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Podcast – Briefings For Britain

Updated 7 days ago

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Well researched expert briefings on key British issues

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Well researched expert briefings on key British issues

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Time spent listening to this is time you will never get back

By Fwiw211 - Mar 20 2019
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TLDR: unsubstantiated claptrap from populist cheerleaders. If you are already in support of the concept of Britain leaving the EU under any circumstances, this podcast will provide you with a safe space in which to reinforce your opinions with the opinions of others. Facts appear just as much in this podcast as they do in podcasts which espouse the opposite view, that is to say rarely. The credibility of the contributors is weak, so listeners with a desire to hear heavyweight thought will be left bereft.

iTunes Ratings

5 Ratings
Average Ratings
3
0
0
0
2

Time spent listening to this is time you will never get back

By Fwiw211 - Mar 20 2019
Read more
TLDR: unsubstantiated claptrap from populist cheerleaders. If you are already in support of the concept of Britain leaving the EU under any circumstances, this podcast will provide you with a safe space in which to reinforce your opinions with the opinions of others. Facts appear just as much in this podcast as they do in podcasts which espouse the opposite view, that is to say rarely. The credibility of the contributors is weak, so listeners with a desire to hear heavyweight thought will be left bereft.
Cover image of Podcast – Briefings For Britain

Podcast – Briefings For Britain

Latest release on Mar 05, 2019

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Well researched expert briefings on key British issues

Suella Braverman MP, tells BfB why Brexit is a liberation from a failing EU economy

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So what kind of compromise will she be looking for?

In this exclusive B4B podcast Braverman spells out her key tests for what has been termed the “Cox’s codpiece”. She believes Cox still has a chance of securing an amendment of some kind possibly a treaty level clause that overrides the backstop, and which provides a clear route out of the backstop.

“We have set out three tests. We want a clearly worded legally binding mechanism. We want language which doesn’t simply re-emphasise the intention that the backstop is temporary but actually does unambiguously bring it to an end.  That is in the light of the Attorney General’s previous advice which confirmed that the backstop could endure indefinitely which would be unacceptable. And we want a clear way out of the backstop. It is very difficult for me to pre-judge what we are going to see. There’s lots of speculation in the media about what Geoffrey Cox is or isn’t asking for but I don’t take all of that seriously. Hearsay and speculation is not helpful at this stage. I am very hopeful that the Attorney General will be successful in his endeavours and he clearly knows what is needed, but we have set out our tests, and whatever he comes back with will be very closely scrutinised by everyone but also by the lawyers within the ERG.”

Braverman says there is a lot of “goodwill and flexibility” on what Cox may come back with, but that any agreement will come down to what will be the legalities of such an International Treaty. She said that if the UK signed up to that Treaty it will “bind the UK” and that the UK is not a nation that “ reneges on its international law obligations” and we shouldn’t “start doing that now”.   She said the ERG wanted to ensure the UK enters such an agreement with “its eyes open” and that was why the Star Chamber of lawyers had been formed.

She said that the eight members of the ERG examining the possible amendments would need time to examine it and should not be bounced into accepting a deal.

“It’s very important that we have sufficient time as it is a lengthy document with hundreds of pages and technical legal details”, she said.

Braverman explained that having worked on the previous Withdrawal Agreement as a Minister in the Department for Exiting the EU, a post she resigned from in November 2018, it was not something you could read in “20 minutes”. She said she would be “locking herself in a dark room” to read through any new Agreement and she said she would “encourage other MPs to do the same”. “I need silence to focus on legal text, I will read it and form my own views and we will then consider them as a group.”

She said she did not regret resigning as a minister, and said it was a “personal and difficult decision” and that she had “enjoyed” working at DExEU. She said that the straw that “broke the camels” back for her was the final agreement on the NI backstop which would “trap the UK in the backstop and a customs union” and that she had wanted to be free to speak “honestly about that” to her constituents.

On the decision of some car makers, including this week BMW who manufacture the Mini at their Cowley plant in Oxfordshire, who have said they will leave the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Braverman said that there were some good indicators in the UK economy at the moment and that the previous predictions of economic decline following the 2016 Referendum had not come to pass.

She continued: “We’ve seen the economy grow. We have seen record foreign development investment last year, beating the US. British start-ups are raising £8 billion more in venture capital than their French and German counterparts. The Norwegian £1 trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund is a huge boost to the UK economy.  And Boeing is going to locate its first manufacturing plant in Europe to Sheffield. Forbes has rated the UK as the best place to do business.”

She said that the car manufacturers’ decisions to leave the UK, shouldn’t stop the UK government from “delivering on Brexit”.

Braverman explained she wanted the UK to leave with a “settled deal” and that “no-deal” was her “second best option” and she admitted that it would come with “surmountable challenges” but these would not be “fatal”. The government was, she said, preparing for no-deal. “It’s good to go”, she said. “If no-deal came about and if the UK didn’t get a deal it should be ready to walk away and leave with a no-deal”.

She ended by saying she was an “enthusiastic and optimistic” Brexiteer. “I believe profoundly in our countries genius, innovation and creativity to respond to new opportunities and Brexit as a liberation from a declining economic zone from a political stranglehold and from a closed market is a huge opportunity for us to pivot towards faster growing global economies to become truly global and rekindle links with other countries around the World, such as the Commonwealth and to truly promote fair trade, free trade and prosperity.”

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Mar 05 2019

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If the hotel is on fire it’s better to get out before the roof falls in

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British politics, he explains,  is going through a  transformation and the cross party Brexit groupings in Parliament will eventually lead to a more fundamental realignment of the UK’s party system.

Davies says you can already see this happening in the country too where the People’s Vote campaign and Leave Means Leave are organising and bringing people together at a grass roots level. The party leaders both Theresa May and Jeremey Corbyn  are aware of how dangerous this is for both their parties, and given this fragile state of affairs are, he thinks, not doing a “bad job” in leading the Conservative and Labour party at the moment as they know they need to “keep the show on the road”.

Corbyn, who could face two potential splits of the Labour party, with hard-line line Leavers and Remainers breaking away, is he says “doing remarkably well”.

It’s highly likely he says that this split will lead to four new parties being formed, and not along the traditional right left divide but they will realign on the grounds of national identity. He acknowledges his ideas may seem “crazy” but he is confident they will happen.

Davies says the 2008 crash was a catalyst for unrest throughout Europe but not the cause of it and the fundamental fault lines running through the EU particularly over monetary union will lead to its demise.  He explained that people were concerned about “their identities” and there was the feeling that “the World was changing too fast” on top of which a large part of the electorate felt it “was not being represented by the mainstream parties”.

Davies says he was a late convert to the Leave campaign in the June 2016 Referendum but that he had decided that the EU was not going to be around in its current form within the “next five to six years”. “If the hotel is on fire it is better to get out before the roof falls in”, he said.

Davies doesn’t like terms such as centrists and peripheral movements preferring instead to look at British politics in the future through the prism of nationalism. “These terms are misleading, the old centre no-longer exists,” he says.

Davies key quote: “We could end up with four political parties rather than just two. We would have a rump of the Conservative party and a rump of the Labour party which will have co-operated to put through something like Norway and I think they would actually – and I know people will think this is a crazy idea – I would predict very confidently that then they will rally around a particular kind of political and economic programme for Britain.  Meanwhile you would have three other parties. You would have a radical free market Brexit group which would be the ERG in a new guise, and you would have a ‘let’s get back into Europe’ group which would be a coalition of bits of the Conservative and a large part of the Labour party with the LDs. Then you would have a radical left party ‘let’s go back into the EU but radically change it’, which would be Momentum plus the Green party.  Things could be pretty chaotic for a while but I think a couple of General Elections would sort that all out, particularly if the electoral system wasn’t changed.”

He continued: “It’s a mistake to talk about coalitions of the centre, you have to talk about the centre of what particular political division? The whole point at the moment is that we have got new divisions over national identity and national independence as compared to supra-nationalism and globalism. People who are very far apart on a whole range of other issues and not at all in the centre may work together on these larger issues.”

He said the situation today was similar to that in the 1880s when there were party splits over the issue of Irish home rule and the 1920s when the issues of working class rights came to the fore.

Davies says he thinks a Norway style deal keeping the UK in a customs union and the single market could eventually gather enough cross-party support to get through parliament but that given that the clock is ticking away to the 29th March 2019, when the UK is set to leave the EU, no-deal was looking “increasingly likely” now. He ended by saying soon after the UK leaves the EU there will be another General Election.

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Feb 15 2019

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The Labour Party is going to take the UK out of the European Union: Maurice Glasman

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As the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell finally reveal their pro-Brexit hand, Lord Maurice Glasman tells BfB why he believes the Labour party has the right leaders at the right time and how history will judge them well.

Glasman says Corbyn is a Bennite, a left-wing leader in a pro-EU party, and that he and McDonnell have had “a very, very, difficult balancing act to pull off”.

He welcomed the Labour leader’s publication of his five tests, which now cover a customs union, a single market, workers’ rights, EU agency working and co-operation on security. Labour’s previous six tests also committed it to achieving the “exact same benefits” as before.

Glasman points out other leaders, such as Gordon Brown had tests too, and that it now looks likely that if May can “negotiate away” the backstop” she will get Labour’s support for the Withdrawal Agreement. Labour’s five test revolve around the accompanying Political Agreement, which had been criticised for being too vague.

“Labour has set out its support for a customs union, not the customs union, and they want a close relationship with the single market, so they simply want a free trade deal”, he explained.

Commenting on remarks he had made about being a fish out of water in the House of Lords, when it is predominately a Remain upper chamber, Glasman said: “Virtually all the politicians over the past 35 years have been pro EU. They don’t seem to grasp how profoundly undemocratic the EU is and how the people in the country have turned against it. It’s been quite difficult for me socially but politically the support for leaving is actually growing.”

Glasman originally supported the EU but after doing a PhD in Italy he says he realised that it worked through directives and through courts and that: “It would end our parliamentary democracy, it would end up with regional governments that wouldn’t have sovereignty and democracy couldn’t change things”.

He said the crunch had come for him with the Lisbon Treaty (signed by member states in December 2007) when he saw that it was: “A threat to our democracy and constitution, so we had to leave”.

He continued: “Why anybody on the left would support anything that was up to the ECJ, (European Court of Justice) that’s Treaty compliance, so really it does subordinate member states to an unelected lot of judges working within an alien political system. Its judgements have always been on the side of capital and not of workers, so Treaty compliance is really the death of democracy”.

He said that EU neo-liberalism began with Thatcher, when capital was given the whip hand over labour. He said: “Capital got richer, and there was nothing you could do about it. It was all justified by trickle down. The dignity of Labour was forgotten, and essentially money now rules the world.”

Glasman regards himself as an internationalist but says the EU is the “ultimate symbol” of globalisation not internationalism.

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the state aid of industries, and renationalising water and the railways, both of which would not be allowed under existing EU rules, Glasman pointed out that: “Politics is back and it’s back because we are moving out of the EU.”

He thought that it was a “remarkable achievement”, of Corbyn and John McDonnell that Labour is still the opposition party, because there has been a falling away of support for traditional parties all over Europe leading to unrest and demonstrations on the street.

“They had to perform a very, very difficult balancing act but now as we approach the end game they have played their cards and it’s for Brexit. Corbyn is emerging as a genuine statesman”, he said.

He said that no British government could sign up to a unilateral agreement like the NI backstop as it was undemocratic.

“It’s been very difficult for Corbyn and John McDonnell. The Labour party has been pro remain, as the party doesn’t grasp what a threat to democracy the EU is. The Labour five tests support a customs union, this doesn’t include the four freedoms and the ECJ. The joke is that it’s a classic Whig position from the 19th Century where it has opted for free trade and democracy at home.”

Questioned on whether Corby had positioned Labour as Brexit in the North and Remain in the South, a criticism often made of him and John McDonnell, Glasman said that he believed history would say that: “Corbyn has not only saved Labour but Corbyn has also saved Brexit. It went into coalition with the government in order to achieve the most momentous change in the last 45 years. It has preserved our liberty, it has preserved our democracy and delivered the Labour party united with a few defections and it remains one of the two major forces in British politics.”

Glasman thinks that: “There is a parliamentary majority for the deal without the backstop, it will require some finessing there, but I think that although people are worried about no-deal, there is a parliamentary majority and they have found it. It’s been a very interesting thing to watch. “

Given two quick-fire questions at the end Glasman said that what he disliked most about the EU was that if left its citizens with a “sense of hopelessness”.

He continued: “I am incredibly pro-European, I love Italy and like Poland, but I think the EU is a threat to Europe. I think its subordinates democracy, it destroys the civic institutions and it’s a homogenising force in a diverse continent. It’s all the worst economics and the worst Napoleonic directives. It makes politics subordinate to law and societies can’t cope with the changes they are going through so you are seeing very ugly movements emerge in Poland, in Hungry and in Italy. There is a nasty right wing bitterness because they can’t change or do anything. That is my ultimate concern”.

Asked what slogan about Brexit he most liked Glasman said that he liked talking about “standing up for democracy without fear”.

He ended by saying: “I think the EU is ruled by fear. It is either us or its Fascism. We are going to wake up on 30th March this year and the World is going to be pretty much as it was before. Just a little bit better”.

He said the talk of no-deal command centres was just late British planning and that support for no-deal across the country was growing: “It is surging in the working class, so as ever they have saved us from menaces before and they are going to do it again”.

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Feb 08 2019

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EU economies are faltering, and the costs of Brexit are exaggerated

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Ashoka Mody, is Visiting Professor of International Economic Policy, Princeton University and author of Euro Tragedy: A Drama in Nine Acts (Oxford University Press). His book has just been judged the best economics book of the year by the American Association of Book publishers.

In this exclusive BfB podcast Mody tells us why he believes the EU has failed to keep up with growth in other parts of the developed and developing world, and why this has led to protest and anti-establishment movements and the fragmentation of political systems throughout Europe.

While he thinks leaving the EU will result in a “short-term” loss of trade to the UK and a drop in its GDP growth he does not think this will be long lasting.

Mody begins by outlining clearly what is happening to the economic slow-down in Germany and Italy, with Germany traditionally being regarded as the “powerhouse” of Europe and Italy a symptom of its “fault lines”. He thinks in the longer term there is a danger that Germany could descend into a second-tier economy as its reliance on the car industry becomes problematic and diesel cars are phased out while electric ones are developed.

In particular he says the EU has not invested in science and technology at the frontier in the way other developing economies have, particularly America.

“Germany is going through a generational change, and while it has been able to reinvent its economy in the past it could descend into a second tier economy. Italy has been in trouble for 20 years, and it is the theatre in which the Euro tragedy is being played out,” Mody said.

He pointed out that the single currency and full monetary union had always been problematic and that the ECB (European Central Bank), which administers the single market, has in his opinion not been quick enough in recent years to respond to change, particularly in authorising more Quantitative Easing. “QE is a half measure and now the ECB has stopped it when the EU economy is about to go into a tailspin. It is in the denial phase, it will deliver half measures that will therefore be ineffective. The ECB is in principle a powerful central bank but it doesn’t act like one, so in my judgement over time it has lost credibility,” he said.

Mody goes on to explain how the Brits had not always subscribed to the integrationist agenda of the rest of Europe and that while the EU had originally been set up to ensure peace after the Second World War, it had then developed into a transactional trading relationship. Margaret Thatcher had recognised the value of having a single market, but  as the EU has developed it has also increasing led to a loss of sovereignty for nation states.

Mody would not be drawn on whether in these Brexit negotiations the EU had been trying to “punish” the UK for wanting to leave the EU, but said that it now seemed that the Brits were more concerned about the issue of sovereignty than that of trade and prosperity; those so-called transactional costs of being a member of the EU. “Notions of punishment are highly subjective,” he said.

Mody ends by saying that while there will be short term transitional costs of the UK leaving the EU as old relationships are undone and new ones formed, the loss is “not really large”, which he puts at around 1.5 to 2.0 per cent of GDP.

Commenting on whether the UK could trade on WTO terms, Mody said in the longer term the UK economy could do well outside the EU.

“The drop in GDP growth in the short term may seem large but it is not large. Where I disagree with the proponents who believe in staying in the European Union, who claim there will be large long term and enduring costs, I don’t believe that to be the case. I think that those estimates of long term enduring costs are over-stated and greatly over-stated based on a faulty empirical basis. That’s the crucial political economy decision that Britain will eventually make. Is it worth paying the short term costs to have a greater sense of sovereignty or as some Remainers might argue, the gain may be less than we perceive and the costs maybe greater, whereas the Leavers will say the costs are not really large and the gains greater? That is really the trade-off,” he said.

Mody would not say how he would have voted in the Brexit referendum two years ago but says the decision very much depends on your view of who your allegiances are to in the long run. “That is not a decision a non-UK citizen can make. I am from India, and to put myself in the place of a British person is very hard for me.”

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Feb 06 2019

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Lord Peter Lilley – Is May playing chicken?

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Listen to Labour MP for Vauxhall Kate Hoey discuss the same topic here.

BfB speaks to two leading Brexiteers, the Conservative peer the Rt Hon Lord Peter Lilley and the Labour MP for Vauxhall Kate Hoey, soon after Theresa May made her statement to the House on what her plan B for Brexit now is.

Hoey is Vice-Chair of Labour Leave and Lilley has recently published a paper called “30 Truths about leaving on WTO terms”.

While May’s plan B looks much like her plan A and sees her going back to Europe again to look for concessions on the NI backstop she did waive the £65 fee for EU nationals seeking settled status in the UK after we leave.

Despite pressure from Labour and the SNP May refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit and to row back on her so called red lines. But she did rule out a second referendum and extending Article 50 to give her government more time to negotiate a deal.

May also vowed to continue to reach out across the floor of the House and to be more flexible and inclusive in the future; to protect workers’ rights and to seek the support of the House and the EU on having no hard border in Norther Ireland.

Critics in the House accused her of “playing chicken” to avoid splits in her own Conservative party and her Cabinet which remains divided on many of these issues between hard-line and soft Brexiteers.

“The only way to rule out no-deal is to leave with a deal”, she told the House. She also said extending article 50 required the EU to agree it and they wouldn’t do that without knowing “what deal could be delivered”!

Parliament will now continue to debate Brexit for another week with a non-binding amendable vote a week today. This means the next meaningful vote on #Brexit and her Withdrawal Agreement will not be until February.

Surprisingly our two Brexiteers thought May had handled it all pretty well but that unless she came back from the EU with concessions on the NI backstop it would be very difficult for her to get her deal through parliament.

Hoey key quote: “People know and are very fearful that they are being sold out, that they are being betrayed. That is why the support for just walking away is growing and what I would like to see is a managed no-deal. We should go to the European Union and say we are going to leave but we might want to have a little bit of leeway to get it sorted out, but we are definitely leaving. I think that could perhaps sharpen some minds in Brussels.”

Lilley key quote: “She’s ruled out the right things for the Country. And she’s rightly given the concessions on the fees to European citizens. It would be a step forward if we said let’s take up the offer President Tusk made on the 4th March and repeated on the 7th October for a straight Canada style free trade deal, and not create some kind of pseudo customs union where we pretend we are not in a customs union, so we can then continue to negotiate free trade agreements with the rest of the World.”

Emphasising the need for the UK to leave the EU on 29th March 2019 as promised he added: “It’s not just democracy it is honesty and trust if you promise people something and then don’t give it to them you undermine trust in the whole political system and that is very, very dangerous indeed”.

Listen to Labour MP for Vauxhall Kate Hoey discuss the same topic here.

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Jan 22 2019

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Kate Hoey: Is May really seeking a solution to the NI backstop?

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Listen to Lord Peter Lilley discuss the same topic here.

BfB speaks to two leading Brexiteers, the Conservative peer the Rt Hon Lord Peter Lilley and the Labour MP for Vauxhall Kate Hoey, soon after Theresa May made her statement to the House on what her plan B for Brexit now is.

Hoey is Vice-Chair of Labour Leave and Lilley has recently published a paper called “30 Truths about leaving on WTO terms”.

While May’s plan B looks much like her plan A and sees her going back to Europe again to look for concessions on the NI backstop she did waive the £65 fee for EU nationals seeking settled status in the UK after we leave.

Despite pressure from Labour and the SNP May refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit and to row back on her so called red lines. But she did rule out a second referendum and extending Article 50 to give her government more time to negotiate a deal.

May also vowed to continue to reach out across the floor of the House and to be more flexible and inclusive in the future; to protect workers’ rights and to seek the support of the House and the EU on having no hard border in Norther Ireland.

Critics in the House accused her of “playing chicken” to avoid splits in her own Conservative party and her Cabinet which remains divided on many of these issues between hard-line and soft Brexiteers.

“The only way to rule out no-deal is to leave with a deal”, she told the House. She also said extending article 50 required the EU to agree it and they wouldn’t do that without knowing “what deal could be delivered”!

Parliament will now continue to debate Brexit for another week with a non-binding amendable vote a week today. This means the next meaningful vote on #Brexit and her Withdrawal Agreement will not be until February.

Surprisingly our two Brexiteers thought May had handled it all pretty well but that unless she came back from the EU with concessions on the NI backstop it would be very difficult for her to get her deal through parliament.

Hoey key quote: “People know and are very fearful that they are being sold out, that they are being betrayed. That is why the support for just walking away is growing and what I would like to see is a managed no-deal. We should go to the European Union and say we are going to leave but we might want to have a little bit of leeway to get it sorted out, but we are definitely leaving. I think that could perhaps sharpen some minds in Brussels.”

Lilley key quote: “She’s ruled out the right things for the Country. And she’s rightly given the concessions on the fees to European citizens. It would be a step forward if we said let’s take up the offer President Tusk made on the 4th March and repeated on the 7th October for a straight Canada style free trade deal, and not create some kind of pseudo customs union where we pretend we are not in a customs union, so we can then continue to negotiate free trade agreements with the rest of the World.”

Emphasising the need for the UK to leave the EU on 29th March 2019 as promised he added: “It’s not just democracy it is honesty and trust if you promise people something and then don’t give it to them you undermine trust in the whole political system and that is very, very dangerous indeed”.

Listen to Lord Peter Lilley discuss the same topic here.

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Jan 22 2019

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Ten BfB guests #StandUp4Brexit

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January 15th 2019 will go down in British politics as one of the most significant dates in Parliament’s history as MPs vote on the Prime Minister, Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. All bets are on the 585 page Agreement being defeated but no-body knows for sure by how much or even if her premiership or her government will survive it.  It might even be the Labour opposition that splits. Who knows?

In this B4B #StandUp4Brexit documentary podcast you will hear from economist Larry Elliott; Businessman John Mills, Chair of Labour Leave; Professor Gwythian Prins,  Emeritus Research Professor, London School of Economics; Bernard Jenkin MP Chair of the European Research Group Steering Committee; Professor Robert Tombs, British historian and co-founder B4B; Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, former junior Education minister;  David Jones MP, a former Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union; Baroness Deech, House of Lords; Andrea Jenkyns MP an advocate for Leave Means Leave ; Richard Johnson, politics lecturer Lancaster University.

These ten exclusive #Brexit supporting interviews were carried out for B4B from October 2018 to January 2019.

We hope you enjoy the listen and hear how passionate Leave supporters still are two years after the UK voted to Brexit the EU in the June 2016 Referendum.

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Jan 15 2019

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How Labour’s pro-Leave position on #Brexit will help it to win the next General Election

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Richard Johnson, a lecturer in Politics, at Lancaster University tells B4B listeners how he believes Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership are positioning the party to win more Leave voting constituencies in the next General Election to defeat the Tories.

While some outspoken Remain critics, including those in his own party, have accused Corbyn of deserting Labour remain voters, Johnson says Corbyn has been “consistent” throughout and that it is more Leave seats that Labour needs to capture, just as it did in the 2017 General Election,  if it is to become the next government.

Johnson says Labour can do that if it campaigns on a platform of Leave but if it also says it will negotiate a different deal to the one Theresa May the Prime Minister has negotiated. In particular, it will need to offer younger Labour Remain voters the prospect of a more acceptable Brexit deal.

In this exclusive B4B podcast Johnson explains the different statements that the Labour leadership of Corbyn, McDonnell and Starmer have made on Brexit; the stance it took at its Autumn Party Conference; Corbyn’s concerns about a Second Referendum, and his opposition to some of the economic policies of the EU, including state aid.

Johnson also disputes the findings of the recent YouGov opinion polls which appear to be saying more voters would support remain if another Referendum were to be held, whereas he says on #Brexit the polls have stayed more or less the same as they were when the first referendum was held in June 2016.

He finishes by talking about the Labour party’s topsy-turvy opinion on Brexit:

“I think that the Labour leadership that we have – and I say this as someone who was an initial sceptic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – is one that understands the political reality and also has intellectual sympathies with the key group of voters who it needs to win to form a government. In some ways the situation feels for me a bit topsy-turvy because we have a Labour right that is putting its pro EU ideology over reality which could lead to Labour losing an election. Since the 1980s the Labour leadership has positioned itself to appeal to a broad section of voters so that it can win and election and that group of Labour MPs and activists no longer seem that interested in that. I think they are willing to sacrifice a Labour government if it means maintaining their pro-EU position. In my view the Labour party should always be focused on winning power and achieving change through government and that is a very tragic positon for the Labour party right to get itself in. I hope that in the long run – the sooner the better – the figures on the party right realise the positon that they are trying to put the Party in and reconsider.”

NB: Corbyn has said today that Labour might need to seek an extension of article 50 if the party won a snap election, to negotiate a new Brexit deal, thereby confirming the party wants a new deal rather than a second referendum.

You can read Johnson’s article on the B4B site here: https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/jeremy-corbyn-remains-committed-to-brexit-its-his-key-to-downing-street/

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Jan 10 2019

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Baroness Ruth Deech voices concerns on May’s Withdrawal Agreement

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In this special end of term B4B podcast we caught up with Baroness Ruth Deech, a lawyer, who has over the past 25 years often voiced her concerns about the UK’s membership of the European Union.

We discuss a speech Baroness Deech made in the House of Lords this month. You can read it here on our website: https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/up-with-this-we-will-not-put/

Deech spells out why like others she objects to the Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, pointing out the Norther Ireland backstop should have an opt out, that the £39 billion divorce bill also comes with additional pension costs for many years to come, and that the European Court of Justice should not retain jurisdiction over the agreement and our future payments to the EU.

The recent ECJ ruling on allowing the UK to revoke Article 50 unilaterally was she said, at odds with the UK Supreme Court ruling in the Gina Miller case leaving the law in “a mess”.

It is her belief that May has done her best to get a good deal but that the fault in these two years of negotiations is on the EU side as it has made “no genuine effort to reach an agreement”.

“It wants to make it so difficult that no one else will ever want to leave to keep its own ship afloat,” she said.

She believes if we stay in the EU the UK will be “chaining itself to a corpse”, and that the EU is not protecting human rights across Europe as it should do and that too many former Eastern Bloc countries were admitted too prematurely to the Union.

“We can’t wipe away borders. Europe has pushed too far too fast, and its officials are unaccountable, overpaid and they are viciously fighting against Britain and not taking into account the poverty and pride of Europeans.”

She argues against a third referendum on Europe and says the people have already voted, and she has particular concerns about voters understanding the complex issues that are at stake including reading the 585 page Withdrawal Agreement.

Speculating on the future of May’s Withdrawal Agreement she says she thinks the vote in the UK Parliament will go ahead in January 2019, and that with “a heavy heart”, she can see how it might get passed. Leaving on WTO terms would be better she suggests but says project fear has been influencing people negatively. “If we have a clean break on WTO terms we will manage somehow”, she argues.

Finally Deech says no organisation should be able to stop a member from leaving and that: “If you want your independence sometimes you have to fight for it”.

Article 50 she said should be redrafted.

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Dec 20 2018

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Why Theresa May should ditch her Withdrawal Agreement and opt for a CETA style FTA

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David Jones the Conservative MP for Clwyd West

Jones was one of 48 Conservative MPs who wrote to the 1922 backbench Committee, representing 15 per cent of the Party, asking for a vote of no-confidence in Theresa May’s leadership which took place on Wednesday this week and reaffirmed Theresa May as leader. She won that vote by 200 for and 117 against, which has subsequently been interpreted as a narrow win for May, but which has won Brexiteers and others the concession that she repeated again today that she would not lead her party into the next General Election in 2022 or before. May also vowed to listen to the concerns of her MPs about her Withdrawal Agreement.

Jones says any talk of electing a new leader must be put to one side and that what is needed now is a period of calm to give May time to consider where she goes next with the negotiations for the UK to leave the EU by 29th March 2019.   He does not think the EU will offer concessions on the Northern Ireland backstop and says that this is not the only change that is needed in the 585 page Withdrawal Agreement. He would also like to see changes to the £39 billion payment the UK is making to the EU to leave, and on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice during the two year transition period.

“I put in my letter with great reluctance as I have a great deal of personal respect for Theresa May, but a change of leadership was needed,” he said.

He added: “All sides found the Northern Ireland backstop arrangement in the Withdrawal Agreement repugnant. The Prime Minister is now seeking legal assurances on that but we need a complete rewording of it. ”

Jones explained that he did not think the UK could regain its sovereignty until the European Court of Justice no longer exercised authority over UK laws. He said it was an “intensely political court” as shown by how quickly it handed down its judgement on the Wightman case and said the UK could Revoke Article 50 unilaterally days before the UK parliament was due to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.

Two years on from triggering Article 50 Jones said he thought that the UK was not back at square one, but that it should “reset the negotiations” and try to secure a CETA style Free-trade Agreement with the EU. “There should be a recognition that the Withdrawal Agreement is dead”, he said.

He went on to say that the issue of the Northern Ireland border had been overplayed and that a soft border was possible and that the concerns of the DUP should be listened to.

He said Brexiteer Conservatives were not likely to join in any possible no-confidence vote against the government put down by the opposition parties and that he did not think the Conservative Party itself would fracture over the issue of Brexit so long as the government did deliver Brexit in some way. “If May relied on opposition parties to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament the Party would pay a very high price indeed. It would create mistrust,” he said.

Jones ended by saying how “moved” he had been to see Theresa May present her case to Conservative MPs about her leadership on Wednesday and that the party had now got to put that behind them and look to how it could achieve a managed exit from the EU.

He said he thought that the problems of leaving the EU with no-deal had been over-played  and that it was wrong to think that the UK could not do trade with other nations if it left the EU.

“We need to opt for an international trading arrangement similar to ones that other mature nations have,” he said.

He continued: “I am very hopeful that the Prime Minister, having listened to the Party and I am sure she will be considering these concerns over Christmas, will come back  and go back to the EU and make it absolutely clear that the Withdrawal Agreement will not get through the House of Commons and therefore it can’t be ratified and suggest something along the lines of CETA, which is there as a model we can readily adopt because we are in complete alignment with the EU already in terms of the regulations. But there is only three months left from departure day, so any negotiation is going to have to be done very quickly.”

Jones thought 2019 would be a “new era” for the UK and a “very exciting one too” when Britain finally leaves the EU on 29thMarch 2019.

He wished everybody a Happy New Year.

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Dec 14 2018

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Time spent listening to this is time you will never get back

By Fwiw211 - Mar 20 2019
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TLDR: unsubstantiated claptrap from populist cheerleaders. If you are already in support of the concept of Britain leaving the EU under any circumstances, this podcast will provide you with a safe space in which to reinforce your opinions with the opinions of others. Facts appear just as much in this podcast as they do in podcasts which espouse the opposite view, that is to say rarely. The credibility of the contributors is weak, so listeners with a desire to hear heavyweight thought will be left bereft.