The Knowledge

K J Garnett

It is a well known fact that to qualify as a Black London cab driver a cabbie must first pass “The Knowledge”. What a shame then that our very own Prime Minister, her Brexit team and Her Majesty’s Official Opposition (Jeremy Corbyn) are not required to pass an equally rigorous and challenging EU “Knowledge” test before breezily announcing that the UK will be leaving the European Union. It is staggering to think that whilst a Black Cab driver in London is required to undergo a highly challenging, four year test before they are let loose on the streets of London, nothing vaguely approaching an EU Knowledge test is required before our ignorant politicians and their political advisers are let loose in Westminster and given a free hand to negotiate away the country’s silver and gold with much bravado but little substance.

We all have every confidence when jumping into the back of a black London cab that the driver will bring us to our destination – because we all know that they know how to navigate their way around the labyrinth of motorways, roads, lanes, by-lanes, dead-ends and alley’s of our great metropolitan capital. Their fabled “knowledge” described as one of the toughest test in the world (and their well known refusal to rely on GPS) means that the London cabbie has a global reputation for reliability and excellence. As paying passengers we do not want them to tell us in great detail the exact route they’ll be taking so that we can get from, say, Kings Cross to Bromley. We trust them to know the route. Can we, as voters, say with the same confidence that either May or Corbyn know the way to exit the EU given their lack of knowledge about EU affairs?

Both are in a very powerful and responsible position to determine which direction this country is taking for the foreseeable future but they do not have a clue about how to get us there because they are utterly ignorant of how the EU works. Strong and stable leadership (May’s slogan) is useless if you don’t have the foggiest where you are heading. Being principled is neither here nor there – if the driver (Corbyn) doesn’t have the vaguest idea about where he is driving us. When someone is in the driver’s seat the most important criterion, surely, has got to be their knowledge of the route and both May’s and Corbyn’s performance thus far indicates they do not.  It is not too much of an exaggeration to suggest that both May and Corbyn are driving our country, cluelessly but cheerfully, round and round in Brexit circles whilst needlessly clocking up a huge tax payers bill that we, our children and grand-children are going to have to pay for generations to come.

Theresa May went to Oxford. So too : David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Heaven knows what it is they spent their time learning but anything vaguely approaching modern European history, World War II, the origins of tyranny and why the EU was developed to prevent a repeat are obviously not one of them. If they did, they would understand that their current “Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it,” position lacks all internal logic.

As for Jeremy Corbyn he didn’t even go to University for the far more mundane reason that he failed his A-Level with two E’s. In a Goveian age of anti-expert sentiment where failure is deemed a success some may consider Corbyn’s lack of higher education a virtue – but you shouldn’t. Not if you value your savings, your pension and your monthly income. This level of ignorance is not only worrying it is highly dangerous.

As for me – do I have “the EU knowledge?” Well I got a degree from Essex University in Government followed by a Masters from the College of Europe fully funded by British tax payer’s money and later a bachelor’s degree in English law. I have spent the best part of my working life in Brussels which has given me an extensive birds-eye knowledge of how the EU works, what it’s objectives are, it’s ambitions and it’s intentions. Having worked for years on regulatory issues I have a labyrinthine view of how the EU functions at a micro level – the small alley-ways and lanes that the EU uses to get smoothly to its destination. More importantly I know where the dead-ends lie and let me tell you in all confidence as someone who understands the EU Brexit is a complete dead-end. I know my way around the EU network and as a person who has “the EU knowledge” I can say with complete confidence that neither May nor Corbyn are in any position to deliver a successful Brexit. Full EU membership is the best deal on the table – and it is a bloody good deal for the United Kingdom. Far, far better than anything even the most ablest of negotiators (and neither May nor Corbyn are able negotiators) will be in any position to achieve.

In 2014 euperspectives wrote a piece “Ignorance is Strength”, in which it was argued that the Conservative Party has developed a deliberate strategy to keep the British population as ignorant about the EU as possible in order to strengthen their anti-EU position. A strategy which is abetted by a media happy to spread misinformation and fake news about the EU to an unwitting public. What euperspectives could never have imagined in 2014, nor foreseen with any clarity, was how utterly ignorant, misinformed and misguided the very team running our country is about the European Union. No one can blame the British voter for failing to grasp how the EU works in practice. Those who voted to do so did so in good faith and on the assurances of some very convincing Vote Leave rogues.  The British voter is not unlike the passenger who jumps in the back of the black cab and relies on the cabbie’s knowledge to lead us to our desired destination. They do not need to be told before departure every twist and turn their route will take – but what they can and do expect is that the driver (in this case the government, it’s political advisers, the Whitehall machine and Her Majesties Opposition) do. Well, I’m sorry to tell you this – they do not. They haven’t got a clue. All assurances they give are just quackery.

Returning to our black cab analogy, the British voter was promised first by Vote Leave and later Theresa May/Corbyn that they would be dropped off in Bromley – but since then our political drivers have headed north towards Notting Hill, Highgate and Islington before doing a U-turn, heading south of the river towards Peckham, Bermondsey and Deptford, then ambling west towards Richmond before deciding that heading east towards Canary Wharf and further on to Stratford is a more direct route. Realising their mistake they have opted to head south, after all, but only via the Dartford tunnel. Having missed Bromley all together they are now speeding us, the passengers, towards Dover and the white cliffs.

Not only have they clocked up a huge, unnecessary bill for driving us all round and round in circles we are now just 1 km for the cliff’s edge. At this stage the cost of the whole unnecessary journey is, quite frankly, the least of our worries. The cab is bumping over grassy fields with sheep grazing peaceful in the distance. There are some of us on the back seat screaming – STOP! STOP! HALT! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP! DO A U-TRUN – HEAD BACK TO SAFE GROUND! But we are being strapped to the back seat, stifled by a right-wing suicidal media determined to make us all believe the car has wings and will fly us gloriously to Brussels and back as if we lived in some Chitty-chitty-bang-bang fairy-tale written by Ian Fleming.

Call me a buttercup. Call me a snowflake. Call me a remoaner – but you can not and will not convince me that this fair-tale ending is going to end well. It is not. The EU is going to ignore the “bloody, difficult woman” and her “red. blue and white” Brexit. The EU is united they will not give the UK a better deal than full membership. All they can see are clueless politicians whom Merkel wisely and correctly only this week described as living under an “illusion”.

Ladies and gentlemen it is no exaggeration to say that we are close to the cliff’s edge. We can still turn around and head back to where we started from – but not if you vote for either a Labour or a Conservative candidate on 8 June 2017. The only way to stop this infantile insanity is to vote for the Liberal Democrats who so far have been the only party to prove that when it comes to understanding the EU they have their head firmly screwed on. They have the knowledge to drive us safely away from the edge and to make sure that we as a nation can prosper once more so that we can afford to pay for our public health services. A vote for May or for Corbyn is a vote for car-crash politics.

Gove told you not to trust the experts – but consider this. Patients suffering from diabetes, (of which Theresa May is one) wisely listen to the experts on how and when they must take their insulin injections. Failure to listen to expert advice will prove fatal. Drivers who ignore the advice of a car mechanic to get new breaking pads are putting not only their lives but the lives of others at risk. Captains of huge tankers ploughing the Bay of Biscay who ignore the advice of weather experts could end up grounded at best sunk without trace at worst.

No one is listening to the advice of EU experts over Brexit. You should. Our advice to you the British voter is this – do not rely on either May or Corbyn to drive you safely towards a happy future outside of the EU. It is not going to happen as surely as a diabetic patient is not going to stay alive if they do not listen to the experts, as surely as the brakes will fail if the driver does not listen to the expert advice of the car mechanic and as surely as a tanker carrying oil can go aground or sink if they do not listen to the advice of weather experts. The best deal for the British public was and is full EU membership. Jump in Corbyn and May’s cab if you want – but you have been warned. It is going to be not only an expensive journey but a potentially fatal one as well.




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