What they want: The end of the EU
They want to see the end of the EU altogether. That’s been the aim of prominent Brexiters from the start.
And it’s certainly the aim of the guy who started Brexit: former UKIP leader and MEP, and now President of the Reform Party, previously the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage.
In September 2017, Mr Farage received a standing ovation at a far-right rally in Berlin when he addressed Germany’s anti-EU party, Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Mr Farage was applauded after urging the AfD to fight for German independence from the EU.
This is nothing new. On the morning after the EU referendum, on 24 June 2016, with his and his party’s dreams realised, Mr Farage made clear that there was unfinished business with the EU.
He said in his 4am victory speech:
“I hope this victory brings down this failed project … let’s get rid of the flag, the anthem, Brussels, and all that has gone wrong.”
On Talk Radio in Spain in 2014, Mr Farage said that he not only wanted Britain to leave the European Union, he also wanted to see “Europe out of the European Union” – in other words, the complete disintegration of the European Single Market.
Some ardent Tory Brexiters also share Mr Farage’s goal to see the end of the European Union altogether.
▪ STEVE BAKER
Conservative Steve Baker MP, Wycombe, a prominent member of the hard-Brexit Tory ERG group and a former Brexit negotiator, said in 2010 that he wanted to see the European Union “wholly torn down.”
In a speech to a right-wing think-tank he branded the EU as an “obstacle” to world peace and “incompatible” with a free society.
In his 2010 speech Mr Baker also told the cheering audience:
“I think UKIP and the ‘Better Off Out’ campaign lack ambition. I think the European Union needs to be wholly torn down.”
▪ MICHAEL GOVE
In a keynote speech for Vote Leave during the referendum campaign in 2016, Michael Gove, MP, then Justice Secretary and now ‘Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’, made similar comments about bringing down the EU.
“Britain voting to leave will be the beginning of something potentially even more exciting – the democratic liberation of a whole continent.”
He described Britain’s departure from the EU as “a contagion” that could spread across Europe.
Reporting on Mr Gove’s speech, the BBC stated:
“Leaving the EU could also encourage others to follow suit, said Mr Gove.”
Commenting after the speech, a senior aide for the Leave campaign indicated to HeraldScotland that Mr Gove would be, “happy if Britain’s in-out referendum sparked similar polls across Europe.”
The Herald Scotland reporter asked if Brexit would lead to the break-up of the EU as we knew it and the aide replied, “Yes.”
When asked if the Out campaign hoped that it would trigger “the end of the Brussels block” the aide replied, “Certainly.”
In his speech, Mr Gove suggested that far from being the exception if Britain left the EU, it would become the norm as most other EU member states would choose to govern themselves. It was membership of the EU that was the anomaly, argued Mr Gove.
- The Guardian headline was:
‘Brexit could spark democratic liberation of continent, says Gove’
- The Telegraph headline:
‘Michael Gove urges EU referendum voters to trigger ‘the democratic liberation of a whole continent’
- The Express headline:
‘BREXIT WILL BREAK-UP EU: Leave vote to spark domino effect across bloc, says Gove’
- The Bloomberg headline:
‘U.K. Brexit Vote Would Be End of EU as We Know It, Gove Says’
- The Irish Times headline:
‘Michael Gove says other EU states may leave EU’
Britain’s EU referendum was not just about whether Britain should remain in the European Union. For some leading Brexit campaigners, it was a referendum about whether the European Union itself should continue to exist.
Leading Brexit supporters hope that what happened in Britain on 23 June 2016 could result in the end of the EU. This is no doubt a wake-up call for pro-EU supporters across the continent.
Britain chose not to be one of the founding members of the Union back in 1957 but joined later, in 1973.
Now Britain is the bloc’s only member ever to leave the Union, with the open aspiration of at least some ‘Leave’ campaigners that other EU members will also follow Britain in exiting the EU.
As Denis MacShane a former Labour Minister of Europe, wrote in The Independent yesterday:
‘The English right assumed that, after Brexit, the EU would be fatally weakened and there would be a rise of Brexit-type politics across Europe.
‘They were delighted when Marine Le Pen hailed Brexit and put the union flag on her social media accounts in June 2016.’
English right = Tory Party/hard Brexiters.
However, it didn’t turn out as British Brexiters hoped. The opposite happened.
Explained Mr MacShane:
‘Emmanuel Macron comprehensively beat Le Pen in 2017.
‘Since then, to the disappointment of the Boris Johnson camp in England, she has given up calling for a referendum on “Frexit” or even leaving the Euro.
‘The same has happened in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands where anti-European, anti-immigrant populists like Matteo Salvini and Geert Wilders have faded and lost votes to pro-European politicians from the centre, liberals, greens and social democrats.’
But let’s not lose our guard. Don’t underestimate that leading Brexiters are the enemies of the European Union and want to see its end.
There is no love from Boris Johnson and the Tories in power towards the EU. There is no goodwill.
They hate the EU. Its collapse would prove that Brexit was the right decision.
After all, the government is currently engineering an entirely unnecessary trade war with the EU, which would result in a no-deal Brexit for real.
Constant conflicts with the EU are how the Tories hope to stay in power.
For all of us who cherish the European Union as one of the most successful post-war projects, this has never been a battle just about Brexit.
This needs to be a Europe-wide movement to ensure that Brexit politicians and their allies don’t succeed in inflicting grievous damage to the EU, with their stated aim to destroy the European Union entirely.
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