Senior Government figures are considering a series of proposals to “sabotage” the EU’s structures if Brussels refuses to agree a new deal or let Mr Johnson deliver Brexit without one.
Two Cabinet ministers told this newspaper that they were among those backing a more “aggressive” approach towards Brussels.
It is understood that plans under discussion include blocking the EU’s 2021-27 budget, which is due to be agreed early next year, and nominating a British commissioner who would cause disruption within their portfolio.
Senior ministers discussed the prospect of sending Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, to take up the role.
Category: Nigel Farage
Brian Micklethwait argues that no (overt) pact is needed between the Brexit Party and the Conservatives in order to get a Parliament of leavers. The Brexit Party can make the pact unilaterally:
all Brexit voters need to know who to vote for in their particular constituency, come the day, to ensure Brexit. So, the Brexit Party just needs to tell them. If the Brexit Party campaigns for Conservative Brexiters who’ll win, but for its own candidates when they are more likely to win, the Brexit Party will get its deal.
Meanwhile Boris might do well to avoid a pact:
in the event of such public collaboration, there was and is a crucial slice of Conservative but only Leave-ish voters in the affluent south who would have been put off voting Leave, and would who would now be put off voting Conservative and would switch to the LibDems
It might just work.
Some sort of clean break Brexit is looking far more likely than it was when Theresa May was Prime Minister. What happened?
Today Nigel Farage made a speech to the Brexit Party (the event is ongoing and his speech starts about 17 minutes into that live stream).
Back in March of this year all seemed lost. We had a Labour and Conservative party, both of whom were happy not to take us out of the European Union. […] The talk was that not only were we not leaving the European Union but we were to face a second referendum. […] That is why I founded the Brexit Party. […] We managed to turn all of that anger that was out there in this country into optimism and hope. We made people begin to realise that actually Brexit was going to happen. […] It was our rise and success that got rid of the worst and most duplicitous prime minister in British history. I think we pretty much guaranteed that her successor would be a leading brexiteer. Indeed if we hadn’t fought those elections I suspect Mrs May would still be there.
Farage claims that at this point Boris is mostly aping Brexit Party lines. But he does not mind. He is pleased that Boris has brought some energy and optimism to the job, and that he is saying we will leave on the 31st October, “do or die.” But Nigel is skeptical, since we heard similar things from Theresa May early on, and Boris looks like he might be satisfied with the withdrawal agreement minus the backstop. Boris and the Conservative party can not be trusted, Nigel says.
It is clear that Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party are the ones keeping Boris honest. Will it be enough, or will they also be the ones bringing about the downfall of the Conservative Party should he fail? Says Nigel:
The withdrawal agreement is not Brexit. The withdrawal agreement is a betrayal of what 17.4m people voted for, and if you go with the withdrawal agreement we will fight you in every single seat up and down the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
He talks about another possibility: that Boris proceeds with leaving with no deal. Nigel thinks no deal is the best deal. He calls it a clean break Brexit, leaving the UK independent and sovereign.
If Boris Johnson was to summon up the courage to lead this country into a clean break Brexit on 31st October, and if the only means of achieving that was calling a general election … then we would put country before party … we would be prepared to help him, perhaps in the form of a non-aggression pact at the election.
He goes on to suggest that the only way the Conservative party could win a general election is with the help and support of the Brexit Party. “We will not get a genuine Brexit without the Brexit Party being involved.”
The outraged #NotMyPM twitterati think that new prime minister Boris Johnson should call a general election, since he was only put in place by a handful of silly old Tory party members and has no mandate. One problem with a general election is that the Brexit vote could be split between the Brexit Party and the Conservatives. So Nigel Farage has suggested there is the possibility of an electoral pact, whereby the Brexit Party does not contest all seats.
It would be fascinating if, for example, previously safe Labour seats went to TBP due Corbyn’s promise that the Labour party would back Remain. Or if votes were split between Labour and Lib Dems, since Jo Swinson has ruled out a pact.
Boris’s next moves will greatly impact the shape of the Great Realignment. Via the medium of electoral arithmetic, Nigel Farage will have a great deal of influence, I suspect.
Guido reports on Nigel Farage’s response to Ursula von der Leyen, the former German defence minister, nominated by the European Council as president of the European Commission, now seeking confirmation from the European Parliament. He makes various accusations. Politico has extensive commentary on the subsequent debate. Her opening statement is recorded on Europa.eu.
Some things I have been able to glean:
- She wants to ratchet carbon emission reductions. I think that in a growing economy this will happen anyway; the EU will no doubt think that it needs to enforce it. “I will introduce a Carbon Border Tax to avoid carbon leakage”. That seems like something the UK might do well to opt out of, especially if we can get rid of Theresa May’s ridiculous carbon pledge too.
- She wants to “finally complete the Capital Markets Union” to help small-to-medium-sized enterprises. This is ostensibly to make cross-border investment easier, but I somehow doubt it involves reducing regulations.
- She wants to “reconcile the market with the social”. This sounds very much in line with demands to redefine growth and capitalism. In other words it is socialism.
- She wants international “tech giants” to pay their “fair share” of tax in Europe. So there will be reduced investment by mult-national companies in Europe.
- She is in favour of an EU standard of minimum wages negotiated by trade unions, which is somewhat at odds with her desire to decrease youth unemployment.
- She is very keen on the rule of law. Good. “I fully support an EU-wide Rule of Law Mechanism.” I have no idea what that is, though.
- I find it interesting to compare “a fully functioning Schengen Area of free movement, the key driver of our prosperity, security and freedoms” with “a reinforced European Border and Coast Guard Agency”.
- She will be happy to grant more delays of Brexit.
- She wants the EU to make more foreign policy decisions, and mentions the European Defence Union. I believe this is what might become an EU army, although it is so shrouded in technobabble I am not entirely sure. Leyen has written enthusiastically about an army, however.
- “I support a right of initiative for the European Parliament.” A criticism of the EU is that the people’s directly elected representatives cannot initiate legislation. I am ambivalent about this, however, since I imagine it will lead to even more legislation being passed.
I stand by my assertion that inside the EU the state is guaranteed to get bigger and more intrusive.