A new year, a new Parliament, a new government, a shattered opposition – we are waiting to see how this realignment affects the next stage of withdrawal. Meanwhile we review evidence we have collected that reveals the gaps between the EU’s presentation and its performance.
It is amazing how little Brexit is being mentioned in the news at present, let’s hope it never reaches the levels it occupied for most of the past four years. We too have scaled back our activity because there is little to add until the new UK government gets on with enacting the promises on which it was elected. Clearly as the end of January approaches, the first stage of leaving the EU will feature again; doom-sayers will surely recover from the shock that voters have once more dealt them. Labour is in the Vanguard with its leadership contenders vowing to continue to fight against Brexit.
Jess Phillips, whose constituents voted 60/40 to leave the EU, wants the UK to rejoin. Keir Starmer, one of the favourites to succeed Corbyn, wants the UK to stay closely aligned with the EU by which he means the Customs Union and Single Market; this is worse than rejoining. The top contender, Patricia Long Bailey (please don’t hyphenate, she’s not posh—she has a proper Northern accent) thinks her party’s election manifesto was great but didn’t “cut through” for some reason. It seems they have learned nothing from Labour’s monumental failure to convince voters.
So to begin the new year we will reflect on what we have been doing in our blog until now, focusing on our reservations about the EU. Specifically we want to show the sources of our evidence, to compare what the EU is and what it says it is; we will do this in a set of five posts to follow this brief introduction.
The first post, From the Horse’s Mouth, contains (under four sub-headings) sets of sentences and paragraphs from key EU documents and official statements which we think are self-revealing of what lies behind the mask the EU usually wears for public show. They require minimal comment from us but we have included sets of related links to our past work.
The next four posts compare, in tabular format, what the EU says it is with what the EU really is. Again we show official EU sources but now summarising what our earlier posts have revealed: that the EU has decorated itself with honours it hasn’t earned. For example, it didn’t create peace in Europe (or anywhere else) and it’s hard to show it has sustained it. It is economically unsuccessful by the standards of other advanced economies. Its democratic credentials are at the lower end of what should be expected of open, liberal societies. Its legal system is rigged in its own favour. Its shortcomings are widely felt in the UK, which joined on poor terms and receives scant benefit.