The hidden wiring of Brexit is keeping Brexiters safe from falling

3rd February 2020

Today – Monday – is the first working day since the United Kingdom departed the European Union.

Since Friday, when the departure took effect, there have been some expressions of glee from Brexiter politicians about the lack of any immediate adverse effect.

Here is Daniel Hannan, a former Member of the European Parliament.

As of today his tweet has been retweeted 3,400 times and liked 16,100 times.

And here is Douglas Carswell, a former Member of Parliament at Westminster.

Hannan and Carswell have long been a political double-act.

Their extended pamphlet The Plan of 2008 is probably the most significant publication from the Right in the last fifteen years, pointing out directions in which United Kingdom politics then went.

And both have long been sincere and focused opponents of the United Kingdom being in the European Union, with Carswell even giving up his Conservative seat and daring to fight (and winning) a by-election for UKIP.

Both are intelligent and know the details of how Brexit has finally happened.

So these tweets come as a disappointment.

Both Hannan and Carswell know why the various events they describe have not come to pass.

There has been little practical change because the United Kingdom and the European Union entered into a Withdrawal Agreement which provided for transitional arrangements that will continue until (at least) 31st December 2020.

The warnings about “No Deal” Brexit were about just that: what would happen if there was no exit deal.

But there was a Brexit deal.

Hannan, as a departing Member of the European Parliament, voted for the withdrawal agreement on 29th January (see page 10 here).

Carswell spent the days around the United Kingdom parliament approving the withdrawal agreement boasting of how similar the withdrawal legislation was to an earlier effort of his own.

It is not that both should know better: both know exactly what the withdrawal agreement provides for.

They both know that the reason the things in their tweets have not happened is because of the withdrawal arrangements.

Yet both tweeted otherwise, presumably because the RTs and likes and the sheer fun of triggering opponents is worth more than being intellectually honest.

But the sight is of two politicians flapping their arms as they jump off some platform, shouting “look, we can fly, we can fly, look this is so easy”.

While anyone who cares can see the hidden wiring holding them in the air.

That hidden wiring may not always be there.


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29 thoughts on “The hidden wiring of Brexit is keeping Brexiters safe from falling”

  1. Thanks for the links DAG, interesting reading.

    It’s also perhaps worth noting that this is day 3 of the self-imposed vassalage of the UK by the Conservative and Unionist Part of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the EU, which has (albeit temporarily) happily surrendered our country’s sovereignty. It would be nice to see the likes of Hannan, Carswell, and (heaven forfend) Francois (to name just a few), acknowledge and explain this to their followers.

  2. More than that, presumably many Leavers who thought that we had left the EU’s embrace on Friday will have been surprised to find Johnson’s propagandists in the Sunday Telegraph bemoaning the fact that EU aren’t caving in to today’s whim of what the government wants out of future negotiations.

    What Carswell and Hannan won’t say is, of course, that the Withdrawal Agreement has blown away whatever negotiating position we might have had. We have now left the EU, but are still bound by EU regulations and laws, and have not yet – negotiated the agreement we must have with the EU.

    What the past three and a half years of chaos has shown is that you could not trust this bunch of charlatans to negotiate to open a sweet shop, let alone negotiate trade agreements. All they care about is getting a headline – and getting elected, which sadly amounts to about the same thing.

    Of course these clowns are so fixated on the headlines that we might, just might, end up with no deal. In which case their tweets might need to resurface.

  3. The “invisible wiring” is clearly one good reason why these people can afford to behave like this. But that does not answer the question of the rationale behind their behavior. As someone who believes that whatever motivates politicians, self-interest should never be discarded although politicians will generally try to make that “invisible” too. Given that few professional politicians (even idealistic leftist) are pathological altruists, what “is in it for” Hannan and his friends? That is the question that has been fascinating me since the early signs of well-organized anti-EU movements in Britain, basically dating from the late 1990s. The old question: who benefits? Very few people seem to believe that breaking the economic status quo (EU membership) will certainly raise UK economic performance. The most outspoken opinions, like Minford’s rely on the long term and imply vast changes prior to an upswing. there are no authoritative forecasts that predict an absence of adjustment costs and better than slow recovery. So it is unlikely that rational politicians would be motivated by a norion of overall welfare. Hence the benefits must be distributional, ie distinct winners and losers and maybe a gamble that the US would support the UK in a sort of trade war with the EU. So what would be the personal reward for those who fought so long and hard for independence? History books, peerages? Or something more pedestrian?

  4. You might think that social media should democratise information leading to improved decision making. The reality is that it is promoting greater insularity with people looking to affirm their preexisting beliefs.

    The new dawn of “intellectually dishonest” politicians is now well and truly established. How this is countered needs some serious thought. This is deliberate manipulation of an electorate that either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Yet a certain Dominic Cummings has shown that it works. This is winning at all costs.

    Until we reestablish a coherent opposition, there is no-one holding them to account.

  5. Thank you for another very clear post. Is the link to Carswell et al’s The Plan correct? It takes me direct to his recent disingenuous comments on Twitter.

  6. David – I wish you just call them, meaning Hannan and Co, “liars”. That is what they are. Anyone who exploits the gullibility and ignorance of their habitual audience by wilfully ignoring facts is really a liar

    1. I have posted before why I do not use the L word – its sound is the noise of points being easily dodged. Politicians and voters are so used to accusations of lies that there is no longer traction in the word.

      1. Second that. Like swearing at the …. it may make you feel better, but makes them feel smug. Accuse them of lazy thinking by no appreciating the outcome and they are nailed to the floor more snugly.
        Not that it matters much really if we are here moaning in the tiniest bubble….

      2. Interesting what you say. What a terrible fact this is, ie that politicians are now seemingly immune to justified accusations of lying. I am old enough to remember the disgrace of John Profumo: apparently his decisive sin was not his sexual behaviour but the fact that he lied to Parliament. Would a politician in the UK nowadays suffer such a fate? It seems not.

  7. Good analysis, thanks
    Though I’d personally not agree that Carswell’s ever been sincere. I thought at the time of his joining UKIP (and then staying in it, unlike Reckless) that it was a temporary bridging strategy, to form a bridge to collect more right wing people into the Tories and, at the same time, be a wrecking strategy, to demolish UKIP so that he could both normalise and extend the power of his right wing agenda inside the Conservative Party and minimise the formal power of Farage et al outside of it

  8. I spotted those tweets.

    Particularly disappointing of Hannan who’s been preaching the healing of divisions, at least on the surface, since 2016, but every now and then posts something completely and transparently counter-productive to that stated aim.

    I’ll not pass comment upon Carswell, The absence of which I hope says it all.

  9. My father who was a brickie, knew that you cannot build a wall true on crokked foundations.
    We still cannot see what they were selling us.
    No good will come if this.

  10. Thank You for the onward transmittal of Hannan’s Tweet. Unfortunately, I can’t se them because he blocked me, after I kept highlighting his role in Vote Leave and mentioning that ‘Leave’ looked nothing like they (and he) promised.

    I’m afraid that the likes of Hannan and Carswell will continue to feed the populist beast, but I have no idea what their aim is. ‘The Plan’ really gives no clues or hope for the isolated future they crave. Brexit seems really just to be a game for them both and their associates, such as Elliott and Cummings. I really do have a sense that the UK is being gamed; a wheeze dreamt up over a few drinks on a lads night out – “Let’s see if we can do this!!”.

    1. And, has been often pointed out, the Hannan vision of Brexit is very different from that of the populist Little England voter base of the Leave movement

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