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10 Steps To Stop Brexit: The Remainer Strategy (Part I)

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two part series on Remainer strategy.

Let’s try a thought experiment. Imagine you’re a staunch Remainer, keen to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union at any cost – and that you’re trying to work out how to respond, in the early hours of June 24th 2016, following the referendum result. Under these assumptions, you don’t care for the democratically-expressed will of the people and you’re not inclined to give up just because democracy demands that you do. How would you act? I think a plan would look something like this:

Step 1 – Acknowledge and accept the referendum result publicly and with good grace

In order to undermine Brexit, you need to keep your sour grapes to yourself. The better a job you can do of that, the more persuasive you’ll be later.

Step 2 – Try to muddy the waters by asking existential questions

What does the referendum result actually mean? This might seem obvious – it’s a mandate for leaving the European Union. But if you think hard enough you’ll perhaps be in a position to obfuscate. Remember the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden: “Did God really say…?”. That tactic has worked since the dawn of time (if you believe the Bible) or since Genesis was written thousands of years ago (if you don’t). Question everything. Does leaving the European Union really mean ending unlimited immigration? Does quitting the EU really mean that EU courts shouldn’t keep overriding our own? Do we really have the legal right to start negotiating with other countries? Is joining the EU Army after Brexit really such a bad idea? Do we really have a mandate to take our fishing grounds back?

By the time you’re done, there should be no part of Brexit that isn’t ‘in name only’. Patience is called for – you need to achieve all of this before you can finally, trying to keep a straight face, ask what Brexit is actually going to gain us.

Step 3: Make sure the new Prime Minister is a Remainer

Whoever replaces David Cameron as Prime Minister must be a Remainer. If their heart’s not in Brexit, they won’t be able to negotiate a good one. All you have to do is torpedo the claim of any Leave supporters to become Prime Minister, and you instantly make the chances of negotiating a good deal for the UK less likely.

Step 4: After a decent period, start trying to undermine the basis of the referendum result

To achieve this step, you’ll need to be fairly brazen. You’ll try a multi-pronged means of attack.

A) Try to find any means of claiming unfairness within the process itself

This one isn’t going to be easy, because Remain had most of the politicians on side, most of the media, and were helped out by a £10 million government propaganda campaign. If only there were some way of blaming the Russians…

B) Can you dig up any Leave lies?

You know perfectly well that your side lied – about job losses, about World War 3, about immigration and the number of EU citizens living in the UK, about ‘the end of Western political civilisation as we know it’, and about the impending economic doom. You can avoid having to defend your own lies if you try to find something – anything – that was slightly misleading in the Leave campaign. The easiest target for faux outrage is Boris Johnson and the Vote Leave bus. Double down on that one.

C) Decide that people were voting on something else

People were angry. They hated the Tory government. The people voting Brexit just wanted to give the government a good kicking, but they didn’t really mean it. They couldn’t possibly have meant it, could they? After all, Brexit is a Bad Thing and people don’t really want something bad to happen to them. You’re going to have to be the one to protect them from themselves.

D) Alternatively, perhaps they didn’t actually know what they were voting for

People are perfectly clever enough to vote at a General Election, when they’re voting on every single issue simultaneously, considering tactical voting due to the electoral system, knowing who’s more competent, and judging which Party’s economics makes more sense. They can handle all that with ease, but now you’ve got to argue that people weren’t capable of understanding the single issue of Brexit.

E) They didn’t get the chance to vote

Under-18s would have voted to Remain. Even though it’s almost inconceivable that unilaterally giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the referendum would have actually changed the result, act as though it would. Even though 16 and 17 year olds have never voted at any UK-wide election before, and can’t vote in a parish council election, clearly they should have been given the vote for this one referendum only. It’s obvious when you think about it, right? And remember, when your argument is weak, seem confident and hope nobody notices.

[To be continued in part II]

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About Jonathan Arnott MEP (29 Articles)
Jonathan is General secretary of UKIP and represents the North East of England as a UKIP MEP

13 Comments on 10 Steps To Stop Brexit: The Remainer Strategy (Part I)

  1. Britain could walk by repealing the legislation that none dare mention (even though it appears to be UKIP policy).

    It is clear that Britons who want rid of the EU are without effective leadership within the parameters of mainstream political protocol – as intended, no doubt – but there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    • Yes, Mr Laurie, I agree. Britain could walk. There are no technical problems to achieving a real Brexit which could not be overcome IF the political will was there.

      The problem is that the political will is not there. At least 450 of our 650 MPs support Remain. They have the will and the power to effectively make Britain stay in the EU on worse terms. They do this by manufacturing and exaggerating non-problems, like the Irish border, and by sabotaging the negotiations.

      The 48% who voted Remain have the 4 largest parties in the House of Commons representing them – the pro-EU Tories, the pro-EU Labour, the pro-EU LibDems and the pro-EU SNP.

      The 52% who voted Leave have no party representing them in Parliament. We sorely need a single-issue Brexit party to represent and organise the 52%. Pity that UKIP doesn’t seem to be up to the task.

  2. Thank you for an accurate and depressingly insightful article Jonathan.
    We need an antidote to the poison.

  3. About this fifty billion?

    So, the EU want this money to negotiate a trade deal to benefit ours and their industry, which is very nice but it amounts to asking the taxpayer to subsidise industry.
    Just like we were asked to do at the time of the financial crisis with the banks in 2008, although the government insisted we’d get our money back it was a lie.

    It’s amazing how the government and EU think that the taxpayer is a limitless resource to be tapped as they think fit, it’s our money and we should make them a lot more accountable about how they spend it.

    I’m all for business, but think business should stand on its own feet.

  4. Don’t forget the classic “the referendum result was just advisory” 😀

  5. B) Leave lies: There has been so much – deliberate – misunderstanding about the ‘Boris bus’. He DID NOT promise the NHS £350million when we left. The actual wording on the bus was: “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.” Where is the promise that the NHS would get an extra £350m in that statement? Besides which, we haven’t left the EU yet and if the Remainers have their way the NHS won’t get another penny.

    • Same for whenever Nigel Farage gets attacked over the “bus message” despite the fact he had nothing to do with it.
      Too many people saw promises made by the Leave side as “manifesto pledges” despite this just being a referendum and not a general election. If only these same people were as quick to criticise parties for not fulfilling or breaking manifesto pledges…

    • Absolutely right Debbie.

  6. Step 3: One of the best ways to take out someone of the ‘wrong’ camp is to accuse them of child abuse/pornography/inappropriate sexual touching etc. Doesn’t have to be true, of course, but it’ll be enough to give them the heave-ho.

    I’m sure I heard a rumour somewhere that Tony Blair, Ken Clark, Peter Mandleson and Nick Clegg are all under investigation …..!

  7. Nigel Farage not over-seeing Brexit as UKIP leader and therefore creating no pressure on the Tories and May, has been a big problem.

  8. A well-written article.

    Remainer May appears to be deliberately “negotiating” such a bad deal that remaining in the EU instead of leaving on such lousy terms will seem more attractive to many, even among Leave supporters.

    Then they will either run a second referendum giving two options “Leave” (on lousy terms) and “Remain” – hoping that the result will be “Remain”. Better still, from their point of view, wait until the people themselves demand such a referendum.

    Perhaps there is a good reason to have a second referendum – with options “Leave” (on May’s lousy terms) and “Leave” (with no deal) – given that the question of “Leave” vs “Remain” has already been decided by the people. But a referendum with such options will never be allowed.

  9. Toby Micklethwait // December 6, 2017 at 10:46 am // Reply

    Dear Jonathan,

    It’s great to see you posting on this website.

    I have not forgotten your chess match against Tim Farron:

    Regards, Toby, 01932-873557

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