The noise around the EU referendum debate

It is important that the Leave campaign stays focused on the big issues that matter. These are

1. We get our money back, bringing both the trade and current account deficits down by a fifth
2. We gain control of our borders.
3. We gain control of our own laws.
4. The UK regains places on the main world bodies it has lost to the EU, and becomes more influential in the world.
5. Our trade is not at risk, and we will be able to negotiate free trade deals where we wish.

The negative and unpleasant Stay in campaign wishes us instead to talk about

1. The Norwegian way – as if the UK had to pay loads of money to the rest of the EU once out for the right to buy all their exports!
2. Who leads the Leave campaign – to cover up for the poor media start of their campaign. We do not need a single leader, but a range of faces and voices.
3. Which senior figures sign up for the Stay in campaign – usually people who were wrong on the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and wrong on the Euro in the past.

We need to brush these nonsenses aside and concentrate on the big picture. The style of the Stay in campaign shows they have no belief in the structure and policies of the Euro driven EU, and wish to talk about anything apart from the centralising direction of their chosen international body. You rarely hear them saying anything positive about the Euro, about common borders, about political union, about business regulation and all other main features of the organisation they wish us to remain in.


  1. David Price
    January 22, 2016

    While I suspect some lack of control is down to obfuscation of gold plating by our own politicians and public sector;

    We gain control of our food resources – fishing and farming.
    We gain control of how our resources are used – shale and coal.
    We gain control of our energy strategy.
    We gain control of our business regulations.
    We gain control of our taxes – VAT should be reduced.
    We gain control of how our money is spent.

    Most importantly though, the buck stops at No. 10, we ought to be able hold our politicians and civil servants to account which it appears we cannot do today.

  2. Mick
    January 22, 2016

    Your mr Cameron would sell his granny for 6 pence, I do not not trust him one bit he is openling saying he would stay in the eu at any cost, it’s about time the outers up there game along with cabinet ministers and be more forceful to come out, I don’t have a crystal ball but if the in’s win God forbid there is going to be trouble in this country down the line on a scale not seen since the civil war

  3. Lifelogic
    January 22, 2016

    I would also add that:

    1. Above all we would restore some UK democracy.

    2. There is no status quo option. Staying in would be a death spiral for the UK as a democratic sovereign nation. It would rapidly become mere regions of an anti-democratic EU country. The elected UK “government” would become even more powerless and irrelevant. Any later escape would be most unlikely, extremely difficult and probably violent.

    3. Even those wanting to remain in should vote for out. An out vote will almost certainly result in some real and substantive renegotiation, a new and far better offer and a second referendum. Also it would always be easy to rejoin should we ever be foolish enough to want to, as the EU clearly strongly wants us in. Not that I would ever want to rejoin.

    4. The UK should show the exit door to others and show that we can do far better outside this sclerotic EU. It is our moral duty to do so for the sake of Europe.

    5. Energy will be far cheaper outside the EU. In the US it is often half the UK price. We would be far more competitive with cheaper energy and with far fewer daft regulations.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2016

      I see that Peter Hain (on Question Time) was spreading more pro EU scares – suggesting we would need to install full border controls in Northern Ireland and other problems there should we leave.

      1. Know-Dice
        January 22, 2016

        It was interesting to see that even though un-truths like border controls and loss of EU funded grants were well refuted, the “straw poll” still didn’t convince at least 50% of the audience that OUT was the correct way to vote…

        Also, Theresa Villiers who is apparently eurosceptic couldn’t even manage to say that any loss of EU funded grants would easily be covered by the funds repatriated from our EU membership fee. Hopeless…

        1. Lifelogic
          January 22, 2016

          Indeed most people think they do not know enough and most of the “experts” they see, most political parties, large industry and the BBC say that in is best – so they trust these dopes. Mainly the same dopes who were in favour of the ERM, open door immigration, the catastrophic warming religion and the EURO.

      2. Denis Cooper
        January 22, 2016

        Ireland shares our present treaty opt-out from the EU’s common immigration and asylum policy, it is the same Protocol (No 21) “on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice”. Provided Ireland is allowed to keep that opt-out after the UK has left the EU it will be free to maintain the present common travel area even though it will then be with a country outside the EU.

        1. acorn
          January 22, 2016

          If you don’t know what a Common Travel Area is, have a look at:-

          If you want to know what Chronic EU Protocol Constipation syndrome is, Denis can tell you in great detail. As we have witnessed with all the Treaty / Protocols to date, they mean, exactly, what the current crisis, requires them to mean. 😉

          1. Denis Cooper
            January 23, 2016

            Or, more to the point, you could look at:


            So do you think we should part of an EU which hypocritically tells the world that it is based on the rule of law:


            “The EU is based on the rule of law: everything that it does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by all member countries. These binding agreements set out the EU’s goals in its many areas of activity.”

            and which is now even more hypocritically preaching to the government of Poland about the rule of law, when you think that basically its supposedly binding treaties and laws are not worth the paper they’re printed on?

            A fact which has not gone unnoticed as far away as Australia:


            “What we have all learned over the past six years is this: None of the rules, laws and provisions that were meant to govern the eurozone are worth the paper they are printed on. When push came to shove, every single rule could be bent, amended, ignored or broken.”

      3. alan jutson
        January 22, 2016


        Yes, Nigel Dodds of the DUP made the only sensible comments to de-bunk the myth of the EU giving Northern Ireland financial assistance, which would stop if we left.
        As he explained. Yes for every £1.50 we give them, we get back £1.00 hardly a good deal is it.

        Theresa Villiers Conservative Northern Ireland Minister, was as wet as dishwater, and looked completely out of her depth in this discussion, for a supposed EuroSceptic she simply lacked the courage to make sensible comment to sensible questions.
        She came across as being evasive, and lacking in any sort of belief at all, while following the gagging order placed by Cameron to the letter.

        What a shame so many Conservative MP’s refuse to stand up and be counted, but instead put themselves before Country.

        Thank goodness we still have some, like our host, who will speak out.

      4. scottspeig
        January 22, 2016

        And the Labour woman suggesting she likes it as it is like a “left-of-centre House of Lords” which stops the elected government doing things in the UK!!

        You couldn’t make this up!

        1. Lifelogic
          January 23, 2016

          Indeed totally bonkers. The last thing the EU need is a left wing unelected body messing Europe up and destroying jobs. Anyway the House of Lords is also left wing, has she not noticed?

    2. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2016

      I read that:

      Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said the whole of European civilisation is under grave threat and the region must stick together in its own self-defence, warning that the departure of the UK would be a fatal blow. “It would be a tragedy,” he said.
      Mr Valls warned that the European system is alarmingly fragile. “Europe could lose its historical footing and the project could die quickly. Things could fall apart within months,” he told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

      Cameron has such a strong hand yet he is asking for nothing of substance at all. It certainly would not be a “tragedy” for the UK and indeed not for Europe in the medium to long run. It would be a very welcome tragedy for the absurd EU project, their bureaucrats, many politicians, Brussels and the EU establishment. Hopefully their would then not be any money to pay the EU wages & pensions to the many people who caused all this damage.

    3. alexmews
      January 22, 2016

      @ lifelogic – i have been arguing with various committed ‘stayers’ i know precisely on your point 3 above. In a negotiation why on earth would you support any other position? I am bewildered by so many folks’ willingness to fold on all of this.

    4. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2016

      Violent crime up by 27% I read. Gun, knife, murder, manslaughter, assaults and rapes all up significantly.

      Yet we have a PM who clearly does not want to have any real control over who can lives in the UK? This despite his absurd “no if no buts, reduced to the tens of thousands” claim.

      Despite this the police still have enough resources to have twenty police searching Lord Bramall’s house for 10 hours.

      Some good news “Cameron declares war on witch hunt and ambulance chasing lawyers”. But will he actually do it one wonders? He is usually all hot air and empty promises.

      1. Anonymous
        January 22, 2016

        Lifelogic – You have made connections with crime without knowing the facts. This is largely because we are not allowed to have the facts.

        Complaints of sex crimes are because of better reporting, apparently.

        Sexual assaults on public transport have increased because of – you got it – better reporting of crime !

        1. Lifelogic
          January 23, 2016

          True we do not know all the facts as they hide them. But I am sure I am largely right.

          1. Anonymous
            January 23, 2016

            I’m sure you are too, Lifelogic.

          2. Anonymous
            January 23, 2016


            A truly shocking report by Harriet Sergeant.

            The article mentions this:

            “Our goverment, our MPs certainly don’t decide who or how many people get to Britain – the criminal smuggling gangs do though.”

            Indeed it would be a surprise if the crime rates hadn’t gone up. The fact is that these figures are – as ever – an underestimate of true crime.

  4. Mark B
    January 22, 2016

    Good morning.

    You never hear anything good because if they tried, they would immediately be discredited, such is the failure of the EU.

    Their only chance is to frighten people and to muddy the waters of the debate, reducing it down to one of just xenophobia and bigotry.

    What people must also know, is that this is not just an IN or OUT campaign, but whether or not the UK wishes to further integrate with the EU at a later date.

    People may be frightened of leaving the EU, but are they ‘more’ frightened of remaining and the subsequent consequences of EVER CLOSER UNION ?

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 22, 2016

      Oh, that’s OK, once Cameron has finalised the reforms on the secondary issue of migrants’ benefits – at least until the ECJ overturns whatever is agreed because it hasn’t actually been written into the treaties – he can turn his attention to the more fundamental issue of “ever closer union” and get the UK an exemption – at least until the ECJ overturns that because it hasn’t been written into the treaties.

      The fact that when Cameron first said that he wanted to free the UK from that solemn commitment enshrined in the very first line of the Treaty of Rome that suggestion provoked outrage, but now very little is being said about it, suggests that some non-binding, ephemeral, fudge is in prospect.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 22, 2016

      I guess that the plan on “ever closer union” is based upon the suggestions for how Cameron could avoid asking for any treaty change which were helpfully provided by an eminent French lawyer, Jean-Claude Piris, back in April 2014:


      It is true that « the process of creating an ever closer union (with a small « u »)
      among the peoples (not the States) of Europe » is enshrined in the Treaty, both in
      its Preamble and in art 1. A request to delete this would probably be opposed. But
      this political concept does not mean that the aim is to establish a Federal Union among the member States. Actually, the Treaty obliges the EU to respect the history, culture and traditions of the peoples of Europe (Preamble and art 3(3) and to respect the national identities of the member States, their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, as well as their essential State functions (art 4(2)). Maybe a political Declaration, recalling that, would help.”

      Presumably he thinks that a non-binding political declaration would be helpful because for the past sixty years the Commission and the Court of Justice and the Parliament and all the other institutions have been consistently misinterpreting that crucial part of the treaties, and once it had been explained in a declaration by EU leaders they would realise their mistake and stop trying to constantly pursue “ever closer union”, at least as far the UK was concerned.

      It should be understood that while a protocol to the EU treaties is legally binding, treated as part of the treaty text, a declaration is not legally binding. Therefore if a political declaration conflicts with something which is actually enshrined in the treaties it is the declaration which must give way.

  5. Anonymous
    January 22, 2016

    And night after night the BBC news will show Europe being overwhelmed by women and children in little rubber boats. (Not the 70%+ of them that are pushy young blokes)

    The BBC show us this because they believe we all think like them.

    There is nothing better for the Leave campaign than this in actuality.

    Expect your PM to make his move when there is a BBC news blackout on this before the referendum is called.

    This is what he’s timing it all for – not negotiations.

    There is an easy answer to “3 million jobs will be lost !” and that is “They’re coming to take your jobs and your homes.” and etc ed

    And they are. That really is the truth of it.

    1. Anonymous
      January 23, 2016

      I see I’ve been moderated and I understand the rules of the house, Sir.

      Despite frequent complaints my experience is that you moderate sparingly and I thank you for that.

      I refer readers to Lifelogic’s comment at 2:57 to fill in the gaps. The recent figures on crime do coincide with both the sexual demographic change in Europe and the incidents in Cologne.

      What actually needs moderation is pushy young bloke’s behaviours and not my words.

  6. Lifelogic
    January 22, 2016

    You correctly say:- “You rarely hear them saying anything positive about the Euro, about common borders, about political union, about business regulation and all other main features of the organisation they wish us to remain in.”

    Indeed what could they say that was positive on these issues? They know they are onto a loser with them. Their usual approach is just to state how much the UK would lose by leaving (without giving any real reasons), waffle about the 50% of our being lost and a seat at the table drivel. They then come out with other absurd scare tactics.

    The people pushing for IN were nearly all the same dopes like John Major who took us into the ERM and would have pushed the UK in the EURO too. Also the same ones who fell for the catastrophic warming religion & expensive energy nonsense that did such harm to industry and cold pensioners. Ones who promised us the “subsidiarity” lie.

    Why keep using a compass that is proven to be duff, they have not even admitted and apologised for past errors?

    They keep suggesting that open door EU immigration is good for the UK economy (the BBC pushes this almost every day). But it is quite clear that intelligent & selective immigration is far better for the economy. Reject the ones likely to be large net liabilities and take the best ones from anywhere in the World. How can anyone suggest this would not be better still?

  7. Gina Dean
    January 22, 2016

    Why is the PM saying he is happy about delaying the referendum. Do the new rules that are due to come in to effect in the spring of 2017 not count. Which will make it almost impossible to remove us from the EU. Also how will this effect the 6 month control that the UK will have at the end of 2017.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 22, 2016

      “Which will make it almost impossible to remove us from the EU.”

      No, that is not so, that claim is founded on a misunderstanding.

    2. Vanessa
      January 22, 2016

      Please explain these new rules. This is the first I have heard of any more rules to make it more difficult to leave and where did you hear about them?
      Please enlighten us. Thanks.

  8. Denis Cooper
    January 22, 2016

    You refer to “the centralising direction of their chosen international body”, JR, but you don’t include that in your main points to be emphasised by the Leave campaign. As you yourself to aptly put it, if we stay in the EU we will be “on a wild ride to political union”, and the evolution of the EEC/EC/EU over the past forty years shows us that the future changes to the EU may be radical, and we the British people will not be able to stop them even if they are going in a direction that we don’t like.

    Of course under the present treaties we would be able to stop them when they involved treaty change if we were able to block them through a referendum, but once again the experience of four decades and more shows that if we were likely to do that then our politicians would prevent that by denying us our say in a referendum. For me this is as much about mistrust of our own politicians as mistrust of the EEC/EC/EU project which they almost all favour; we would never have got into the current mess if we had been more careful about who we voted for and why.

    1. peter davies
      January 22, 2016

      Its not just the treaty change thing. When EU leaders find something difficult needs to be done they always seem to find clever ways of dressing things up and finding other routes and call them “regulations” or “pacts”

      1. matthu
        January 22, 2016

        Our own government is not beyond dressing something up to make it more difficult e.g. Hague making it more difficult for the UK to demand a referendum when powers were given back to the EU.

        So I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the EU had special powers in the event of a security crisis which allowed them to dispense with any national referendums.

  9. Ian wragg
    January 22, 2016

    And whilst the EU slowly disintegrates they are about to vote on an EU Army headquarters. Germany has all but ensured the end of Schengen with Murky ‘ s stupidity.
    Another major financial crisis in site due to the failure of the Euro and still Dave polishes his EU credentials at Davos.
    Yesterday I received a BSE newsletter through the post and it was diametrically opposite the truth in every respect. Mind you being financed by ……Goldman Sachs what can you expect.

  10. DaveM
    January 22, 2016

    I’d like to see one of the Leave campaigns produce an objective, factual publication of some sort – written or broadcast – that explains exactly where the EU is going, and what this country will look like (in and out of the EU) in the next 10 years.

    How about also (bearing in mind the fact that the vast majority of the electorate in English) putting forward the suggestion that if we didn’t have so much EU business to worry about, we could concentrate on sorting out the UK constitution to give true fairness for England?

    Even the Europhile socialist Valls is now making noises which sound anti-Brussels.

    Obviously the financial and corporate side neds to be won over as you rightly say.

    However, a simple explanation that the EU is about to scrap the Dublin Convention, and the fact that one German woman, aided and abetted by her unelected cronies in Brussels, is effectively going to force 90000+ refugees/migrants/criminals, etc (per year) upon us is surely enough to convince people? I don’t want my grandchildren, neices and nephews to grow up in a country with (this ed) and I’m sure the majority of people in the UK feel the same.

    Your leader needs to man up, stop grovelling, and start thinking of the people who elected him, their children, and the generations to come. I wonder if the people of Witney would consider exercising their right to recall?

    1. DaveM
      January 22, 2016

      John, I’m not going to repeat what you edited because you’ll only edit it again, but you know what I’m saying is true. It’ll be horrendous if something isn’t done to stop this..

  11. fedupsoutherner
    January 22, 2016

    You are quite right John. When I talk to my friends they don’t know anything about the EU and what staying in really means. All they seem to concern themselves with are roaming charges and the fact that the Euro makes their holiday so much easier! I despair. By leaving we could also not have our hands tied when we want to help businesses like our steel industry. We could do the sensible things where our energy rules are concerned. Mind you, to do this we need people who know about these things and not those with history degrees etc.

    We will definitely need a strong leader if we are to vote OUT and I fear Cameron is not up to the job.

    As you say, we have to show why the IN reasons are flawed and tell the public more about the advantages in all areas. I turned off QT last night when Peter Hain started going on in his negative way. How the hell did this once great nation manage outside the EU???

  12. fedupsoutherner
    January 22, 2016

    The public should also be told how many jobs will be lost by staying in the EU because of higher energy costs (steel works etc) how many have already been lost and how many jobs we could get back by trading with the rest of the world without our hands tied behind our backs and by getting back our old industries.

  13. Leslie Singleton
    January 22, 2016

    Leave or Remain is all we are to be asked. Many might assume that a vote to Remain means Remain with Cameron’s Reforms but Brussels would say it was a vote for carrying on as before. Why do we not have three options, with the third being Complete Integration; and take the debate on from there? As brilliantly argued by Allister Heath yesterday, we will not have a leg to stand on unless we vote to Leave, after which the real negotiation could and definitely would begin.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2016

      Exactly but I would leave anyway unless those negotiations were only for free trade and with no membership fee. Cameron negotiations are a complete joke.

  14. Richard1
    January 22, 2016

    I do find it bizarre that the Obama administration thinks it’s right to make blatant interventions in the UK’s democratic process with this referendum. Most recently Jack Lew, US Treasury secretary, urged a Stay vote. It probably is in the interest of the US we stay in – the EU is an easier animal for the US to deal with with the U.K. In as a leading member. But it’s hardly right they are intervening in this way. Just as its right our govt has not urged Americans not to vote for Mr Trump despite his absurdities – it’s up to American voters. (We should also recall the US state dept was urging re-emerged nations not to leave the Soviet Union in 90-91.)

    The weight of establishment and international opinion urging a Stay vote is going to make it a very steep mountain for Leave to climb.

  15. The Active Citizen
    January 22, 2016

    I agree with your thrust that we should set the agenda and be positive. However I would make a plea that our starting position should be “What will persuade the majority of the undecided British electorate to vote to Leave?” The answer to that question should determine the agenda.

    This may mean that we, being part of the contra-EU ‘commentariat’, will have to re-evaluate what is important in this debate, and instead focus on the arguments which will appeal to the largest number of undecided voters out there. The questions in people’s minds when considering a Leave vote are surely likely to be:-

    1. Will I personally be better or worse off?
    2. Will my job be safe? (Might my job prospects get even better?)
    3. Will we be better off as a country, i.e. will my children be better off?
    4. Will we be safer or not, as a country?

    The majority of what I read on a very wide variety of websites and in comments below newspaper articles relates to issues of sovereignty and democracy, and immigration. Don’t get me wrong – these are absolutely critical issues for me personally. Regrettably, though, I don’t believe that enough people are as troubled by these first two fundamental principles as we all are.

    The issue of immigration is different. On this, the Leave campaigns need to address the oft-repeated claim that we will still have to accept the principle of free movement if we are to continue to trade with the EU after exit.

    For some of the Leave campaigners this is true. I know you disagree with me JR but Vote Leave in particular is deeply worrying in that their directors such as Cummings, Elliot and Hannan won’t even state categorically that a Leave vote means we will exit the EU. Goodness knows what form of post-Referendum arrangement they will be proposing soon.

    On the subject of immigration again – and adding in a dose of the ‘security’ issue – I suspect that the trend is our friend. We may not need to worry too much about persuading people about this if the continent’s immigration crisis gets even worse this year, which it surely will.

    Overall, if we remember that a large number of undecided people will vote on the basis of money, jobs, and security, we might be able to make some inroads into what I currently see as a big win for the Remainers.

  16. Mike Stallard
    January 22, 2016

    Nobody is pretending that the EU is going well. Indeed Mr Juncker himself (alongside every other European politician) is very critical of present performance.
    The problem is how you deal with unlimited immigration, the Euro, the relations with Russia over the Ukraine, unemployment and the democratic deficit. The leaders of Europe are well aware, too, of the growing impatience with the EU in Britain (although that is not really that important to them, coming right at the end of one of Mr Juncker’s speeches).
    We could get right out of the EU.
    We could try and negotiate as 1/28th of the states. We don’t have a lot of support in the EU at the moment, it seems, and Mr Farage seems to speak for the whole of Britain in the hemicycle. In that way we are toxic.
    What Mr Juncker has said (often) that he wants is to see greater integration and if possible, eventually (the strength is in the long term approach) for the whole of Europe to be in the Eurozone as one big economic and political union.
    The choice is yours (or, much more likely) Mr Juncker’s successors in twenty years time.

  17. Tim L
    January 22, 2016


    Anything Mr Cameron gets will not prevent a future pro-EU government accelerating the integration process to kill off Brexit once and for all, which they will.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 23, 2016

      Indeed and Cameron is asking for virtually nothing anyway.

  18. Iain Moore
    January 22, 2016

    1/ Has to be the restoration of our Parliamentary democracy, from this faux democracy where we elect politicians to play Westminster games while policy is set by Brussels, to one where there are no restrictions on a manifesto for Government and politicians are held accountable for that.

    Money is very secondary to that.

    And the challenge made to the ‘Inners’ should be that the EU is an institutionally sclerotic organisation that cannot offer ourselves or European nations a future, for it is locked into the past by the very treaties that created it , some decided and written down decades if not generations ago, like the Common Fisheries Policy that we struggled to change over 40 years that forced fishermen to dump a billion tons of fish into the sea, like driving Greece into penury for their rules, and like the EU’s inability to respond to the migrant crisis, or indeed like Cameron’s renegotiation where treaty change is beyond his ability.

    When we need a flexible Government to respond to uncertain future events, the EU, by its very structure, is a bye word for inertia.

    Why when we used to boast about our flexible constitution, which served us well and allowed us to respond to events, did we ever think it a good idea to exchange it for a sclerotic EU?

  19. Bert Young
    January 22, 2016

    I am still concerned that the “Brexit”, “Leave” and “Out” campaigns are still failing to act in a co-ordinated manner . A central and respected leader needs to head up these factions in order to combat effectively the rhetoric from 10 Downing St . Cameron has been rebuffed by Brussels and yet he still is stumbling along as if he is Mr.Wonderful , is the only one whose judgement counts and believes he can still drag a horse to water and make it drink .

    A robust individual is needed to bring sense to the campaign and to restore balance and fairness to the arguments . So far members of the Cabinet have been silenced to speak out and others – including Boris , are keeping their powder dry . Obviously the leadership of the Conservative Party is at stake and those who feel they have a chance , are looking at the direction the wind blows . Well , I believe this is the right time for guts and determination to show ; whoever does “come out” will win the support of the people and prove that they have the qualities of leadership this country so badly needs .

    1. Anonymous
      January 22, 2016

      Bert Young – A perfectly respectable leader was found in Nigel Farage.

      It was the establishment and media smear that disabled him from being so.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 23, 2016


  20. Denis Cooper
    January 22, 2016

    There’s a long article, largely a retrospective, in the FT:

    “David Cameron’s adventures in Europe”

    I would highlight one passage:

    “According to a number of ministers, officials and diplomats, Osborne was the key figure in ensuring that Cameron did not make demands that could not be achieved in Brussels; ideas such as repatriating EU social and employment law (which is opposed by the French) or demanding upfront treaty change were quietly dropped. “Osborne was by far the most reluctant to commit to a referendum,” said one diplomat. “He thought it was a gamble. If you could avoid taking it, why take it? He was the main player in ensuring we did not overbid.””

    This is pretty much what happened in 1975, except that then it was the mandarins in the Foreign Office who persuaded Wilson not to “overbid”, by which they especially meant asking for any treaty change rather than being satisfied with a few minor and probably temporary concessions under the existing treaty, concessions which might be given legal weight through secondary legislation or might just be political assurances.

    We know that is what happened, because a little while ago the Foreign Office’s internal history of that so-called “renegotiation” was published:

    Their argument was that any attempt to change the treaties might cause other countries to doubt the UK’s European “vocation”, and could make it impossible to achieve any changes at all.

    January 22, 2016

    A victory for the LEAVE campaign would restore to the UK Parliament the sovereignty its MPs engineered to give away.

    Many MPs particularly of SNP, Lib Dems, Greens, Labour Party, and N.Ireland parties do not wish to exercise the sovereignty of the UK Parliament. I do not wish them in effect to be in exclusive power either.
    Instead. Do I wish ever changing EU MEP’s to wield such sovereign power by voting STAY? Perhaps the devils I do NOT know is on balance a better decision. In fact, there is no reason as with many UK Parliamentarians to think of them as devils at all. They may have utterly betrayed their own nations. But not mine.

  22. stred
    January 22, 2016

    One way to gain the attention of pro EU uneducated and the brainwashed young voters would be to publish stories about the underhand policy formation of the undemocratic EU hierarchy. This should be done with hard copy, taking statements from the net, which most people never see. The CVs of the top officials, previous jobs in banking etc and their political climb to the top highly paid positions, with huge pensions. The attendance of politicians such as Clegg and the Danish female PM at EU university and the previous membership of communist organisations of others.

    Take the latest story about the Commission deciding to alter the status of people claiming asylum and the large proportion of them who are economic migrants. Print the opinion on the Deuchebank website saying how good inward migration is for Europe and Germany in particular. Print the statements by the Irish UN advisor on migration and his CV with banks and GATT. Print the statements by Mrs Mekel, made without consulting her voters or other local politicians. Then ask why, when there is resistance to the idea from Hungary, their PM is vilified. Then when other countries suffering mass immigration join in, the rest of us have to be forced to accept the policy by altering the rules.

    Show how their own scientific advisors published a paper showing that biofuels and burning wood pellets actually saves little if any CO2, their dreaded gas. Then how officials ignored the advice and went ahead anyway, only to be advised again by their own chief technical advisor that, having spent billions, it was not working. Expose the bungles and the energy p[olicy disasters. Many will not be interested but quite a few will be able to follow the technical arguments. Use pictures of American trees being chopped down in vast numbers and flashy electric cars. Show pictures of the Swedish windfarm which is being scapped after 20 years. Then do the real sums on CO2, taking into account central generation, showing the graphs for wind and biofuels against carbon and the carbon content of windfarms and the huge ships bringing wood pellets to Europe.

    Let them condemn themselves with their own words. Get the idea over to the young that they are signing up for an undemocratic ever expanding monster state. Find examples of people and firms from outside this state who trade, travel to, live in and own property in it. Bury the fear of the young that they will be isolated in an island, only able to travel and work outside Europe.

    Forget expensive leaflets, they spend all their time on the internet. Get stories and pictures out which atracts clicks, with enticing pictures. This is the way marketing is done these days. Find pictures of politicians they don’t like and show how most of them are quietly pushing the stay side, then put the stories beside the picture.

  23. alan jutson
    January 22, 2016

    Agree with your comments absolutely JR.

    Unfortunately the Eurosceptics do not seem to have a co-hesive policy at the moment, or indeed someone who will act as a figurehead to help co-ordinate the simple messages that need to be got across.

    Whilst I am fully aware that a number of Mp’s, including yourself, are doing their best and making excellent positive points with facts and figures, I fear time will run out before your campaign really gets up and running.
    Mr Cameron senses this, and that is why he would sooner go earlier rather than later on a referendum, as he cannot chance the real information getting out into the public domain.

    I fear that our population will be fooled yet again, by the men in blue suits.

  24. David
    January 22, 2016

    I think comparison on how Switzerland has done outside the EU is useful

    1. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2016

      Indeed and they are surrounded at least we have sea borders to the World.

  25. MikeP
    January 22, 2016

    Let’s be very clear on this – the EU member states are paying lip service to the renegotiation, they’re much more concerned (rightly so I guess) with their own countries’ performance in the present fragile global growth climate, with the oil price, Syria, Russia, Iran, China, ISIS and the huge influx of migrants and refugees. So not for the first time we’re an annoying distraction – one that just happens to pay in billions that they want to divvy up between them.
    So our ONLY COURSE OF ACTION, to get a result for Remain or Leave is to vote to Leave. Then we’ll be taken seriously, we will either actually leave and make our way again in the world, trading as a rich and independent sovereign nation, or we’ll put a rocket up Juncker, Tusk, Merkel and the other EU leaders who (as with Denmark and Ireland) will plead for us to think again, doubtless with Treaty change needed to deliver our demands.

  26. eeyore
    January 22, 2016

    One of the most ancient rules of controversy is not to multiply arguments. I rather think one good reason is enough for most of us, if it’s the right one. Immigration will of course weigh heavily on the result of the referendum, but I remember that a few months ago Mr Redwood calculated the immediate annual gain to the average household from pulling out – I think it might have been £300.

    Of course we who read this blog are all far too high-minded – and wealthy – to be bribed; but no one should underestimate the attraction of a simple bung to ordinary hard-pressed people, in the privacy of the voting booth, especially when it encourages them to do what they have half a mind for in the first place.

  27. oldtimer
    January 22, 2016

    I believe that the recovery of lost/surrendered sovereignty is fundamental to the Leave cause. It will enable the 5 issues you identify. Added to that would be the ability to change one government for another government that is not bound hand, foot and finger by the regulatory and bureaucratic embrace of the EU. That refreshing development might well require and promote a new generation of politicians who actually welcome responsibility and do not wish to be able to hide behind the existing system.

    More compelling for many voters, however, will be the recovery of border control.

  28. Antisthenes
    January 22, 2016

    Comparing the EU with the USA both came into being for very similar reasons, security and prosperity. Both apply very similar principles, free movement, trade, common political and economic policies etc. However one has worked reasonably well for a few centuries the USA. The other the EU after only a few decades is in a mess facing a number of crises with the very real threat of more to come.

    Unlike the USA the EU does not share a common culture, language, history or goals and came into being not out of genuine need as the USA did. It came into being to defend against a misguided perceived threat but worse because of misplaced ideology that idealised the concept of a common European state.

    Do we really want to be part of the EU especially when we have more in common with the USA, we have common antecedents after all, and yet we have no intention of becoming the 51st state of that union.

  29. Atlas
    January 22, 2016


    I’m finding that the whole ‘control of our borders’ issue is going rapidly up the list of my reasons to leave the EU. Being forced to take migrants who the German Government have encouraged to come is the last straw.

  30. graham1946
    January 22, 2016

    Whether we go or stay, it will fall apart eventually under the weight of its own immorality. It took the Soviet Union 70 odd years to fall and as this is a carbon copy it will go the same way. Some of us may not live long enough to see it unfortunately. They have learned nothing from the fall of the Soviet Union – you cannot keep people un-represented and in line by threat of force forever whilst favouring the few at the top. There is no safety valve on this pressure cooker and one day it will blow and the damage will be enormous.

  31. Shieldsman
    January 22, 2016

    What is this mysterious REFORMED European Union that Mr Cameron and the Media keep talking about?

    He goes to Davos and asks the Worlds banks and money men to support his efforts to seduce the British Public to vote to remain in the EU. Surely it was not necessary, he has already succumbed to their and President Obama’s wishes.

    Fraser Nelson has an interesting article in the DT: Be careful, Mr Cameron, there is a risk in cosying up to big business.
    He also has a warning for Tory MP’s: It would be toxic for the Conservative Party to be seen as the apologists of the establishment.

    So, no February decision on Mr Cameron’s letter to Donald Tusk. Why should they rush to make changes when our PM has said he wants to stay in. From now on it becomes a face saving act.

  32. peter davies
    January 22, 2016

    The “In Campaign” emphasis on trade is over stated in any case.

    Were tariffs to be introduced then they are normally in the 3% mark which is within the scope of exchange rate fluctuation.

    The key fact is “influence” – EU countries will at some point stop being countries in their own right and the UK will be forced to tow the line with mainland European priorities which often tend to be different to ours so you can probably add “security” to the list.

  33. bigneil
    January 22, 2016

    Found it rather odd that the vast majority of posts here and on other sites are for OUT, yet on last night’s QT about 2/3 were for IN. Did even the BBC audience selection team think 100% IN selection would be too obvious as spin?

  34. majorfrustration
    January 22, 2016

    Yes we do need to ” brush these nonsenses aside” but when are the Eurosceptic MPs going to stand up in public and be counted. Cameron is calling on business to support his pro EU stance even before the terms of a deal with the EU have been finalised. Please do not let the initiative pass to the “remain in ” lobby.

  35. A.Sedgwick
    January 22, 2016

    Although I have never been a fan of Mr. Cameron and had I had a vote for Conservative Party leader in 2005 it would have gone to David Davies I did see him as being more honourable. His approach to the Referendum has destroyed this view of him. His presentation at Davos and that’s what it was, not a speech, had a Billy Graham flavour as he paced the stage. He is making the rules as he goes, corporate bosses support Remain now – Conservative Ministers hold on until I give you permission. He hints agreement at the Feb. Council of Ministers looks iffy or is if because the immigration fiasco is going to get worse and manyana is the order of the day. The renegotiation fiasco now looks like becoming a ruse to have a snap referendum with the collusion of other EU leaders to wrong foot the Leave campaigns. What is on the bit of white paper is going to be nonsense – the key is Sovereignty or Submission.

  36. lojolondon
    January 22, 2016

    John, you are compltely correct, I would like to add another –
    6. The future. The EU’s plans to create an European Army, destroying nations armies, to further centralise decision-making, to implement taxes on nations, the inevitable overriding all Cameron’s ‘concessions’ with future ‘laws’ that will take precedence – it just gets worse and worse –

  37. Dennis
    January 22, 2016

    Now the EU knows how it feels to have uncontrolled immigration! This will strengthen Cameron’s hand on this issue I suppose.

  38. LondonBob
    January 22, 2016

    Conveniently the immigration and control of borders issue is making its own case at the moment. Still don’t lose sight of that angle, other issues matter and need emphasising but I believe it will be the most influential.

    Regardless of how accurate the polls are it is clear there is all to play for!

  39. John B
    January 22, 2016

    I think the biggest worry to most people by far is that we would lose jobs and we would be worse off if we left the EU. This is probably the biggest card that the In camp have to play and if it is not convincingly countered, they will win.

    I’ve just had a leaflet from the West Midland Stayers” with the headline “Six key facts you need to know”
    1 Over 3 million jobs are linked to our trade with the EU – that’s one in every ten UK jobs. (ONS, HoC library)
    2 Being in the EU means lower prices in our shops because it’s cheaper to trade and there is more choice – saving you on average £450 a year. (European Commission)
    3 while being in the EU costs each household less than a pound a day, independent experts estimate the benefits are worth £3,000 a year to the average household, due to lower prices and more jobs, trade and investment. (CBI, ONS)
    4 We are safer thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, which means we can arrest criminals across the UK – we would lose this if we left.
    5 200,000 UK. businesses trade with the EU – helping them create jobs here in the UK.
    6 The UK gets £66m of investment every day from EU countries – creating more jobs and opportunities for UK families.

    I note they are not quite claiming that 3m jobs “depend” on the EU but the inference is there and “Facts” 2 and 3 may well be disputed. However, their message is out there in print. The Leavers need to target every home with a positive message and a strong counter that shows we would be better off out, with the added benefits of regaining sovereignty, border control etc.

    1. alan jutson
      January 22, 2016

      John B

      My wife tells there is an electronic version of this leaflet in video form appearing now on Facebook, at regular intervals each day.

      I have no doubt if you followed the money it would lead directly to the EU, but the brainwashing has already started. because few will read beyond the headlines.

      Meanwhile our Government Ministers who know this is all lies, remain silent, in some way they think they are being loyal to the Government, but in reality they are selling their sole and their electors down the tubes.

      Shame on the silent one’s.

    January 22, 2016

    Political Correctness should stop. It has poisioned normal democratic and free-speech interactions and relationships.
    Not least of this is official UK history. The Republic of Ireland has its own version which is unrecognised by the rest of the world. The SNP and its most ardent supporters similarly have a warped take on their own history.
    No I do not support the official UK version.
    The truth is England always feared an enemy to its Western flank based in or using Ireland as a forward base. Also feared an attack from the north from or via Scotland.
    Historically Ireland and Scotland played a dangerous game. Ireland allowed Napolean’s soldiers to land and attempt an attack on England. Scotland schemed for years to do the same. Also they both made similar representations to the Spanish.
    An unprinted and unpublished and never mentioned history of some northern parts of Scotland entertained the idea of welcoming German troops in the last century.

    Well Scottish Lairds and Irish landowners received the necessary bribes from the English for their loyalty to the UK as a whole. Good that they did. It is doubtful Scots and Irish would have taken too kindly to speaking French, Spanish or German. These three colonial powers do not shine for their treatment of colonies as would have been Scotland and Ireland had their silly childish treachery succeeded.
    I think England has humoured Ireland and Scotland enough. Ireland’s “independence” in the EU led to catastrophe even without direct colonisation.The UK bailed them out in their “banking crisis”. Scotland at last as the SNP says, wishes independence. They should have it. But with no bail out in future. At long last, they should pay for their centuries of naivity and thinly veiled contempt for their southern neighbours.
    The history books should now tell the truth irrespective of hurt pride of Ireland and Scotland.

  41. GTE
    January 22, 2016

    Isle of Man and Montenegro get Free Trade with the EU. Why wouldn’t the UK?

    All are still members of the WTO. The EU cannot impose tariffs when the UK leaves, they would be violating their treaty obligations.

    Why would they impose tariffs when the EU is founded on free trade? Are the stay brigade admitting that the EU doesn’t believe in free trade? ie. That they are lying on behalf of the EU?

    The EU exports more to the UK than vice versa. Perhaps the UK should charge them for access to that market? ie. Flip the tariff question round. It’s always about access to the EU. Since they export more here, perhaps they should be the ones paying for the benefit. The stayer’s of course will argue that’s stupid [which it is] but that is in reality them admitting their tariff argument is a lie.

  42. GTE
    January 22, 2016

    On the delay and the removal of collective responsibility.

    That’s just for Cameron. With 2/3rds of Tories against the current set up, he would have to toe collective responsibility and campaign against.

    Removing that means he can campaign the other way.

  43. agricola
    January 22, 2016

    Please excuse the absence, necessitated by moving from Windows 7 to 10.

    All you say is true, but encapsulated in the one phrase, we demand the return of our sovereignty. A phrase that covers everything.

    Instinctively I suspect that the majority of the Conservative party could well vote to leave, particularly if they listen to their constituents. Should this be the case then CMD should be kept at arms length from any final departure negotiation because quite frankly he cannot be trusted.

    You do not need one central leader of the out campaign, the various elements need to coordinate. There are many negative elements out there only too happy to drive a wedge where they think they can do most damage. Remember it is not party political, it is a decision of national consequence.

    1. matthu
      January 22, 2016

      The majority of the Conservative Party, but certainly not the majority of the Conservative Party MPs.

      Not even the majority of Vote Leave. I strongly suspect they will all do an about turn and back whatever CMD brings back on his sheet of white paper.

  44. Original Richard
    January 22, 2016


    You are absolutely correct.

    However, the Stay campaign is not only “negative and unpleasant” but downright misleading.

    Such as when Mr. Major says that leaving the EU would mean our isolation in the world when in fact our being able to take part again at world conferences as ourselves and not just 1 of 28 nations represented by the EU would enhance our standing in the world.

    Such as when Mr. Hague says that leaving the EU could well lead to the break-up of the UK, when in fact remaining in the EU will certainly lead to break-up as the EU plans to demolish nation states and replace them with EU regions.

    Such as when Mr. Brown tells us how it will be patriotic to vote to remain in the EU. Completely illogical given how the EU wishes to demolish the nation states.

    Such as when we hear from Goldman Sachs how opening up our country to everyone in the world, which includes of course the Middle East and Africa, who wishes to live here would be of benefit to our country.

    And that this unlimited immigration should be uncontrolled and no account should be taken of the migrants’ education, skills, history or culture.

  45. Margaret
    January 22, 2016

    The referendum must get those votes from people who are so fed up with the state of affairs that they cannot be bothered to vote any more.

  46. turbo terrier
    January 22, 2016

    Asuasal John smack on the money.

    The trouble is we (the party) have been given several opportunities over the last few years to remove CMD and for whatever reason we have not. Now that push has to go to shove, if we lose we only have ourselves to blame.

    We all have degrees in hindsight but it does smack one on the nose when we see in the Daily Express today (so it must be true!) tha bthe government is considering using foreign steel to build the next generation of warships. What they save, we the taxpayer will payout in benefits to all the steel workers being given their P45.

    Sadly that history will show that the time this country needed strong leadership what we go did not come up to the mark.

  47. Denis Cooper
    January 22, 2016

    Now there’s another cock-eyed argument from Charles Moore in the Telegraph:

    He’s very unhappy about the “imperial” direction of the EU, but could the reversal of direction that he’d like see only be achieved by the UK getting out?

    Well, one thing is for sure, if we vote to stay in then that will inevitably be taken as a green light for the EU to just carry on in the same direction as before.

  48. Maureen Turnet
    January 22, 2016

    “For me this is as much about mistrust of our own politicians as mistrust of the EEC/EU/
    EU project”. Couldn’t agree more.

    The PM – Davos yesterday. Renegotiations going well but may need a further round of talks. Referendum on membership could be put on hold to get the best possible deal.
    No need to hold this until end 2017.

    Is it not the case that the end of 2017 will be too late for any changes to our membership as these are required to be agreed prior to end Nov. 2016!

    I can only imagine that a fourth round of discussions with the other 27 Leaders is such a cunning plan the PM intends to bore them to death and so win back all his concessions.
    Just ask yourself – Why should the second largest net contributer to the EU’s coffers have to beg for concessions? Why indeed? Because he is an arch EUphile and they know it. Yes, I know he told us he was a EUsceptic but then he tells us lots of things,

    This is way beyond a joke now with the electorate being treated appallingly when you consider this country’s very sovereignty is at stake. If the PM cannot or will not govern
    without bringing humiliation on himself and his country then it’s time he was gone.

  49. turbo terrier
    January 22, 2016

    So on the 6 o clock news from the BBC Ms Merkal wants a united Europe to come together to resolve the immigrant problem. Easy.

    Don’t let then in in the first place.

    If it carries on as at present it will destroy the EU. Bring it on. The only problem is what we (the UK) will be left with and the cost to try and resolve it.

  50. acorn
    January 22, 2016

    I see Boris wants to “nationalize”, (in London City State terms), the whole of the London and suburban hinterland railway system. Technically and economically, this is a very good idea. But surely, this does not exactly fit the Conservative neo-liberal “market” ideology?

  51. James Matthews
    January 22, 2016

    Coincidentally I received a flyer today entitled “Europe and You”. Full of the usual misleading quarter truths and unsupportable assertions beloved of remain activists and the product of ” The Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign” a company limited by guarantee – apparently promoted by Will Straw. Companies House enlightening on Directors, but not on source of funds.

    Pitched at a North London readership and written as if only UKIP is Eurosceptic.

    No such communications from out campaigners so far.

    1. alan jutson
      January 23, 2016

      James, same leaflet is now circulating the Social media sites.

      Like you I am trying to follow the money, but be sure it will be well hidden.

      This has all the stink of EU behind it.

      Also agree with you about lack of profile of the leave campaign, ref my post earlier.

      Sir Michael Cain got more publicity for the out campaign yesterday with his simple comments.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 23, 2016

      One source of funds for BSE is Wall Street, to wit Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley:

      1. stred
        January 24, 2016

        Just the job. They could also point out that the govenors of the ECB and BoE are ex Goldman Sachs, along side statements by Deuchebank favouring immigration to the EU to provide labour and growth.

  52. getahead
    January 23, 2016

    “Which senior figures sign up for the Stay in campaign – usually people who were wrong on the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and wrong on the Euro in the past.”
    And perhaps who have vested interest.

  53. Colin Hart
    January 23, 2016

    Any doubts I may have had about whether to vote Remain or Leave have been resolved by learning that Goldman Sachs”………. is pumping money into the Remain campaign.

  54. Ken Moore
    January 23, 2016

    1. We get our money back, bringing both the trade and current account deficits down by a fifth
    2. We gain control of our borders.

    Says it all really – we have seen London changed almost beyond recognition by mass immigration and yet the pace of change is set to increase. Yet ludicrously the OUT campaign believe border control is not the priority!.
    We have seen mass rape and sexual assault in Sweden…..what will it take for these people to wake up!. How about the epidemic of street crime in London?.
    Or the news that immigrants now form the majority in London.?

    Since when did monetary considerations come before safety – only it seems when politically correct thinking is concerned.

    1. Ken Moore
      January 23, 2016

      The big issue is the inevitable (cultural change ed) of Europe and of the Uk if we stay within the Eu. The Out campaign trying to downplay the border control aspect so as not to ‘frighten’ potential voters is madness.

      I’m sure it is being done with the best of intentions in trying to protect ‘minorities’…but who are the victims here ?.

      Why has Mr Cameron been given such a soft ride – has Dr Redwood no opinion of his ridiculous humiliating stunt of going around Europe with his begging bowl…

      Come on JR….say what you really think what have you got to lose ?

      Reply Mr Cameron’s pursuit of permission to change our welfare policy makes my case for me admirably. WE need to take back control

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