Now is the time for rampant Remainers to stop undermining the national interest as the Government prepares to bat for Britain

Now is the time for rampant Remainers to stop undermining the national interest as the Government prepares to bat for Britain

The Government’s Bill to give notice of withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 has now survived the Remainers’ rearguard action as it was bound to. However much they huffed and puffed, none of its opponents wanted to face an election and it’s impossible for the House to fix the terms of withdrawal when these can only be decided by negotiations with the other side. The Bill now goes to the Lords, who’ll pass it too, despite the hopes of that great democrat Peter Hain for mobilising the peers against the people.

This will bring us to the end of the phoney war and the start of the real battle of Brexit; a fight which isn’t between Brexiteers and Remainers here, but between Britain and the EU. This is a whole new war game which now requires a domestic armistice if a United Kingdom is to fight the battle with a European Union which will use every trick in the book to stop Britain’s departure.

Article 50 is designed to make leaving as difficult and unattractive as possible via processes as obscure as Euro-enthusiasts can make them. The Brussels bureaucrats know that if Britain leaves, others will want to change the terms of membership to make the EU looser and weaker. They also know that it will cost them by ending the £11 billion contribution Britain makes to boost Brussels. 

We’re going to have to negotiate hard to escape from the EU on acceptable terms and oppose terms deliberately calculated to damage Britain and punish us for being naughty. Winning requires unity and an end to domestic argument over what we can and should do. If British factions continue to fratch about what form of departure they’d like – soft, hard or hardly any Brexit at all – we weaken our case. 

All negotiations start with strong positions on both sides. The EU, the Commission, France and Germany have shown they’re going to be tough by announcing, in a synchronised chorus, that we’ll have to suffer on the naughty step to encourage everyone else not to stray. They face no internal opposition in threatening this. No-one is going to break ranks to demand a better deal for Britain. All fear that our departure will require the others to pay more; German manufacturers want to keep a market which gives them such a handsome surplus and French farmers want to keep us buying their dear food.They all want to put us off and bring us back, submissive and chastened, into the boot camp.

Britain has no such advantages. We can’t afford to start soft, divided or shackled to weak positions as we enter the fight on a battleground slanted against us. Yet we’re less sure what we want. Remainers want to make our demands minimal, others to make none at all. The media are bound, by their love of conflict and argument, to amplify every problem, heighten every difficulty and exaggerate every complaint. If Remainers keep up their rearguard action for the two years of negotiation, the Government’s intentions and the electorate’s hopes will be undermined and questioned, every fear exacerbated.

All of this makes the end of the phoney war time for a domestic truce. If we were at war, to continue opposition would be rated as treason and those who did it labelled fifth columnists. But we are in a fight for the future. That is a different battle and one in which resisting Remainers will no longer be fighting a Tory Government but undermining the British case and helping an undemocratic entity which doesn’t have Britain’s interests at heart. Fighting for our future is no time for being half-hearted and wracked by doubts, but one for standing together and negotiating strongly.

In the coming negotiations, those who undermine Britain’s case for a good and honourable deal to keep the British economy strong are really working to ensure that we come out of the two-year negotiations damaged and weaker, with an economy which isn’t able to bear the burdens or provide the benefits the nation needs. No use saying they want a Parliamentary say on the final deal. We should have that, of course, but it requires Remainers to put their backs to the wheel too and give up their hopes of turning back. They must now fight for the best possible terms rather than trying to stop Britain fighting at all and constantly criticising the Government for doing so. Just look at what happened to the objectors to war at the 1918 election.

The electorate voted for coming out. It’s alleged that they didn’t vote on the terms for doing that, but how could they when terms depend on the EU not us? What they did clearly vote for is the negotiations which will soon begin. They’ll be angry if the outcome is a bum deal and even more so if we’re forced to slink back with our tail, and all the subsidies we pay, between our legs.

Anyone who contributes to either outcome by undermining the nation’s case will get no credit, but will suffer the main impact of the anger produced by humiliation. Subverting the popular will by contesting and weakening Britain’s case now damages not just a government doing its democratic duty to fulfil the intention of the people, but the economy and the country. Do the rampant Remainers seriously want that?