Can you remember what you were doing on 23rd June, 2016? That day meant an early start for the Vote Leave team as we delivered one last flyer reminding people to vote to leave the European Union!! Many of us attended the counts up and down the country until the early hours of Friday morning. It was hard to comprehend that we had secured the majority – such unbelievable news! Brexiteers gathered at a social event in Rutland the following month and I was asked to make an impromptu speech. I recall saying that I didn’t trust the government and should ensure that we hold the ‘government’s feet to the fire’. This caused a flurry of interest, so much so that a senior member of a political party who was in attendance that evening immediately made contact to ask what I was proposing……
The months then passed by with a new ‘Remain’ Prime Minister being installed (indeed sponsored by a ‘Remain’ donor), news that the government had refused to accept 200 trained New Zealand trade negotiators (why?) and finally the realisation that the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) which appeared to closely resemble the much more publicised Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) ’travelled’ through the Houses of Parliament with no debate and one has to enquire if there was any scrutiny at all? More recently we learned that there had been no provisions for a Plan B for Brexit at all!
Brexiteers continued to face an agonising wait for Article 50 to be triggered. Many people considered that this was a trap and that we should be repealing the European Communities Act 1972 instead but what could we do? Why did it take some nine months to trigger? Well we know for sure that it gave the ‘Remainers’ time to take stock of the situation and ‘regroup’ after all, why else were passengers in receipt of The New European newspaper ‘free of charge’ as they left Heathrow last summer?!
A General Election in June 2017 seemed to take many people by surprise apart from those perhaps who knew one was scheduled as early as January! At the beginning of the October I attended an open meeting (free of charge to the public) in Manchester and I was lucky enough to film two highly respected ex-military personnel from the Falklands War talk with refreshing honesty about the possibility of integrating our military forces with those in the EU. They were obviously very worried, indeed, I could visualise Westminster officials armed with documents emerging from some ‘basement’ at any given time to be signed unwittingly by the government officials. I mused over this picture for several days…..remembering the times when I had laughed at the series ‘Yes Minister’ until now…
A couple of weeks later I chanced upon a series of tweets highlighting some military talks called PESCO. I felt immediately that all was not well, remembering all the EU debates pre-Referendum where us Brexiteers talked about the development of the EU seeking to unifying national Militaries into EU military union under total command from Brussels in true EU single point control fashion. The ‘Remainers’ laughed at us, they belittled us and told us that we were scaremongering and that we should be ashamed of ourselves. After all, wasn’t the EU responsible for bringing peace to Europe they would retort? I began to study what this ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’ (PESCO)^ was all about. Hmm! It had been ‘’well-documented by the EU in June 2015 but quite obviously not well-publicised it would seem! Now it is fair to say that most people (myself included) had never heard the term PESCO until last month and since I had promised alongside millions of others to ‘Take Back Control’, I duly set up a national campaign to alert the public about the dangers together with Dave Ellis and Carol Hellier. Now the EU in their wisdom had named their document ‘cooperation’ which is a falsehood for a start! Yes, our military forces are now used to working cooperatively with other EU countries but PESCO marks the start of the EU seeking to unifying national Militaries into EU military union under total command from Brussels in true EU single point of control fashion. From the EU’s perspective this is an ‘all in concept’ – ‘Boots to Nukes’!
The EU doesn’t produce short, snappy, clear and concise documents for a reason so obviously at first glance one would ‘assume’ that all is well! Now you may be forgiven in thinking that approaching people to provide advance warning that Brussels was due to take control of our military forces[,] with the natural progression of a shared Treasury to pay for the expenditure, would be sufficient of a catalyst for people to take concerted immediate action. After all, the military had been warning the British Government for years that the financial austerity was having serious repercussions on our ability to defend ourselves. It soon became clear, however that the media blackout on possibly the most serious matter to impact the UK since World War 2 meant that many could not believe what they were hearing.
Undeterred, within a matter of hours, template letters were circulated to hundreds of Brexiteers to be used for guidance to write to constituency MPs. Carol and I attempted to write to many more MPs whilst our colleague Dave who specialises in Twitter focused on this area of social media linking in notable veterans along the way. We all campaigned in earnest, aware that a meeting was due to be being held in private on 19th October with all the EU countries’ representatives being present. Was there any mention of this on the BBC or Sky News? No! Why were we learning all so late in the day?
Some MPs responded to our requests for them to investigate the matter further but we were disappointed in their letters and emails. MPs were duly quizzed at a Brexit event on 4th November in central London. All would be well with Brexit they assured us….Conservatives and Labour alike….. A day passed by and on, 5th November, Bonfire Night, I was to discover some very important information from a German website. * I quote as follows:
EU Member States who want to participate in PESCO will present a common notification to the Council of the EU and the High Representative on establishing PESCO, most likely during the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on the 13 November.
Well this was indeed strange. After all, I had been a member of the audience of a packed hall of Brexiteers the day before and we had all been led to understand that the decision would be made at the end of November some two weeks later.
The next sentence reads:
This notification will probably be adopted during the council’s meeting on 11 December in a qualified majority vote. +
The formation of the European Defence Unit requires Qualified Majority voting in the EU’s post-2014 arrangements with a requirement that the 55% threshold of number of member states (i.e. 16 member states) AND they have to represent 65% of the EU’s population. It can’t be done with the sixteen smallest countries however, the difference is rather academic given that Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland (the five most populous of the rump EU 27), plus of course our government, are undoubtedly going to vote in favour.
So what’s worse than being lied to? Knowing that you’ve been lied to? There is no Brexit and with the evidence that has been amassed since the Referendum, there has never ever been an intention to have any type of meaningful Brexit. Of course, the European Defence Unit will be accompanied by a common Treasury to pay for military expenditure.
Military union together with the completion of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement are the only things that HM Government are in agreement with so surely this must be our #Brexit ‘trade deal’! Is this what #Brexit is actually about?’
Caroline Stephens 6th November, 2017