Sunday 18 May 2014

Losing The EU Referendum

Let's not beat around the bush, without a fully worked-out policy and strategy on how to leave the EU any referendum on EU exit will be lost for those who wish out. It's as simple as that. And should the "outers" lose it's game over for at least a generation, probably more. We won't have another chance - it won't be a "best of three".

We don't actually need to have a referendum - there was no referendum to enter the EEC (EU) - and there needs to be no referendum to leave. Yet we must acknowledge that the reality of current political momentum which suggests strongly that our exit will hinge very decisively on one being called.

So should a referendum be called, we face an extremely unfair fight against a pro-EU and ignorant media (including the Express and the state broadcaster), an unfair fight against all of the main political parties, an unfair and dishonest fight against FUD and the need to overcome the "status quo" effect which has an inbuilt advantage of around 20%.

It's imperative therefore that there should be a reassuring policy on EU exit which attempts to alleviate any concerns. This involves invoking Article 50, parking the economic issue temporarily via EFTA/EEA membership, and campaigning on the political (democracy) issue alone giving us a fighting chance.

On Article 50 at least we thought that the UKIP's position was settled when Farage confirmed at least twice that the Article would have to be invoked. But despite being a one man party he clearly isn't in total command when UKIP literature is being distributed contradicting him in the run up to the Euro elections.

Such confusion and a lack of available policy on UKIP's website means the "Life on Mars" option is still alive and kicking as Witterings from Witney notes:
Yesterday evening The Boiling Frog and I spent some time on twitter trying to convince three Ukip supporters that that which they were tweeting was pure fantasy. We were presented with statements such as the old canard that repeal of ECA 1972 meant the UK was free of EU membership; that abrogation of ECHR would mean the EU would promptly rescind the UK’s membership of the EU; and that a new trade agreement could be placed on the table within 24 hours for signature. In our attempted ‘debate’ matters are not helped when it is suggested that I should Go and smoke another spliff – leave it for the rest of us to sort out the mess; neither when I am called a supercilious tit in the comments to this post. Such ignorance is indeed a tad terrifying. 
That somehow 40 years of integration and hugely complex international agreements can just be undone in 24 hours really does defy belief.

More crucially failure to confront the nature of our exit by UKIP inevitably leads to split messages. And split messages don't win referendum campaigns, in the same way split parties don't win elections as per the 1906 General Election when the Conservatives lost by a landslide which was largely attributed to a party split over free trade.

The lack of a policy by UKIP leads this rather incoherent interview with UKIP councillor - who defected to UKIP from the Tories - Suzanne Evans. She was asked by Andrew Neil on the BBC's Sunday Politics if UKIP had published a "roadmap" if the vote was a yes to leave.

Suzanne Evans response was; "wouldn't that be great?" Well yes it would actually, which begs the question why has it not been done?

Some argue that UKIP is an "amateur party" with limited funds in contrast to others, but that of course is no excuse. Seventeen shortlisted entrants to the Brexit prize produced papers on precisely that issue within four months including one from a 15 year old boy. A damning indictment on UKIP's failure to produce one in twenty years with well-paid MEPs.

As Christopher Booker observes in the Sunday Telegraph:
It is equally disturbing that a party founded on a desire to extricate us from the EU should have no properly worked-out policy for how this could be done. Ask Ukip what are the practical steps whereby we could achieve a successful exit from the EU, and the answer is little more than a blank stare and empty platitudes. 
Andrew Neil pressed Suzanne Evans further on whether UKIP had a "roadmap". Her answers remained very unconvincing stating that she's "not a legal expert on this" and that "we could come out quickly or there's a longer route as well". Then the question put to Suzanne was "but have [UKIP] published any of that detail". The response being;
"well...not, not that I have read but there are ways to do it..."
Then Suzanne continues that UKIP want to revert back to 1975 to "what people voted for". This despite the EEC was never an economic project nor a common market. The Treaty of Rome makes this perfectly clear:
"Determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe"
With Suzanne's statement to effectively revert back to a "golden age" that never existed she then gets caught out...Andrew Neil rightly asks her that the vote in 1975 involved the "free movement of people" which goes against a party which is now chasing the BNP vote on immigration. What a mess...

No doubt some will see this as another gratuitous anti-UKIP piece. My philosophy though was always been clear right from the outset when I joined the party - "my loyalty is to the cause not to any party". In its present guise UKIP are damaging the cause and for that reason I can no longer support them.

UKIP's current stance will lose us the referendum, the choice is increasingly becoming clear; it's either the party or EU exit. The two are no longer compatible.


  1. Did you see Ranty's questioning of Article 50?

    1. I'm guessing you mean this?

      The first few paragraphs are about as wrong as it reflection on CR who posted verbatim an email, just that the info contained within is pure cack.

  2. Good post TBF, and explains exactly why I won't be bothering to vote on Thursday. No party represents my views to the slightest extent.

  3. UKIP's former MEP is producing his own masterpiece.

    1. Thanks for wonder it wasn't shortlisted, what a poor piece of work while completely mis-understanding Article 50.

      It never ceases to amaze me how many can't read clear and simple English properly. Out of all the clauses in the Lisbon Treaty A50 is one of the easiest to understand...

  4. Excellent post well expressed confirming what I have saying for some time.

    Thank you.

  5. Trust the Establishment lackey Andrew Neil to mention the BNP.

    And what are UKIP doing putting forward clueless newbies for interrogation by the mainstream toadies?

    And I would add, when will UKIP unveil their 'Shadow Cabinet'? Farage is the only 'Kipper most people know. Some know his baldy Scouse deputy.

    In fact, most of the high profile UKIP mouthpieces would appear to the uninitiated to be a bit loopy, like Godfrey Bloom and Christopher Monckton, although we know differently.

    Which all makes me wonder, because the 'alternative' news media is full of raving loonies - double agents, like Alex Jones and David Icke. The shadow governments get these clowns to lead the 'Truth Movement' because they know that, for example, Jones's mad outbursts and Icke's 'aliens on the moon' will make genuine conspiracies appear as nonsense to the masses, so they'll carry on believing the mainstream media.

    Is UKIP 'controlled opposition'?

  6. "UKIP's current stance will lose us the referendum, the choice is increasingly becoming clear; it's either the party or EU exit. The two are no longer compatible."

    I wouldn't disagree. But it is a bit more complicated. Living here in Scotland we are having a referendum as you may know. The Yes side isn't just the SNP and a lot of the footwork isn't SNP at all, the discussion in pubs is built round "realignment following a Yes", however the mainstream media with better together portray it as Salmond vs the UK. September will be a strong indicator of whether top down mass media still trumps bottom up social.

    Media would do the same on an EU referendum and its hard not to see the face of OUT going to Mr Farage.

    I think Thursday lays the foundations for loosing the referedum

    1. Yes I've been following the Scottish referendum campaign - I suspect it is partly being used as a dry run for a future EU referendum.

      The "better together" argument has used similar tactics of FUD as will be used for an EU referendum. Also Salmond has also not provided a credible plan for example on currency.

      It will be interesting to see how the vote goes in four months time, though I suspect given the polls the "in" vote will win by a comfortable margin.

    2. I wouldn't be so sure it will be a comfortable margin, probably close enough to cause a schism and future referendum. Whilst Salmond as you say, hasn't come up witha credible plan on currency,YES simply argue blocking a currency union isn't credible,and we have ended up with two non compatible visions of a future indy Scotland.

      Using it as a dry run (which I agree they are doing) was a mistake, as a blow in its slightly different for me, but question is almost existential in nature - are you Scottish/British. EU one would have to be far more dry and technical.

    3. Both Better Togther and Yes leave a lot to be desired, there is no grass roots to Better Together, and Yes rather than an outlined plan has a strong rebuttal unit, which if NO says x will find someone who says -X and digs out motives for why the No advocate is not to be trusted, it is impressive but has led to muddy water. Until recently all the mainstream media is NO, Yes has hammered hard on impartiality, cyberNats man the comments sections similarly to the UKIPPers. But you actually get proper debate happening in pubs with friends, at work all over the place and its well informed and people pull up pdfs on their smart phones to back up points. I read a bullshit piece by Parris on Saturday about how politics has become a spectator sport. Rubbish, turnout on the referendum is going to be 80% or higher and that isn't driven by faith in either Salmond's or Darlings vision.
      Distance from the offices of main stream media and their opinion pieces has played a part, but that would be true for the EU one too.

      Best thing blogosphere could do is work up a iphone and android friendly repostiory for relevant data and speeches. Cos I am never going to recommend the dark arts of a rebuttal unit however awesome i found the doing over of the CBI

  7. so, who do we vote for ? Should we wait 2 decades for Dr North to stop writing about things and actually do something.. his meeting in a Harrowgate hotel hasn't improved my lot as far as I can tell except generate more words.
    has/have he/you/other critics of UKIP/Farage actually done anything except moan ?

    1. I think you might wait for more than 2 decades before Dr North takes up a pitchfork. He has at least engaged his brain and produced an excellent FleXcit plan. All we need now is for somebody in UKIP to recognise what a great gift they are being offered free and gratis.

    2. Apart from writing a fully workable exit plan that may actually win us a referendum you mean...?

      Do UKIP have an exit policy? No. And the consequence of that is the interview above. Do you seriously believe that kind interview based on a non policy policy will win us a referendum?

      As for who to vote for. Well it's like asking what colour car would you like to run over by - red, blue, yellow or purple?

      At this rate UKIP will lose us a might as well vote Lib Dem, the outcome will be precisely the same.

  8. My main complaint is he doesn't have a policy on leaving...regarding your question I guess that depends on the conclusions of a number of current Police investigations.

  9. ye gods, you still think that we will get a referendum !

    there are plenty in UKIP who would welcome North's input but he's as big a prima-donna as Farage so he will never work with him.

    1. The political momentum is clearly working towards a referendum particularly if there's a new EU Treaty.

      Even if not, UKIP should still have an exit policy on which to campaign on if only to stop the likes of the incoherent interview above which does no-one any favours.

      As for Dr North - his work is freely available on the internet, so why won't UKIP use his input?

    2. Political parties are full of people who hate each other, broader political movements even more so. In order to succeed they have to work together in spite of their differences, whether it's for the advancement of a cause or the advancement of their own careers. If Blair and Brown could do it then North and Farage ought to be able to.

  10. If losing the referendum would end any chance of leaving the EU for "at least a generation" then it would mean total defeat. After another twenty or thirty years the member states of the EU will have given up so much of their sovereignty that they will be countries in name only. All the real power will be held by unelected EU officials and "Britain" will be no more than a geographical expression.

    At that point independence would no longer be about an existing nation ending its membership of a transnational organisation because for all practical purposes the nation would have ceased to exist. It would be impossible to go back to the old Britain because all the laws, customs and institutions that had once defined it would have been abolished or changed beyond recognition. The situation wouldn't even be comparable to Scotland declaring independence from the UK after a referendum because the British government is willing to allow a vote and accept the result, which the EU would never do. Independence would actually mean a province of the single European state breaking away to create a new nation with a new identity, and if the history of nationalist movements in the 20th century is any guide it would probably be a very violent process.

    If we actually get a referendum the stakes will be enormous.