We have already highlighted the fear tactics used in Norway’s 1994 vote on EU membership. In the 1975 referendum campaign in the UK, similar tactics were used, just as they are at the moment. Here is Peter Shore’s stirring speech at the Oxford Union debate 3 days before the 1975 referendum debunking “Project Fear”. Well worth a listen, according to our President, George West.
This could be the week for which many of us have longed and campaigned for years – the moment when the “Brexit door” will finally swing open! Of course, a “leave” vote will only be the start of a process to disentangle us from the EU, but it would still be the occasion for a great celebration after all the hard work so many of us have put in – sometimes stretching back over many years.
The polls suggest that things are very tight. We seemed to be on a roll last week, but the tragic murder of Jo Cox seems to have slowed our momentum as campaigning was almost completely stopped when the news was announced – and rightly so. However, the worst possible result would be a narrow win for “remain” driven by a mixture of an emotional response to the actions of a madman and a fear campaign that would still leave the fundamental issue of our dissatisfaction with the EU unresolved.
This must not happen for our country’s sake and it is apparent is that there are still undecided voters out there who can and must be won over. Many of them are still ignorant of the nature of the European project and I have received many comments that the “headline” campaign featuring prominent politicians has done little to inform them.
This does present us with a great opportunity. A poll published by the Sun a couple of weeks ago found that people were four more time more likely to trust a stranger than a politician to tell them the truth about the EU. We, as ordinary people, can make a real difference and indeed are doing so. Support for leave among the Roman Catholic community in Northern Ireland is rising, although it is unlikely that either this group or Scotland will deliver an overall “leave” vote.
London has also been something of a stronghold for Remain, but a new “London for Leave” group has been working behind the scenes to sin support in our Capital. You can watch a short video produced by the group here and an event is planned in Soho tomorrow. If you are able to support it, please contact Ayumi for details.
Brexit the Movie continues to attract viewings, with over 1,380,000 to date. Its left-of-centre counterpart Lexit the Movie is also receiving a lot of hits considering it was only launched a few days ago.
For anyone looking to provide their friends with a balanced view giving both sides of the argument, James Bacon’s helpful website is a very useful resource. James does support leaving the EU, but reached his decision after much patient analysis of the pros and cons. You will find none of the hot-headed claim and counter-claim that has put so many people off the whole debate.
Our final leaflets have been mailed out now. You are still welcome to download and print pdfs from our leaflets page and we will are also offering two window posters (large and small) which you can print off.
A couple of final tips:- Don’t forget to circulate your freinds and colleagues by e-mail and to update your Facebook pages, etc. explainig why we should leave the EU. I have been surprised by the positive response to an e-mail I sent out to some old friends over the weekend. As mentioned above, there are undecided voters out there and you can help them decide to leave.
Also, it is worth contating your local “leave” group to see if you can help with transporting voters with limited mobility to their local polling station on Thursday. To reiterate, every vote counts!
This evening, the final weekly e-mail will be sent before the referendum. We will post further articles to the website in the coming days, but hopefully, the next weekly e-mail will include a celebration of a great victory, won by ordinary people against the odds.
Finally, you may enjoy the poem below, sent by one of our supporters:-
‘Won’t you join our Common Market?’ said the spider to the fly,
‘It really is a winner and the cost is not too high’
‘I know De Gaulle said ’’ Non’’, but he hadn’t got a clue,
‘We want you in, my friends and I, for we have plans for you.
‘You’ll have to pay a little more than we do, just for now,
‘As Herr Kohl said, and I agree, we need a new milch cow,
‘It’s just a continental term, believe me , mon ami,
‘Like ‘’Vive la France’’ or ‘’Mad Anglais’’ or even ‘’E.E.C.’’.
‘As to the rules, don’t worry friend, there’s really but a few
‘You’ll find that we ignore them – but they all apply to you.
‘Give and share between us, that’s what it’s all about,
‘You do all the giving, and we all share it out.
‘It’s very British, is it not, to help a friend in need?
‘You’ve done it twice in two World Wars, a fact we must concede,
‘So climb aboard the Market Train, don’t sit there on the side,
‘Your continental cousins want to take you for a ride’
It lasts just over an hour and can be watched here. It features archive footage of the late Tony Benn and more recent interviews with Kate Hoey and George Galloway. It highlights the long-standing tradition of left-of-centre withdrawalism and mentions that some trade unions, including the Bakers’ Union and the RMT, support Brexit. Helle Hagenau (pictured above), a long-standing friend of CIB, points out that in Nordic countries, EU-scepticism is very much a centre-left phenomenon.
It is good that we are hearing a strong left-of-centre pro-withdrawal voice in this debate. This video has come at an ideal time, with John Cryer announcing his decision to back “leave” only yesterday. It is ideal to show to any left-leaning voters who support remain or are still undecided. It has a long way to go to catch up with “Brexit the Movie”, which has been downloaded over 1,200,000 times already, but the more views it receives, the greater likelihood that we will see a decent “leave” vote next week.
As Project Fear goes into overdrive, there are plenty of good grounds for scepticism.
Lord Stoddart, for one, is distinctly unconvinced. “On the same day that former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling stood on a platform with current Chancellor George Osborne to support the imposition of additional swingeing taxes on the British people, if they dare to vote for Brexit on 23rd June, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn emphatically states in the House of Commons that the Labour opposition will oppose any such measures, whether or not Britain leaves the EU,” he said.
“Since 59 Tory MPs have also said they will not support Mr Osborne’s measures, it is clear that his threat is a completely empty one and yet another scare story bites the dust! It is equally clear that the Remain campaign is in chaos. They are so busy inventing irresponsible scare stories aimed at bullying the voters, that they are forgetting to take the elementary step of consulting with each other. How can we trust anything they say?”
Of course, a vote to leave the EU sounds the death knell for George Osborne’s hopes of succeeding David Cameron, so it is unsurprising that he has been pressing the “fear” button even harder than usual as the polls swing round towards a leave vote.
Recent headlines talk of the pound “plummeting”. Check out the Sterling/US Dollar exchange rates and although the pound has fallen slightly since the polls started to show a lead for “leave”, £1 is currently (as at 10.30 on 17th June) worth over $1.42. HIGHER THAN THE LOW POINT FOLLOWING MR CAMERON FIRST ANNOUNCING THE REFERENDUM DATE NEARLY FOUR MONTHS AGO.
Those who heard Helle Hagenau from Norway’s Nei til EU speak at our rally last month will remember that she described how the Norwegians were threatened with thousands of job losses the day they voted not to join the EU. This did not come to pass – in fact, Norway became more prosperous after the 1992 vote to stay out.
We pointed out here how 364 economists predicted that Sir Geoffrey Howe’s 1981 budget would cause an economic calamity and were proved badly wrong. It was this budget, not our entry to the EU eight years earlier, which was the point when our moribund economy finally turned round
Of course, the has been a distinct lack of detail rgarding how we are going to leave. We know that Flexcit has been downloaded by a number of senior civil servants and whatever the proposals of some of the most prominent campaigners, it is highly likely that this is going to be the route which the Government will take as it is far an away the safest route to guide our economy through the Brexit door. It would ensure that any drop in the pound or the FTSE-100 would prove short-lived.
The lack of agreement of a consistent exit strategy has been the Achilles heel of the Leave campaign, which is a pity. If we had been able to silence the scaremongers regarding the route throug hthe Brexit door, the vote would have been in the bag a long time ago. It has been frustrating that we have ot been able to re-focus the issue on the political nature of the EU, which is pity given the quality of such offerings as this speech by Lord Owen which highlights the federalist nature of the EU project and is well worth listening to.
Therefore, the economic issues will still rumble on right up to referendum day. The bottom line is that if we vote out, the buck stops with David Cameron. The markets will be looking for a detailed response from the Prime Minister regarding the timescale for invoking Article 50 and what exit route he is going to take. His civil servants know there is a proven risk-free route to economic stability which will quickly calm market nerves. If he chooses to ignore their advice and pussyfoot around, he and he alone must carry the can for any forthcoming economic downturn.
Earlier this year, the Campaign for Independent Britain published a booklet by John Ashworth of Restore Britain’s Fish entitled The Betrayal of Britain’s Fishing to the European Union. It was based on a series of articles which appeared on our website a couple of months earlier.
John, who spent his entire working life in the fishing industry, has been advising the Fishing for Leave group, who were organising a big demonstration to highlight the damage which the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has done to our fishing industry. Yesterday was their big day. A flotilla of fishing boats from several parts of the UK assembled at Southend at 5AM to sail up the Thames. They arrived at Tower Bridge (which had to be raised to accommodate some of the larger larger Scottish vessels) at 10AM. It was a very moving moment when the fishing boats appeared, some of which had travelled hundreds of miles to make their point about how the iniquitous CFP has damaged their livelihood.
After mooring the larger boats by HMS Belfast, seven smaller boats, headed by a contingent from Ramsgate, sailed off via London Bridge to Westminster to make their protest outside the Houses of Parliament. Their presence would have made David Cameron’s statement at Prime Minister’s Question Time (which was going on at the time) that the UK’s fishing industry was “much better off today than it was five years ago” ring very hollow.
There was a good crowd on London Bridge as the boats sailed past while Westminster Bridge had something of a carnival atmosphere as hundreds of people jammed the pavement to show their support for our fishermen. John had travelled down from his home in Yorkshire with a suitcase full copies of the booklet, which were all received gladly, both by passers-by and fishermen’s groups who were part of the crowd. As an East Sussex resident, I was particularly pleased to meet a group of Hastings fishermen who enthusiastically accepted a few copies to take back with them. “This booklet will make you very angry, ” I warned them!
Besides the UK press, a considerable number of foreign radio and TV stations were present. Arron Brown, the Scottish fisherman who had organised the event, was inundated with request for interviews and John Ashworth was interviewed by TV channels from Sweden, France and Russia. Danish and Polish press teams were also present. They would all have come away under no illusions about our passion to leave the EU and in particular, the depth of support we feel for our fishermen.
Of course, those of us watching from the shoreline were only partly aware of the shenanigans going on with Bob Geldof’s pro-remain counter-demonstration. Even as the first boats passed under Tower Bridge, a few little dinghies flying their “in” flags could be seen bobbing around between the fishing boats. I can’t claim to be unbiased, but they really looked pathetic. Quite frankly, it was an insult to people who work so hard for their living in very adverse conditions. I had the chance to spend a few minutes on board one of the larger vessels which had come down from the North East of Scotland and was made very welcome by the crew, but even without being given a full conducted tour of the boat, it was obvious that this was no luxury craft as far as accommodation was concerned.
The showdown between Geldof’s boat and that carrying Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey likewise did nothing to enhance the “remain” cause. One could not but consider the white flags they waved saying “In” looked like a flag of surrender. I couldn’t make out what the cacophony blasted out from his vessel was all about. Only by reading the press coverage of the event afterwards did I discover that it was a 1960s song which I had never heard of, entitled “In with the In Crowd” and quite frankly, I don’t think from what I heard yesterday that my previous ignorance about this musical masterpiece has been any great loss.
A correspondent informed me this morning that the skipper of the vessel which Geldof hired may face prosecution. Certainly, their behaviour, in particular making rude gestures at Mr Farage, won them few friends. Owen Bennett, a reporter who saw things close at hand, reported that “One man on a fishing boat was almost shaking with anger as he shouted across to us how the quota system was destroying his industry. He didn’t want to be lectured by Geldof, who seemed more intent on calling Nigel Farage a w***** than expressing a genuine interest in the fishing industry.“
And this is what has wrong-footed the Remain campaign. Geldof and the like fail to appreciate that, in John Mills’ words, “The EU may work for the metropolitan élite – but it doesn’t for most working people.” Our fishermen yesterday illustrated this truth in a particularly graphic and moving way. It was a privilege to have been there to support them.
The report of yesterday’s events on the Fishing for Leave website is well worth reading.
The Clyde demonstration planned for this morning has been cancelled as a mark of respect for the murdered MP Jo Cox. Fishing For Leave has stated on its website that it was not in the interest of public safety to proceed with the protest in the Clyde following ‘viable threats’ from Remain campaigners who claimed there would be “Armageddon” at the demonstration.
Married with a son and daughter plus three granddaughters, I have lived in Leicester for 20 years. I am not a member of any political party, now aged 81, having worked in engineering manufacturing for 51 years watching our heavy engineering virtually disappear and our fishing fleet destroyed by the EU.
I organised demonstrations to close down the EU-inspired East Midlands Regional Assembly and also had the EU flag taken down because it was being flown illegally above the main entrance to the Town Hall. In 2000 under Magna Carta I organised and, with the help of Groby voters, won hands down a Parish Poll to save the pound against the euro. For good measure, under the ancient law of Misprision, I laid evidence of alleged treason against Tony Blair at Leicester Magistrates Court which the Bench felt they couldn’t handle although I had done my duty as a citizen in making a detailed report.
I spent 10 with Leicester Jazz Society voluntarily promoting concerts and a jazz festival in the city, plus two years trying to establish St George’s Day celebrations in Castle Gardens. Now I spend my spare time on three NHS-related committees locally, plus organising Head & Neck Cancer Support Group meetings monthly at Coping with Cancer at Helen Webb House, Westleigh Road, Leicester. Having survived major cancer surgery to my head five years ago I am now used during the final exams at the Royal Infirmary for trainee doctors and those wishing to become Consultants
Around the age of 17 in 1951, I followed my father into a large engineering factory. There was little problem trading with and travelling around the continent before we were drawn into the Common Market. Becoming married and a father I became suspicious that we were not being told the truth about joining the EEC so I sat in the Commons the night we joined by a slender majority of 8 votes obtained by the withholding of crucial information from MPs about the terms of entry and a legal warning from Lord Kilmuir about the surrender of sovereignty hidden for 30 years. (see video film of former Labour MP Nigel Spearing on MPs being asked to sign a blank cheque)
At the stroke of midnight 1st January 1972 we turned our backs on and discriminated against our Commonwealth friends. We had to cancel duty free and other food contracts with those countries to enter the higher cost food market of the EEC without any thought to the major impact upon the economies of those countries who had historical and multicultural links with us. As Barbara Castle of the Labour party put it “This is the new internationalism, selected relationships dictated and controlled by a powerful European bloc. What kind of internationalism is it that henceforth this country gives priority to a Frenchman over an Indian, a German over an Australian and an Italian over a Malaysian”?
Since then I have campaigned to reclaim the sovereignty of our Parliament and Courts to make our own laws and regain the freedom to trade globally within and outside an ailing crisis-ridden EU of rising unemployment and social unrest
There are three issues and many more that worry me should we remain in the EU.
- The British public want truth and calm debate, not hysterical crystal ball predictions and threats bombarding us from the remain side. We began to distrust long ago politicians fobbing us off as though the British public are fools such as the time then Minister for Europe Keith Vaz claimed that the European new Charter of Fundamental Rights “would have no greater legal standing than a copy of the Beano”. Peter Hain said of the EU’s draft Constitution for Europe, the forerunner of the Lisbon Treaty setting the EU’s course for the next 50 years that it was, “a mere tidying up exercise”. We are getting bad tempered insults, mud-slinging with an eye to winning the next general election. The Labour party is as bad as the Conservative. It is the scratching of infected scabs left by long standing party conflicts.
- I owe my life to the NHS. I fear that the TTIP trade treaty being negotiated in secret between America and the EU will bring the full weight of privatisation, pharmaceutical, insurance, financial investment companies and legal professionals to fall upon the NHS. David Cameron says the NHS will be exempt. I do not trust him.
- The biggest concern is uncontrolled immigration. We need controlled immigration. Our history is built upon immigration over centuries. Our culture evolves over time if newcomers integrate gradually rather than bringing the problems of their own countries with them. We need to leave the EU and elect a Parliament to begin to get to grips to find the right balance between the types of skills and labour that are needed matched with the adequate provision of homes, schools, hospitals, transport systems and the many services that are required to avoid social tensions and civic unrest. It ought to be made known that economic immigrants on arrival should not expect to take or be given priority over UK residents. Joining the EEC required us not to set any limits on immigration from within the Community. Although Turkey is expected to join according to our government’s policy, on top of those arriving from other EU countries, 100,000 would be expected to arrive every year from Turkey. This is the estimate given by Lord Green to the Migration & Asylum Select Committee on 7th June based on the pattern from east European of known arrivals Our towns and cities are becoming overcrowded and air polluted whilst our countryside is coming under increased pressure with new urban sprawls
The evidence of uncontrolled immigration is perfectly clear to those who live, travel and work in cities, to those who want their children placed in schools, to those who want GP appointments and to those who want hospital treatment.
The Office of National Statistics state that at the time of my birth in 1935 the UK had a population of 46,870,000. It is now 65,089,427 with a projected increase to 74.3 million in 2039.
My wife’s parents were invited and came to the UK from the West Indies in early 1960s. Caribbean immigrants were needed to fill job vacancies because we had to cope with the loss of people killed in the second world war (326,000 military and 62,000 civilian deaths) who would have provided more children had they lived. Those immigrants arrived and came speaking the English language, wearing western dress and bringing Christianity as my wife reminds me. They had a rough time but in reasonable numbers integrated over time. We have never before known the scale and different cultures and different languages we have arriving now in the UK. We are told we need immigrants to counter an ageing UK population. This is perfectly true when a balance can and should be created and managed once we leave the EU. Sad to say our UK population is on average ageing as many women need or decide to work longer before couples can afford or want to start families. We should not raid the skills and labour especially for medical staff needed by the remaining populations in poorer countries. It is wrong morally to recruit doctors and nurses as a cheaper and short term alternative to spending money and time to train our own youngsters
I liken the EU to a lorry without insurance and MOT certificates travelling on worn tyres and defective brakes driven by under-qualified drivers along rocky roads to a destination signposted “Ever Closer Control”. David Cameron says he changed the signpost from “Ever Closer Union” but yet again, I do not trust him.
I trust the common sense and instincts of the British people to have the confidence to vote Leave to be governed in future by our Parliament by MPs we elect and not to be governed by unelected Commissioners we cannot get rid of.
Upon leaving the EU we would save billions of pounds. It is just not the money that we transfer directly to the EU but the even greater amount of money which burdensome regulations cost the UK economy. How much better when we are spending our hard earned money on our own needs and making laws and regulations to suit our own country and people. A brighter future beckons when we leave and take control.