It has been reported that Olly Robbins, Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator, was loudly telling a Brussels bar the government’s alleged Brexit strategy. According to Angus Walker of ITV, Mr. Robbins said two significant things: 1. that the Prime Minister would force MPs to choose between her deal and a delay to Brexit and 2. that the Irish backstop is a “bridge” to a UK-EU customs arrangement rather than an insurance policy for the Irish border. You can read Mr. Walker’s full report here.
Mr. Robbins’s claims, whether true or not, confirm Brexiteers deepest suspicions about Robbins’, and by extension May’s, Brexit policy. It was Mr. Robbins who negotiated the withdrawal agreement while sidelining Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab. The agreement is unquestionably bad for the UK – hence why it was defeated by 230 votes in the House of Commons. The fact that Mr. Robbins, an unelected bureaucrat, is boasting about deceiving (Irish backstop) and bending MPs to his will (the Withdrawal Agreement) is disgraceful and improper for a civil servant.
Mr. Robbins’ behaviour is no surprise. At Oxford he was secretary of a pro-EU club and he wrote a paper praising the Soviet Union. The man is a fundamentalist true believer in rule by technocracy. Unfortunately however, in later life he rose to become permanent private secretary in Theresa May’s Home Office. He is so trusted by Theresa May that her previous closest advisors and gate keepers, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, would allow Mr. Robbins to be alone with Mrs. May. It is Mrs. May’s weakness of trusting a close circle of advisers, specifically Olly Robbins, that led to her deal being a submission to the EU and voted down by the largest margin a government has ever been defeated.
Luckily, there are signs that Mr. Robbins’ pro-EU influence is beginning to wane. The Prime Minister rejected Olly Robbins’ advice when she had the government back the Brady amendment – an amendment that was passed by the Commons. On Monday, the Huffington Post, in a lengthy and groundbreaking story, reported that the Mrs. May is now considering leaving on WTO terms as the best Brexit option should she fail to extract concessions from the EU. There are also signs that people in power are finally beginning to see the benefits of Brexit – for example today even the prophet of doom himself, Mark Carney, admitted the advantages Brexit can have for free trade.
In the waning years of Tsarist Russia, the Tsar and his wife fell under the spell of a charismatic monk named Rasputin. Rasputin was not a member of the government, but his influence became so strong that when the Tsar went to the front during World War I, it is arguable that Rasputin was in fact in charge of Russia. The corrupt Rasputin isolated the Romanov family from the Russian people, and arguably made them unaware of the people’s conditions and wants. Rasputin’s terrible reputation helped discredit the tsarist government, and thus helped precipitate the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty, which happened a few weeks after he was assassinated. Theresa May must get rid of Olly Robbins, her Rasputin, and deliver a true Brexit. If not, the fate of the Romanovs could become the fate of the Conservative Party – and like the Romanovs the Tories could be replaced by a far more sinister red menace.