Saturday 12 January 2019

Dominic Cummings in 2014 explained why we have to leave the European Union

Dominic Cummings, who ran the successful Vote Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum and was the subject of a recent TV film, explained in this passage from his blog, back in 2014, why we have to leave the European Union. 
One of the things that is most striking is how much of a Cabinet Minister’s box is filled with EU papers. Here the process is simpler than for Clegg’s appalling Home Affairs Committee, where at least there can be disagreements about policy. In order to continue the pretence that Cabinet Government exists, all these EU papers are circulated in the red boxes. Nominally, these are ‘for approval’. They have a little form attached for the Secretary of State to tick. However, because they are EU papers, this ‘approval’ process is pure Potemkin village. If a Cabinet Minister replies saying — ‘I do not approve, this EU rule is stupid and will cost a fortune’ — then someone from the Cabinet Office calls their Private Office and says, ‘Did your Minister get pissed last night, he appears to have withheld approval on this EU regulation.’ If the
Private Office replies saying ‘No, the minister actually thinks this is barmy and he is withholding consent’, then Llewellyn calls them to say ‘ahem, old boy, the PM would prefer it if you lie doggo on this one’. In the very rare cases where a Minister is so infuriated that he ignores Llewellyn, then Heywood calls to explain to them that they have no choice but to approve, so please tick your box and send in your form, pronto. Game over. 
It’s the sort of thing you read in history books about how a capital city operated just before the regime collapsed.

 Let's hope we do leave the EU and in a satisfactory way (no deal is by now my preference).


  1. ‘No Socialist Party with the prospect of forming a government could accept a system by which important fields of national policy were surrendered to a supranational European representative authority’.

    Denis Healey in a 1950 pamphlet 'European Unity'.
    The twelve-page document was approved unanimously by the Labour NEC, with the Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the Foreign Secretary Ernie Bevin present.

    1. Attlee was always opposed to European unity as was his successor as Labour leader, Gaitskell. It was the Conservative leadership that were in favour starting with Churchill, though it could be argued that neither Churchill nor Macmillan were really Conservatives but liberals. Eden in his brief premiership was not interested in European unity and it was in his time that the EEC was founded.

  2. 'no deal is by now my preference'
    as it should be

    The backstop Will Never End
    A letter to the Telegraph


    Much of the focus on the Withdrawal Agreement has been on the difficulty of the UK unilaterally withdrawing from the backstop. The Irish Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement stipulates that the backstop will take force from the end of the transition period (i.e. from January 2021 or up to two years later). It will remain in force until superseded by a subsequent permanent agreement which must be compatible with the UK guarantee of ‘no hard border including no physical infrastructure or related checks and controls’. Alternatively, a review procedure may release the UK from the backstop but only if matters have changed in ways which render the backstop no longer necessary to achieve the Protocol’s objectives.

    The review procedure lists four Protocol objectives which must be met, only one of which is ‘the avoidance of a hard border’. The others are much wider and in the case of ‘addressing the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland’ and ‘protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects’ are impossibly vague. How such wording was accepted by UK negotiators will be a matter for historians.

    The fourth condition, only slightly less all-encompassing, is to ‘maintain the conditions for north-south co-operation’. In the December 2017 Joint Progress Report the UK conceded that such maintenance ‘relies to a significant extent on the EU common legal and policy framework’. The National Audit Office has subsequently contradicted this for health co-operation, but the damage was already done. Again, it is hard to credit that such drafting was accepted.

    An obvious consequence of all of this is that the EU’s common legal and policy framework must be followed permanently in NI if the conditions for continued north-south co-operation as defined in the WA, are to be maintained. This means Northern Ireland remaining permanently within the EU customs union and the single market as described in the backstop and in a way that undermines the Good Friday Agreement itself. More-over if the UK Government is to keep its promises of no impediments to trade between NI and GB the same conditions will need to apply throughout the UK.

    It is important for those planning to support the Withdrawal Agreement to realise that like diamonds the backstop is forever.

    Your sincerely,

    Ray Bassett, Former Irish Ambassador to Canada

    Lord Maurice Glasman, House of Lords

    Dr. Graham Gudgin University of Cambridge

    Dr Shanker Singham CEO Competere

    Professor Robert Tombs, University of Cambridge

    Lord David Trimble House of Lords

    The post The backstop Will Never End A letter to the Telegraph appeared first on Briefings For Brexit.

    1. I see Robert Tombs there - he supervised me at university and is a brilliant man. Yes he and the others are right. But even if the backstop disappeared as if by magic the proposal of Theresa May would be appalling and I fear that in some way it will happen. No Deal might cause problems for a couple of months but at one bound we should be free.

    2. A group of 38 leading academics and ex-academics across a range of disciplines has launched a website called Briefings for Brexit.

      It is led by two notable members of Cambridge University: the economist Dr Graham Gudgin and the historian Professor Robert Tombs (whose 1,000-page epic The English And Their History was published in 2014 to near-universal acclaim).

      Unlike Best for Britain, the group trying to overthrow the referendum result, Briefings for Brexit has no backing from billionaires, foreign or otherwise. It is entirely independent, funded by the academics themselves.

      To most people, this might seem completely unobjectionable. In fact, these academics are taking a risk in speaking out in this way.

      As Professor Tombs explained to me when I called him about the venture, there is a culture of what amounts to fear in our great seats of learning.

      Fear, that is, on the part of academics and students who endure ostracism and worse if they express open support for what is, after all, the policy of both Conservative and Labour at last year's General Election (to leave the institutions of the EU).

      As Professor Tombs told the Sunday Times yesterday, a number of academics he knew to be sympathetic said: 'I'd love to be part of your group but I haven't got a proper job yet and I probably won't if I'm identified.'

      And Dr Gudgin remarked that one of their members 'was told by a younger pro-Brexit colleague that his professor had told him that people who had voted Brexit were the sort of people who sent his relatives to concentration camps'.

    3. Thank you Toma for this and all your contributions which are always so interesting. The article you link to is absolutely horrifying. I mean:

    4. My pleasure. Glad to be of service to a neighbor.