A new survey concluded that 60% of the sample prioritise Britain leaving the EU as the most important issue, above health, the economy, immigration.

 

LONDON: Britain is still the world’s second biggest power after the United States, according to James Rogers’ audit of Geopolitical Capability just published by the Henry Jackson Society. Rogers comments: “The pervasive spread of neo-declinism in Britain is wholly without foundation. Brexit has had no discernible impact on the UK’s fundamental ability to apply itself around the World. Although the UK is likely to retain its leadership role in Europe, it is also increasingly wedded to the so-called ‘Anglosphere’—further investment in groupings like the Five-Eyes could help cement its successes.” However, Rogers warns that as soon as 2020 China economic growth and naval investment could supplant Britain’s second place. Rogers advises “Urgent remedial action is also required—in 2019—to secure Britain’s continued economic, industrial and technological leadership. Without significant new funding for Research and Development, the UK risks falling dangerously behind in the new technological race.”

A new YouGovsurvey concluded that 60% of the sample prioritise Britain leaving the EU as the most important issue, above health, the economy, immigration and crime. 58% felt Theresa May is doing badly as Prime Minister and 61% felt Jeremy Corbyn is doing badly as Leader of the Opposition. 51% oppose the draft Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and on leaving the EU without a deal Conservative Party members voted 76% in favour. If/when Parliament votes to reject the WA deal the government has negotiated, 43% felt May should resign as leader and Prime Minister.

Leaver MPs have not warmed to May’s WA during the New Year break. The Prime Minister’s New Year video message was considered hackneyed; it is widely accepted in Westminster that she will lose the Meaningful Vote on 15 January. Following a meeting at No. 10, Nigel Dodds of the DUP in Northern Ireland said his Party’s principled objections to the WA remained. In a statement Dodds said: “The Withdrawal Agreement, as currently proposed, flies in the face of the Government’s commitments on Northern Ireland as we leave the EU. Contrary to pro-EU spin, the backstop is not the best of both worlds. It is potentially indefinite in time, would place a barrier between us and our main trading partner in Great Britain and give enormous leverage to the European Union in the negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom.” The European Research Group is confident that 40 of their MP members will oppose the WA vote.

Reportedly No10 is considering further votes, hoping to increase their majority each time; one sweetener suggested by Ministers and backed by some backbenchers is that the PM step down after Brexit Day on 29 March, putting a fresh hand in place to negotiate the future relationship with the EU. Eurosceptics, they want future votes delayed to the last minute before 29 March, in the belief Jean Claude Juncker and the EU will provide more meaningful amendments once a vote has been lost, and not just unacceptable verbal assurances (satirically known as “Operation Figleaf”) but written binding agreement that UK will have the prerogative to unilaterally leave the Backstop; reports that a No Deal/WTO exit from the EU is preferable to a second referendum are surfacing.

Both the DUP and the European Research Group have committed to back the government if Labour were to bring a vote of no confidence in the government if/when the WA vote fails. Although there is no General Election until May 2022 and to date not all constituencies have Conservative parliamentary candidates, for the first time ever election campaign managers have already been appointed for every Conservative target and London seat.

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