Interview: Britain to be better off after Brexit: House of Cards author

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-26 20:40:27|Editor: xuxin
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by Gui Tao, Peter Barker, Jiao Zhe

LONDON, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Brexit is fundamentally a political issue before it is an economic one, a senior Conservative Party figure has said, insisting Britain would be better off once Brexit had taken place.

The writer of the TV series House of Cards and former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Michael Dobbs told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview: "I have absolutely no doubt that once Britain is through on the other side and is outside of the European Union (EU) -- as long as that happens -- that it will be in a better place, a more flexible place."

"Britain will be stronger economically, it will be stronger socially," said Dobbs, who served in the early 1980s as a close adviser to Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Dobbs has been at the heart of the Conservative Party for nearly four decades, working closely with Thatcher and John Major, who served as prime minister and leader of the Conservative from 1990 to 1997.

The current Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May is negotiating a Brexit with the EU, following the June 2016 referendum result.

Her Conservative Party has for decades been troubled over the relationship between Britain and the EU, with some Members of Parliament (MPs) fervently supporting leaving the EU, while others supporting remaining inside.


According to Dobbs, Brexit is fundamentally a political issue before it's an economic one.

"The economic (aspect) is important, but the EU is a political structure -- it's a political experiment; it wants to create the United States of Europe," said Dobbs.

He believed that voters were frustrated because they did not have a say in electing senior EU officials, and that was a driving force behind Brexit sentiment.

"The fact is that we have a government in Brussels which we can't elect, which we don't elect, and we can't change it," he said.

"Nobody's ever voted for President Juncker or the European Commission -- the Commission doesn't appear to want to change itself. So, that is what has motivated (my own view)," he added.

Dobbs stressed that it wasn't "wrong" but it wasn't what "electorates in Europe seem to want". And so, everything is driven towards that end political union.


Dobbs told Xinhua that as a close adviser to Thatcher during her time as prime minister, he felt she would now be a Brexiter.

"I don't think Margaret Thatcher would have, for a moment, felt comfortable with that (political union) or accepted it," Dobbs said.

His comments run counter to those of the foreign affairs adviser and private secretary to two former British prime ministers Charles Powell.

Thatcher would have fought to improve Britain's terms of membership of the 28-nation bloc, and would have regarded Brexit "as quitting," Powell told Xinhua last year.

Powell worked for Margaret Thatcher and then John Major as their private secretary from 1983 to 1991, and saw at first hand how foreign relations were created and handled by Britain.

"I think Charles is 100 percent wrong on that," said Dobbs. "Couldn't be more wrong."

Dobbs said he believes that Thatcher would have found the way that the EU operates "intolerable."


Dobbs is certain Brexit will deliver a better future for Britain outside the EU than it would have within the bloc.

"I'm not a fan of the way that the EU has been organized and moves for," he said. "There's nothing wrong with the principle of it ... it's the practice of it that I think has held it back economically, socially and is now cause of all sorts of problems throughout Europe."

The senior Conservative said that Europe politically is unstable.

"It's filled with uncertainty and part over that is down to the way that the EU has operated and continues to operate," he said.

Britain's decision to leave in 2016 is non-negotiable, Dobbs said. And a reversal of the decision is intolerable in the view of Dobbs.

"I could not believe what Britain be like if it changed its mind and went back to the EU and said 'sorry we made this huge mistake, we really want to be in'," said Dobbs.

But he stressed that it's not about being anti-anything, but about a positive future. "It's simply about the positive future that I believe that Britain would make for herself."

For Dobbs, there is no going back on the referendum path.

A demonstration in London last weekend campaigning for a second referendum on Brexit attracted 700,000 people, according to the demonstration organizers.

This is the largest demonstration in London since an anti-Iraq War rally in 2003, and was larger than the anti-Trump demonstration this summer when the U.S. president paid a flying visit to London.

Despite this unease at Brexit, Dobbs backs certainty as a path forward rather than a fork in the road, which a second referendum would represent.

"A second referendum would be hugely unhelpful, because it would simply prolong the uncertainty," said Dobbs, adding "I would still expect a Brexit win in the second referendum and if it didn't, it would only lead to demands for a third referendum; the uncertainty would continue forever, and it is uncertainty in politics that can often do the most damage."

"How can people get on with their lives? How can businesses get on with their business? When the constants are uncertainty, what people want is stability and certainty," he said.