossible and the government refusing to work out how to do it without wrecking the economy, turning our motorways into lorry parks, grounding aircraft and all the rest of it. Re Edward Heath lying, I thought everyone knew that.

    • Royinsouthwest

      How do the Americans, Canadians, Chinese, Japanese, Australians, Indians, South Africans, Egyptians, Nigerians and so on cope without being able to fly planes into the EU? I never realised that the planes from those countries that I have seen in Heathrow and other airports and the passengers getting off them were just figments of my imagination.

      • dansmith17

        The issue of flights is the same as with many issues, inside the EU we abolished the independent British regulatory system, so America uses the FAA to regulate is the plane safe, are the spare parts going into the plane safe, etc etc, the European regulator has an agreement that it Trusts FAA inspections the FAA Trusts European inspections. For other countries, some pay FAA or Europeans to manage inspections for their aircraft some do it themselves and have agreements with both FAA and Europe.

        UK Is perfectly capable of setting up its own infrastructure or of paying FAA or EU to do it for us, the point is we are not capable of setting it up from nothing by March 2019.

        Anything that we are doing jointly with the EU today we can do independently, the point is for many things we can not set up and run independently by 2019.

        • bluedog

          Really?

      • jsampson45

        Brexit hasn’t happened yet. This would explain what you are seeing.

        • I think his point was that none of the countries he mentioned has a trade deal with the EU.

          • jsampson45

            I assume there will be airspace rights agreements with the EU, which will have to be replaced to allow UK flights. If he is an expert on aviation he will be able to tell us more.

  • Michael64

    A Brexit can be done, but it will be expensive so Heath was not lying!
    The problems of Brexit are:
    1. Only a fairly slim majority wanted it.
    2. It has to be implemented by a parliament which by and large does not believe in it.
    3. It has to be executed by a civilservice that do not believe in it
    4. Promises were made that not even Nigel Farage believed in (bad probaganda) – and I am not saying that the remain side did not make themselves guilty of this – just that they do not have to implement major changes based on it now.
    5. The leave side has many different agendas – some want a complete deregulation and no tariffs others want to retain a lot of the environmental laws, some the labour protection some… etc. etc.
    Now I could go on but this already should be enough.
    If UK wanted to Brexit it should have demanded e.g. a two thirds majority vote and it should have been:
    1. Backed by a political party with a PM candidate and a Brexit plan
    2. The leave plan should have been laid out in detail as a manifest – so people knew what they voted for
    3. The unavoidable short term costs should have been revealed and a plan for how to cope with them should have been published
    5. the costs of running all the agencies currently dealt with through EU should have been factored in.

    Now if you say then Leave would never have won then it is because the people are not behind the monumental task of leaving EU after 40 odd years of membership – not because it is not possible.

    • The remain campaign was horrifically bad. One doesn’t win an Anglo-Saxon campaign based on fear, ever. Possibly, it was worse than Hillary’s. Cameron’s overconfidence in Remain winning will cost you a fair amount, as you say. Planning should have been done and none was. From my cheap seat, Leave stayed mostly within bounds, although they had their slips, but that’s always true when you are talking about such things. Still, leave won, fairly, and now the government is obliged to live by what the sovereign people said, hard, impossible, or easy, they have been given their mission. Time for them to settle down and execute it.

      • Michael64

        I agree to the limited extend that I know – I am a Dane living in Denmark – here we have twice voted against EU only to have the Politicians fudging it and or getting us to vote again – so as to get the result they wanted. Each time they were on about how horrible it would be if we voted against their wishes. Originally I was against EU, but now I realise how much we depend on it and many of the benefits being in brings us – but this is not the result of any campaign.
        Our EU membership started with EU ‘stealig’ our fishing grounds and that did not sit too well with me and has never really done – then there was the whole CAP and the over production – the CFP and the overfishing and … the list goes on. But basically since the SM things seen from a Danish point of view has improved – to the point where now it would be economical suicide to leave. There is still a lot I disagree with but….

        • Royinsouthwest

          The EEC stole our fishing grounds too. It did not originally have a common fisheries policy but introduced one opportunistically at the last moment just before Britain, Denmark and Ireland agreed to join. The governments of the three countries were too cowardly to call the EEC’s bluff and refuse to join unless the common fisheries policy was dropped.

          • Michael64

            Norway did refuse to join – and as they found oil and joined EFTA we unfortunately do not quite have a case of what would have happened had we stayed out.

          • Mike Stallard

            Well now. If we rejoined the EEC (now it is called the EEA actually), then all our border and trading problems would be instantly sorted. We would leave the Common Fishing Policy of the EU and join Norway and Iceland in EFTA.
            Detail is very important in this discussion. Let us get it right.

          • Michael64

            That would be my reccomendation, but I fully understand the leave voters fear that a Brexit deferred is a Brexit denied. That halfway house might just as well lead back to EU as it may lead to an independent UK. So while it would be the prudent choice, I am not sure that it is politically possible.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Maybe, rather than Brexit, the whole of Europe needs Bruxit.

          • Michael64

            Well the single market is kind of nice, at least for us in Denmark, and that is underpinned by the ECJ – without ECJ non tariff barriers to trade would keep appearing (to protect our consumers you know).
            Also we kind of like that EU handles all those agencies, it would be too costly for us (a nation og 5m) to handle it ourselves.
            We also like to enjoy the collective bargaining power, and the…
            the list goes on
            So as you see for the majority of the small nations in EU the advantages are quite substantial – for UK less obvious perhaps.
            So while we agree on a lot of stuff with UK – this one is a step too far.

        • Heh! If you missed the memo, I’m an American, and west of the Mississippi to boot. But I pay attention, as you do. Our views differ some, but our perspectives do as well. Denmark, if you’ll pardon me, is not even close to the powerhouse that Britain can be, actually should be. It’s important to realize that America is little more than England written very large and more faithful (I think) to our joint heritage, likely because we wrote it down and have (mostly) stuck to it.

          • Manfarang

            A lot of Americans are movers and shakers. Britain is very much a class ridden society and as such now lacks innovation.

          • Yep, but a lot of that, I think, is the EU (and HMG) stifling innovation. Germany has the same problem, only worse. There’s a reason why BMW designs and build cars for Europe in the US. The class structure is sometimes, at least, an excuse, your good innovators have usually managed. Does it cost you some though? Yep, sure does. But I have no clue how you’d solve that.

          • IanCad

            I have to disagree; my observation is that the UK is far more entrepreneurial than the USA. Besides that, in our fair isle it much easier to set up a business because there is far less red tape to contend with.
            You have no idea how exceptional the Americans are in the arts of obstructive legislation.

          • Michael64

            Yes – I did miss that one… And I fully understand that UK is about 13 times larger than Denmark and has completely different traditions from us. Hence I think UK may succede in this if done properly – and that is the main issue here.
            Currently UK economy is primarily a service based economy and many of the ones that voted leave want to strengthen the manufacturing sector to spread the wealth creation more evenly in UK. This will however take time and be costly – partly also because WTO does not cover financial services.
            My original comments were directed at the idea that Brexit is not impossible, not even if the current UK government does not mannage it.
            Brexit probably just requires a more unified approach – i.e. to enjoy broarder political support and broarder public support. Having as many people doubting it or unwilling to bear the (possibly) transient costs makes it a very precarious undertaking.

        • bluedog

          Do you understand the difference between a free trade agreement and a political union which your people have never sanctioned?

          • Manfarang

            Of course the Danes have sanctioned EU membership As Michael said in a number of votes.

          • bluedog

            ‘here we have twice voted against EU only to have the Politicians fudging it and or getting us to vote again’

            A comment by Michael64, see above, which informs that votes against the EU have been subverted by the political class. Of course, there is no prospect of that outcome with Brexit.

          • Michael64

            I believe I do – and though I disagree with how we came to sanction it, I acknowledge that we have.
            Though initially against the EU 1972 to 1987, I am now pro EU. I am not enthusiastic about the ever closer union, but at the speed we progress this will be an issue for my children more so than for me.
            They already feel much less Danish than people of my generation – with all the social media etc. the idea of being as close friends with someone in UK or Lithuania as in Denmark is very much more a thing for them than it was for us.

    • Royinsouthwest

      You obviously want to change the rules retrospectively. We joined the EEC without a referendum and when one was held a few years later a simple majority sufficed. “Leave” meant exactly what it said; that Britain should be an independent country like Canada, Australia or even Singapore which left Malaysia many years ago and now has a higher standard of living than Britain does.

      • Michael64

        No I do not want to change the rules UK is leaving as I understand it – I was only pointing out that though difficult – there would be a way to Brexit. Th requirement for a 2/3s majority would be to secure that no MP would think that there was a political future in opposing Brexit. I am not a Brit and do not live in UK so naturally I am against UK leaving, but that does not prevent me from seeing how UK might have been able to take a much better road to Brexit.
        The two thirds majority could be removed, but Brexit is currently a revolution (voting against the elite and the civilservants) – and expecting them to implement it – and it kind of hurts seeing how that plays out.

        • Chefofsinners

          “I am not a Brit and do not live in UK so naturally I am against UK leaving.”
          There you have it in a nutshell. It is in the national interest of other countries for us to remain, and in our national interest to leave.

          • True, and in addition to my personal feelings (which supported Brexit) I think it is in the American national interest for the UK to leave. That always matters.

          • Manfarang

            Sure American business can clean up.

          • We are traders, so are you. We don’t go into deals where we are going to lose (well, USG sometimes does). You’ve always been the same way. That’s why you financed much of our industrialization (made a real good return on it too).

            That’s what trade is about, a mutually beneficial transaction. For instance, we could feed you for much less money, but you have to decide because while it would be good for your poor, it would be bad for your farmers, same with energy, we’re exporting LNG to Poland now, for the same money as they can buy it from Russia.

          • Michael64

            Now if by national interest you refer to the creeping loss of national identity and the ever closer union then I understand and agree with you. If you are talking economics then I’m less certain, but I would have the ‘humbility’ to admit that it can take years to know.

        • Little Black Censored

          “…so naturally I am against UK leaving…”
          Why “naturally”? Lots of foreigners sympathize with us.

          • Manfarang

            Foreigners are forming economic unions in other parts of the world.

          • Michael64

            Well I sympathize with lots of the sentiments, but as a citizen of rEU I get to pay and enjoy none of the possible benefits of Brexit. So I hope you can see that even if I understand many of the motivations I kind of hate to pay the bill. I’m not talking about the ‘divorce’ settlement or the budget gap left by UK – I am talking about the loss of trade.

          • bluedog

            There’ll be no loss of trade as long as the EU resists the temptation to indulge its protectionist instincts. One reads in the press today of an initiative by the German foreign ministry for what appears to be a comprehensive treaty between Germany and the UK. It seems that the inevitable has happened, and the Germans are sick of the EU negotiators petty point scoring and want to get down to business. You can be quite certain that once they decide on a course of action, the Germans will not muck about.

          • Michael64

            I think there will be loss of trade one way or the other.
            Either through UK getting at best a deal like CETA which will still be a lot less trade than now as it will be far from frictionless or through UK getting truely frictionless trade and Denmark leaving at the very next chance – and the dominos start falling – fairly soon afterwards more and more leave. They all reject ECJ and we soon will be back to our old non tariff based barriers to trade -and we all will have less trade.
            So a substantial loss at the latest in 2019 or a very much bigger loss before 2030.
            Non tariff barriers to trade are simply too tempting for politicians to avoid – they always protect the locals and are all too often the popular choice – so once EU or the single market collapses you can count the number of years it will take for them to reemerge on the fingers of your hand.

          • bluedog

            Simply don’t agree. The entire EU is structured on non-tariff barriers to trade. Look at the Common fisheries and agricultural policies for a start. Without them, trading in foodstuffs goes global rather than being locked into the EU. Getting rid of the EU could perversely increase trade, certainly with the rest of the world, and the EU is a shrinking component of the global economy, ie less and less important every year.

          • Michael64

            I perhaps should have made that clear the NTBs are absent within EU not towards the rest of the world. And if the EU disappears then trade with the rest of the world will increase, but between EU members NTBs will now appear and trade will deminish.

          • bluedog

            So who would you prefer as trading partners, mature EU economies with ageing and shrinking populations or say, Pakistan, pop 204m, Indonesia, pop 260m and Thailand, pop 68m for a grand total of approx 500m and rapid economic growth? The EU is just a stagnant backwater.

          • Michael64

            Which is why I am less certain than others about the folly of Brexit. To me it may well be a ok move especially if UK can make free trade deals with such economies.
            I still think it could be done in a much better way, but I also accept that this probably was not politically possible.

    • Dolphinfish

      Brexit not only CAN be done, it WILL be done. It’s what happens on March 30th which really interests me. I find the English a fascinating people. They cannot be called arrogant because that word implies a certain level of self-awareness, however subconscious. For a non-religious people, they harbour the most mystical assumptions about their scepter’d isle, notwithstanding that it’s not even an isle at all. If it’s struggling, that’s down to Johnny Foreigner, and if Johnny is repulsed, Arthurian paradise will be reborn, AND on the very morning of his expulsion. Not twenty years and another wasted generation later, as the best case scenario actually envisages. Yes, fascinating indeed.

      • William Lewis

        The English are not particularly fascinating. We just generally won’t be told what we can or cannot do and have a sense that democratic sovereignty is something to be honoured and preserved. So, I think that you are right. Brexit will happen.

      • Well, they’ve got form on that. The last time they turned their back on the continent, after a few little problems, like the Armada and the Reformation they produced the modern world. What can’t the Brits do? I’m not British and I have no idea. But yeah, they are rather low key about it all. Must be something to “Keeping calm and carrying on.”

      • Little Black Censored

        What a sneering comment. And why is this not a scepter’d isle? it is an island under a single monarchy.

        • Dolphinfish

          Thank you for proving my point. I said “England”; being English, you assumed that meant the entire Island.

      • Manfarang

        UK- English, Welsh, Scots, and Northern Irish.

        • Dolphinfish

          UK = Greater England.

  • theman8469

    Ah the lovely EU. You can have a vote only if you vote the right way.

    • Royinsouthwest

      But you know that it would be a hate crime to vote any other way, don’t you?

  • IrishNeanderthal

    In 1859, the first cross-border railway connecting Luxembourg to countries outside was opened. This was celebrated with a song De Feierwon (fire-wagon), from the chorus of which comes the national motto of Luxembourg:

    Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn (We want to remain what we are.) The chorus reads:

    Kommt hier aus Frankräich, Belgie, Preisen,
    Mir wellen iech ons Hémecht weisen,
    Frot dir no alle Säiten hin,
    Mir welle bleiwe wat mir sin.

         English translation:

    Come here from France, Belgium, Prussia,
    we want to show you our homeland
    ask from all directions,
    We want to remain what we are.

    Which shows that it is possible to be remain national without being xenophobic.

    So is it not ironic that some politicians from the Benelux countries seem to foremost in the process of obliterating the distinctiveness of Europe’s wonderfully varied nations?

    Here is a nice video of the song: De Feierwon.

  • Chefofsinners

    An interesting report today from the Resolution Foundation think tank, identifying the cost of a ‘no deal’ Brexit in terms of raised import prices.
    Cue hysterical headlines from left wing news outlets. Read on to find the actual cost… £260 a year per household, or a fiver a week.
    What price freedom?

    • Anton

      Yes and compare with current taxes.

    • Manfarang

      There are millions in Britain who find it hard to make ends meet. Do they need further hardship?

      • Chefofsinners

        I think you will find that most of them manage to find money for beer, cigarettes and mobile phone credit. Relative poverty is not poverty. But for those in genuine need, there are a lot of people like me who pay a lot of tax and I don’t begrudge them a necessary level of state support.

        • Manfarang

          Clearly as they are good at negotiating discounts some of them should be put in charge of Brexit negotiations.

      • Royinsouthwest

        I have got nothing against looking for savings of a fiver a week using price comparison websites for energy, house or car insurance, broadband, telephone and TV packages, but freedom? Honestly!

        People of earlier generations made much greater sacrifices in the cause of freedom. Your argument would have seemed utterly laughable to my parents and grandparents and most people of their generations.

        • Manfarang

          Earlier generations didn’t have much choice.

    • David

      Yes but I doubt whether that study took into account the fact that once we are able to scour the world for the best food deals prices will inevitably fall. Supporting inefficient French farmers has cost us dear over the decades.

  • Anton

    Who cares what Alistair Campbell thinks? This speaks only about the people who give him a platform.

    • David

      Including many of the delusional Guardian Readers.

  • David

    The whole basis of the EU’s intransigence in negotiating a trade deal was summed up by a comment from a member of the Polish cabinet who said that “the UK must pay as much as possible for as long as possible”. Poland is one of the main financial beneficiaries from the EU.
    By our useless Prime Minister attempting to start proceedings by negotiating on their terms, and talking about money, she has once again fallen into the EU”s trap. It would have been better to have stonewalled them by refusing to discuss money – at all – until the terms for a trade deal were also on the table. That way there would be deadlock until they blinked and if the two years period lapsed with no movement, then we revert to trading under WTO rules. As it is May has gained nothing except humiliate us.
    She couldn’t negotiate her way our of a paper bag ! She is just too weak and unworldly for the task. David Davies should be PM.

    • Anton

      Exactly. Why should we be asked to pay until we know what we are getting?