Belfast Telegraph

Nelson McCausland: Why arrogance of metropolitan elite like Baron Adonis makes me glad I voted to leave the EU

Labour peer is typical of Remoaners who want to re-run poll because they didn't like the result. By Nelson McCausland

Baron Adonis of Camden Town was in Northern Ireland recently for a few days to talk about Brexit. Andrew Adonis is usually one of the shadowy figures at Westminster, where he sits in the House of Lords, and I suspect that, prior to his visit, very few Ulster folk knew anything about him.

However, he got his headline with a tweet accusing the DUP of "wanting" a "hard border" with the Republic and saying: "After 3 days I now understand DUP mindset".

You might imagine, therefore, that, during his visit, he had been engaged in extensive discussions with the DUP. But if so, you would be wrong.

In fact, he said during a radio interview that he would be meeting other political parties, but would not be meeting the DUP. He had met some of them at Westminster and already knew their thinking.

South Belfast DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly answered him and referred to his "narrow political agenda", because for some time, Andrew Adonis has pursued a "narrow political agenda" of subverting the result of a democratic referendum.

He is an arch-europhile, he was preparing for a speech in the House of Lords on Monday and the visit was, for him, just a prelude to that speech.

A profile piece in the Guardian in 2005 described him as "a mini-Mandelson, a Blair hatchet man" and he is certainly a protege of Tony Blair.

He served for five years in a Labour government, but has never stood for election to the House of Commons and has never been elected as a Labour representative to any political office.

After deserting the Liberal Democrats in the 1990s, he joined the Labour Party and, in 1997, Tony Blair invited him to join the Number 10 Policy Unit.

His big step up came in 2005, when Blair appointed him to the House of Lords as Baron Adonis of Camden Town and made him Minister of State for Education.

He spent five years in government under Blair and Gordon Brown, a situation that ended when Labour lost the 2010 General Election.

Adonis resigned the Labour whip in the Lords in October 2015, when David Cameron appointed him chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, but he resigned from that post in December 2017.

In a vitriolic resignation letter, he said: "The European Union Withdrawal Bill is the worst legislation of my lifetime. I feel duty-bound to oppose it relentlessly from the Labour benches."

Ignoring the result of a democratic referendum, he went on to propose "a form of associate membership" of the EU and said: "Brexit is a populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump."

That reference reminded me of Hillary Clinton's description of many American voters as "a basket of deplorables", because I think that is how many Euro-fanatics view those who voted Leave.

There is an arrogance among the metropolitan liberal elite, some of whom were suggesting that it was only the old and the uneducated who wanted to leave the EU and it was time to overturn the decision.

Lord Adonis is among those who want another referendum, because they didn't like the result of the first one, and he is also an enthusiastic tweeter. Indeed, he seems nowadays to devote most of his Twitter activity to reversing the referendum.

On Monday morning, as an appetiser to his speech in the Lords, he even tweeted a mock-up of a Brexit ration book, suggesting that we are about to face food rationing as a result of Brexit. Is there to be no end to the scaremongering?

Andrew Adonis warns of a "no deal" situation, but if there is no deal then he and his ilk will have to carry much of the responsibility, because their activities have undermined Britain's negotiating position.

They have encouraged the EU to hope that the referendum will be overturned and, thereby, they have encouraged EU intransigence.

At the same time, their arrogant elitism makes me ever more certain that when I and 17.4 million other people voted to leave the EU, we made the right decision.

Belfast Telegraph

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