The Brexit no-one wanted

Twitter thread in blog form by request:

1 of the most bizarre aspects of the UK’s current direction is that none of the Brexit Leadership expected this hard brexit.  Looking back prior to the referendum, there were 2 schools of thought from Brexit leaders, and this drove 90% of their thinking:

  1. We would stay in the single market in a Norway style model
  2. We’d use our trade deficit to force a free trade deal

So, for Norway/Single Market model we have for example Nigel Farage putting this forward as our preferred approach and Dan Hannan, actually campaigning for the EEA/Norway approach, including Free Movement which, at least in April 2015, he saw as a thing to be protected.


As for the 2nd approach, forcing a deal – how many times did Leave tell us “they need us more than we need them”? It was a continuous narrative, such as the below from Chris Grayling:

The Germans are not going to stop selling us BMWs, nor are the French going to stop selling wine, cheese and apples just because we are not in the EU. It is not in their interests.

There were essentially 2 promised Brexit outcomes, Single market membership or something even better – the “cake & eat it” option.  The day after the outcome, Johnson said  in this telegraph article:

I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.

British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market

Few of us would be able to reconcile that sunlit uplands picture described only 12 months ago with the high risk, potentially highly damaging Brexit described by Theresa May a few days ago:


It is hard to believe that the referendum would have been won for Leave if the Leave leadership had used the words May used in her speech to describe the risks of Brexit.  As for other Leave leaders such as David Davis, he didn’t even appear to understand how the EU or trade deals work and thought we’d be writing new ones in months.

davis july

but no-one, absolutely no-one in the Leave leadership at that time expected us to be where we are now, facing a hard brexit with a total lack of a plan and few options.

And of course where are the Leave leadership now? Grayling, Stuart, Farage, Carswell, Leadsom, Fox have all gone quiet or disappeared.  Steve Hilton, Cameron’s old PR geek, was all over our screens prior to June 23rd and hasn’t been seen since. Davis has moved from supreme (though misplaced) confidence and now changes his position every few months as reality dawns on him.


Johnson & Gove, having got the fright of their lives by actually winning, disappeared,


reappeared and managed to excuse themselves from leadership in an almost comedy fashion.  They both now bluster and snipe from the sidelines making no sensible contribution to the debate.  As for May and Hammond, both were Remainers and May can’t even say that Brexit is a good idea.

But no-one put forward this hard, self harming Brexit, not a single person either previously or currently involved in Brexit leadership had ever seriously suggested a “no deal” crash out of the EU either as part of the referendum campaign, or in the first few months afterwards.

Now of course we in the process of rewriting history.  We’re being told “People knew what they were voting for”.  But that’s a lie. Most people on the leave side believed we would get a near pain free exit.pollsimple

The majority of Leave voters thought they were voting for a no downside/all upside  cake & eat it Brexit or an EEA/SM model, and any suggestion that it might be difficult was dismissed as “project fear”.

So what are we left with? An election called not to strengthen the government’s hand in the negotiations with the EU (who have no interest in the Tory majority) but instead to enable the forcing through parliament of the inevitable poor/no deal which will result. But more importantly, a Leadership who do not believe in Hard Brexit (perhaps do not believe in Brexit at all) but must push it through, backed by a vote for soft brexit which in turn was based on lies & misrepresentations.  Furthermore, the race is on to convince the public that:

  1. the upcoming pain is the EU’s fault and not the leaders of Brexit who lied to them and
  2. they actually voted for the pain in the first place

Before that pain becomes too pronounced.  Unfortunately in many cases the Leave voting public would rather not accept they’ve been fooled, it’s far easier to believe they expected this all along.

However the fact remains, we’re heading for a future that no Brexit leader wanted and almost no-one voted for, almost out of embarrassment.

PS. This point is important.  When anyone, Labour or Tory, says “we will end FoM AND get a comprehensive Free Trade Deal”-they are lying to you, its that simple.  There is no time or inclination by the EU to agree a significant free trade agreement that does not include free movement.  “Best Deal for Britain” or “A Brexit that protects jobs and the economy” are the same lie if both deals exclude freedom of movement.

PPS – old blog which highlights the bait & switch of the Leave Leadership, a longer (older) version of the above.

26 thoughts on “The Brexit no-one wanted

    1. thanks – need to get a balance. Prefer blogs but tweets often get a wider audience. Can’t give this my full attention so need to get a balance


  1. Very well put. Seen from Holland it is a last convulsion of rule Brittannia-think. I would go into hiding too as a Brexiteer, seeing Merkel an Macron working together to embrace a China brutalized by the US – the lonely UK sinking away in the North Sea…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think you can reach most Brexit supporters. In a whole year I have met almost nothing more than absolute, unquestioning rigidity. Some people like thinking, and properly discussing, and some people are wedded to slogans and soundbites. (NB I say “most”, not all.)


    2. Hello there. You talk about “reaching” Brexit supporters. Can I ask you to try to see things from another viewpoint please, for just a moment? If I talked about having another referendum so that Remainers had a chance to make the “right” choice this time, how would that make you feel? I’m guessing you might just find it a wee bit patronising and condescending… Am I right? That’s because you’re sure that you voted with your heart and feel that you made the right choice.
      Now then, this is exactly how we Brexiteers feel whenever you Remainers talk in language that is incredibly patronising and suggests that we just need a little reeducation to come round to the “correct” answer to the referendum question. It doesn’t help anyone to be so patronising towards us, and is only likely to increase division. The next time you comment on this topic, please try hearing what it would sound like from the opposite perspective, and do to others as you would have them do to you.


      1. But it’s not patronizing to be called Remoaners, Elites and Traitors.

        It appears entirely logical to review the final deal because don it actual merits, rather than (and I will be polite) wish list of things presented by the Brexit camp.

        That’s not patronizing. That’s common sense. Something this country appears to have thrown out of the window recently.


  2. Your title, “The Brexit no-one wanted”, is patently false. I can be sure in saying this, if only because I wanted Brexit, regardless of the precise deal we would get afterwards. (I also know many, many others who felt the same way). This is because the EU is fundamentally undemocratic, and unfair, since it involves other countries, and bodies appointed by other countries, dictating to us. One thing I can agree with Corbyn on, (the OLD Jeremy Corbyn), is the undemocratic nature of the EU. It has eroded trust in politics, sadly, and only has itself to blame for the Brexit result.
    Try going outside of your own circle of friends, which is likely to be an echo chamber for your own views, and you will find millions in this country who feel the same way about the EU.


    1. Thanks for your comments Joseph.
      I don’t speak to millions obviously and I don’t do surveys.

      However, this blog post for example has been read 10k plus times in the last 4 days. The accompanying thread has gone viral with thousands of people retweeting it & over 2 million impressions again over the last 4 days.
      So it’s probably fair to say it’s reached a reasonably wide audience even if that audience is not a perfect cross section.
      So far I’ve had 100’s of positive comments and about 4 negative ones, of which yours is one.
      I was actually quite surprised, I thought I would get more push back.
      For what it’s worth I have chatted a few times on Twitter with people who feel as you do. I’m bound to say that most of them have not actually understood what “no deal” actually means to the UK.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear what you’re saying. Let’s be honest about this though, it’s hard to stand up to a viewpoint you disagree with on social media, especially when that viewpoint is seen as being the fashionable one, and to oppose it seemingly puts you in a minority.

        I think this is at least part of the explanation for the “shy Tory”, “shy Brexiteer” and “shy Trump voter” phenomenon in recent years. It’s trendy to be left-wing and pro-EU, especially amongst younger generations, (I speak as a 33 YO), but clearly NOT seen as trendy to stick your head above the parapet and speak up for the opposite viewpoints. (Who wants a load of abuse from people?!) I’ve no doubt more people on social media supported Remain, but 1.7 million more people acted on their beliefs and bothered to get out and vote for Leave.

        Anyway, after reading the series of comments above, the basic point I want to make to folks on here is not to write off Leave voters as stupid, heartless “mad” or “misled”. Try engaging fully with what they actually believe.


  3. A comprehensive free trade deal the doesn’t include freedom of movement is a contradiction in terms. If you can’t trade your labour, it’s not comprehensive free trade. It’s like saying you can have a comprehensive free trade deal that doesn’t include manufactured goods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like people saying “we want the single market but without freedom of movement”. The second is intrinsic to the first


    2. There are comprehensive free trade deals all over the world – including the latest much talked about EU / Canada one that do not involve freedom of movement. Free trade does not mean freedom of movement and never has done. It’s the single market of the EU and a few others – for example the UK and Ireland for historical reasons – that have it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, those are trade agreements, not comprehensive free trade agreements. They retain many restrictions on free trade, among which are restrictions on trade in labour. The single market is the only fully functioning international free trade agreement in the world.


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