Brexit at last rejoice, finally we have our freedom, says PATRICK OFLYNN – Express

Posted: January 31, 2020 at 9:50 am

On November 25, 2010, this newspaper threw down the gauntlet to the Westminster elite sending shockwaves along the corridors of power by declaring on our front page that it was time for the United Kingdom to quit the EU and that we would, from that day on, devote our campaigning energies to securing just such an outcome.

At first it was just a tiny band of independent-minded, patriotic backbench MPs who offered us support. As one of them, Wellingborough Tory MP Peter Bone, noted: I remember walking up Downing Street to deliver the Daily Express petition to the Prime Minister. It has carried on campaigning, set the standard and the other papers followed.

Former Labour MP Kate Hoey, another who helped us deliver an enormous petition from Daily Express readers to David Cameron in 10 Downing Street early in 2011, added: The Express has been the only paper that has consistently stood up as the voice of the people.

The rapid progress our campaign made was demonstrated in October 2011, when 111 MPs including 81 Tories who rebelled against Mr Camerons three-line whip voted in favour of a motion calling for an In-Out EU referendum.

And at the end of January 2013 by which time well over half a million Daily Express readers had signed campaign coupons and online petitions as our movement spread like wildfire Cameron was forced to eat his words by promising an In-Out referendum would indeed be held were he to be returned as prime minister at the 2015 election.

What had been initially depicted as an aim of cranks and gadflies turned out to be so popular that it helped Cameron win a majority at that election, leaving him with no option but to deliver the referendum he had initially been so reluctant to embrace. And we all know what happened next. The establishment weighted the scales in its own favour by means of a taxpayer-funded Remain propaganda leaflet delivered to every door and by co-opting senior public servants into its Project Fear effort to scare the public into staying under the control of Brussels. And still the British people voted to leave.

Far from being a cause believed in only by a Right-wing fringe, Brexit was shown to be the overall wish of the British people, with 17.4 million adults voting for it the most ever to vote for any single proposition in the entire history of our country.

The desire to control our own immigration system was undoubtedly a major factor and so were public qualms at the growing cost of EU membership. But the most fundamental reason was never in doubt the desire of a proud country to become a sovereign, nation state democracy once again.

Since the original referendum on the Common Market in 1975, the true aim of elites across Europe to create a superstate via a gradual salami-slicing away of national sovereignty had become harder and harder to conceal.

A succession of EU treaties that took more and more power away from member states and transferred it to Brussels were passed without the British people being asked for permission in a further referendum; the treaties of Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and finally Lisbon.

The Lisbon Treaty of 2008 was key because it gave the EU the legal personality of a state and awarded the bloc the power to abolish further national vetoes. While ministers in the then Labour government tried to dismiss it as a mere tidying-up exercise, the British people clocked that it marked an irreversible step towards full political integration under the rule of the unelected European Commission.

Mr Cameron pledged, no ifs, or buts, that he would hold a referendum on it, should he make it to Downing Street. But in November 2009, he reneged on that promise.

Because, he said, the treaty had been already ratified by the Labour government, a future Tory administration would not put it to the people.

It was in the ensuing public uproar that the seeds for our campaign were planted. Enough was enough. Someone had to stand up and be counted and fight for the freedom and independence of Britain.

Accommodations with Brussels that involved specific British opt-outs on things like the single currency and the Schengen borderless zone were no longer sufficient.

With plans for an EU army already being pushed and the eurozone countries planning a full fiscal union that would have a controlling majority in all the key EU institutions, it was obvious that the ambition for ever closer union set out in the founding Treaty of Rome was no longer a federalist pipe dream, but the inevitable destination of this project.

Well, not any longer. Not for the United Kingdom at least. Because our proud thousand-year history of taking our own decisions about life on our islands, our independent spirit and our wish to connect with other countries, not merely in Europe, but also via the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth, proved too strong.

It may very well be in the years ahead that the example set by Britain of affinity and fidelity to the nation state over the superstate is taken up elsewhere in Europe and that other countries follow our lead. That will be made more likely if we make a success of Brexit.

For the rest of the year we will, of course, be stuck in a transition phase and effectively still bossed about by Brussels in many aspects of life while Britain and the EU hammer out the details of a future relationship.

But the Prime Minister is clear on the trajectory the country is set on. And a political misadventure instigated by the pro-Brussels fanatic Edward Heath 47 years ago is finally coming to an end.

As yet another Tory prime minister might have put it: Just rejoice at that news.

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Brexit at last rejoice, finally we have our freedom, says PATRICK OFLYNN - Express

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