Many, myself and Frank Field included, have said that Paul Nuttall could be a game changer for UKIP. The new leader has certainly wasted no time in getting stuck in, appointing Gerald Batten as UKIP’s Brexit spokesman. And between Nuttall and Batten, a policy of genius has already emerged. It’s so perfect, I want to give you Batten’s take on it unabridged before we go any further:
“If (May) were genuine about delivering Brexit she would have triggered article 50 the moment she became prime minister. Instead nothing has been done in the last five months, and there are no plans for the next four. Then we will face at least another two years of protracted negotiations. Under article 50 they could be extended for years to come. UKIP’s policy will be to reject article 50. Rather, we will call for parliament to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 immediately as the first step in the process: this will restore lawmaking supremacy to the UK parliament and put the British government in the driving seat of negotiations, not the EU.”
I will now explain why this is so brilliant. UKIP have no presence in the House of Commons, having but one MP. So in the current battle regarding whether or not parliament should have more of a say on the triggering of Article 50, UKIP have no real cards to play. Batten’s policy circumvents that whole problem by pushing Article 50 to one side. Much better than that, the policy demonstrates UKIP have figured out they are playing the long game in regards to Brexit. Everyone who understands the process has realised that the likelihood of Theresa May’s government screwing up Brexit in some measurable way is growing by the day. Plus, even if she and her government do everything right, the chances of the whole thing being wrapped up inside of two years is pretty slim. Therefore, UKIP are establishing the narrative starting now that had Article 50 been bypassed and the 1972 Act just been revoked instead, all the hassle the country is about to be caused could have been avoided. They were right all along, you see? Wouldn’t it have been better if UKIP had been handling the whole thing?
You Remainers out there might scoff at all this. Some of you will say, “But simply revoking the ’72 Act still leaves you with no post-Brexit settlement with the EU whatsoever!” Yeah, yeah, you and your “facts” can run along now, because this is almost guaranteed to work for UKIP in the fullness of time. The only risk the strategy carries is if Theresa May triggers Article 50 and then manages to get a brilliant deal with the EU in which single market access is given without any concessions on controlling the border or paying a cent into the EU budget before the two year deadline closes. And one, the odds of me living on the surface of Pluto at some point in my life are shorter and two, if that somehow happens, UKIP are knackered anyhow.
Nice first move by Nuttall and co. I have a feeling there is more of this to come. As much as I disagree with UKIP on pretty much everything, I have to hand it to them on this one. Liberals, you have been warned.