Tuesday, 1 September 2015

EU Referendum Question Is Set To Change

Following on from concerns by the Electoral Commission this morning over the wording of the current yes/no question, Cameron has announced that he is prepared to change the question in line with the advice:
[The EC] said that the question should set out the alternative option of Britain "leaving the European Union", while giving people the option of choosing whether they "leave" or "remain" rather than a simple "Yes/ No".

Within half an hour of the announcement a Downing Street spokesman confirmed that the government will table an amendment changing the question in line with the commission's proposals.
The Electoral Commission has always been consistent, since 2013, on the question it prefers:
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?'

The responses would be ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ / ‘Leave the European Union’.

Research participants found this the most neutral of all the versions tested.
Given the report stage of the Referendum Bill comes up next week where further amendments can be made, the EC's timing also seems perfectly reasonable. 
Interestingly this leaves Arron Banks's pet project, TheKnow.EU, in a rather awkward position. This blog has yet to be impressed with "The Know". Their Twitter account contains misleading and selective quoting of newspaper articles, jingoistic rhetoric, and as Autonomous Mind says: "completely inaccurate assertions about the additional EU budgetary contribution demanded of the UK".

Despite the name it's clear Banks knows nothing about the EU and now it seems he knows nothing about getting the name right for a referendum either. It's entirely his fault - the consequence of being presumptuous by jumping in before the Referendum Bill has even been passed. If they can't get their own name right then there's not much hope for anything else from them.

The jostling for position by Farage, Banks and Mathew Elliot for leading the campaign to leave has only revealed what a low grade position we are currently in. Everything from Farage announcing the launch of a "no" campaign on the day the EC releases its advice to fundamentally misunderstanding the terms of being designated the official campaign to leave shows a complete lack of understanding of even the basics of what a referendum campaign will look like.

The location of amateursville is being determined by a triangulation of egos; Farage, Elliot and Banks. They want it about them not us and if it continues we will lose.
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