Grant Shapps – View on Brexit – Very Honest – Great Insight

Dear All

Please see below Grant’s interesting take on Brexit and my response, followed by two more recent articles on the subject.

Grant describes in detail and with some passion what goes on at Number 10 and the frustrations of dealing with Europe as a Government Minister. You might be a bit shocked.

From: Grant Shapps MP
Sent: 27 June 2016 21:21
To: Nick Brown <>
Subject: EU Referendum: What now?


Dear Nick,
Last Thursday the country voted to leave the European Union. Like many, I found this a difficult decision. In the end I (narrowly) voted Remain opting for the status quo in order to prevent a shock to our economy.

Interestingly, Welwyn Hatfield was actually a bellwether for England, with 47% for Remain and 53% for Leave. The country has spoken and now I believe that decision must be respected and enacted.

The question is of course what should happen next? What kind of Britain should we become outside of the EU?

I’ve outlined my thoughts in an article for the Huffington Post and I’ve pasted the full text below.
As ever, I’m always keen to hear your thoughts.


Article follows…

“If we lose this referendum campaign then I’m f****d and I’ll resign”.

As Conservative Party Chairman I was one of a small number who attended twice daily meetings in the Prime Minister’s No10 study for two and half years up until the last election. As a result, I became familiar with David Cameron’s direct, often candid approach. Nonetheless, I was still taken aback by his rather brutal assessment, made at the midpoint of the referendum campaign.

This was the first time I’d been back in the PM’s study since last year’s General Election. Cameron was eager to gather Remain support from the handful of Tory MPs who had yet to declare, of which I was one. Slipping back into my old Party spokesman role, I was momentarily tempted to make light of his blunt, blue and unpublishable expletive by joking about whether this was his new ‘Line To Take’. But before I had the chance, he continued, “The reality of this referendum is that if the outcome is leave, then I’ll have no choice but to resign.”

So when David Cameron emerged from the front door of No10 Friday morning, I was already clear that he was about to announce his resignation. As he put it, “I do not think I can be the captain to take the country to its next destination.”

As it happens, the day before, I had voted Remain. Not through any love of the EU. In fact, their endless meddling – often in quite minor domestic policy – used to drive me crazy as a Minister. I can recall numerous occasions where officials would present me with a decision, only to add a footnote instructing me that “Your answer must be yes Minister, otherwise the EU may commence Infraction Proceedings”. I would occasionally scribble back, “Please tell me, what is the point in having Ministers of the Crown if the decisions have already been taken elsewhere?” Naturally these frustrated box note comments always went unanswered.

And so it was through somewhat gritted teeth that I voted Remain last Thursday, largely because I reckoned that the process of EU divorce, the potential lack of European market access and the general upheaval to the British economy, probably added up to more than the sum of my frustration about overbearing petty EU laws.

However, on balance, the British people are sufficiently fed up with EU meddling that last Thursday they did order a new destination for HMS Britain. And whilst that decision means that we will lose the natural advantage of automatic market access to Europe, on the plus side, in the future we will no longer need to worry about those ‘infraction proceedings’, because our law will once again reign supreme.

And whilst I may not have voted to Leave, I believe that our task as elected representatives on the governing side, is not only to make the best of the hand we now have to play, but to turn this newfound freedom to our positive advantage.

I think there are three things that need to happen next.

First, we need to become the world’s greatest trading nation in order to provide our citizens or perhaps that should be Her Majesty’s Subjects once again, with the kind of public services they deserve. To get there we need to top the chart as the best place in the world to do business and rediscover the spirit of export once again.

During the coalition government the Prime Minister used to chair meetings in the Cabinet Room where we would sit around discussing ideas that might free up British business in order to allow expansion and new jobs. This process took each sector in turn and looked for red-tape to tear up. Needless to say, sometimes that enterprise blocking bureaucracy didn’t come from Whitehall, it emanated from Brussels. Yet we were of course completely powerless to remove it. So I suggest that a new administration begins by restarting that Red Tape Challenge process and this time we identify all the pettifogging EU rules which we can soon jettison in order to help make Britain the world’s best place to do business.

Second, a lot was made of immigration during the Referendum campaign. I found this debate neither honest nor enlightening. It was one of the reasons why I didn’t back the Leave campaign. Promises to get immigration down to the tens-of-thousands has, in my view, never been remotely realistic. It was never likely when David Cameron said it. It’s no more believable when it comes from the Leave camp and, as I’ll describe, it may not even be desirable. Either way it is probably less likely today than it has ever been in the past, despite Thursday’s momentous vote.

Whatever your views on immigration, we actually require some of it to achieve our national goals. Brits actually need the world’s best surgeons, doctors, scientists and businesspeople, not just those who happen to have been born here. We’ve have always had ‘control’ of immigration from outside of Europe, yet even here we have been unable to get the numbers down to the illusive tens-of-thousands. That is because zero immigration would be incompatible with our national prosperity objective. I know that this is an uncomfortable truth and yes it does put strain on services like schools, hospitals and housing. Whilst I welcome the idea that we will soon be able to set our own Aussie style points system, we must also be completely straight with the public. Not only will very low levels of immigration prove virtually impossible in today’s interconnected world, but it would also prevent us from succeeding globally, particularly now we need to expand our horizons well beyond Europe. So let’s have a sensible points based immigration system, but let’s not pretend it will reduce immigration to the arbitrary tens-of-thousands. It won’t, not without damaging our economic prospects.

Third, we will require a real sense of renewed vision and leadership for this country. David Cameron and the rest of us would talk about a long-term economic plan, but you would never call it an overarching vision for Britain’s future. Now that we have voted to break the post-war European consensus and leave the EU, we really do need to urgently develop a full blown British vision for our place in the world in five, ten or fifty years’ time.

I’ve already suggested we should aim to become the world’s best trading nation, the Singapore or Hong Kong of Europe perhaps, or maybe a European version of Israel when it comes to exploiting and exporting technology. In my opinion we should urgently slash Corporation Tax further, as a clear signal that we are open for business and I’ve already talked about how we can now go much further in cutting red-tape. We should make it our national objective to become the largest economy in Europe within, say, the next twenty years. Because it is only through growing our economy and overtaking our competition that we can fulfil the legitimate aspirations of our voters.

These are all worthy objectives that we can reach, but it is going to take real vision and leadership. And that leadership won’t be provided by a run-of-the-mill politician.

Prime Ministers who are primarily administrative in nature often flourish and are good for settled times in our history. But last Thursday’s vote means that the United Kingdom now needs the kind of inspirational leadership that very few can actually offer. As David Cameron said, a new heading requires a new captain. That new heading involves sailing through some potentially very choppy waters, so we will need a captain with real character, plenty of foresight and the vision to carry the nation forward.
Original article link:


Grant hi,

Thank you for that very honest update.

If I may I would like to give you my brief thoughts on what is going on.

It is not a coincidence that people of all political spectra across England and Wales voted for Brexit.

This meeting of minds cannot be dismissed as far right, or racist, or short sighted or any of the names used to express people concerns.

Those concerns are not states of mind to be dismissed, they are the reality of peoples’ lives. That reality has been created by the complete failure of Politicians and Bureaucrats to address a range of scenarios, immigration is just one.

If the Government is:-

1.       Unable to stop people with very different values to ours, who don’t want to join our society but want to recreate the society they have just escaped from at the expense of our own values, and the uncontrolled volume of those people is the equivalent of a city the size of Newcastle every year and ongoing for the foreseeable future, and

2.       When people eventually come to the end of their tether, rather than solving the problem you call them racists and bigots, and

3.       When you fail to train and invest in the NHS year after year, so we are short of doctors and nurses, then use that as an excuse to justify immigration, and

4.       When you continuously take money from the people who generate the wealth, the entrepreneurs and their staff, and give it to bureaucrats who only know how to build bigger bureaucracies and say NO to any good idea,

Then it is not surprising that the entrepreneurs and their staff say they have had enough.

But it is far worse than that.


This continuous growth of the public sector has caused

1.       The criminal national debt position, that is going to bite us and no doubt will be blamed on Brexit, rather than the real cause.

2.       Stagnation across Europe, and the consequential rise of the far right.

So can we please all understand that this mechanism where career politicians rather than conviction politicians take committee based decisions that are then obstructed by risk averse self serving bureaucrats is a busted flush. It not only does not work but it is dragging us and the world into the abyss.


Let me draw a parallel from across the Atlantic.

Michael Bloomberg of the Bloomberg News agency, was begged by the Republicans to stand against Donald Trump, he refused. The reason he gave was that when he was Mayor of New York, every time he tried to do something, he found initiatives blocked by highly paid individuals who were risk averse and simply said No. He went on to say that the reason why people were voting for Trump in their Thousands was because they were sick of this inability to achieve anything.

There are many parallels between this tale in the US and the growth of the extreme rights across Europe.

Michael Bloomberg went on to say, when asked what would change his mind, that replacing the risk averse people with people who knew how to take decisions because they had founded and run successful organisations, and manage those with people who had an enterprise business HR background, would be an experiment worth trying.

That way we could vote for people based upon their beliefs and have a chance to see if their ideas worked. If not you learn and build again.

In the ever faster changing world in which we live, it is vital that we are able to reinvest our profits to innovate and build new ideas and solutions.

We can then get involved with Knowledge transfer to overseas countries and build new markets for us to export to.

When the UK voted to take back control, it meant take back control from people who get paid for not achieving anything, where they are all right and we pay both for their salaries and the consequences of their inaction.


So the question becomes what can we do with this opportunity?

Well the first thing we need to do is to ring the changes on the decision makers.

We need

1.       Ideas people, to innovate

2.       Entrepreneurs, to make it happen

3.       Engineers to build the solutions

4.       And Admin people to do as they are told and be properly managed to implement the solutions

At the moment we have the Admin people busy taking all the money and using it to build ever bigger typing pools. Why? Because that is all they know how to do.

We currently have a Government full of Remain Voters, they have no ideas, they brought us to this position, if they had the ability to do better, then they would have done so already. If they had the ability they would not be running around like headless chickens, blaming anyone they can think of. It is happening on out TV screens every day. Not one is saying “What a wonderful opportunity let’s get on with it”

Get on with what is the next question. Well here are some basic thoughts that might help.

Let me start by saying that my personal pro Brexit stance is been based upon a fundamental belief in the qualities of the British people and their ability to think with originality and clarity of thought. This freedom of thought is about celebrating all the colours of the spectrum, our diversity and our self-determination. I believe that Innovation is the product of freedom of thought and speech, diversity of opinion and debate. This is also how we can best work with our European partners and those across the World to create knowledge transfer, build new markets and help to solve the immigration issues by improving the opportunities for people living in oppressed countries.
We were moving towards a centrally controlled homogenous one shade of grey existence, and that is what the English and Welsh voted against last Thursday.
This has made all our politicians and bureaucrats think twice, and the opportunity now is to export that spectrum of colour and hope across Europe and the World. What is clear is that the current batch of Politicians and Bureaucrats, don’t know how to do this, which is why they keep referring to uncertainty.
Well I think there are some guiding lights:-

Health and Wellbeing. It is well understood that people who feel in control of their destiny live longer, and have a higher quality of life. These will be the innovative thinkers because the oppressed disenfranchised and controlled people of the world are too busy surviving day to day to stand up for what they believe.

Diversity of thought. You cannot innovate without a sound understanding of the full spectrum of ideas available to you. This is about shared values and knowledge and not being afraid to be different. How will we come up with new solutions if we are all busy being the same. “Vive la difference”

Bring back Competition in Schools. It is not about winners and losers, it is about being the best you can. You don’t have to be good at everything, just try to be good at something. The broader the available spectrum the easier this becomes, this builds confidence and self-belief, which in turn drives Health and Wellbeing and Diversity

This in turn drives Innovation.

That will help us export more, create new markets, and spread hope across the world.

So Action points

  1. Don’t expect doing the same thing with the same types of people to produce different results – It won’t
  2. Seek out and find Real Innovators and Pioneers, people who have had an idea, a belief and made it happen through their own hard work from a standing start. These people know how to make the right decisions.
  3. Use this approach to demonstrate success and help Europe to follow suit. That way we can work with the People who want to say YES because they know what to do, rather than the people who say NO because they have not got a clue.
    So I hope that helps




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