In order to stop the incessant bleating of our ex-PMs over Brexit (Major: ‘We are no longer a Great Power, 9th Nov in The Spectator; Blair’s almost endless interviews, and Brown is, well, still just being Brown, bobbing up on Andrew Marr every now and again), I would like to propose a series of televised interviews as a ‘quid pro quo.’ Yes, in return for maintaining their public profiles and comfortable retirement, they must comply with this request and at last, come clean on Brexit.
Yes, now is the time for their dancing and chicanery to end.
Sir John wrote recently in The Spectator, that: ‘we need to be cruelly honest with ourselves.’ I couldn’t agree with you more, Sir John. So, I suggest the first interview be with you.
‘Sir John, welcome. Are you sitting comfortably? How come you (well, it was actually Douglas Hurd as Foreign Sec, but let’s not get distracted) signed the Maastricht Treaty on 7th Feb 1992? Did you consult with the British electorate? Did you perhaps agree to the formation of the European Union without the consent of the British people?’
It was Maastricht that ‘resolved to establish an economic and monetary union, and with it, a single and stable currency.’ But, to continue being transparent, let’s call the treaty by its real name, as this is also part of the problem, (and those in high office know it!) — yes, officially it is called the ‘Treaty on European Union.’
Now, Sir John might try to defend himself and suggest that at the time he negotiated an ‘opt out’ of the Euro, perhaps some patriotic sign? He might even stretch it to claim success on behalf of his party/country. In which case, he is arguing against his own point. It’s like those gambling companies that advertise on TV. ‘Give us all your money and you can gamble everything with us!’ But then swiftly follow it up with a hollow pretence, that you should only do so responsibly – when the fun stops, stop! How disgraceful a slogan is that? We know gambling is bad for you, but we are selling the service anyway, so you must only do it in moderation. How do these corporations get away with such a hypocritical and reckless business case? In short, we know the product is bad for you, but we’ll sell it, regardless.
But, I digress – yes, Sir John needs to come clean and either confess whether he wanted the UK inside the EU, or not. Which one was it? He might even suggest he sought the consent of Parliament, but to suggest that as part of Brexit, his ex-peers should subvert a democratic referendum would be dangerous and cause chaos. And, so it has proven to be! Whilst we are on this theme of contradictions, if Sir John thinks there is a case for taking membership to some parts of the EU but not others (as he shows us he did by opting out of the euro), then why does the same case not also apply twenty-eight years later? Brexiteers might say they want access to the single market, seeing the commercial sense in that, but not at any cost and not if it comes fettered by ever closer union or free movement. This position is both sensible and entirely reasonable. Sir John’s, however, is contradictory. He writes that: ‘in many nation states, autocracy has grown – and democracy has fallen back.’ But in trying to undermine and reverse (albeit by stealth from the touchline) a democratic decision of people to leave the EU, he is doing exactly what he claims he is fearful of.
The publicity-needy Blair soon followed Maastricht. In 2007, desperate to appease and align himself with Brussels bureaucrats, he went even further — he suggested the UK join the Euro, provided five economic tests were satisfied. And wait for it…the public should be consulted in a referendum. Had the public not answered his call in the correct manner, would he have argued for another shot at it? Alas, we shall never know.
This is of course before Gordon Brown capitulated and signed The Lisbon Treaty (The Reform Treaty) in December 2007. Brown missed the Treaty signing ceremony (signing it alone over lunch) and made this country the laughingstock of the EU. At the time, it was William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary that put it best: ‘Some people say Gordon Brown’s problems are that he isn’t decisive, and he lacks political courage. He couldn’t have done more to confirm that than this ridiculous fudge. He’s dithered over it for a week and now he decided that he’ll sign this treaty, but he doesn’t have the guts to do it in public.’
As for the deceitful Tony Blair, throughout the last four years, he has conducted private meetings in Brussels, lobbying against our own UK (May led) Government — the same double-dealing ex-PM who has been constantly trying to reverse the decision from 23rd June 2016 on ‘Breggsit?’ The one who only believes in democracy when it suits his purpose.
Ever since, Ted Heath signed The European Communities Act in 1972, accepting the supremacy of EU law over the UK, this country has been wrestling with its conscience. During the Brexit debates, we heard nothing from our nation’s state-funded, trustworthy broadcasters. What of the opportunities for a newly independent country? We never heard how Norway declined to join the EU in referendums in 1972 and 1994. We never heard how France only scraped over the line in approving Maastricht and the formation of the EU by 51%. We never heard how in 2005, France rejected the ratification of the Constitution for Europe; or, in January 2018, how Macron admitted that the French people would probably also have voted to leave the EU if faced with the same binary question.
No, we never heard our ex-PMs comment on those points and inject some balance into the debate, as is their moral and constitutional duty. They are complicit and responsible for where the country finds itself today.
So, the constant bleating from our ex-PMs must cease. Perhaps a ‘reveal all’ TV interview would be the best and only way to bring about that outcome. Their breath-taking hypocrisy must not continue. They have eroded the UK’s sovereignty so much that a backlash from the electorate, when eventually asked in June 2016, was inevitable. They should mind their language, ‘fess up and then be consigned to history where they belong.