BY JAMIE FOSTER
This week Gina Miller, the anti Brexit activist who won a Judicial Review on the Government’s Article 50 powers, addressed the Lib Dems conference on Brexit. She denounced what she called Brexit lies as well as kindly informing the Lib Dems she was not a ‘leader in waiting’. She maintained that she was independent of all parties including the Lib Dems, telling them she was there to cheer them on as a party in calling for a second referendum. Ms Miller told the Lib Dems they should stop saying they want to stop Brexit as this wasn’t helping. She said that instead they should be saying we have 10 weeks to get a deal and if the government can’t get a deal in that time they should put the question of Brexit back to the people.
It is fascinating that the Lib Dems are the only party who say they would hold a second referendum but they are not attracting more support. Somehow Remainers are not attracted to the party of Remain in sufficient numbers to ensure the Lib Dems a political future.
In many ways the Lib Dems are a spent force in British politics. It is fitting then that a non entity like Gina Miller – unelected and unpopular – should receive such a starring role in addressing them. The Lib Dems are a party for people left behind by politics. Ms Miller said liberals should not be left wringing their hands but that is exactly what is likely to happen.
Gina Miller is just another of the Project Fear voices declaring that a no deal Brexit would be a disaster. The IMF came out this week saying it would be damaging for the UK economy. The doomsayers have shifted their predictions from a no vote to a no deal Brexit. Calmer heads point out that all a no deal would mean is that we would have to trade with the EU on WTO terms, which is how we trade with most of the rest of the world. In a no deal Brexit we may also avoid paying the divorce bill to the EU which would save us a great deal of money.
With Theresa May continuing to be wedded to the Chequers proposal, a no deal Brexit seems to be more likely than ever. It is something we should start planning for as it may turn out to be more likely than not. With Angela Merkel being quoted as saying privately that Britain must suffer a little in any deal means a no deal is a reality we should not overlook. There is nothing to prevent us leaving on WTO terms and then, depending on how that goes, coming back to the negotiating table to negotiate a Canada style free trade deal with the EU.
The problem with Gina Miller and her ilk is that they are so used to holding sway and being paid attention to as part of the elite. There is no reason why her voice should carry any particular weight in this argument. She is merely one person with her own views, nothing special. What she and her fellow Remainers need to learn is that they lost the political argument during the referendum. The vote was for us to leave the project they hold so dear and leave we must. If that means leaving without a deal, so be it. If we are not able to negotiate a deal because the EU is more keen on punishing us for leaving than it is to do a deal in our mutual interests, it just goes to show we were right to leave.
In the end Remainers will always moan about whatever sort of Brexit we achieve. Their position can be disregarded as being entirely predictable. The second referendum they call for would be a waste of time and energy. The decision has already been made and we must now get on with putting it into practice. The next steps are to start using our new found freedom to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world. Opening up free trade will bring greater prosperity to this country in the long term and it is something we should be aspiring to. Time to leave the Gina Miller’s of this world to their hand-wringing.