Saturday 23 May 2015

If you don't like the rules of the game, change them.

The EU is going to be the big story in the first half of this parliament.
Grexit & Brexit will be on the front pages of the papers until its all resolved. One way or the other.
So we shall be thinking about that for a long while yet.

One main stumbling block for the Better Off in Campaign .. and it is a pretty large pothole on the pathway to renegotiation .. is that the In campaign are proven liars.

We will put it — the EU Constitution — to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a 'Yes' vote." — Labour Party manifesto, May 2005
"We will have a referendum on the constitution in any event — and that is a Government promise." — Tony Blair, The Sun, May 13, 2005
"Well, if it were necessary to hold a referendum, of course [we wouldn't hesitate]. I suspect that the best deal for Britain will be won, where we will get what we want, at this summit." — Gordon Brown, GMTV, June 19, 2007
"We would not agree to a deal that crossed the red lines, therefore, we did not believe a referendum would be necessary." — Later that day, Downing Street website
"The manifesto is what we put to the public. We've got to honour that manifesto." — Gordon Brown, BBC 1 Politics Show, June 24, 2007

 Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.  No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.
David Cameron September 2007 

 “What is the point in David Cameron upending one pledge on Europe , but promising he’ll offer us yet more European promises in his general election manifesto? Why will they be any more credible than the ‘cast-iron guarantee’ he has just broken?

The out campaign can make an awful lot of this issue.

They can point to the fact that even if the Prime Minister was sincere in his desire for changes to our relationship with the EU .. even if he was committed to Eu reform as his number one priority for the government..there is nothing to prevent the EU agreeing something , and then changing it back later on. 
Or changing the name and the colour of the cover of a treaty and pretending its a whole different, unrelated treaty. 
And then the UK's PM would only have to sneak through the French windows to append his signature to the toxic docs once the press have gone home. As happened before with Lisbon.

Despite all the promises of Red Lines and Cast Iron guarantees , these have been proved to be about as binding as that famous, hard fought,  European  Agreement that was agreed by another Conservative Prime Minister at Munich.

If I was leading the OUT campaigners, then this would be my 'Miliband in Sturgeon's pocket' attack line.


Electro-Kevin said...
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Anonymous said...

I think what is being suggested is that you vote to stay in, and concessions given can be taken away later on.
But if you vote out, you could always go back in, under those same conditions.

So better off out.

The other strong argument would be this is it. You've had 40 years to see if you like it. If you do, that's fine.
If you don't , then you must vote out.

Because you will never be given another opportunity. This isn't like the Scottish never ending referendum.
Its a once only box tick for all time. If you are in, you are in forever. And in for full federalisation too.

DJK said...

The ins will win. But just a small point: although a Conservative, Neville Chamberlain was prime minister in a National government.

Rather interesting how modest Dave's red line to recommend a staying-in vote is: get agreement that HMG can introduce some minor tweak to restrict benefits for foreigners

dearieme said...

It doesn't matter a button what they all say, I'm voting "out". I was wrong last time, and I'm damned if I'll be wrong twice.

Even if someone wants to be "in" he should vote"out" just to see what better terms we'd be offered to re-join.

Electro-Kevin said...
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Electro-Kevin said...

The people will vote to stay In. And the reason why ?

The "In" campaigners are allowed to scaremonger as aggressively and loudly as they like about lost jobs. They are allowed to use their killer argument as much as they like.

The "Out" campaigners have effectively been told to shut up about being swamped by mass immigration and must use quiet and moderate tone - Farage must be left out.

The millions of people who are needed to secure either vote are bored by the EU and will hear only the the extremes of each argument.

If only one side is allowed to be extreme then the other will surely lose.

Mass immigration is still virtually taboo - or at least one feels uncouth and dirty talking about it. The "Out" killer argument has been well and truly neutralised and is disallowed.

AndrewZ said...

The key message that the "Out" campaign needs to get across is that staying in the EU means being subsumed into a single European state in which all the real power will be held by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. They can win by defining the choice as "Democracy or the EU?" because most people won't vote "In" if they think that they are signing away their rights by doing so.

The "Out" campaign also needs to keep pointing out that the EU will make a big show of resisting British demands for reform before giving Cameron some minor concessions that he can portray as a great victory. This pantomime will be carefully timed to have the maximum impact on the referendum, but it won't work if people are expecting it and know that it's just a cynical trick.

Nick Drew said...

I persist in the view that in the relevant timeframe there is a good chance of stuff happening (Greece, Spain) that will frame the referendum some what differently to how we see it now

that said, from the May 2015 standpoint, as far as I can see the best (only?) model for Out is the campaign we might imagine the SNP would wage right now, if they had a re-match in a couple of months' time

you need to envisage pumping up the English in the same way they have been pumping up the Scots 2014-15 - a combination of some nasty negatives with some significant (if nebulous) positive vibes that I just don't ever hear coming from the Out camp

incidentally, a component of this must surely be: vote 'OUT' and the Scots will bugger off

that would be my SNP-based poster!

(I leave you to decide whether that counts as positive or negative)

Blue Eyes said...

So Cameron is going to be attacked for holding the referendum he promised? The Out campaign needs to move on to the actual battle. The EU is a huge political issue for a tiny number of people. It is nothing like the Scottish referendum: people aren't going to be stirred by a national fantasy of going it alone, that everything will be better if only we throw off the Euro-yoke; they are going to argue about cucumbers, the fact that a lot of the EU's relatively small budget goes missing in non-existent Italian farms, and immigration.

When it comes down to it, most voters will not be able to imagine what arrangement will replace our EU membership. Osborne's team will get some headline concessions, some protocol that will show Britain that the EU can be flexible. There will be some rule changes which take the edge off some of the shriller criticisms of the EU, such as child benefit and pension/healthcare contributions.

When it comes down to it, a lot of people will be worried by what a unilateral withdrawal could look like, and will vote to stay in.

Britain's membership will be slightly improved, and the EU can go back to being a grumbling subject in pubs.

andrew said...

I would have thought that the election we just had would have made everything clear.

Most of the concerns raised here mean little to nothing for about 80% of the population.

People dissemble and people lie. Lies told 10 years ago count for little.

People will only vote for change if they are persuaded they will be better off.

It is for the outs to explain precisely how this will happen if they vote to leave.

Ed M thought that pointing out that the other side were not nice and he would provide fairness to all would be a winner.

Look where that got him.

Moaning about things few people really care about does not win elections.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blah blah blah

You all bang on about the dry and boring intricacies of EU issues.

The only way to get the majority of British voters to vote OUT is on the issue of mass immigration.

Otherwise forget about it.

Bill Quango MP said...

I see the problem for the IN, as articulated by Clegg in the Clegg-Farage debate was that there wasn't much IN could boast about.

Clegg chose to say 3 million jobs depend on Eu- 89% of exports are too the EU and only 7% of laws come from EU.

All of which Farage demolished in about two minutes.

In are going to have to do a bit better than that.

OUT look strongest when they point to immigration numbers. 350,000 new people a year requires the building of a Cardiff sized metropolis every single year just to house everybody.
if I was OUT I'd translate that number into Hospital admissions, school places, jobs, cars on the road, parking spaces, number of GPs needed, number of teachers, number of police, number of council officers needed etc etc to give some visualisation to their issue.

I also agree with Nick. Some Euro stuff is going to come along. Putin's last adventure had a negative EU impact. he might fancy trying to destabilise the whole EU empire at a crucial point. And Greece? Well that is going to have be dealt with or can kicked at least once or twice before any referendum.

Blue Eyes said...

Fewer people are exercised by immigration than the blog/Telegraph comments sections might suggest.

It amuses me that Norway and Switzerland are often touted as possible alternative models. Norway and Switzerland are both Schengen members.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. More people are influenced by immigration stories than by EU ones.
few care what regulation is required to import a widget.

many care if they can't get a job.

Suff said...

"100 days of isolation" documentary coming to a TV near you.

Blue Eyes said...

Ok, and what proportion of the electorate is that?

Let's be generous and say that 10% if the population are grumpy that the forrinners are stealing their job, even though unemployment is much less than that.

Let's add another generous 10% who might be under the illusion that forrinners are holding back their prospects.

Add another 10% who think the EU is a conspiracy of the elite against the working man.

30% vote Out on "principle". You need to get 20%+ of the rest, whose lives are reasonably stable and prosperous, who may not understand the alternatives and who may fear for their livelihoods at least in the short term.

Add in a bit of gloss on a "renegotiated" settlement and Out are struggling.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue - You're going to need lots of votes to get us an Out result.

The In camp has a terror tactic (lost jobs)

The Out camp has no terror tactic at all if we remove uncontrolled immigration.

We've lost already.

Blue Eyes said...

Exactly my point!

(I am carefully not saying "we" or "us", though, because I am firmly Undecided).

Nick Drew said...

firmly Undecided

me too

I am just shocked at the tactical and strategic weakness of the Out camp, knowing how strategically strong the In camp is (this has only a little to do with the 'merit' of the cases)

Budgie tells me that Dr North is an embittered renegade, or somesuch ad hominem stuff (which, to be sure, is always interesting to know)

but I don't see anyone else thinking constructively and strategically (let alone realistically)

Electro-Kevin said...

Nick - The legitimate and entirely reasonable concerns about EU controlled borders have been thoroughly toxified. As a result the Out camp's main weapon has been surrendered.

They now have nothing to fight with.

Yet the entirely bogus argument of job losses is allowed with full force. I would say it's a far baseless argument than saying that the country is overcrowded and that importing limitless numbers of poor people will make most of us poorer.

Whether you or Blue (both educated and thoughtful) are undecided won't make a lot of difference.

The masses will be manipulated by the In's "Three million job losses" shocker with nothing to counter it from the Out's side. Except perhaps "We don't want to be ruled from Brussels" which just isn't going to scare people.

The vote will be In therefore.

There doesn't seem to be much point in bothering with a referendum at all now. We may as well just stay as we are.

Electro-Kevin said...
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Electro-Kevin said...

Well full integration into the EU would solve the Scotland issue.

Further to the Out's being a 'weak' argument...

The European Arrest Warrant should have been enough on its own (whereby a British citizen can be extradited and imprisoned on the whims of a Bulgarian magistrate) to have people stampeding for the exit.

The arguments for Out are actually very strong. It's the political will that isn't.

That Code Napoleon can supplant Magna Carta without murmur is testimony to the comprehensive (metricated) de-education system.

Suff said...

Regardless of the arguments, the ins have it sewn up, as the outs have no access to the media.

I know my view point is tainted as I only speak to intelligent professional people but the feedback I get...
One misconception about Europe is that the union would carry on regardless if the UK was to pull out, it wouldn't. From every nationality I have spoken to ,including the Germans, they have had enough and everybody is saying we only wanted a free trade zone. Everybody is now looking to the UK as the catalyst to bring down this corrupt regime. Everybody wants out but nobody wants to make the first move and feel the brunt of the EU kickback(typical crowd psychology).

James Higham said...

Out now. End of.

Budgie said...

ND said: "Budgie tells me that Dr North is an embittered renegade, or some such ad hominem stuff ..."

No, ND, I said no such thing.

You originally claimed Dr North is "... both scathing and (so far as I can judge) on point when it comes to the role of UKIP and the Big Ballot."

And I replied: "ND, you obviously don't know Dr North's history with UKIP. North failed to get elected high enough up the Yorkshire EU region list by UKIP members. He complained to Farage about it. Farage told him it was a democratic election, so get over it. North still hasn't got over it."

I simply provided an explanation for why North is "scathing" about UKIP (and Farage) - something you yourself had observed - and, if true, it indicates (shall we say) a degree of lack of objectivity on North's part.

Kilgore Trout said...

Immigration is not exclusively, or even mainly an EU issue. Two thirds of immigrants arrive from non-EU countries. We need to promote the good we could be doing to establish trade links and stable relationships with other countries were we not shackled to the EU corpse.

The EU is about ever closer union and the building of a single political entity. The British have no desire to be part of monetary union, let alone fiscal or political union. An amicable departure would suit both parties.

On the jobs issue, the EU is not the Single Market.

As for the stuff about North being "embittered". Haha. There is no one else in the out camp with comparable knowledge of the EU.

Budgie said...

Kilgore Trout, I did not use the term "embittered", ND did. I simply noted my opinion that Dr North is less than objective about Farage and UKIP, with a reason for this.
There are many people with a sound knowlege of the EU, not just North, good researcher though he is.