Steve Hilton was Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of strategy and prior to that worked at Conservative Central Office for many years.
He has just thrown his hat into the Brexit ring and has no doubt upset his good friend of long standing.
Hilton has not been without controversy during his years with Cameron and the Conservative Party. He helped Cameron rebrand the party to make it more green and socially progressive. He also spoke of replacing older traditional party members at the grassroots level with younger, more trendy types to broaden Conservative appeal.
If he looks as if he could work in Silicon Valley, you would be right. Hilton is co-founder and CEO of Crowdpac.com, a Silicon Valley technology start-up.
Earlier in the EU Referendum campaign, he said he would stay out of it. However, with the publication of his new book, More Human, he has openly expressed why he supports Brexit.
On May 23, he laid out his reasons why for the Daily Mail. The Mail introduces his article with background about him and his career, and says (in part):
The Remain camp has tried to characterise those who want to quit the EU as being the old-fashioned Tory Right or having Ukip tendencies. It is, however, impossible to slide Mr Hilton neatly into this box (nor, dispelling this particular myth, is it possible to view Michael Gove in this way). Indeed, in 2001 he is said to have been so disenchanted with the Tories’ drift to the Right under William Hague that he supported the Green Party.
Excerpts of Hilton’s Brexit points follow. Sub-headings and emphases are my own.
EU bureaucracy and rules
… every few days, a pile of paperwork about a foot high was circulated in Whitehall. The paperwork gave the go-ahead for Government action and was supposedly based on written approval from the relevant ministers.
But here’s the catch: ministers were given two days to respond to any proposal. If no response came, then this was taken as a ‘yes’.
There was no way any minister could possibly read all the proposals by the deadline. Furthermore, there was an unspoken rule that one department wouldn’t interfere in proposals coming from another. In fact, as I recall, there was only one minister who regularly did so (much to the consternation of the others), and that was Michael Gove …
I asked for a detailed audit.
It turned out that some 30 per cent of government action was relevant to what we were supposed to be doing. The rest — you’ve guessed it — was generated from within the civil service machine, the majority coming from the EU.
It’s become so complicated, so secretive, so impenetrable that it’s way beyond the ability of any British government to make it work to our advantage — even though I have no doubt that things have improved since the Coalition Government’s early days .
… my view, based on a pragmatic, non-ideological assessment of how the EU operates, is that as long as we are members, our country cannot be ‘run’. Membership of the EU makes Britain literally un-governable, in the sense that no administration elected by the people can govern the country.
A democracy is based on the notion that the people — or their directly-elected representatives — are able to decide issues for themselves. And yet membership of the EU brings with it constraints on everything from employment law to family policy, all determined through distant, centralised processes we hardly understand, let alone control …
As I say to my American friends who don’t really get what the EU is: ‘All you need to know is that it has three presidents, none of whom is elected.’
If Remain wins
… the EU after a British vote to stay would be a very different creature from the one we have today. It would be the EU unleashed, freed from the constraints of having to placate the pesky British with their endless complaining and threats to leave.
Once they know we will never leave, all our leverage will be gone. Look how they treated a British Prime Minister armed with the threat of Brexit. Can you imagine how they would treat a future PM without such a powerful card to play?
And remember that this is for the long term. Even if you think Cameron’s deal will protect us from the worst excesses of the EU, the fact is that he will be in office for only another four years at most.
To regain control over our country’s destiny, so that a democratically elected government in Britain is free to carry out its mandate, whether that’s Left, Right or Centre.
For me, it would mean economic and employment policy that makes Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business; family policy that makes Britain the best place in the world to bring up children; competition, planning and government reform that finally allows us to prioritise the small, the local, the ‘inefficient’, the beautiful, the human …
That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I think we should leave.
On Project Fear talking points
People ask: what about the economy, and access to Europe’s Single Market? Would we end up like Norway? Or Switzerland?
No. We’re bigger than that; better than that. Our independent relationship with the EU would be like that of our peers — the U.S. is not a member of the EU, but the last time I checked, General Motors had no problem selling cars there. Or Heinz, ketchup. Or Starbucks, coffee.
… the bottom line on the economic argument is that no one really knows. It’s clearly ridiculous to claim that it’s settled in either direction; there are risks whatever we do …
Then we’re told that the EU is vital for our security. Really? I was pretty amazed when I first heard this point being made. The idea that a British Prime Minister can’t protect Britain properly without the EU is frankly astonishing and, if true, rather alarming.
… Forgive me if I’ve missed something, but I wasn’t aware that this referendum is about leaving NATO.
And our closest security partner is the U.S. We manage to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in fighting terrorism and other threats without being locked in a supra-national institutional embrace. We co-operate as two countries. That’s what we would do if we left the EU …
Look at the Remainers
They want us to stay in the EU because their whole world depends upon it. Their lifestyle of summit meetings and first-class flights and five-star hotels; their flitting and floating from New York to Brussels to Beijing, serving the interests of the technocratic elite — the bankers, bureaucrats and accountants who run the modern world and who, regardless of which government is in power in which country, push the same old dogma of globalisation, privatisation and centralisation.
It’s a long, meaty, worthwhile essay. Please do take the time to read it in full.
Thank you, Steve Hilton, for an eloquent expression of support for Brexit.
In closing, all of this week’s EU Referendum posts can be found on my Marxism / Communism page under Brexit. I will run them again by title and link just before June 23.
End of series