Monday, September 19, 2011

What if an EU referendum went the same way as AV?


With news that there are advanced plans afoot for our mass desexualisation, the establishment of ‘gay marriage’, and the construction of thousands more grotesque (and useless) windmills on our green and pleasant land – all, His Grace is sure you will agree – priority concerns as the economy melts down and civilisation crumbles around our feet, it transpires that another Conservative MP has put his head above the parapet and demanded a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. His Grace has lost count of those who are getting restless or repenting and recanting their previous Europhile delusion.

While ConHome is jubilant, and the grassroots doubtless urging Mr Pritchard to have a chat with 1922 Chairman Graham Brady in an attempt to persuade him to come out as well, His Grace would like to ask an inconvenient question.

Say the Prime Minister also recants and grants the much longed-for referendum on the EU. What then?

Where is the cohesive planning and preparation for victory? How do you propose to unite the disparate and disjunctive voices to pool their efforts and resources in the pursuit of a common objective? We have inter alia the Campaign for an Independent Britain, the Bruges Group, the Democracy Movement, the Better Off Out campaign, the European Foundation, The People's Pledge, The Freedom Association, Open Europe, Conservatives Against a Federal Europe, EU Referendum Blog, Global Vision...

And the reality is that the leaders and members of some of these groups thoroughly despise those who lead and support others, so much so that they are barely on speaking terms and regularly berate each other in their respective fora. Good grief, even UKIP can’t coalesce around a single political strategy, with its own (few) elected politicians resigning, defecting and demanding a change of leader. The anti-EU movement is defined by that to which it is antithetical: there is no unifying movement towards any positive vision, and that includes even the idea of a referendum. In truth, there are some very prominent individuals who are so unyielding in their infallible opinions and uncompromising in their dispositions that unity of purpose is an impossible ask: the contempt they have for others is palpable. Even the arch-Eurosceptic Bill Cash MP was recently heard to criticise the arch proponent of 'Better Off Out' Douglas Carswell MP - for having 'extreme views' on the EU! We not only have the People's Front of Judaea and the Judaean People's front, but the front and rear of the people faffing around about semantics in Samaria while the occupation and destruction of Judaea continues apace.

We were told time and again before the AV referendum that there was a ‘progressive majority’ in favour of electoral reform; that people wanted change, a different politics, a fairer system, a more democratic method of electing their representatives. After decades of wailing and wandering in the wilderness, the Liberal Democrats got their manna and quail.

But they blew the holy grail.

The pro-AV campaign was disunited, poorly articulated, badly led, painfully patronised and hopelessly disorganised. Against all that, its generous and credible funding went absolutely nowhere.

Similarly, on the matter of an EU referendum, we are told time and again that in excess of 50 per cent of the nation would vote to leave the EU tomorrow. And so those who yearn for liberation continue to demand such a referendum. Despite the chronic divisions in the ‘withdrawal’ camp, the demand is still for this strategy – the success of which would be wholly contingent upon unity, charismatic leadership, creative strategy, credible patronage and very generous funding.

And Sir James Goldsmith is, very sadly, no longer with us.

The disparate, swivel-eyed, little-Englander, extremist, Right-Wing Withdrawalists would be up against the unified, enlightened at utterly reasonable voices of the entire Establishment – Government, BBC, Church (CofE and RC), and even the Monarchy itself.

Let us not forget that the 1975 referendum on the UK’s continuing membership of the EEC was held at a time when previous polls had suggested a clear majority in favour of withdrawal. That poll was overturned by charismatic politicians, cross-party consensus, an unequally-funded campaign, clever marketing and the erosion of reason by omnipotent pro-EEC forces. We saw it again (and again) in Denmark over the Maastricht Treaty; in France over the Constitution for Europe; and in Ireland over the Lisbon Treaty. If ‘No’ is not an option, ‘Out’ becomes be an unthinkable heresy.

His Grace despairs, and cannot for the life of him work out why those who demand a referendum are not already planning, plotting, scheming, strategising and preparing for victory. Where is the media onslaught? Let us hear of falling taxes, reduced burdens on business, rising employment, increased standards of living, and a prosperous UK as part of EFTA, the Commonwealth and the free-trade world. Instead of deploying the language of military defeat - terms like ‘Out’, ‘Oppression’ and ‘Withdrawal’ - let us hear talk of ‘Freedom’, 'Democracy', ‘Prosperity’ and ‘Britain in the World’. Yet getting even that unified message out of anti-EU organisations would be like herding cats. The Europhile Establishment is vastly more experienced are far more advanced in such matters. Nick Clegg was quite simply not the man to lead the pro-AV campaign, and none better emerged. So, please, for God’s sake, stop banging on about a referendum until someone emerges who could win it.

36 Comments:

Blogger James Reade said...

It would be silly to write of "falling taxes, reduced burdens on business, rising employment, increased standards of living, and a prosperous UK as part of EFTA, the Commonwealth and the free-trade world", because it's hard to see exactly why these would be the case.

Why would taxes fall? It's not obvious. Last time I checked, it's the UK government that taxes us. What we save from our "net contribution" would just go towards replicating the things currently done by the EU back here in the UK. No obvious gain.

Why would the burdens on business fall? Again, it's far from obvious, since Westminster also makes creates quite a lot of red tape, and your anti-immigration stance (and that of your party) is creating yet more despite your claims to the contrary.

Rising employment caused by exiting the EU? Well, if you are someone who believes you can find a single, direct cause for employment rising, good for you. Those of us who actually look at the data and use economics can find many reasons. And we've noted since we don't have dramatic prejudices in one direction or the other, than employment has risen on many occasions since 1973.

Same goes for living standards.

But I know, when you're on the political extremes, you have to ignore all evidence to the contrary of what you believe in order to argue as strongly as you do.

19 September 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger bluedog said...

His Grace asks: 'Say the Prime Minister also recants and grants the much longed-for referendum on the EU. What then?'

Events, Your Grace, events.

The logistics and timetable of launching any refendum will be swamped by the Eurodeluge.

They say a rising tide lifts all boats, but the exception of course is a Eurotsunami.

19 September 2011 at 11:35  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

There will never be a referendum on liberation from the EU until the turkey's get a vote on Christmas!

Domestic politics is just a rung on the career ladder until you reach the lofty heights of EU commissioner : anonymous, omnipotent, unaccountable, undefeatable, unremovable.

The only remote possibility of there ever being such a referendum is if the result of it were foreknown to be in favour of our continued enslavement. And - even then - should there be some catastrophic outcome, there would be some clause that meant the result was not actually enforceable and we would need to vote again, and again and again.

Sorry to be such a pessimistic cynic, but I don't think our path to liberty will come through the ballot box any more. Willing - and hoping - to be convinced otherwise.

19 September 2011 at 11:38  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"And the reality is that the leaders and members of some of these groups thoroughly despise those who lead and support others, so much so that they are barely on speaking terms and regularly berate each other in their respective fora."

Which of course is the reason why many of them would see no problem in our country adopting a similar stance to its European neighbours.

19 September 2011 at 12:15  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

‘From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.’

The British being at the apathy/dependence phase of the cycle of democracy, it could well be that they would vote for the smothering comfort of Nanny Brussels rather than take their first steps as a newly free people. The European Union will collapse—every dictatorship lives on borrowed time—so we shall, one day, be free again. Heaven knows, though, a referendum followed by a dignified leave taking would be far more satisfying and far less messy.

@ James Reade (11:23)—In 2009, the Taxpayers’ Alliance estimated the annual cost of Britain’s EU membership at £118 billion. The figure includes the ‘real, underestimated and hidden’ costs of membership.

19 September 2011 at 14:12  
Blogger Daddy said...

The Monty Python analogy is one which I have used to represent the fathers' rights movement, which is similarly characterised. It is unerringly true of most such struggles as these, and arguably tells us more about human nature than the struggles themselves!

19 September 2011 at 14:32  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

An in-out referendum on the EU is a very unwise idea. The entire establishment would combine to ensure the result would be as it wished. The dice would be loaded, just as they were loaded in the 1972 EC referendum.

And then what? When the majority votes to stay in, we have not only lost the battle for a generation, but the entire war. There is no value in winning the argument but losing the vote. It might make us feel good and righteous and vindicated, but that would not solve the practical problem. The risk is appalling.

Some of us have been saying this for a long time, loudly and clearly. Why does it take some people so long to catch up?

For the clearest strategic thinking on this matter, readers are advised to consult Richard North's EUReferendum blog.

19 September 2011 at 14:45  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr Rebel Saint, you tell us that 'Domestic politics is just a rung on the career ladder until you reach the lofty heights of EU commissioner : anonymous, omnipotent, unaccountable, undefeatable, unremovable.'

You omitted an adjective: Rich

19 September 2011 at 14:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

Petty in-fighting indeed. What we need is a respected figures above it all, that the country, and our squabbling leaders, can unite behind in our desire for freedom.

Step forward His Royal Highness, Prince Charles (....no less...)

19 September 2011 at 14:50  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Office of Inspector General

I think you will find that we are people not plants. I also doubt that his ideas on inter faith unity would be over popular in these quarters.

But anyway you made me laugh!

19 September 2011 at 15:14  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

You've all forgotten.

There are a lot of people who were strongly pro_EU for a long time, or who believed we should have been "IN" a long time BEFORE the 1970's - like we should have been an original signatory back in 1956 (ish) - I am one such.
Who have now turned agianst the whole thing as a good idea gone competely corrupt and stinking.

And, I think there are a lot of us.

19 September 2011 at 16:10  
Blogger PJ said...

We need a euro-skeptic movement, that incorporates all the pro referendum organisations.with a charismatic leader. A movement so strong that there would be very little chance for the vote to be negative. It needs to start now, if it is to succeed

19 September 2011 at 16:10  
Blogger Oswin said...

Whatever happens, we WILL leave the EU. The world is in a period of intense flux; some 'event' unforeseen, or otherwise, will free us. One way or another, it is an inevitability.

In the meantime, Your Grace, please ease-off on the anti-windmill stance. They'll surprise you yet, whilst ensuring our ''green and pleasant land'' remains just that.

19 September 2011 at 16:23  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Surely we could all unite behind the splendid Dan Hanaan?

19 September 2011 at 16:28  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Martin Sewell,

Not if Dr Richard North and many UKIP members have anything to do with it...

19 September 2011 at 16:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Of course, Your Grace, there's always the option of simply reclassifying the EU as an oversized sausage and to wait for it to be regulated out of existence, in an entertaining act of bureacratic canibalism, by the European Natural Sausage Casings Association. I kid you not, YG, see: http://www.ensca.be/casings/idj/welcome.html

19 September 2011 at 16:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

tory boys never grow up

I think you’ll find the archbishop is spot on regarding what would happen if our current disparate heads of anti EU groups should ever face a referendum now. You can be sure the first item they’ll each put in place is which of their counterparts is to blame if the vote fails.

No – we need a figure of authority who is above it all. Prince Charles is the obvious choice. As it is, he may become king of the northwest province of the EU. Until Brussels (or should that be the real power, Germany) decides the northwest province of the EU no longer needs a king...

19 September 2011 at 16:56  
Blogger Hereward said...

The EU is bailing water into its boat. Sovereign debt is spiralling and contagion a certainty. Things are not looking too good politically in Germany either. If their coalition fails and early elections ensue, markets will probably panic and the financial crisis could get well out of hand.

We are surely living through the prelude to Eurogeddon. This is no time to muck about with an in/out referendum and risk losing it. We shall have to keep scepticism simmering for now and see what happens. Maybe events in Europe will get so bad that the Government does a political somersault and embraces UK Independence as if it had been their objective all along.

19 September 2011 at 17:40  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"Surely we could all unite behind the splendid Dan Hanaan?"

Oh please do - it would make life so much easier!

19 September 2011 at 18:08  
Blogger C.Law said...

YG, I don't think I have ever been in such full agreement with you on any topic before: spot on !

OIG, recommending Prince Charles for the job of leading the campaign once was a funny joke. The apparently serious repetition merely makes you look foolish: he is neither charismatic nor authoritative. [His elevation to the throne and therefore to the position of the head of the CofE raises a host of problems for that church - but that's a matter for a different thread on another day!]

19 September 2011 at 18:18  
Blogger IanCad said...

Please! No referendum.
Firstly it is antithetical to our representative form of government. Secondly, I would bet that it would lose.
A manly, and principled conservative leadership is needed, that would lead us out of the morass that is the EU.
We should not even think about degenerating our political system to one of mob rule

19 September 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Good points, Mr IanCad. Rarely has a single paragraph, such as yours, changed my mind on a substantial issue.

19 September 2011 at 19:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

C. Law

If you are serious about leaving the EU, then a figure of authority under which all others could fall in under is a most necessary requisite.

By all means, do suggest an individual yourself that could be considered.

The Inspector could think of no one better than a commander from WWII (...would that any were still with us...), who understands what unconditional freedom is all about. However, that chap General Mike Jackson would be an acceptable candidate. As a former chief of staff, he’d know how to deal with the political side...

19 September 2011 at 19:49  
Blogger len said...

Our Government would love to give us a referendum but only if we (the unsuspecting public)could be trusted to give them the 'right' answer.

It has taken hundreds of years ,countless thousands of lives to get us into the position those who wish to control Europe have got us in.

Referendum......no way.

19 September 2011 at 19:51  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Charlie "Reincarnate as a Tampon" Jug-ears is a suitable figure of authority to lead the way out of the EUSSR?

Are you extracting the micturation?

19 September 2011 at 21:30  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, the reason why there are no post EU plans being drawn up is because those so called Tory Eurosceptics are anything but. Why else are they wibbling on about "renegotiating" our position and winning back "control" rather than drawing up a strategy and leading the charge out of the nearest emergency exit?

19 September 2011 at 21:34  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ IanCad (19:10)—We should not even think about degenerating our political system to one of mob rule.

You mean the Britain of today is the product of a non-degenerate political system? Give me mob rule à la Suisse every time.

19 September 2011 at 22:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Gnostic

Rather rude to the heir to the throne aren’t you ! And your name for a unifying figurehead to get us out is...

19 September 2011 at 22:25  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

What a truly remarkable idea,yes let us just sit and do nothing,after all it was doing nothing that led us here in the first place,and look at how well we have prospered,and so we should remember the words of ted heath,"leave it alone and it will go away"

20 September 2011 at 08:00  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mr Office of Inspector General.

I'll be as rude as I like about the Crown Cretin. A bigger reason for forming a replublic I can't think of. I'm hoping the succession skips a generation.

If there was a unifying figurehead waiting in the wings to lead us out of this nightmare I think we'd already be aware of s/he. But since the wings have been pulled off and fed to the Brussels rats there isn't one lurking in the shadows, is there.

Sigh...

20 September 2011 at 08:40  
Blogger C.Law said...

OIG, I don't have a candidate, but I cab guarantee that Prince Charles is not the man for the job. I don't understand your support for this figure of fun who was quoted, as alluded to by Gnostic, in a (hacked- not that I approve of that, by the way) telephone message to Camilla (while he was still married to Diana) as wishing to be her tampon.

20 September 2011 at 10:41  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Peter Bone and his audience of Lib Dem delegates both thoroughly enjoyed his winding up act on Newsnight.

But while they all applauded when he accused their party of having significantly watered down the (still horrendous) proposals for the NHS, there was complete silence when, in the previous breath, he accused their party of having blocked the repatriation of powers from the EU. Everyone knows that David Cameron no more wanted that than Nick Clegg did, and that he would never have attempted it even if he had had a majority of two hundred.

Might Lib Dem activists be following the remnant Liberal Party and the remnant SDP in waking up to the reality of a legislative body which meets in secret and publishes no Official Report, of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, and of subjugation to the legislative will of of Stalinists and Trotskyists, neo-Fascists and neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura, neoconservatives such as now run France and Germany, Dutch ultra-Calvinists who refuse to have women as candidates, and people who believe the Provisional Army Council to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland?

Such concerns, along with a Keynesian opposition to what have always been the EU's economic agenda, have always been articulated at every level of the Labour Party, where they are very much re-emerging to the fore at the moment. Not for nothing did three times as many Labour as Conservative MPs vote against Maastricht, including, in Bryan Gould, the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so, while John Prescott and David Blunkett had abstained rather than support it at a meeting of Labour's National Executive Committee.

When the Conservative Whip was withdrawn from a mere eight MPs, joined by another who resigned it in sympathy, for abstaining on the European Finance Bill, 44 Labour MPs voted against it. Then as on Maastricht, the Labour three-line whip was to abstain. Then as on Masstricht, not a single Labour MP rebelled by voting in favour. One of Labour's anti-Maastricht contingent, Peter Hain, went on to be Minister for Europe even under Tony Blair, and is now writing Ed Miliband's plan for party reorganisation.

Peter Hain, late of the Young Liberals. Nick Harvey, now a Lib Dem Defence Minister, also voted against Maastricht. Simon Hughes, now Lib Dem Deputy Leader, abstained. Even on the essentially meaningless proposal for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the Lib Dem rebels in favour included David Heath, now Deputy Leader of the House, Alistair Carmichael, now Chief Whip, and Tim Farron, now Party President.

Whereas all the concentration is on the brayers about "wegulation fwom Bwussells", the worshippers of the Prime Minister who signed the Single European Act, the people whom Fleet Street and the BBC remember as the least intelligent members of their own public school forms. We are now being told that there are around 120 of them. Where? Who? There is a world elsewhere, you know.

20 September 2011 at 22:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

And thus, the inimitable Dave Lindsay appears on the event horizon as a rogue black hole, a dreadful singularity sucking and pulling all joy and potential commentary into a maelstrom of profound indifference. The long-form version of a period to a forum.

22 September 2011 at 15:55  
Blogger len said...

Don`t bother me much Avi, I never read long posts specially if they lose my interest on the first paragraph ,(bit like Party Political broadcasts)

22 September 2011 at 17:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You, len, confirm my theory that Mr Lindsey is running for sometething. I'd suggest a human version of the long-sought universal soporific, but I think he has it's nearest relative in mind; politics.

22 September 2011 at 18:26  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

i

23 September 2011 at 11:44  

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