Ukip-vs-EUkip

We aim to inform YOU & provide an archive re: Ukip to TRY to make it fit for purpose

Having crashed his old bus Farage has a new one for his new cash cow – The BreXit Party …

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 19/04/2019

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Having crashed his old bus Farage has a new one for his new cash cow – The BreXit Party …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

The BLOG:
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The corruption of EUkip’s leadership,
their anti UKIP claque in POWER & the NEC

is what gives the remaining 10% a bad name!

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Hi,

what is the ‘Exit & Survival Strategy’ this time Farage or is it same old same old froth & folly like the last part you destroyed for lack of vision?

Brexit: a different bus

Richard North, 19/04/2019


As we all struggle to find solutions to Brexit, it is rather ironic – the extent of being bizarre – that so many should be turning to a man who bears much of the responsibility for the current mess.

The best chance of there ever being a smooth Brexit – however forlorn the hope might have been – rested not on the referendum campaign (or its immediate aftermath) but in the years leading up to it. Long before it got to a vote, the Eurosceptic movement needed to have agreed what we were, at the turn of the century, calling an “exit and survival plan”.

As the leader of the then only dedicated anti-EU party, Nigel Farage was perhaps the only man who could have fostered the development of a plan and united the disparate factions behind it. Instead, he blocked any progress in that direction and settled on a strategy based on building a base of MPs in Westminster, with himself at the head.

His idea was that the pressure exerted by Ukip MPs would create such stresses in the Parliamentary Conservative Party that it would split. The larger number, he believed, would join Ukip, building a majority that could form a government to take us out of the EU.

In this fantasy, there was no need for an exit plan. His new government would have the civil service, which would do as instructed and work up the detail. All Farage’s party had to do was win enough elections and the problem was solved.

Well, we all know how that worked out. Despite multiple attempts, Farage never got near winning a seat in the Commons, much less populating the green seats with his own. He didn’t even manage to keep control of his own party, allowing it to be seized from him, ending up in the hands of the dire Gerard Batten. Its record 24 MEPs dwindling to a mere four.

Now the resurgent demagogue has created a new party, over which he has almost total control, untroubled by such inconvenient things as a democracy. And yet, Lewis Goodhall, the political correspondent for Sky News, describes him as a man who “cannot be faulted for his appreciation of strategy”.

Despite that, the “electric” Mr Farage is a one-trick pony, capable of delivering only a single core speech. With its variations, it may be enough to impress the untutored but, after the third or fourth time of hearing, the underlying emptiness becomes all too apparent. And, as a man whose appreciation of strategy can’t be faulted, he opposed a referendum. His strategy, and everything else he touches beyond personal enrichment, has been an unremitting failure.

Currently, he favours a no-deal Brexit – another example of his strategic acumen (not). Presumably, he believes that his latest strategy of “winning” an unnecessary and irrelevant election is a way to exert pressure on Mrs May to achieve that end. Once again, we see the limits of his thinking, where his only game is to force the Conservatives into taking action, to uncertain effect.

If that was the whole extent of our options, we would be in far more serious trouble than we could possibly imagine. But if there is salvation to be had, it is more likely to lie in a careful study of our situation and in an evaluation of the broader options.

Bringing it down to its basics, the essence of our problem, I would aver, is that the Brexit process is beyond the capacity of our political system to implement, and it has neither the desire nor the incentive to seek enduring solutions. The logical response to that – or, at least, the first element – might be to break the process down into bite-sized chunks that the system can handle, or to hand the job over to bodies which are better equipped to perform the functions involved in the process.

Working along those lines, it seems reasonable to argue that, if the majority of MPs (and much of government) do not have the capacity to evaluate the merits of competing Brexit plans, or even work out whether any particular plan will satisfy stated objectives, it is pointless offering the collective any plans to study.

By avoiding this trap, we would be accepting that parliament is not a planning body and neither is it capable of evaluating plans. We would thus cease to expect it to do things for which it was not designed, and for which it is manifestly not capable. By the same token, asking for indicative votes seems an obvious waste of time.

In the past, we used to refer the evaluation of public policy to such bodies as Royal Commissions. Commissions, in particular, could examine topics for some years, gathering evidence and assessing various alternatives, before coming up with detailed recommendations to guide governments in the choices they made.

Yet, despite the importance of Brexit, and the hugely damaging consequences of getting it wrong, I do not recall seeing any formal inquiry of any great weight, that has assessed our options and made recommendations. To a very great extent, our government and public institutions – and the rest of us – are flying blind.

Such is the complexity of the Brexit process that, in an earlier piece, I suggested that, before we went any further with the EU, we needed a series of scoping meetings. These would enable us to decide what is possible to achieve from our negotiations on a future relationship.

Before we even get there, though, we need as a nation to decide where we want to go. That decision `must be informed by factual analysis and a clear understanding of what is actually possible, together with an appreciation of what our negotiating partners might accept.

Even now, that in itself might be too much to ask of a divided nation that has not fully come to terms with the prospect of leaving. As long as we have active campaigns aimed at reversing the referendum result, it seems hardly likely that we can get down to the task of discussing the best way to leave.

That, it would seem, is the heart of the problem. It isn’t just the establishment which isn’t up to the job. We have an unfocused nation which is not only too easily distracted from the task at hand – mainly because it hasn’t fully decided that this is a task it wants to undertake.

To resolve this, there are those who still hanker after another referendum. But it would be wrong to assert that we are, as a nation, any better informed about Brexit than we were during the last referendum campaign.

Where we can seriously entertain a discussion about the value of a customs union in facilitating frictionless trade, all we have is evidence of monumental ignorance. Those who want a re-run on the basis that we now know more about the issue clearly haven’t been following the debate for the past three years. If we are to be judged as incapable of reaching a knowledge-based decision in June 2016, we are no better equipped now.

On the other hand, a general election is no more suitable a platform for a national debate than is a referendum – and it would be an abuse of process. General elections are for choosing our governments, not for settling contentious issues. For that, supposedly, we have referendums – we are back full circle.

Therefore, I begin to warm to the idea of putting the Brexit process “on hold”, in order to refer it to an independent review body such as a Royal Commission. And since six months would hardly be enough time for it to conclude its work, we would also need to ask the EU for extra time.

One important limitation of this idea, though, relates to the composition of the inquiry body. The great and the good who would normally comprise the panel are, in the main, the very people who have made such a hash of the process so far. And if the panel took evidence from the same “prestigious” witnesses that have polluted select committees and the like, we would be no further forward, no matter how long it was given to perform its task.

On that basis, the idea of an independent inquiry begins to look considerably less attractive, which means that we might have to look elsewhere for our solutions. But, actually, we may not have to look too far. Breaking out of the box, we could be thinking not of one inquiry body but two. One would shadow the other, each with slightly different terms of reference and composition. If one explored the arguments, the other might deliberately set out to challenge received wisdom.

This was the stratagem recommended by Irving Janis in his book on groupthink, where the creation of competing (or complementary) bodies to examine the same issues reduced the danger of a single mindset emerging and remaining unchallenged. Such a multiple-group structure was, apparently, used by the Truman administration in developing the Marshall Plan, so it is hardly a new or untried idea.

To those who would cavil at the extra time this would take, we could offer the aphorism that, if you act in haste you will repent at leisure. There cannot be any rational objection to taking a few years to unravel a process which has taken the UK 47 years to develop.

As much to the point, almost exactly two years ago, I was writing of Alan S Milward and his book, The Rise and Fall of a National Strategy, 1945-63. The point which emerged from it was that governments in general find it difficult to change strategies quickly. Progressing from opposition to UK entanglement in European political integration to support for membership of the EEC took 18 years.

What we are now seeing, I then wrote, is the inevitable consequence of a forced change, for which the government is unprepared, where the speed of change is beyond its ability to accommodate.

I would sooner give the government time to adjust, rather than lose the chance of Brexit altogether, or risk ending up with a bodged outcome which takes decades to repair. If Brexit is to succeed, the process must be properly informed and the issues must be fully discussed and understood, not just by our legislators but also by the public at large.

Effectively, we need a different bus with a better message. And if that takes a couple more years, it is worth the wait.

To view the original article CLICK HERE

Regards,

Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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