Dear Vote Leave supporters,
Let’s honour the referendum result and get Brexit done so the country can move on.
Days after the 2016 referendum, I emailed all of you to say thanks for your heroic efforts. I also said — keep an eye on my blog, if Brexit is in danger then I will send up a ‘bat signal’ here.
Here we go…
All of you who helped Vote Leave win should ask yourself: what should I do, and not do, to ensure we leave in the best way possible?
This is my answer to this question…
Boris fought for Leave in 2016. I worked with him closely in the referendum. I know how committed he was. I also know how angry he was that the government did not immediately put more money into the NHS, as should have happened and as we in Vote Leave campaigned for.
On 21 July 2019, three days before becoming Prime Minister, he asked me to gather as many of the old Vote Leave team as possible and bring them to Downing Street to help deliver Brexit. He said he was determined to do everything he could to ensure the referendum result was respected.
I have never been a member of any party but I accepted his offer, we re-assembled many of the Vote Leave team and we went to No. 10. We wanted to ensure that the referendum is respected and that Westminster is fundamentally changed.
I’ve been with him for the 100 days between 24 July and 31 October, often for many hours a day. I saw him in meeting after meeting. He threw everything he had at it. The forces against us were very powerful. Most of the powerful people in Westminster supported Remain.
Before the referendum, MPs promised to respect the result. They explicitly ruled out a second referendum — David Cameron, John Major, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Nick Clegg, Corbyn, McDonnell, Starmer, Swinson, Gordon Brown, Heseltine, and even the official Remain campaign — they all said: ‘No second referendum, one vote, it will hold for a generation and Leave means leaving the Single Market and Customs Union and everyone should realise that because there’s no going back after the 23 June 2016.’
Many MPs behaved honestly. They tried to respect the result. They deserve respect.
But many MPs who promised to respect the result have done all they could to overturn it. The official Remain campaign’s central argument during the referendum was that ‘it’s all about leaving the Single Market and Customs Union’. They’ve spent the next four years saying ‘the referendum wasn’t about the Single Market and Customs Union’. Some like Dominic Grieve told voters at the last election that he would respect the referendum then did the opposite. MPs like him should be forced from public life in disgrace for their shameless dishonesty.
A powerful network did all they could to stop Brexit and make a pro-Brexit government impossible. Billionaires hired lawyers to write legislation and start legal cases to force delay, hoping that delay would bring the chance for another referendum.
They succeeded. Unprecedented in modern British history and outside all normal civil service rules, a bunch of MPs wrote primary legislation — ‘the Surrender Act’, also known as the Benn Act — without any of the scrutiny of who influenced and who funded it that is normal for legislation. It was fitting that the law to scupper the biggest democratic exercise in British history was passed in this way. Corbyn, Sturgeon and co. had a majority that forced the government to ask for another delay and accept any conditions Brussels demanded. Such is their loyalty to the EU they were happy to make Britain a laughing stock.
So, it’s clear that many of these powerful insiders who promised to respect the referendum will do absolutely anything to keep their grip on power and money. They will do anything to stop YOU, normal voters, from taking back control OF THEM.
How far will they go?
If Boris doesn’t get a majority, then Corbyn will take control of No. 10 on Friday 13th in alliance with Sturgeon plus the Liberal Democrats. And if this Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance takes control, their official policy is to give millions of EU citizens the vote in the second referendum. They don’t plan to lose again and they’ve literally written into their manifesto that they will cheat the second referendum — apart from giving millions of foreign citizens the vote, they will rig the question so the ‘choice’ is effectively ‘Remain or Remain’. They will cheat the rules, they will do anything, supported by the likes of Goldman Sachs writing the cheques like they did in 2016, to ensure Remain win.
As you know, Vote Leave said that the rights of EU citizens living here should be respected — and the previous government made a big mistake by doing the opposite of what Vote Leave said should happen on this — but giving millions of foreign citizens a vote on membership of the EU is a bad joke.
If MPs get away with cheating the biggest democratic vote in our history, why should they ever respect democratic votes? It’s already hard enough to make them stick to promises without letting them get away with this.
I know why many are tempted to vote for Corbyn. Under Cameron and May, there were some big decisions about priorities that were wrong. Most importantly, from summer 2016 Hammond repeatedly blocked cash for the NHS and other services. In 2016 people voted for change — the Conservative Party didn’t hear that properly before the referendum and they didn’t hear it properly after the referendum.
But Boris did hear the demand for change and he will deliver it.
Those of us from the Vote Leave team would never have gone to No. 10 to help if Boris hadn’t told us that he is determined to change the Conservative Party — change its priorities and change its focus so it really serves the whole country. Most of us were not ‘party people’. For us, parties are a means to an end — a means to improve lives.
If we win a majority, we will do all we can to improve this country — especially for those who don’t have lots of money, who are surrounded by bad choices of school, who can’t afford a private doctor if their family is sick. Westminster has let the whole country down for many years. As Vote Leave said during the referendum — it’s time for change.
If we get a working majority, the Conservative Party will be very different. Grieve and similar characters will be gone. We will have seats in the Midlands and North that have been neglected by all parties. The party and the government will have to change radically.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The Vote Leave team explored thousands of scientific papers during the referendum to figure out the most effective tactics and the best use of money.
All the science boils down to a simple answer: the most useful thing most people can do is make the time to speak to friends and family and explain why you will vote for Boris and why you think any other move means a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance controlling Downing Street which would be a disaster. Face-to-face is more effective than other communication, direct messages (text, Facebook) are more effective than emails — the more personal, the better (the less spam on the channel, the more powerful it is).
For most persuadable voters, the strongest argument will be something like this:
You’ve seen the shambles MPs have made of everything since the referendum, how it has distracted everybody from other important issues and how it has made Britain a laughing stock. If Boris gets a Conservative majority he’ll get his deal through by 31 January. All that babble in Parliament with the MPs spinning their wheels will largely vanish from the news.
If Corbyn and Sturgeon walk into Downing Street on Friday 13th, Corbyn will spend half of next year negotiating some new deal he can’t explain then the second half of the year will be a cheated referendum in which millions of foreign citizens will be allowed to vote. It’s guaranteed chaos. Then he’ll waste 2021 on another Scottish referendum. Politics will never be off the TV. The shambles of the past three years will go on. Meanwhile he and Sturgeon will be banging up your taxes and the NHS will have his four-day week plus unlimited immigration from the whole world, not just Europe.
Boris can make decisions. He’s hiring thousands more police and nurses. With him the country can move on. He’ll invest in the NHS, he’ll invest in science and he’ll really shake up Westminster. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, and I respect those who voted Remain, the politicians promised ‘one vote and we’ll respect it’. Respecting democracy is even more important than Leave or Remain. A cheated second referendum will be a disaster.
For many, it’s also worth pointing this out on immigration:
Before the 23 June 2016, many such as the Economist and FT predicted a Leave win would boost extremists and make immigration the central issue in politics. Vote Leave said the opposite would happen: that once people know there’ll be democratic control, it will quickly fade as an issue and attitudes towards immigrants will improve. Vote Leave was right, the FT was wrong – as all academic research shows. If you want immigration to fade from politics, then democratic control is the answer. If you go with Corbyn and free movement for the whole world, then immigration will be all over the news and extremism will grow. A system like Australia’s will be fairer, good for the economy and take the heat out of the issue.
And for those of you who read this blog and are most concerned about climate change and AI, a new high-risk high-payoff research agency, modelled on ARPA and funded by an unprecedented DOUBLING of the basic science budget, is in the Conservative manifesto!
What about the Brexit Party?
Some of you might be thinking — should I vote for the Brexit Party (BP) in my seat or help them in another seat?
Why? The odds are OVERWHELMINGLY likely that a vote for the BP is effectively a vote for Corbyn-Sturgeon.
Why? We need to win seats in the Midlands and North from Labour. Many of these seats voted Leave but have Labour MPs. The BP often scores around 10 per cent in some of these seats while the Conservatives and Labour are neck-and-neck. If Leave supporters vote for the BP, then many of these seats will go to Corbyn, maybe by just a few hundred votes. There are practically no seats where the Brexit Party has a realistic chance of winning — at most I think there are one or two, certainly less than five.
I’ve looked VERY carefully at the numbers. The claim that ‘a seat is Labour and leave so a Brexit Party candidate doing well will help the Conservative Party win the seat’ does not fit with the facts and the numbers.
Imagine how cross you will be if you vote BP then see the results and realise that the BP has simply split the Leave vote and you’ve helped put a pro-EU Corbyn supporter in Parliament.
You will see many polls in the coming days. Some will say Boris will win. Trust me, as someone who has worked on lots of campaigns, things are MUCH tighter than they seem and there is a very real possibility of a hung parliament.
Without a majority, the nightmare continues. ALL other MPs will gang together to stop Brexit and give EU citizens the vote. It’s that simple.
So — please get out your address book and phone and make a plan to talk to family and friends between now and 12 December. If you want to volunteer to do more — for example to drive old people to the polling station — click here.
And if we win, and we get Brexit done by 31 January, then you’re invited to the Vote Leave party in No10!
And, of course, THE NHS WILL GET MORE THAN £350 MILLION PER WEEK EXTRA IF WE WIN, JUST AS WE PROMISED — imagine how cross Tony Blair will be when this happens…
Ps. If you’re interested in ideas about how the new government could really change our economy for the better, making it more productive and fairer, you’ll find this paper interesting. It has many ideas about long-term productivity, science, technology, how to help regions outside the south-east and so on, by a professor of physics in Sheffield.
PPS. The foundation problem with the EU was best summarised by the brilliant physicist David Deutsch, the man who extended Alan Turing’s 1936 paper on computation into the realm of quantum mechanics. Deutsch said:
“‘The EU is incompatible with Britain’s more advanced political culture. I’m voting Leave… [E]rror correction is the basic issue, and I can’t foresee the EU improving much in this respect… [P]reserving the institutions of error correction is more important than any policy… Whether errors can be corrected without violence is not a “concern” but a condition for successfully addressing concerns.’