Brexit Bulletin – European Election Special: Please, someone listen to me….

Brexit Bulletin – European Election Special: Please, someone listen to me….

‘Not wishing to hide but you just can’t see me, I tell you the truth but you don’t believe me’ 1
As we approach polling day, the EU elections are looking more and more like a rerun of the EU referendum, or a dress-rehearsal for a second referendum.

Taken together, all major anti-Brexit parties, including Change UK, the Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru, are given 37.5% of voting intentions. The Brexit party and UKIP, are on 36.1%.

Basically, that 36% is the Brexit Party! Are they the new force is British politics, the next government, perhaps?

So, whilst the country appears as divided as ever on Brexit, surveys show that there is some agreement on the state of politics. 60% of Britons saying the system in the UK and the EU is broken, unsurprisingly the figure is 90% is you isolate Brexit voters

Are they the new force is British politics, the next government, perhaps?

Yet, still the ancien regime (Labour and Conservative) appear not to have noticed.

So much so that back in la-la land Theresa May’s has published plans for her Withdrawal Agreement Bill, including compromises intended to attract the support of Labour MPs. It includes the idea of a temporary customs relationship until the next general election, and measures on the environment and workers’ rights, and will be put to a vote in early June.

To say the reception has been poor would be an overstatement, she could be gone by the weekend, if the papers are to be believed

 ‘I think I’m on another world with you, with you, I’m on another planet with you, with you’ 2

The ancien regime seems totally unable to grasp populism, and the potential new order it delivers.

And what will the Conservatives do? Boris Johnson, the pin-up boy of the shires, can’t be trusted according to Farage; hard to argue with that summation.

After trumpeting No Deal, Boris then voted for one of Mrs Mays many efforts, and now as Farage has put the dampers on working together is trying to woo Amber Rudd and her One Nation faction with the Conservative party.

This is desperation, no one the Brexit party are flourishing.

Whilst over in Red Square Jeremy Corbyn seems to have vanished, popping-up every so often with a comment or two, but still oblivious to the main event, Brexit.

Others in the party, such as Keir Starmer get it, Labour needs to be the voice of Remain, it should be leading the charge for a second referendum.

The ancient regime seems totally unable to grasp populism, and the potential new order it delivers

It is this double-dealing and seeming lack of concern for the issue that the public are worked-up about, and it is playing into the Brexit party’s hands.

No one is questioning if they are a one-issue one-person party, Farage just stands-up and tells them what they want to hear.

Some even bring refreshments for him; on Monday in Newcastle he was showered with a banana and salted-caramel milkshake!

Whilst, at first reading this may sound equally hilarious and fascinating, presumably choosing a flavour like that suggests a hipster, it isn’t to be laughed at.

The milkshake could have been a knife or even a gun, remember Jo Cox?

In addition, the former PM, Gordon Brown, has asked for the parties financing and donations to be inspected by the Electoral Commission. I wouldn’t expect wrongdoing to be found, their policies maybe objectionable but they aren’t stupid people.

Moreover, it was simply batted away by Farage as sour grapes from the ancien regime, and the timing did look somewhat deliberate.

The milkshake could have been a knife or even a gun, remember Jo Cox?

In fact, the Brexit Party is very far from stupid, their No Deal stance and very effective use of social media, modeled very much on Italy’s Five Star Movement, gives them a genuine chance of replacing  the Conservatives as an electoral force.

The Five Star Movement might seem a joke to many, indeed the were fronted by a one-time comedian, however they in coalition government with Matteo Salvini’s Lega Party. For greater detail see

Like Casaleggio, the founder of the Five Star Movement, Farage claims to offer a new form of politics. ‘We are going to directly liaise and have votes among our registered supporters to shape policy and shape our future direction,’ Farage told listeners on LBC radio last week. ‘We will produce policy on the basis of what our supporters think.’

This is the language of the new brand of digital populism, in which the director of a private company portrays his firm as the vessel for a democratic mass movement. At another point Farage said to the audience: ‘This is going to be the most open political party you’ve ever seen in Britain.’

the language of the new brand of digital populism

But let’s be constructive, Farage and his mob do make some worthwhile points, the political system is broken. The first-past-the -post voting system delivers elections results that do not reflect how people have voted and serves only to favour the Tories and Labour.

Indeed, there is need for a new broom sweeping away the deadwood, policies based on what their supporters think, and openness are equally seductive, but are the Brexit party what we need?

Is a far-right government championing nationalism and isolationism something that will right the wrongs in this country?

The answer is overwhelmingly NO. They will leave us isolated and looking for friends, the US will pick over the bones, it’s what they do.

The issues are bigger than Brexit which was simply used to attract the masses, with promises of milk and honey, only it isn’t

Racism is on the increase; a survey by Opinium shows that the proportion of people from an ethnic minority who said they had been targeted by a stranger rose from 64% in January 2016 to 76% in February this year.

The findings are broadly in line with crime figures, which have shown that racially motivated hate crime has increased every year since 2013, doubling to 71,251 incidents in England and Wales in 2018, according to the Home Office.

racially motivated hate crime has increased every year since 2013

Whilst neither the Brexit party or Brexit are the direct cause of this increase, Brexit has emboldened these people, they wrap themselves in the Union Jack and shout of nationalism, rather than resembling Churchill they resemble football hooligans.

When they kick at your front door, How you gonna come?, With your hands on your head, Or on the trigger of your gun

The economy is stalled, people aren’t spending, and the high street is in a terminal tailspin, this week closure of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain at the loss of c.1200 jobs, the latest in a chain of disasters.

Industry, well what’s left of it fares no better, evidenced by the imminent collapse of British Steel

Too much time has passed since the referendum and there is too much at stake, we need a second referendum to deliver a clear message on what the country wants. There is much to fix, but Brexit must be dealt with first.


OK lyric spotters – a rare treat; such is the state of turmoil ahead of tomorrow’s EU elections and the screeching of fingernails as Graham Brady drags the hapless Mrs May out to an Uber in Whitehall, Philip has penned a a midweek update – and the chance for ardent lyric spotters to accumulate some more points .

And as you know from bitter experience, what do points make? Sweet Felicity Arkwright, but get the old grey matter functioning regardless.

1 first off the rank a band that sadly passed me by first time around, but has become a gift that keeps on giving all these years later – East Kilbride’s finest, The Jesus and Mary Chain with ‘Never Understand’ – how do you understand a band that lists 22 current and former members. A bit like Trigger’s ‘original’ broom – with 17 new heads and 14 new handles! However, take in those Barnets

2 is a corker, but sadly the name of the band escaped me – soak up ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ by The Only Ones, and wonder which one Mrs May is visiting us from.

Bringing up the rear, but lathering up your ear, how good does sound on a balmy evening? Immerse yourself in the Clash City Rockers and ‘The Guns of Brixton’. Powerful stuff – enjoy!


Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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