Photography and words by Carenza Bramwell
The deadline for Brexit may have passed, but that doesn’t mean it will magically disappear from the media. No, sadly Brexit will still remain a hot topic. Even within UWE, Brexit is unavoidable.
After arriving just over half-an-hour late to an event held in the Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC), Richard Tice MEP, Chairman of the Brexit Party, and founder of Leave means Leave was welcomed to some applause.
While waiting for Mr Tice to arrive, event organisers hoped that the audience would be content to watch BBC Parliament Live. The arrival time for Mr Tice shifted several times, leaving some audience members somewhat irritated.
“Looks like Brexit’s not the only thing delayed today” said one audience member, to little reaction.
Security was tighter than at last year’s Jacob Rees-Mogg event, which ended in a fracas, with Tice calling Rees-Mogg a “good friend of mine“.
Mr Tice started by explaining his background in business and his eventual shift into politics. “I’ve always been very Eurosceptic” was something he iterated over and over, making sure that no one in that room was in doubt of his position on Brexit. Despite formerly belonging to the Conservative Party, Mr Tice claimed that “we have a lot to thank Gordon Brown for” with regards to keeping the UK out of the Euro.
“It all comes down to sovereignty” said Mr Tice, when explaining why Brexit will eventually happen. Appearing to forget all about equality during his talk, he then went on to say that we are a “very proud nation” and to top that, claimed that we were the “mother of all democracies”. Despite being a father to three, Mr Tice didn’t seem to know how to talk to a room filled with young people, and repeatedly came across condescending. When explaining how we “lend that sovereignty to parliament” through elections, Mr Tice said “that’s our sovereignty folks”.
It wasn’t long before the old Brexiteer mantra popped up, with the “to take back control of our laws, our money, our boarders from Brussels”. Almost three and a quarter years later, we are still unclear whether we are taking them back or leaving them as they are, due to the fact that “we were lied to”. With regards to our “sovereignty”, Mr Tice repeated that “the only way we can gain it (sovereignty) back us to leave the EU”. As a life long sceptic, it seems that at least Mr Tice is clear on how he feels about Brexit, when the rest of the country is still confused.
When it comes to holding a potential second Brexit referendum, Mr Tice is also clear on where he stands. After claiming in the “unlikely result that remain won”, Mr Tice went on to demonstrate that a second referendum achieves very little. If remain were to win, we would be at a standstill. Both sides would have a victory, so how would we determine the overall victor? As Mr Tice puts it, “is it best of three or is it best of five?”. He then went on to say “should the vote stop there?”. How would we decide the fate of our country if either result would still make people angry?
Mr Tice made it clear that the Brexit Party is very interested in working closely with the Tories. This was before it was revealed that Boris Johnson rejected their offer to work together later in the week. “We don’t like this deal that Boris has negotiated” he said rather boldly. Mr Tice also made it clear what the Brexit Party’s stance was on Brexit. “We want a clean break Brexit” was another brash statement from him, which was then followed by “we leave, we can negotiate a deal”. This is a party that is hell-bent on tearing up the fractured foundations on which this country is currently standing on. A decision like this would plunge our country into disarray.
“Leave does mean leave” said Mr Tice. But over three years later, does that still mean the same thing as it did in 2016? With a general election on the horizon and the future of this country uncertain, whatever the outcome of Brexit, it needs to be solved and soon. Many important issues other than Brexit need to be talked about and the longer it takes us to leave, the more money we spend on it. Brexit has become a mini financial error. “We are quite prepared to walk away” was one of the final claims from Mr Tice. Despite the fact that the talk started later than expected, at the end of it all, I was thankful that I was able to walk away myself.