There’s no date yet for an EU referendum. But the ‘yes’ campaign has started

Those who might drive the ‘no’ side are waiting until after renegotiation. They will find themselves with much ground to make up

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

Forty years ago this week, Britain voted to remain part of the European Community. That remains the only direct vote on the European question that the country has had. The promise of a say on the EU constitution was shelved when that document metamorphosed into the Lisbon Treaty, and the ‘referendum lock’ that the coalition introduced has not yet been triggered by a transfer of power to Brussels. So it’s a historic process that the government will begin on Tuesday, with the first Commons vote on its referendum bill.

Straight after the election, there was much speculation that the government would opt for an early referendum on EU membership, rather than leaving it until the 2017 deadline set in the Tory manifesto. The thinking, not entirely discouraged by Downing Street, was that David Cameron could use the momentum generated by his election victory to rapidly negotiate a deal in Europe and then put it to a vote next year, ending the uncertainty that supposedly worries multinational businesses.

That plan appears to have fallen out of favour, because rushing the renegotiation and the vote would make it harder to keep the Tory party together afterwards. Instead, there is now much Whitehall chatter about a vote in the second half of 2017 — during the British presidency of the EU, after the French presidential election, and before the German federal election. In other words, with François Hollande gone but Angela Merkel still in place.

Political romantics might have hoped that the first chance for those under 60 to vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union would have captured the nation’s imagination. For the moment there is decidedly little excitement. Perhaps this is because referendums tend to favour the status quo; the result might have been very different if this country had been asked to vote before joining the European Community.

Seasoned campaigners reckon that, as the side that seeks to change the status quo, ‘no’ would need to be to ten to 15 points ahead before the vote is called to have a good chance of winning. The latest ICM poll gives staying in an 18-point lead. Given the inaccuracy of the polls ahead of the general election, it is tempting to ignore this finding. But it tallies with assessments of the state of play on both sides of the argument.

Many leading Tories who were until recently inclined to the ‘no’ side are now backing away, for several reasons. The most high-minded one is a fear that Britain voting to leave the EU would endanger our own Union. It would give the Scottish Nationalists the excuse they crave for a second independence referendum — and in conditions that might help them win it. A more weaselly reason for backing away is that MPs are not inclined to cross Cameron now that he has the political authority of an election winner. As one of them puts it, Cameron is ‘master of all he surveys for the next few months. It’ll be a very brave person who volunteers to lead the “no” side.’

Then there is the Farage factor. The Ukip leader, to his credit, has long acknowledged that he is too polarising a figure to head a cross-party referendum campaign. But he is easily the most prominent anti-EU voice in the country. Until there’s an official campaign with a credible leader, he’s the default voice of ‘no’. And Tory MPs don’t want to associate with him too closely.

The ‘yes’ side has considerable advantages. First, it can start preparing the ground for the referendum now. Second, it is almost certain to have the weight of the government machine behind it. Since the election, ministers have taken to readily admitting that they expect the government to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote. Even those cabinet ministers who have previously suggested that they might vote to leave the EU are now said to be on board. One cabinet colleague says of Philip Hammond, ‘The Foreign Office have finally turned him. It has taken them longer than expected but he’s now Euro-Phil.’

Crucially, Cameron is also likely to win some concessions for the ‘yes’ side to flourish. Those who want to leave are apt to mock the sort of changes Cameron seeks as trivial. But I suspect an explicit exemption from ‘ever closer union’ could sway a fair few votes. Indeed, the polling suggests that if people think that Cameron has negotiated a better deal from the EU then support for staying in increases significantly.

By contrast, the putative ‘no’ campaign is having trouble getting started. Many of the potential participants, from politicians to donors, are keeping their powder dry until they see the result of the renegotiation. I understand that No. 10 has been discreetly urging Tories not to undermine the Prime Minister while he is on diplomatic manoeuvres by declaring that they want out.

Many in the ‘no’ camp hope that Boris Johnson can be persuaded to take up their cause. He has the charisma, the public presence and the facility with language to take their argument to new audiences. But many of those who know him best suspect that his heart wouldn’t be in it; that he is a more pro-EU, establishment figure than he lets on. ‘Boris is more Douglas Hurd than people realise,’ a fellow Etonian remarks.

The ‘no’ side in 2017 will have some advantages that it lacked in 1975. Then, Britain looked like the sick man of Europe and the Common Market the cure for many of the nation’s ills. Now Britain is creating more jobs overall than the rest of the EU put together. It is continental Europe that appears to be in decline and struggling to adapt to the new world order. Nor, in 1975, was deference completely dead: in an age when the public regards politicians and corporations with suspicion at best and outright hostility at worst, ‘no’ may benefit from being the anti–establishment choice.

Still, at the moment, it looks odds-on that Britain will remain in the EU. Once again, a prime minister will have called a referendum on Britain’s membership to assuage the more Eurosceptic elements in his party — only for the vote to end up settling the question in favour of staying in.

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  • Atticus

    I strongly disagree that the UK will vote to remain in the EU. Cameron will achieve very little in his negotiations, and will dress it up to be some sort of remarkable victory that the public will see through. The No campaign has several things going for it that will appeal across the political spectrum.

    TTIP, for example is a key concern for many Guardian-reading types, whilst those with an ounce of knowledge of British constitutional history can easily foresee the dissolution of the British state, the UK armed forces, English Common Law as well as that old chestnut known as democratic accountability.

    All the powers that be are lined up to keep us in a supranational organisation that has all the hallmarks of an EU empire. You, Mr Forsyth, along with the vast majority of the MSM, are amongst them, and I hope your clouded judgement which seems so keen to keep us in the soft dictatorship of the EU is somewhat cleared by 2017.

    • greggf

      A reporter on PM today said Merkel was silent when asked if Britain’s Parliament would be allowed to overrule EU decisions.

      The Freudian slips of the MSM and the BBC are revealing their intent.

      • Lorenzo

        The fact that a news report notes Merkel is silent on a question of British sovereignty ought to scare the bejaysus out of anyone who wants a self governing UK. It scares me, a mere American in the wilds of our Pacific Northwest.

        • Varoufake

          Merkel is the enemy, old chaps. You cannot say that publicly but in private it’s another matter …

          • fox holes

            The privacy of the interweb is a great thing. You can just come up with any smelly rubbish and the flies will flock to it in their virtual thousands.

          • Dogsnob

            You did. And they haven’t.

    • Fried Ch’i

      Let’s unravel this beauty of a post in a swift instant, shall we, backwards.

      You tell us all about that little English gem of yours, you Tory troll.
      3.881 miilion times.

      Innocent until proven guilty, hey? Just like Fred the Shred, Leon Brittan, Piers Morgan and all your other elitist moralists, you Tory troll? You ended that one yourself when you invented CCTV and opted for what I will coin the ‘selective justice model’, lad.

      How are you going to pay for it, you Tory troll. You have been told countless times that you are broke.

      Only the British people themselves could ever do that.

      see point 4

      Too scared to trade with the world now are we, you Tory troll? Make stuff others want to buy and stop talking f e * k i n sh*te.

      So again, for the upteenth time: you have nothing.

      • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

        No need to swear!

        • Major Plonquer

          I agree. People who call other people names are arseholes.

      • styants64

        If Britain is broke and we are why the F**k are we palming out 12 billion Quid to the Worlds Shitoles.

        • Varoufake

          Well yeah, why are you?

          • Planet Vague

            Well yeah, why are they?

          • fox holes

            That’s what I want to know too!

          • Bill Pentelow

            I would like to know that too.

      • anyoldiron

        TTIP allows the EU’s Voice alone to trade (Not just food but all matters re TRADE) to the mighty US of A, for all time coming. There is absolutely no point in having a British Government or Parliament if they cannot speak for themselves.

        • Fried Ch’i

          Absolutely right, there’s no point having 28 national Parliaments thinking they had any significant impetus against the ‘mighty US of A’. The eye level scenario is US vs EU. Ireland might want to buy alligators from Missouri, Portugal may want to import pizzas from Jersey rather than Italy, who cares. Let them go for it.

          • anyoldiron

            A War to End all Wars-TTIP.

            I remember well that last terrible World War
            From Nineteen-Thirty-nine to forty-five
            When the bombs rained down upon us
            When to the shelters we went, to stay alive.
            To listen to the long speeches of Churchill,
            That, “Outside, the storms of war may blow,
            And the lands may be lashed with the fury of its gales”.
            Such inspiring words all of us so needed to know.

            Huddled up to the “wireless” to listen
            To every word Winston Churchill said,
            “We must not underrate the gravity”
            Oh so many times his words we read.
            He has gone down in UK History
            As the greatest Prime Minister of all,
            Oh, how we need the likes of him now,
            For our Country is heading for a fall.

            The blackest, treacherous Day of all for us,
            Although we didn’t know it, at the time,
            That there would be “no loss of essential Sovereignty”,
            When that Prime Minister told that treacherous lie.
            The deep betrayal “TODAY” by those we freely elect
            To keep secret the carefully planned T.T.I. P
            When strangers decide that our once free Country
            Will never again, ever be “FREE”.

  • John Carins

    The “yes” side are confident that we will give up all traces of our national self confidence. Staying in the EU is absurd.

  • James Morrison

    “The most high-minded one is a fear that Britain voting to leave the EU would endanger our own Union.”

    Interesting use of language there. Is the EU not “our” union as well?

    • Stout Yeoman

      Via our elected MPs we control the UK control and can decide its fate. We do not elect EU commissioners and cannot vote a change in the EU constitution. The best we can do is a simple stay or go. Big difference.

    • Bill Pentelow

      NO it is not our union that is why we need to leave.

  • JoeCro

    With the EU vote now certain to happen, will the voters get referenda on all the international bodies that the UK is signed up to?

    • Stout Yeoman

      If it entails a change to our political constitution, a loss of sovereignty, why shouldn’t we vote on that?

      • JoeCro

        There was no public vote on the Lisbon or Maastricht treaties.

        • Stout Yeoman

          Quite. Both treaties are shameful episodes in the erosion of democracy.

  • Denis Loretto

    The truth is that the UK is on the pig’s back vis -a-vis the EU if we play our cards right.

    The UK does not have enough clout to redefine the fundamental principles on which the EU is based. However the UK is very important to Europe and certainly has enough clout to ensure that it is not forced into the Eurozone unless and until that is the clear wish of its people by future referendum. That is not going to happen anytime soon and may not happen at all. Therefore the EU will go forward on two levels – eurozone and non-eurozone. As the European Council clearly acknowledged in its statement after its June 2014 meeting,this means making proper provision to fully protect the interests of both these categories. Coupled with the increasing evidence that the call for sensible reforms in current EU practices and institutions is becoming more widespread there is every reason for the UK to work with others to achieve constructive reforms. If he goes for a sensible reform programme Cameron will be pushing at an open door.

    Even as we stand now,we have this beneficial situation –

    1. Full and equal access to the single market – bearing in mind that even if we were to attempt renegotiation of such access after exiting the EU we would have to conform to all its rules – like Norway..

    2. Unquestioned continuance – and probably extension – of lucrative third country industrial investment. Ignore current warnings from Nissan et al at your peril. They only manufacture here to gain access to the EU market – they can and will go anywhere they want.

    3. Freedom for our citizens to settle anywhere in the EU or to roam with minimum restriction – millions of expatriate Brits across Europe must be deeply worried about the prospect of Brexit.

    4. Freedom to set our own interest rates and all the other powers accompanying the maintenance of a separate currency .

    What’s not to like?

    • Bill Pentelow

      “what is not to like”
      Juncker Hollande Merkel van rompuy, Draghi the list is very large but you probably get the drift but reading your post probably not

      Oh and open borders within the EU and soon Africa if Juncker is so stupid to let in more wasters from there
      And an NHS that is falling apart
      And the Romanians that walk up my street from the work they took from our towns youngster, and the way they spit on the sidewalk every few feet.
      Our fishing industry’s destruction
      The fact that if you are a farmer you cant even grow the crop you want to without permission.
      The 19 years they have got away without auditing their accounts.
      Windmills that do nothinh but make my fuel bill dearer.

      My list will take me days to type and i just cant be bothered.

      Your are right about our citizens being able to roam at will, have you tried it lately? try it in a caravan, the French police will stop you for any bogus reason they can think of to fill their coffers and if they don’t get you some shit of a Romanian, Bulgarian or Eastern European will try to rob you.

      The EU is a shit hole and so is the UK at the moment because of immigration.

      We can only change that by leaving.

      Cameron will get nothing but they all already have their heads together to lie to us again and suckers like you will lap it up.

      I will now give myself a slap on the back for not swearing, but by god i want to.

      • Denis Loretto

        @Bill Pentelow

        Should I grace this offensive farrago with a reply, I ask myself. Well yes – by ignoring most of it but addressing one of the serious points which so often is dragged up by the anti EU lobby – the audit allegation. Here’s the truth. Every year the EU budget is audited by the independent European Court of Auditors. Every year for the past seven years the Auditors have signed off the accounts as being reliable and accurate. And every year, British media have claimed that the EU accounts haven’t been passed by the auditors at all.

        For example the European Court of Auditors stated, when presenting their report for 2013, their conclusion that the 2013 accounts present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the EU and its results for the year. As well as the opinion on the accounts, the ECA is also required to give an opinion – based on its audit testing – on whether the underlying payments were made in accordance with EU rules. They said “For 2013, the estimated level of error in these transactions was again too high at 4.7% for the ECA to give a clean opinion on the regularity of expenditure.”

        But – and it really is a big but – the ECA made the point that the blame mostly rests with member states who made incorrect claims for EU funding in the first place. The ECA concluded that “for a large proportion of the errors found, national authorities had sufficient information available to have detected and corrected many of them before claiming reimbursement from the Commission. This could have significantly reduced the error rate.”

        It should be noted that all government accounts across the world have a percentage of managerial errors. For example, in some recent years, the US government accounts had error rates higher than 5% – worse than the EU. In the UK, some government department budgets have error rates bigger than the EU budget. For example, according to the National Audit Office, Housing Benefit error has increased to 5.8%.

        It is also a fact that the EU budget is always balanced, so there is no debt or deficit.

        • Aberrant_Apostrophe

          It is also a fact that the EU budget is always balanced, so there is no debt or deficit.

          Of course it is. In exactly the same way that Greece met the fiscal conditions for joining the EuroZone, with a little help [cough] from the EC’s financial advisors, Goldman Sachs.

        • Dominic Wynn

          Wot? EU budget balanced???? The budget maybe ‘balanced’ by rolling forward debt obligations and redefining contributions s from the member states but the EU spends more than it collects in revenue because of committed spend. Please provide evidence that that isn’t the case.

        • Oddsbods

          That is just not true, they have no idea (or refuse to say) where large parts of their budget go. We can expect more of this disinformation in the near future.

    • Manuelgoldstein

      I think what’s not to like is this: Think not about how Europe is now (for me just about tolerable), but how it will be in 10 years time. If all (or nearly all) the EU member states have joined the Euro as is their current treaty commitment, they will form a de facto country and will proceed to “ever closer union”. If we are the only member state not part of this process I can see very little advantage for us in remaining in the EU – we will inevitably be excluded from key decisions and institutions if outside the federal Eurozone. So surely in that case we might as well be out, and enjoy at least the sovereignty of our courts, the supremacy of our common law, and the freedom to set our own migration policy and tax rates

      • Denis Loretto

        Thank you Manuelgoldstein for a sensible reaction to my “What’s not to like” claim. What I would say is first of all that we are not likely to be the only member state not part of the euro process. Currently 9 of the 28 EU members are not in the eurozone. Secondly the eurozone is not going to form a “de facto country”. Certainly countries in the eurozone must integrate their economies more than at present but their leaders have made it clear that there is no question of their becoming one country and no need for that to happen. The “ever closer union” aspiration in the Treaty of Rome has been described recently as an increasing feeling of togetherness among peoples rather than a merger of countries. Does anyone think that France will willingly stop being France and Germany stop being Germany etc.?

        However my main point is that the UK is so important that the EU leaders will (within reason) want to accommodate its wishes for reforms and to some degree a separate path. The statement after the European Council meeting in June 2014 to which I referred above said “The concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further.” Note it does not say merely different speeds towards ever closer union. It says “those who do not want [perhaps ever] to deepen any further.”

        Do you really think, Manuelgoldstein, that we should take the immense risks entailed in leaving the union just in case we might start in future to feel excluded from the inner conclaves of the eurozone? Let’s have a bit more confidence in our great country and its ability to maintain its value to the EU and to gain benefits from the EU- the biggest and most powerful trading group in the world. .

        By the way “the sovereignty of our courts” is not an EU matter – it is the 41 member Council of Europe which deals with that.

        • Manuelgoldstein

          Well, I think this is where we probably differ: 1) I believe that the only way the EU/eurozone will survive is through fiscal union, and I believe that if you have a fiscal union with courts and institutions which have jurisdiction over member states that is de facto a federal state. That does not mean that the French stop being French, any more than the Scots are less Scottish for being part of the United Kingdom. 2) As previously a state outside of such a fiscal Union would inevitably have less influence in those federal institutions. 3) I am not certain what the great risks of leaving are. Clearly there are risks for inward investment but we are bigger as a single economy than most countries in the world, so it seems just as fanciful and scaremongering to say that the world would end if we left as it seems naive to say that leaving would be without consequences.
          And 4) That’s not the case. The European Court of Justice based in Luxembourg is the supreme arbiter on European law, which is an increasing proportion of our laws. The ECHR in Strasbourg is a different beast, but don’t get me started on that one

          • Denis Loretto

            The essence of this is “what the great risks of leaving are”. Well, I think they are many and varied but let’s focus on inward investment. The example I gave in my original piece was motor vehicle manufacture. We must all agree our UK industry in that sector was virtually dead some years ago and was then revived and now of major importance again. The main element in this came from Japan. Does anyone think they chose to manufacture here in order to serve the UK market? Free access to the entire EU market was the crucial factor and still is. Test that at your peril.

            There are many other examples but motor manufacture is probably the best example.

    • JoeCro

      A 2 speed Europe appears likely, the UK will come to fear the enormous strength economically and diplomatically of a true United States of Europe.

      • Denis Loretto

        I think “two tier Europe” is a more accurate term than “two speed”. Whatever the eurozone becomes- as already stated I think a “United States of Europe is unlikely – we presumably would have the option of joining it at some time in the future if we really feared its strength that much. I have confidence in the UK.provided it does not retreat into isolationism. .

  • Tom W Huxley

    Surely there is advantage for Cameron in his own ministers taking up the ‘no’ mantle while he negotiates. Wouldn’t a realistic threat to leave the EU give him a stronger hand to play with?

    I can’t believe whipping ministers to stay in line is going to be healthy for party management in the medium or particularly long term. Not just within Parliament but amongst the wider electorate there will be a feeling among some that Tory ministers are not speaking for them.

    The whole point of a referendum is that a government does not need to have a united front. At the end of the day it is not down to them, it is down to the public. The coalition government quite healthily survived another four years after its ministers very publicly split down the middle over the AV referendum – also under Cameron. Why won’t he allow the same here?

  • Boney N

    Do you want to be told what to do, how to think
    and how to behave by Merkel and Juncker ?

    Yes or No

    • JoeCro

      I would choose Merkel or Juncker over Cameron or Osborne any day.

      • Mr B J Mann

        But you can’t vote Merkel of Juncker out, like you can with Cameron and Osborne.

        • Abie Vee

          Er, you can.

          He was democratically elected to office by the European Parliament, therefore he could be un-elected the same way when the time comes. In much the same way, you will have to wait five years before you can remove a sitting Prime Minister from office.

          The fact than Juncker was elected to office was a demonstration of Cameron’s complete incompetence when it comes to dealing with the EU, where his House of Commons “Flashman” act doesn’t wash..

          • Aberrant_Apostrophe

            You say that as though Cameron had a veto on Juncker’s appointment, which he failed to exercise. He didn’t – he was simply outnumbered, despite his dashing around Europe trying to drum up opposition. And that is always going to be the problem with the EU now that the net givers numerically outnumber the net takers.

          • Abie Vee

            Where do I say that he had a veto? I said his incompetence.

            As briefly as I can (the moderators are on my case today, maybe I’d better buy a subscription?).

            Cameron took his Conservative MEPs out of the centre-right social democrat group, their natural ideological group where they had always found allies, and placed them on the outer fringes of the EU alongside a bunch of Estonian SS-worshipers.

            This he did to fulfill a promise he had made to the Conservative Party while he was campaigning for leadership.

            Commendable though it is to keep you word, he effectively put his MEPs on the naughty step… alone and neglected, to the utter disbelief and dismay of Mrs Tetzel ( almost fatally weakening her hand when it came to dealing with the statist and protectionist French).

            It was the same centre-right group which finally put Juncker forward as their candidate. It’s absolutely certain that this would not have happened had the UK remained an active part of that group.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Er, I CAN?!?!

            Don’t forget to remind me when Merkel and Juncker are standing round my way.

          • Abie Vee

            So you didn’t vote for Cameron, and you didn’t vote for an MEP and you come on here moaning about being disenfranchised. Why should anyone care?

          • Mr B J Mann


          • CortexUK

            I don’t think you quite get this.

      • Dogsnob

        Those are not the only choices.

      • CortexUK

        Isn’t that a bit like choosing herpes over syphilis?

        • JoeCro


  • John Carins

    “The most high-minded one is a fear that Britain voting to leave the EU would endanger our own Union”

    This is absurd. It’s the EU and staying in the EU that endangers our own Uniion the most. Let’s get out and call the SNPs bluff.

    • Sturgeon is desperate to stay in and for an ‘independence’ party leader that is telling.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        As well as being a tad hypocritical.

      • John Carins

        Yes. The EU is the crutch that supports the SNP’s divisive argument.

      • Patonback

        Nicola Sturgeons idea of democracy is limited to what the Scots want, and she assumes that they all want what she wants. The decision of course, lies with all the people of the UK, not just with individual parts of it.

        • Abie Vee

          We will see about that in due course, will we not.

    • Danny Smith

      Couldn’t agree more. Once we are out let the SNP call a referendum on Scotland’s choice, to apply for EU membership (which it does 16% of it’s trade with) or remain part of the UK (which it does 66% of its trade with)! The UK will win by a landslide, the SNP will be finished as a result.

      • John Carins

        Absolutely. This stark reality will reinvigorate our Union

      • JoeCro

        I would expect both England and Scotland to remain in the European Economic area in the event of Scottish independence.

    • JSC

      Indeed, a good argument for leaving the EU is the negative effect it’s had on our domestic politics from the incessant meddling of foreign MEPs. The SNP are emboldened by this.

    • Lorenzo

      A serious question from an American: what would be the problem for England if the Scots became fully independent?

  • 4194

    There is now probably to much FDI and EU dependent jobs at stake for the Tory eursceptic faction to successfully assert itself. Voters go for prosperity rather than ideology, as the punishing 40% tax band proved in the recent election.

  • Bill Pentelow

    Reading the above it would seem a done deal and it looks like the deceitful Tories are at it again.

    Cameron is not even negotiating the one thing we all care about
    IMMIGRATION is the big issue and it is not going away.

    It also looks like the media ,including the spectator as its own staying in agenda.

    If we take away self interest and vote purely and honestly on common sense issues, BRITAIN WILL LEAVE THE EU

    But self interest for the wealthy is always paramount, that’s how they got wealthy.

    • Mr Creosote

      There are plenty of wealthy people that want out – top of the list being Sir Antony Bamford at JCB

    • Peter Gardner

      Immigration is just one example of why Britain should restore its sovereignty. It just happens to be a major problem at the moment. The fundamental issue is sovereignty. Human rights is another example. inside the EU, the ECHR is inescapable since its case law and jursidiction and the European Convention are all written into EU law which has primacy over national law. There are and will be many others. the only long term solution is to restore sovereign parliamentary democracy. We have yet to hear why any europhile believes rule by an unaccountable foreign collective is better but that is the challenge that must be put out in public.

  • Danny Smith

    Totally disagree, Farage should be a prominent figure in the ‘out’ campaign and should go head to head with any ‘in’ campaigner. Be it Cameron or Burnham, this alone will galvanise the ‘out’ movement as he will absolutely destroy their myths. Clegg was savaged by Farage in the last EU debates and that alone was the springboard to UKIP’s position today. The SNP were 30 points behind better together with a year till their referendum they closed in significantly without any credible economic argument. It is all to play for.

    • Peter Gardner

      If Nigel Farage himself says he is the wrong person there is much truth in it. A poll reported a day or so ago also showed that he is not wholly trusted even by the Outers. The Outers need a number of leading voices to present their argument and these voices should on other matters represent a wide range of views. Obviously Nigel should have a leading role, but not the leading role.

      • Bill Pentelow

        Is any politician of the day wholly trusted by anyone?
        It as been a long time since i heard one actually answer the given question, avoidance seems to be the staple.
        Farage at least answers the questions fully.

        I feel he is the man for the job, hes seen the monster in action at close quarter.

  • sebastian2

    “Fischer said it was “wishful thinking” to assume Cameron could make any headway on reforming the EU, and that it was an “illusion” that Britain’s large payments into the EU budget would mean it could expect any form of special treatment.”


    ““Angela Merkel will do nothing which will endanger the basic principles of the common market, of the EU,”.

    I rest my case.

  • Mr B J Mann

    >>”No. 10 has been discreetly urging Tories not to undermine the Prime Minister while he is on diplomatic manoeuvres by declaring that they want out.”

    Says it all.

    The PM is on record that he’s an EU fan, expecting it to stretch from the Urals to the Atlantic.

    The EU is on record that it doesn’t believe Britain wants out.

    So why on earth should it even listen to demands for change, never mind accept them?!?!

    There’s no point negotiating unless you’ve got at least some strength.

    Ideally you should be negotiation from your strongest position.

    So anybody who really wanted to change the EU would have had the vote ages ago, and negotiated on the basis of the result, which, regardless of how it went, won’t have been as pro EU as the EU thinks everybody must be!

    The fact that Cameron insists on a referendum only after the negotiations proves he’s not trying to win anything except for the referendum!

    • Mary Ann

      Never though I would agree with Cameron.

  • gerronwithit

    There is this continual presumption by the MSM and BBC that the Yes vote is a shoe in. Such talk is very much falling on deaf ears out here in the real world. The blind confidence and arrogance of the Yes brigade will hopefully receive a very nasty shock whenever we can get near the ballot box.

    • Major Plonquer

      Being mildly dyslexic, when I read “ballot box” I read “bollox bat”. I think in this case my interpretation might be an improvement….

  • revkevblue

    ***40 years ago Britain voted to remain part of the European Community.***

    No we did not!
    We voted to be in the trading block called the Common Market.
    Quit trying to rewrite history.

    • Denis Loretto

      Unquestionably it was realised that joining the “European Economic Community” had political implications. Just look at this fascinating exchange in Hansard October 21 1971. The Conservative PM even contemplated security co-operation to a degree that has still not actually transpired –

      “Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
      I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman’s argument that we shall have a veto on political developments. The implication of that is that we do not want political development. Many people think that possible political developments are the most important thing about the Community. Are the Government saying that they would resist and oppose political developments in Europe?

      Sir Alec Douglas-Home
      Not at all. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can possibly have interpreted that from anything that I have said. I said that the political processes in Europe would evolve, and that they would evolve by consent, because if one tried to go too fast and impose too much the Community could break up. The change will occur by evolution and by consent.
      Finally, there is security, with all the problems which that poses for Western Europe, whether in the context of defence or détente. All the way through our history events in the centre and west of Europe have conditioned our foreign policy. The balance of power is achieved through a European contribution, and the omens that the Western Europeans will have to carry a greater share of the responsibility for Western defence and the defence of their continent are very strong, stronger than they have been since the war.

      I am not one of those who believe that the United States will ever desert Europe. I have no doubt that they will retain a military contribution by land, sea and air, and the nuclear deterrent, but, nevertheless, the chances are that they will reduce their deployment of conventional forces, and that the future will have to be organised with a more distinctively European contribution, embracing within it the strength of France.

      It will take time, and it will take great patience, to work out the design, but when Germany, France, Italy and the rest sit down to talk about their problems of security, and their attitude to world problems, I use the word in the most accurate sense when I say that it is vital that we should be in their councils. During the last year I have twice been in the councils of the Ten, because they have anticipated the larger Community. Matters are talked about there which concern the defence of Europe and the defence of Britain. Matters are talked about—for example, the Middle East—which have the greatest implications for our country. It is essential that we should be in the councils when these questions are discussed, and that a decision should not be taken without us.”

    • Abie Vee

      Not at all. The question we voted on was: Do you think the United Kingdom should remain in the European Community (Common Market).

      The European Community, were three international organisations that were governed by the same set of institutions. These were the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), and the European Economic Community (EEC).

      The Common Market was neither a legal or political entity; it was shorthand, a colloquialism, common parlance for the European Economic Community.

    • Mary Ann

      The yes pamphlet talked about closer union, if people voted without reading the official information, more fool them.

  • Fraser Bailey

    Listening to 5Live, a pro-EU hotbed, I note that increasing numbers of ‘normal’ English (and even Scottish) people are calling in and saying they will vote to leave. Such people have finally seen through Labour, albeit 50 years too late, and they are finally seeing through the EU.

  • misomiso

    Great Analysis James.

    And all through that time the Yes are framing the debate in the way they want. There is no talk of Fisheries, Agriculture, fair seats in the Euro Parliament, institutional corruption or the cost of Europe. If Cameron completes renegotiation and then holds a referendum the No’s will have no time to get their socks on, let alone win.

    As you point out, they have no political machine with which to fight, and most importantly NO LEADER. Very grim for us.

    Your wrong about one thing – our Union will NEVER be safe while we stay in the EU, as there will always be an argument for Scotland to leave. Its better to leave, then make the SNP make the case for Scotland giving up her fisheries and all the powers that Holyrood would have if we left.

    • Abie Vee

      Institutional corruption? No such thing. The EU Budget is balanced to zero every year, and there are no borrowings and no carry-overs.

      Contrary to popular opinion the budget is audited to far stricter competences than our own. Were the UK forced to follow EU Court of Auditors standards the UK budget would not have been passed either this last couple of decades… (benefit fraud for starters).

      Corruption, as opposed to error, is identified at under 2% overall, and is declining year on year as regulations are tightened. You people shill for less regulation. Well you can see what comes with than.. fraud on a global scale.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        I can attest to the fact that there are no carry-overs in the EU budget. In the late 1990s I ran an EU scientific programme, and come the end of each financial year I was given several tens of thousands of Euros to spend on computers or whatever, as long as I could get the invoices paid in time. It’s just an extension of how most national Governments work, which of course is an inefficient use (and waste) of money.

        • Abie Vee

          It happens in every borough council you could ever think of; it happens in UK schools and universities too; in happens in every department of government. And it happens every year.

          It isn’t corruption, slight of hand, or malpractice .. it’s just common practice.

          ps I was once a departmental head in a major UK manufacturing conglomeration: it happened there too!

          • Mary Ann

            If local government doesn’t spend its full budget in the year they get less money next year, My local authority build a fence across a park which was also a short cut to the town centre, within months they had to take away some of the fence to allow people to continue their shortcut.

    • Mary Ann

      If Britain leaves the EU then Scotland will leave the UK. Wales wants to stay in the EU as well, England will be isolated.

  • JSC

    Well, if we can’t reform the EU, I say at minimum we demand our rebate back to the full level before G.Brown signed it away. Brown had no democratic mandate to do that, he wasn’t elected and it wasn’t in his parties manifesto and the EU’s poor performance means membership of it is worth less to the UK than it used to be / we’re supporting it more and getting less back. As this doesn’t involve any treaties to be changed it should be interesting to watch them squirm as they try to think of ways out of giving it…

  • JOhn Mackie

    The career political ‘elites’ who govern us (most of whom on both front benches were parachuted into safe seats anyhow and have never faced the electorate in competitive elections – but I digress…) – these ‘elites’ desperately want us to remain attached to the political multinational called the EU – so they have a highly (over)paid career path after life in the HOC. Career paths into more meaningless politicing, NGO’s, influence pedaling, ‘charities, etc.

    The whole greedy corrupt lot of them need stringing up. Along the Embankment. Upside down. Like Mussolini was.

    What the YES-charlatans haven’t banked on is the imminent final collapse of the global financial system. Coming end of this year IMHO. That’ll put a spanner in the works for them.

    Farage is a John the Baptist-esque figure in being a prophet of EUDoom. None of the troughers want to contemplate what he’s preaching.

    • Mary Ann

      Why do the vast majority of MPs want to stay in Europe when we are constantly told that thanks to the EU they have no power. They should all be in favour of leaving.

  • JSC

    One point to note, if we vote ‘yes’ to staying in the EU, this will be taken as a perpetual mandate for any and all further acts forcing EU integration and relinquishing national sovereignty by the europhiles. It won’t be taken as “we decided not to leave” it will be taken as “full steam ahead into the Europe Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      It’s the boiling frog syndrome. As long as the EC don’t introduce too much too quickly, and thus trigger any national referenda, EU citizens will be quite happy to swallow the lie that the EU is in their best interests, as opposed to Big Business’ interests. By the time people wake up it will be too late, especially as the EC are introducing a new crime of ‘disrespecting the EU’. EUSSR here we come.

      • JSC


      • Mary Ann

        Oh dear

    • Mary Ann

      That would be up to the governments that we elect, just look at the success of the SNP after the people of Scotland voted No

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    The results of a poll as given above conflict with an on line poll where the people are strongly for coming out of the EU!
    It is well recognised among the people that over the years, huge monopolies have been allowed to form under the protection of the EU. In a good economy, so many of these would not have been in existence since they act to stagnate markets and technology and lose the competitive edge to business that is at the heart of an energetic industry. Each of these monopolies is either headed by or associated with a member of the House of Lords – again something that should not be allowed due to the conflict of interest.
    Coming out of the EU would benefit both the enterprising small businesses and the people. The morale of the general public would increase and industry would gain the benefit. We could be assured that the comparatively tiny island of ours would not become a concrete jungle of ‘affordable housing’ and our technology would be allowed to flourish. That is the honest and most sensible route for the UK.
    The alternative is for the workforce to be kept on low pay, with an every increasing influx of people ready to undercut wages, an economy that in real terms will fall well behind those we once looked upon as third world countries, having to accept the terms of overseas investors who now own most of the British Industry, accepting that the heads of all these monopolies and also the heads of the financial systems can award themselves indecent monetary rewards while the poor queue up at food banks, be grateful for the tiny percentage of sea foods from our own rich fishing areas that our fishing industry are allowed to supply us with, while the unelected head of the EU can change the policies that all the member countries are forced to comply with, to suit their own or their allies economy at will.
    No – I want to see the British Isles led by an honest and strong leader who belongs to the UK and has the British interests at heart. I do not want to be part of the power hungry corruption, the greed and the shame that goes with it. It is part of our Human Rights to be able to live in harmony in a fair and law abiding country.

    • Abie Vee

      It’s funny , but the various bodies representing businesses (“enterprising” or not) do not agree with you. The common consensus right across the board is that if Cameron manages to get reforms, then we should stay where we are.

      Furthermore, it is the unregulated global market, the so-called Anglo-American model, wherein monstrously powerful global corporations are allowed to form… not the EU.

      • Major Plonquer

        As a businessman, I’m not sure what you mean “bodies representing businesses”. Most businessmen like myself avoid these “bodies” like the plague. They don’t represent me and they don’t represent any other businessperson I know.

        • Abie Vee

          Really? The FSB (federation of small businesses) has 200,000 members across 33 regions and 188 branches. Would you like their phone number?
          Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) has over 1800 clubs and over 50000 members. Fancy a beer and a nosh?
          The CBI has 190,00 members employing 7 million people.
          The EEF claims to represent 2.7 million people.

          Maybe you should get out more?

          • Major Plonquer

            200,000 represents less than 10% of small businesses. Hardly representative. Sorry, I can’t get out more. I’m too busy employing people and creating wealth.

    • Mary Ann

      Where is this poll that shows the ‘no’ vote winning, all the ones I have seen have ‘yes’ winning.? The on line poll wasn’t on yahoo by any chance.

  • Dogsnob

    “Forty years ago this week, Britain voted to remain part of the European Community”.

    Interesting that the vote was to ‘remain’ and not to enter. Was there ever a choice there?
    Forty years ago, were we told that anyone would be able to enter Britain even if this resulted in illegal immigrants to the EU having the same access?

    • Mary Ann

      Of course illegal immigrants are not allowed in this country, they need a European passport, and if they have one they are not illegal.

      • Dogsnob

        You missed the ‘illegal immigrants to the EU’ bit then?

  • Patonback

    A common market and trading agreement is all we need from the EU. We can also continue to work together and agree or disagree on many other important issues . All this without paying £55 million a day . Just think what that sort of money will do for our public services. For those who say our business interests will be damaged and jobs lost, just think . If you run a business based in the EU, would you really refuse to sell your goods into the UK and compete with others, simply because we are no longer a member of your club?. UK companies will still seek to sell their goods into Europe and the rest of the world. If Europe in the shape of a UK less EU then put obstacles in the way of free trade, a trade war would develop, which harms everyones interests. Get real. It won’t happen. By all means vote according to all the real facts that may emerge, but don’t fall for the lies coming from business interests. Business operates on profit motives, not political ones.

    • Abie Vee

      To give you some perspective: the UK’s net EU Budget contribution is c. £9 billion. (House of Commons Library). Whereas state subsidises to buy-to-let landlords, in the shape of Housing Benefits (£25 billion) and tax allowances (£14 billion) come to a staggering £39 billion a year and rising!

      Now think what we could do with that!

      And as usual the future trade analysis is over-simplified to suit. No one, not even on the wilder fringes of UKIP, is suggesting that trade will simply cease. The very idea is utter nonsense; however, what no one knows at this stage just what those new terms of trade will be. And therein lies the black hole at the heart of the outers arguments.

      With far too casual insouciance, they will have us believe that those new terms will somehow, as yet unexplained, be even better than those we enjoy today. A fanciful and wishful assumption which rather beggars belief.

      • Blazeaway

        No-one in UKIP, whether ‘wilder fringes’ or not, says that trade with Europe will cease.

        UKIP wants it to continue and, indeed, that is what will happen.

        It is the pro-EU side that tries to imply – it does not have the balls to openly claim it – that trade with the EU will cease.

        Stop telling lies.

        • Abie Vee

          Anybody who suggests that trade with the EU will cease is talking utter hogwash. Indeed, I have never found any authoritative statement to that effect from anyone remotely near the heart of this discussion. If you can find one for me, I will be much obliged to you.

          Of COURSE trade will carry on… but under what/whose terms? Aye, there’s the rub!

          And the fact of the matter is that the Brexit advocates cannot satisfactorily answer that question. All is mere conjecture.

          As it stands today, we know precisely what the terms are; the implication, the proposition that they will, in future be , in some esoteric unspecified way, more advantageous.

          Isn’t that a fair summary? If not, why not?

        • Patonback

          Spot on matey. We are being told by the pro EU lobby that business will suffer, but as we currently purchase more goods than we sell to the EU, who really believes that they would reduce our terms of trading just because we no longer contribute £55 Million a day to their club. That sort of money corrupts and we shall witness blatant attempts and downright lies to keep us in , led by those on the take. Seems that FIFAs corrupt regime is about to have all the dirty washing put on display at last. Can’t remember when the EU last had its accounts signed off by any reputable organisation. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?.

          • Mary Ann

            The EU accounts have been audited and signed off.

      • Patonback

        Terms of Trade would have to be acceptable, competitive and consistent with making the desired levels of profit for both buyer and seller. Given that trade with the EU is a two way thing with the UK buying more from the EU than it sells, anything less than that would result in hastening our opening up of markets elsewhere in the world and that would not be in European interests. That’s the bottom line. In March 2015 the value of exports increased to £11.8bn, while imports also increased to £19.7bn, compared with the previous month. Consequently the UK is a net importer in March, with imports exceeding exports by £7.9 billion.
        We either continue to trade competitively with the Nations of Europe or not at all. As that harms everyone, I repeat my view that it will not happen. As Blazeaway comments , UKIP is all for continuing trade with Europe. Whoever tells the public otherwise is indeed lying.

        • Abie Vee

          Er, not so fast… “acceptable” to who? I assume you mean both parties. Well you’re right there, of course; but if they’re not… what then?

          Is it the EU’s fault that our manufacturing sector is so uncompetitive? Why are Germany’s exports to China worth four times as much as ours? Your trade ludicrous “trade competitively or not at all” scenario is nothing more than petulant bluff. .. pure hogwash.

          All your comment amounts to nothing: it is the terms of trade, not trade itself, which is the issue; and upon that single absolutely crucial point you people have nothing other than wishful thinking.

          • Patonback

            Your first point ” acceptable to who?”. Business interests will come first rather than political considerations. That will be vital for both parties, therefore it will continue, because to fail means business failures on both sides. Won’t happen
            Point two- You fail to address the fact that the EU currently needs our continued purchasing of goods from them. Conveniently overlooked by you.
            Point three – Here you resort to insult instead of addressing the issue. The terms of trade will have to be acceptable, or a trade war will begin. The UK will start to purchase the majority of its imports from other than EU sources, and EU countries will boycott our goods. If you really think that will happen, you have absolutely no knowledge of business matters. The term “you people” indicates a lack of debating skills you will need if you are to convince other EU sceptics of your future wishes for the UK’s role in Europe.

          • Abie Vee

            Tsk tsk… yet more Straw Men for you to knock over!

            Let me repeat… trade will continue. I’m at a complete loss as to what part of that simple statement you are evidently having such difficulties with.

            The matter for consideration is this: trade on what terms? Whose terms?

            A trade war? hahahahha… gosh the little tail thinks it can wave the big dog. And what form will this “war” of yours take? A 10% car-tax, for example, will kill off Nissan in Europe, whereas 10% on a Merc isn’t going to ruffle too many feathers in the City.

            But of course, that’s all nonsense too. Allow me to explain. The easy bit first: in the absence of a Free Trade Agreement with the Single Market the UK has no other option other than to fall back upon WTO rules. These rules allow for import tariffs, product embargoes and quotas and state protection for “threatened” industries. The French in particular would welcome that with open arms.

            If a Trade Agreement can be cobbled together, we will still have to satisfy EU rules. Now obviously you don’t agree with me. So I challenge you to find a FTA where those rules are exempt. There isn’t one. Likewise, there is no FTA in existence anywhere in which the terms are superior than those enjoyed by full-members (the very notion is absurd).

            The notion that better terms can be obtained from outside the organisation is preposterous, since, if true, there would be no organisation. All would be free for all would it not?

            I indeed have plenty of experience in “business matters”, 50 years; it seems you are the apprentice here. You talk to me of business interests, seemingly oblivious to the fact that all business representation is avowedly in favour of remaining in the EU. Your childish nonsense about trade wars is the stuff of empty political posturing.

            Ask yourself this. Where’s the leverage? There isn’t any.

          • Patonback

            Given your 50 years of business experience I am really surprised at your inability to grasp the fact that the UK is a prime target for those in EU countries wishing to sell their goods to us . Would you reduce your terms because your best customer no longer wishes to be a member of your expensive ( and probably corrupt ) club? One that hasn’t had its accounts signed off for around 20 years?. If you were a supplier to my company in the UK, I would immediately seek another source. That’s how business works. But what does the apprentice know?.

          • Abie Vee

            But, er, round and round in circles we go.

            Point one. Only two EU countries could be said to have a large trade imbalance with the UK; The Netherlands and Germany. All the others have rather modest surpluses, or are broadly in balance, or like Poland and the eastern arrivals, import more than they export.
            Point Two: In the vent of potential loss of trade, whatever ever costs accrue to the EU will be spread over 27 states, the UK will have to bear the damage alone.
            Point Three: Do not be fooled into thinking that the “terms” apply to costs… the terms include all the paraphernalia of a single market. Those rules are there for two purposes; to ensure one common set of standards for all members, and thus that no one member has a means of gaining economic advantage over the others by means of non-compliance with those rules. Legislatively The Single Market is a level playing field.

            The point then arises: By what peculiar inducement could the other 27 member states be persuaded to allow an off-shore entity like the UK pick and choose which particular rules it will adhere to and which it will not (to their profound economic advantage). Why would the 27 states agree to disadvantage themselves in such a manner? It simply doesn’t make sense. If such terms were ever agreed, the entire edifice would simply collapse. Does anyone in their right mind think that the east Europeans, Germany and France are going to let that happen? Why.. it’s just nonsense of the very highest order. Preposterous.

            If you’d care to investigate the EU accounts (which you clearly haven’t) you would know that they are audited to far higher standards that those of the UK… our own Comptroller and Auditor General has admitted as much to Parliament, saying that if he had to audit UK Budgets to the same competences as the EU’s, he would have been unable to sign them off this last decade or more (tax-fraud and benefit-fraud being particular stumbling blocs).

            You’d seek another source? Why not. You can do that already.

            You see my point? Is it at last becoming clear to you? WHERE is the leverage? You tell me.

          • Mary Ann

            Easy to throw in “and probably corrupt.” impossible to disprove, and no more true than saying the same thing about the British government.

      • Major Plonquer

        Trade is a two-way street. The UK buys more from the EU than the EU buys from the UK. I fail to understand why anyone could possibly believe the EU are dumb enough to punish their own citizens by imposing trade tariffs while destroying their own export capacity by forcing reciprocity from the UK. If this is the IN’s best argument then I’m afraid you’ve already lost.

        • Abie Vee

          You “fail to understand”? Bear with me and you will…

          *True: the UK has a huge trade imbalance in manufactured goods with the EU.
          *True: the UK services industry has a huge trade surplus with the EU. *True: Manufacturing as a percentage of UK GDP has been in steady decline for decades, from a post-war high of some 40% to today’s measly 11% and falling.
          *True: The UK services industry is growing in strength daily, and now accounts for some 80% of GDP.

          Be all that as it may. There are only two countries in the EU with especially large trade surpluses with the UK, The Netherlands and Germany… two countries extremely solid economically, well placed to face a bit of economic turbulence. The rest have small surpluses or are broadly in balance, while most of the more recent entrants actually import far more from us than they sell: this is to say, have trade deficits. Thus any tariffs applied, a cost incurred, will be shared around the 27 member states accordingly, winners and losers, whereas of course the UK will bear her costs alone.

          A 10% tariff on Nissan will destroy them, a reciprocal 10% on luxury German cars will hardly ruffle the feathers of those who can eminently afford them.

          Your argument is therefore no argument at all, rather like a drunk man threatening his Bank Manager that he’ll take his appalling overdraft elsewhere unless he gets an extension! Like Greece!

          But all this teenage braggadocio over trade is almost besides the point: the real cruncher is what will happen to services? Will the City be excluded from the EU? Will the 200 foreign banks in The City relocate to Frankfurt? Will British investors be excluded or curtailed from swathes of the lucrative financial services sector of the EU (as is Switzerland)? Will the UK still have to follow all the EU’s legislation without having any input into the formulation and future direction of that legislation (as Norway and Switzerland) In short, are we destined to become hapless bystanders rather that active participants?

          And these are only the “known unknowns”. Without the free movement of people, will the Brits be allowed to move freely throughout the EU living, working, retiring as they do now, while the EU’s citizens are denied reciprocity here? Highly unlikely on the balance of probabilities wouldn’t you think?

          • Raddiy

            There is only one country that counts in the EU and that is Germany, they sell twice as much to us as we to them, there is not a snowballs chance in hell of them risking that by imposing trade barriers out of spite

            It might come as a surprise to you, but British citizens have been living, working and holidaying in the countries of the EU since time immemorial, and in especially large numbers from about 1950 upto 1973 before we joined with only minor administration required.. Sod all happened after 1973 in the real world, nothing really changed, and the ability to move and work still requires you to show your passport. It is only the generations who have been born since 1973, who naively seem to think we were trapped on our island before we joined the EU.

          • Abie Vee

            And that is all hypothetical (to say nothing of wishful thinking). May I suggest you read my previous comment again as you seem to have missed all the points contained therein.

            I take your point that people have lived and worked abroad; the point is, they did so with permission… today they do so as a legal right. There’s a difference.

  • Augustus

    “Forty years ago this week, Britain voted to remain part of the European Community”

    I thought the 1975 Referendum was all about voting to remain in a loose union of trading countries with just a few common, conjoined interests and purposes in order to position Britain not only where it wanted to be, but where many EU member states have always wanted to be. But discussion on the competences of the present EU setup is taking place in other countries too. Partly, of course, because of the debate in Britain. Subsidiarity is widely discussed, and Germany is seriously giving thought about how to reform the EU and the recall of powers from the EU back to national level. Other countries, particularly in Northern Europe, also want to discuss such matters. Europe should start again. A new Union, a new way, where the UK can, and should, lead.

  • crazydude

    I’m just thinking that even if the no/out vote wins, the result will probably be ignored anyway.

  • Gary Barnacle

    I am sure that whatever we vote, the result will be fixed,
    so that we, will be stuck in this undemocratic, organisation that only wants to
    rule the world, and make more money for the big business bosses, whilst making
    the majority of the people, suffer, in no way does the EU do anything for the
    majority of the people living in the UK, We have the BBC that has received
    millions of pounds of EU money for them to lie to the British public about the
    EU, how many times do you hear the lie that immigrants are only doing the jobs
    that the British won’t do, when infect in most cases the jobs were not
    advertised in the UK, how many times do you here the lie, that the immigrants
    are paying tax into our country when in fact, most of the immigrants are on
    minimum wage, and having their wages, topped up by benefits, how often do you
    here the lie that it is because we are living longer, and that is the cause of having
    to wait weeks to see a doctor, and no mention is ever made, about when you eventually
    get an appointment, and arrive at the surgery, most of the other patients are immigrants.

    I remember the UK before Heath committed treason, and gave
    away our soventry, the country has gone downhill ever since, every day we
    here more and more, stupid rules being forced on us, straight bananas and
    cucumbers, not allowing reduced VAT on solar panels whilst, forcing us to
    reduce carbon emissions, in the past there was, little problem for British citizens
    getting social housing, now British citizens are at the bottom of the housing
    list, as immigrants go to the top of the list.

    • Mary Ann

      The straight banana issue was made up by the media, and, if cucumbers are straight you can get more in a box, it’s what the supermarkets want. If you watch Victorian kitchen garden you would know that straight cucumbers have been in demand since Roman times. Don’t fall for the rubbish printed in the tabloid press.


  • jim

    The pimping of the EU never stops. Why would it?. Limitless funds, full time salaried pimps on call 24/7 , it’s people in charge of mediaeducationpublic services…

  • Stephen Barraclough

    Yes, the ‘Yes’ brigade have many advantages built-in, the greatest being the LACK OF A KNOWN DATE FOR IT TO BE HELD! The ‘YES’ campaign can ‘tootle along’ happily garnering what support it can, whilst the “NO’ists” have to some extent to harbour their shot in order to achieve a sensible program – building momentum towards a (relatively) certain date!

  • Lady Magdalene

    Events, dear boy, events.

    18 months ago, Farage was warning that opening our borders to Romania and Bulgaria would result in a huge influx of poor, minimum-wage workers. (Migration Watch predicted 50,000 would come). He was smeared, insulted and ridiculed by the Establishment ….. politicians and media.

    Yet a few days ago, Government figures revealed that around 200,000 had come in just one year.

    Tinkering around with welfare rules, IF the EU allows it, isn’t “regaining control of our borders.”

    And that’s just one negative aspect of EU membership.

    There are 100s of others which may crop up at just the “wrong” time for the Quisling pro-EU faction.

  • global city

    even if the trade concerns were true (which they are not)


  • CortexUK

    I vote Daniel Hannan to lead “No”. That is, so long as Raheem Kassam doesn’t keep using Breitbart to attempt to destroy him. You see, Hannan is close to Carswell, and Kassam has set out to destroy the Clacton man – and anyone connected to him.

    Mentioning this got me banned from posting at BB London earlier today. Raheem is such a sensitive little chap, posting his vengeful “stories” behind the byline “Breitbart London”.

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  • averagebritain

    I hope Cameron, Westminster and their ‘Yes’ lobby (MSM / big business) are as arrogant and complacent over this campaign – as they were, over Scottish Independence. If it hadn’t been for the leaders’ desperate, conniving last minute ‘pledge’, its quite probable the Scots would have voted ‘OUT’.

    I’m in favour of a European Common Market and nothing more. I do hope the ‘OUT’ campaign make it an ‘Independence from European Union’ campaign. They might just bring together a vast caucus of Students, the Old, the Rich and the Poor, the black and the white.

  • Mr B J Mann

    If they are going to lower the minimum voting age for referendums:

    Will they also lower it for buying ciggies, booze, knives (and other sharp things like non kindergarten-safe scissors) and guns?!?!?!

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  • Morgan Moral

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  • anyoldiron

    Exactly what date is it, that all other Member States may have a “SAY” on whether we can indeed free ourselves from the EU, even though a majority of British people want out of the European Union? Has our Prime Minister made sure it is AFTER the date when all other States may prevent our withdrawal from the EU?