Well done Michael Gove and Boris Johnson

We have been reading reports for a week or more over whether Michael Gove and Boris Johnson will join the Leave campaign. It has clearly worried the Remain campaign a lot, and they seem to have been briefing about their negotiations with the two men. Given their concern, to lose one was careless, but to lose two is bad news indeed for them.

Michael Gove followed up his decision with a magnificent statement setting out why many of us think the only course of action for the UK must be to leave the EU. He explained why our democracy matters, and why it is incompatible with the current commitments and legal entanglements of the EU treaties. We can now look forward to Boris’s journalistic abilities also helping our just cause.

The Remain campaign is much keener on arguments by endorsements, because their campaign is so thin on any good reasons for the course of action they are taking. In contrast the Leave campaign has a wealth of material of how things will be better when we are out, and much to explain to voters about how we are currently badly governed from Brussels.

Proceeding mainly by endorsement has been the way the pro EU faction has done so much damage to our country and our economy in the past. It was weight of business and political opinion that forced us into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. That led to massive job losses, factory closures and a substantial recession. It damaged the very profits, dividends and even jobs of those who recommended it.

There was also a big business led lobby to get the UK to join the Euro. This time those of us who fought it succeeded, thanks to the commonsense of the British people. There was no way Labour could win a referendum to abolish the pound, so we managed to keep our currency despite the weight of so called expert opinion in favour.

So whilst it is good news that Michael and Boris have joined us, and their voices are very welcome, it is even better news that we have the best arguments on our side. Experience shows that so called informed opinion which favours the UK staying in the EU has so far got it very wrong. That is why many voters will now ignore the endorsements that will scurry out in the next few weeks, and will instead come to their own conclusion based on the arguments. The arguments point as Michael and Boris have realised in favour of us leaving.


  1. Horatio
    February 22, 2016

    Two excellent additions, though one rather hopes that Boris is more energetic than in yesterday’s interview. He is at his best when he is passionate and flag waving and I think his piece in the telegraph today finished on the positive note the leave campaign needs:

    “Only 4 per cent of people running the Commission are UK nationals, when Britain contains 12 per cent of the EU population. It is not clear why the Commission should be best placed to know the needs of UK business and industry, rather than the myriad officials at UK Trade & Investment or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

    If the “Leave” side wins, it will indeed be necessary to negotiate a large number of trade deals at great speed. But why should that be impossible? We have become so used to Nanny in Brussels that we have become infantilised, incapable of imagining an independent future. We used to run the biggest empire the world has ever seen, and with a much smaller domestic population and a relatively tiny Civil Service. Are we really unable to do trade deals? We will have at least two years in which the existing treaties will be in force.”

    The infectious force which is Boris will dismay the EU lackeys of Downing st. And who can question the intellectual might and conscience of the Justice secretary, Gove’s, knowledge of legal interference from Brussels.

    Momentum is now on the side of the righteous, the Westminster bubble will soon realise they have misjudged the people they serve, again.

    Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 22, 2016

      “If the “Leave” side wins, it will indeed be necessary to negotiate a large number of trade deals at great speed.”

      I don’t see why; the negotiations for withdrawal from the EU will take time – two years is the notional period stated in Article 50 TEU, but it could be shorter or it could be longer by mutual agreement – and if necessary there could be interim agreements to make sure that trade continued on the same basis while new trade deals were negotiated at leisure.

      That would only need all the parties to agree that the current deal would continue with respect to the UK even after it had left the EU, for a number of years; I myself could more or less draft a model protocol to achieve that.

    2. Hope
      February 22, 2016

      Cameron shows his disloyalty, once again. First we had his disloyalty to Coulson, then all the Tory grass root supporters who helped him in office last year which he told his MPs to ignore and now we see in full techni colour his disloyalty to a cabinet member- Johnson. Dear dear after Johnson was gracious to him in his speech. Shows what sort of spiteful arrogant person Cameron is.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 22, 2016

        I tend to agree. The fact that Cameron is able to make cast iron guarantees, or no if no but promises and claims he is a low tax at hear Tories – while doing the complete opposite at every turn surely says it all.

        All PR, spin, lies, deceptions and zero substance.

    3. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      It always amuses me how the BBC and idiots at conservative HQ decry linking arms with Farage. When it comes to elections on Europe Farage has a pretty good record, UKIP did come first in the last European elections and 4m votes in the general election (people will will definitely vote in the referendum) suggest that he holds a position of trust on Europe!

      Why does Chris Grayling begin every interview by saying how hard CMD worked on his ‘deal’. It would be far more helpful if he and others would start off by saying the truth: CMD asked for nothing, got less and has such a contemptuous view of the British public that he believes we will fall for it. Grayling and others should stop supporting that lie.

      1. turboterrier
        February 22, 2016

        second that

  2. The Active Citizen
    February 22, 2016

    “There was also a big business led lobby to get the UK to join the Euro. This time those of us who fought it succeeded, thanks to the commonsense of the British people.”

    Thank you for your wonderful efforts in that period. Unfortunately I think there might be a difference this time. Losing the Pound was an emotive issue for many and a simple question to understand. Even the massed ranks of establishment forces couldn’t get around that one and the public will was clear.

    Membership of the EU is a different matter. A large proportion of the public have little idea about it, partly because they don’t often see it impacting on their lives. The large and growing impact it has had, has generally not been attributed to the EU by the media unless it was something seen as positive, such as mobile phone roaming charges.

    A good example of the ‘hidden’ EU: How many people have ever seen a clip of proceedings in the EU Parliament on the news? A proportion of your own readers will have, JR, but few in the general population. Contrast that with proceedings in our own Parliament.

    Last year there were two notable events in the European Parliament: Hollande & Merkel’s joint address, and Juncker’s ‘State of the Union‘ speech. The latter in particular was quite astonishing – in its content but very memorably also in its disastrous and semi-incoherent delivery. It was quite simply an embarrassment.

    Events like those never made it into the public consciousness. Nor have hundreds of other EU-related items of news, which would have helped the British public to form a general impression of the EU in all its ghastly glory.

    This is one reason why we have such an enormous job of education ahead. The other reason is the hidden effect of indoctrination of our young people at scho0l and at university, which needs overcoming.

    1. peter davies
      February 22, 2016

      you are right, people live off soundbits (media included) and tend to focus on who is delivering i.e politicians.

      there are so many stealthy laws, regulations and directives which have cascaded from EU officials and transplanted into national laws that it would take a genius to understand what they are and what they impact.

    2. M Davis
      February 22, 2016

      – “the hidden effect of indoctrination of our young people at scho0l and at university, which needs overcoming.”

      Something else that needs addressing PDQ, is the less hidden indoctrination of the population by the BBC. They need sorting out, the BBC, not the population!

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      February 22, 2016

      The ‘EU Parliament ‘ is not. AParliament and you do violence to our language but naming I such. It cannot propose, enact and repeal laws, and it is not elected by our electorate, so it has nothing to do with us, we do not recognise it and could not care less what antics it indulges in on a day to day basis.

  3. Leslie Singleton
    February 22, 2016

    Absolutely Yes, very good news indeed–Brexit now has sufficient endorsements and all the argument. I predict Cameron is going to give it up with his present line (though not sure what if anything he can say in its stead) because his continuing attempts at scaring us and persuading us that we will be insecure unless we bury ourselves even further in the EU I can tell him are doing a piss poor job of frightening anybody I know. I for one shall be much happier making ourselves more secure in the rather obvious ways and if the Continentals want to co-operate fine but if not we can be a very hard nut to crack on our own.

    1. eeyore
      February 22, 2016

      I hope people will note that Mr Cameron is shamelessly using civil servants and public money to promote his case. No doubt EU money will also be sprayed freely. I remember the last referendum in 1975 (I voted to leave then) and am well aware of the effect of unlimited financial firepower. Mr Redwood and his colleagues should be relentless in drawing this abuse to public attention. Be warned.

  4. Richard1
    February 22, 2016

    Indeed Remain seem to be focusing mainly on the weight of ‘informed’ opinion. Over the weekend I have heard two coherent arguments for Remain. One, put forward by Sajiv Javed, says the EU has many failings and it would be nice to get out, but such would be the uncertainty of the exit process over the years following a Brexit vote that now is not the time – the costs to jobs and investment would be too high.

    The other, put forward by the historian Niall Ferguson (also always a clear thinker) is that the EU is headed for terrible problems, and it is better both for the UK and for the EU that the UK is there to help sort out the mess. He cites 1808 1914 and 1939 as times in the past when it has been impossible to keep out – it would have been better to have been able to head the crises off in advance.

    I don’t find Niall Fergusons argument convincing, but Sajiv Javed’s does merit careful thought and debate.

    Reply Neither of these arguments make any sense. If the EU is going to hit the rocks the UK would be much better able to help if we had already left the EU ship and had a recovery boat ready for them. As Sajid rightly says we should not join this EU it must therefore be right to leave it. I do not accept there will be big exit costs. The countries coming out of the USSR soon found the benefits exceeded any costs, and they had to get out of the currency as well.

    1. James Matthews
      February 22, 2016

      As to Sajid’s argument, the question is surely “if not now, when?”. There are always economic threats about and the longer we stay in the more complicated the relationship will be to unscramble and the greater the inertia for remaining will become in all our government institutions and multinational businesses. This is as good a time to go as there ever will be.

    2. peter davies
      February 22, 2016

      I find Sajid’s argument strange. Now may not be a perfect time but probably the only time, if his starting point is that we should never have joined which we should not, we are still not a good fit which I don’t think we are then there is only one option.

      People don’t stay in bad or abusive relationships if they have any sense, they take the painful decision to leave whilst accepting there may be bumps in the road but the ultimate net gain once those hurdles are passed should be positive.

      With so much control stripped out of national govt control if the UK was disemboweled under treaties it is difficult to see how the UK could help Europe sort itself out in the event of a disaster – like a rescue worker trying to rescue casualties with his/het legs tied up and one hand behind his back.

    3. Anonymous
      February 22, 2016

      Niall Fergusson says that if we Brexit then we will have to ‘Breturn’ to rescue Europe once more.

      If we stay any longer we won’t be a Britain left to Brexit or Breturn.

      Ever – closer – union

      No matter what Mr Cameron says.

    4. vera
      February 23, 2016

      I had great hopes of Sajid Javid, not now – his career before country, he will live to regret that. Saying it is not the right time to leave, well when is it the right time? It is the right time because it is the ONLY chance we will get. Him saying that is just him trying to keep his feet in both camps without losing his career.

  5. bluedog
    February 22, 2016

    Shakespearean quotes are suddenly very much in vogue, Dr JR. Here’s another with which to greet the assembly of a mighty host for our cause. ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, if taken at the flood, lead on to fortune’. Cameron must feel that in Boris Johnson he has met his own Brutus.

    1. Anonymous
      February 22, 2016

      “A few honest men are better than numbers.”


    2. Hope
      February 22, 2016

      Read Dominc Lawson’s article in the DM about the remain camp not wanting democratic self-government. Cameron’s untruful response about sovereignty needs to be exposed for what it is. Heath and Howe deceived the public about it before and no doubt Cameron has already started to do the same. Gove was right to point the lack of sovereignty to ministerial decisions and Johnson emphasized the point about hanging on to the skirt of nurse Brussels. The point needs to be made absolutely clear that decisions are made in Brussels not the UK whether the British public wanted it, voted for it or not. It also exposes the deceit Cameron has been making about immigration. He cannot have it both ways. He now claims immigration cannot be stopped outside the EU. Up until now he has been claiming he was going to reduce immigration to tens of thousands. He must accept he could not achieve this pledge while in the EU and he knew it! His clams were false and you simply cannot believe a word he says.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 22, 2016

        You certainly cannot believe a word that cast iron, no if no buts, at heart a low tax Conservative Cameron says.

        He even claimed today that there will not be a second referendum. The BBC radio 4 also wheeled out some academic who (needless to say) support this odd view. If there is a leave vote the establishment and the EU will certainly not give up on trying to subjugate the UK that easily – you can be very sure of that. A second referendum will follow as night follows day. The people should certainly reject that too.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 22, 2016

          He also claimed his agreement was binding and protected us from ever closer union and there would not be a second referendum after a leave vote – complete tosh as usual from the man.

        2. Timaction
          February 22, 2016

          I listened to him earlier in the Commons. He is a dangerous man who is out to harm Britain by lies, falsehoods and deceit. Therefore he should be removed before he can cause us any more harm. He is an agent of the EU and no supporter of Britain or its people!

    3. acorn
      February 22, 2016

      Agreed, but what does this do to the Party leadership contest, after Cam? The final is planned to be a binary contest between Osborne and a sacrificial Goat. The losing Goat, will be showered with praise as a valiant upholder of our sham democracy and proceed to £300 per day in the House of Lords; plus pension and a few Directorships.

      Boris would be a shoo-in against Osborne, on the doorsteps; the party could not ignore that. IMHO Boris knows more about fiat currency economics as well; and, don’t be surprised if the management structure of rUK, ends up a lot like London’s is today. Go Boris!

      PS. JR, keep Lawson out of it, R4 blew him out of the water this morning. I paraphrase, “… it is not about people it is about country …”. If it’s not about people, WTF is the point of it all.

      Reply I thought he gave a great interview with the usual questions trying to take him off what matters to voters.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 22, 2016

        I think that Lawson (nowadays) does rather well, he is sound on the global warming exaggeration/racket too.

        I really cannot see how IHT ratter, EUphile and endless pension and tenant robber Osborne becoming the next PM or even a Tory leader. If he makes any more tax increases he will surely be the most unpopular person in the party with Tory voters.

        He would not even have granted an EU referendum apparently.

      2. scottspeig
        February 23, 2016

        I disagree re: Lawson – I thought he did well. Especially when he put the interviewer in his place by suggesting that he’s normally more perceptive (can’t remember the exact phrase or interviewer but it made me smile at any rate)

  6. DaveM
    February 22, 2016

    Almost as important as their decision is the fact that they (certainly appear to have) deliberated and agonised over which side to join, based on the strength – or weakness – of the deal and renegotiation.

    It’s a shame your party leader is so enthralled by the EU that he can’t grasp the mood and make himself a great PM during these turbulent times.

  7. fedupsoutherner
    February 22, 2016

    Good points again John. We needed a few charismatic and well known figures on our side. I really fail to see how the public need convincing of the advantages of coming out but then many of them just aren’t interested in politics even though it is the one subject that affects their lives the most.

    I noted that Cameron warned Boris not to be seen with Farage or Galloway. Galloway, I can understand, as his views are somewhat extreme and he is not a popular guy in some quarters. He could turn the vote against us and I was surprised to see Farage on the same podium as him. In my opinion, it is the one big mistake Farage has made and I hope he doesn’t repeat it. I have long respected his views on Europe but someone like Galloway could detract from it all.

    Onwards and Upwards, as they say.

    Reply This business about how you must not have certain people in your coalition is bizarre. After all Mr Cameron has Mr Corbyn in his coalition, yet he spends the rest of his time explaining how unsuitable he is to government.

    1. Mitchel
      February 22, 2016

      Fedup I have to disagree with you.I think it is essential we have the broadest spectrum of support possible.Galloway,apart from being a great orator,appeals to a specific demographic-he can reach the parts others can’t.Having him,Nigel Farage,Priti Patel,Kate Hoey,etc on board together with the longstanding Tory Eurosceptics should mean most voters have someone they can identify with.

      1. philippa
        February 23, 2016

        Completely agree Mitchel. Important to have such a wide spectrum of people onboard. I rather hope that the PM continues to argue in favour of our sovereignty, which he assures us is now even more secure. I suspect that even the most ill informed will find this difficult to swallow.

  8. Roy Grainger
    February 22, 2016

    Gove’s statement is excellent and hopefully Boris’ charisma can get the message across. I see that immediately Boris was attacked for backing Brexit simply to get himself elected (as if somehow politicians shouldn’t reflect the views of their voters !) but there are plenty on the other side doing that – I am very disappointed that my MP Greg Hands lead a prominent local campaign in 2007-8 to get a referendum on the Lisbon treaty which gave him some cachet as a Eurosceptic only to now to emerge as an enthusiastic Remainer despite the fact the Lisbon treaty remains entirely unchanged. I am also disappointed in Mr Corbyn & McDonnell who have a long history of opposing the EU but now seem to be supporting it based it appears on internal Labour Party politicing, I thought they was more principled than that. I hope some of the bigger unions will not be so easily persuaded to abandon their anti-EU positions.

  9. Antisthenes
    February 22, 2016

    Michael Gove is in my book is an intellectual heavy weight he would I believe make a very good PM and leader of the Conservative party. Boris is no slouch either and of course he has charisma and he appears to have done a very competent job as Mayor of London. Two very important additions to the leave camp. Even George Galoway has signed up a mixed blessing that I should think. He has the confidence of the Asian voters but hopefully he will not put off others from voting to leave. This referendum is bringing together a strange mix of bed fellows which at least means that the whole political spectrum is represented which gives the leave arguments a lot of legitimacy.

    I do hope that you are right that people will not listen to the scaremongering lies and drivel of those vested interests who have got it all wrong so many times before. Counting on that I believe is wrong most people are not astute or knowledgeable enough to be able to use past events to help them form their current thinking. The whole remain camp is using FUD quite outrageously as they have nothing else to back up their arguments as you point out. The fact that they are using it demonstrates that it is a powerful tool. One that is difficult to counter and in the end may win the day. If they do I hope they feel suitably ashamed of themselves and that one day they are chastised and fall out of favour for it. Then however it will be too late the damage will have been done and we will be still shackled to the EU heading ponderously forward to full union and all the horrors that portends.

    One lesson from the past we need to learn from and that is the Scottish referendum. FUD and no decent exit plan did for the SNP’s aspirations. We need not to be defeated because we did not head that lesson.

    1. Antisthenes
      February 22, 2016

      To be clear we do learn from our and others past mistakes but only if we recognise them as such and often we do not and carry on making the same ones. To recognise more than we miss depends on our astuteness and sometime I bewail the fact that some of us are not astute at all.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      February 22, 2016

      I have just heard from a Scottish friend of mine who wants to vote OUT but is afraid that if he does then Sturgeon will call another referendum and the Scots could do without that.

      Can you clarify John? Wouldn’t Sturgeon need the permission of Westminster to call another election? Would Scotland be automatically accepted into the EU especially when oil prices are so low making them a big risk?

      Reply. Yes, she would need a UK organised and approved second referendum. The EU vote is a UK vote and decision because Scotland decided to stay in the UK.

  10. Jumeirah
    February 22, 2016

    Yes well done so now back to business:
    1) Who will lead Team’ Leave’ and can differences be set aside so that we speak with ONE VOICE?
    2) Where do we go from here?
    3) What is our 3 Year Plan and following on from that our 5 Year Plan?
    From necessity we have spent much time explaining why we need to leave and what advantages we will have in doing so and THAT has been done – to death. Now we need a change of emphasis and show those we need ‘on side’ what we are going to put in place and how we are going to do it to strengthen our place(through Trade) not only in Europe but more especially in World Markets. We need those world markets and we need Boris in conjunction with Business Leaders to put their weight behind it to attract investment in our Country and secure our exports in world markets.
    We can do it and we will but we have to start this process now and that starts with ‘A Plan’.
    Jumping the gun? No! If we are going to convince people to vote Leave we have to tell them what we propose to do in ofher words an Action Plan. Otherwise many will say ‘ wish we could support them but they appear to have no Strategy moving forward other than it’s in our National interest (love that phrases so malleable) to do so and that’s pretty ‘iffy.”
    You are all Brainy Blokes and whilst the Poitical debate must continue we need the blokes that make the money – the Business Brains to concentrate on and develop their overseas contacts and drive the case forward in that direction so that we build up credibilty and dispel any concerns that there is no substance behind what we do. Easy? No! Business Leaders know that and, in the main, they thrive on challenges and overcome them -why/how because that’s what they do – successfully.

    1. Anonymous
      February 22, 2016

      Jumeriah – One voice ? It would be a mistake to be duped into playing that game.

      There are many different groups who want out of the EU for different reasons.

      This is not an election to form a government. Why does there need to be one voice ?

  11. Jerry
    February 22, 2016

    “The arguments point as Michael and Boris have realised in favour of us leaving.”

    Is that the best the Brexit side can do, use personality to win the argument, who cares who the faces are, they will likely loose as many votes as they gain!

    How many who might be tempted to support the Brexit message could be put off due to the endorsement by the architect of their disability living allowance cuts for example. How many traditionally eurosceptic Londoners will be put-off because they have fundamental disagreements with how the current Mayor has run the place even though their core political views have always been anti the EEC/EU etc? Whilst a lot of those ‘hard hitters’ in the Brexit camp are the same people who were in government when the EEC were debating the setting up of the Euro to replace the ECU, got us into a currency spiral with the ERM resulting in Black Wednesday even if they were the ones to question the wisdom of such EEC/UK policies.

    Of course, as our host points out, the BSE groups etc. have the same problems with their personality endorsements too. Personalities are nice, but it will be the core facts that win the argument in the end.

  12. APL
    February 22, 2016

    JR: “There was no way Labour could win a referendum to abolish the pound..”

    That would be a thing that might count in your favor, but the only reason the Tory party wanted to keep the pound was so you could further debase it and manipulate the financial lives of the subjects of the United Kingdom. >9000% inflation since 1913!

    Another thing, you propagated the lie that Cameron had secured a treaty on a previous occasion, and now we see that when a liar gets away with a lie once, the temptation to try again with the same lie is too great to resist.

    Has no one else drawn the Cameron/Chamberlain parallel?

  13. Mike Stallard
    February 22, 2016

    In the Norwegian discussion about the EU, people spoke of the three Ms –
    Money, Ministers and Media – all strongly in favour of joining the EU. The rest of the population was not in favour – and they stayed out and became a lot richer than we are at the moment.
    (Judging by the price of a Big Mac and Fries.)

  14. Excalibur
    February 22, 2016

    I see that Sky, with its usual ‘impartiality’, wheeled out Michael Heseltine for comment on Boris’s decision. Clearly they were intent on getting a balanced, objective view…..

  15. Elliot Kane
    February 22, 2016

    It’s great to have Gove onside, along with all the other ministers and MPs from all sides of the House who have taken a principled stand in favour of leave. It’s sad, too, that a few declared sceptics have screwed their courage to the sticking place, only to find that they do not have much of either courage or sticking.

    But, for me, Boris is the one person whose decision could truly be described as pivotal. Not only is he well known and well liked by the people of Britain, but he is also a very reluctant Brexiteer who fully understand the lure of the EU in a way that, perhaps, we firm Leavers cannot match.

    While I would in no way wish to denigrate the heroic efforts of anyone involved in the Leave campaign, most of our heaviest hitters appeal to certain sections of the population only, but Boris has a universal appeal. When he speaks, the whole nation listens (It may not agree, but it listens). That, I think, will be absolutely invaluable in the tough campaign ahead.

    These are very exciting times for Leave. Let’s hope we can build on this and gain the Brexit that our country needs.

  16. Alan
    February 22, 2016

    To argue for remain you have to accept that not everything is perfect, but argue that it is better than the alternative. To argue for leave you only have to pretend that everything will be fine in this hypothetical future. Everything will be the same, but everything will be better.

    That’s the argument the SNP used, so I hope it is equally ineffective in the EU referendum.

    To remain is pragmatic, to leave is wishful thinking.

    1. forthurst
      February 22, 2016

      “To remain is pragmatic, to leave is wishful thinking.”

      Quite the contrary: it is absurdly wishful thinking that the EU will not continue to become more overweaning and dysfunctional much like the Bolshevik Empire. It is absurdly wishful thinking to expect a beneficial outcome by entrusting our destiny into the hands of a superstate with five presidents and a de facto leader who is clearly barking mad enough to invite millions of uncalibrated (migrants ed) into the EU and then try to foist them on the rest of us.

      To imagine that the English people are not capable of doing a better job on their own, is to ignore the incomparably higher level of governance, justice and achievement which the English people have experienced from self-rule in comparison with most of the countries of the EU; many of them have experienced nothing but dictatorship and arbitrary justice and therefore regard the EU as normality.

    2. Duyfken
      February 22, 2016

      How depressing to learn that someone’s decision-making rests on such paltry flim-flam.

  17. Ian Wragg
    February 22, 2016

    Let battle commence. If you listen to the E (BBC ) it’s all about Tory splits. No rational debate on the pros and cons of membership just wall to wall plugging for Remain.
    We should be ruthlessly exposing those on the EU payroll hence their bias.
    The battle is there for the winning. I will do my bit.

    1. Tim L
      February 22, 2016

      I think the BBC can be rebranded to EUTV perhaps.

      1. Jagman84
        February 22, 2016

        If the BBC fails to keep to it’s charter ( as it surely will), it should be taken off the air. Unfortunately, Cameron and his co-conspirators would not countenance it.

    2. Kenneth
      February 22, 2016

      That’s exactly what is happening. The BBC is talking about anything other than the issue we need to vote on. No wonder why many people don’t know how to vote.

      Mind you, I thought things were looking up when I saw this video where the points were explained in a very straightforward manner, EXCEPT by the time I got to the end I realised there was no mention of the overriding issue, the loss of democracy and sovereignty


  18. Lifelogic
    February 22, 2016

    Given the overwhelming arguments in favour of leaving I find it very hard to understand why any sensible real Conservative and democrat could possibly want to remain. Or indeed why any sensible socialists would either (if you can be a sensible socialist). To argue that we are safer with open borders to the whole of the EU is clearly absurd. To argue that we need to be governed by Brussels in order to trade with them is drivel.

    If you love Europe you should leave the EU. Cooperation yes, anti-democratic government by Brussels, no thanks very much. It has been a total disaster in everything it had touched.

    This is the last chance to escape.

    Cameron yesterday, lacking any sensible arguments to remain, rather typically went for the man rather than the ball. He warned Boris not to ‘link arms with Nigel Farage and George Galloway’ – Cameron is just pathetic.

    Everyone, even those on the out side are being far to kind to Cameron. He has, I suppose, at least delivered a referendum (not though a fair one given the BBC and the huge bias of the state sector).

    He gave us his cast iron, no if no buts, at heart a low tax conservative lies and has kicked conservative voters in the teeth at every turn. They are robbing private pensions, stealing of landlords and tenants, abolishing personal allowances and child benefits for many, increasing IPT & taxes everywhere yet delivering poor and deteriorating public services. This while borrowing to the hilt and not even hitting their own high borrowing targets.

    The pay increases and workplace pension he is dictating forcing onto employers will clearly result in substantial job losses and companies closing down.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 22, 2016

      I see the BBC has rushed off to one of their favourites this morning. The proven wrong on almost everything over 82 years Michael Heseltine. He gave us his great wisdom on Boris. Perhaps Ken Clarke, Polly Toynbee or the other great “BBC thinkers” were all too busy.

      Does it never occur to the BBC to look at people past records (over say the EURO, ERM and other matters) before trusting these people’s judgements for the future? Or at least questioning them on them.

      1. Horatio
        February 22, 2016

        Absolutely agree re:bbc. However the new leave MPs need to read JR’s blog and be better briefed. Nadeen Zahari made a dogs dinner of debating chukka umuna on DP today because for all his passion he couldn’t deploy simple facts against all the usual scaremongering.

        Leave MPs should also know their opposite number and be prepared to ask the killer question; ‘you are on record as having wanted to take us into the euro, given that there is 25% unemployment in the euro zone and we’ve paid millions of pounds in British taxes in Euro bailouts why should we trust you now?’

    2. Lifelogic
      February 22, 2016

      Surely it is far more embarrassing to be holding hands with all the proven wrong, failed politicians, many of whom pushed for the ERM, the EURO, and more & more taxes, more and more green crap and EU and UK regulation at every turn.

      The Ted Heath, Ken Clarke, M Heseltine, J Major, T Bliar, Lord Patten, Lord Kinnock, Gorden Brown, Lord Mandelson, Lord Britton, G Osborne types? How many times do people have to be proved wrong before we can disregard their daft advice.

      Especially when Cameron is only in the job because he managed to deceive people into thinking he actually was an EUsceptic. This with his cast iron, at heart a low tax conservative and his no if no buts lies.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        February 22, 2016

        I am amazed that with the problems in energy that Amber Rudd faces, she wants to stay in!! By getting out we could revert to good old fashioned, engineered solutions to our energy crisis instead of being dictated to by Brussels and the various charities who poke their noses in.

        1. turboterrier
          February 22, 2016


          She wants to keep her job nothing else.

  19. oldtimer
    February 22, 2016

    It is good to see that they have taken a principled position when declaring their support for Leave. It is reported that Mr Cameron tried to persuade Boris Johnson to support the Remain side with the offer of a big cabinet job. Now it is suggested, by Lord Hesletine and Alan Johnson among others, that Boris J is doing this solely because of his ambition to succeed Mr Cameron! The Conservative payroll vote clearly supports Remain; it will be revealing whether this will also apply to the bankbench MPs, once all have declared their position.

    Yesterday my attention was drawn to a BBC 4 documentary by Peter Hitchens (broadcast last year) on the evolution of the UK’s involvement in the EU, including interviews with yourself. What was especially revealing, and news to me, was the evidence that the Treasury produced a briefing paper very early on, c1970, predicting how the EU was likely to evolve, including references to a single currency and the creation of a United States of Europe. Of course, none of this was shared with the public who was advised then as now that the UK’s involvement was in a common market. Link here:


    1. Denis Cooper
      February 22, 2016

      In fact the government’s official pamphlet recommending a Yes vote in the 1975 referendum:


      gave an assurance that plans for a single currency had been dropped:

      “There was a threat to employment in Britain from the movement in the Common Market towards an Economic & Monetary Union. This could have forced us to accept fixed exchange rates for the pound, restricting industrial growth and putting jobs at risk. This threat has been removed.”

  20. alan jutson
    February 22, 2016

    Gove certainly wrote a very good explanation of his reasons, which was widely circulated.

    Boris will be an asset only if he is serious, and does not put on an act like a bumbling fool, because this is as serious as it gets.

    1. DaveM
      February 22, 2016

      Quite. This is the time for him to start looking and acting like a proper politician; clean up his act and start making lucid and powerful speeches. Otherwise he’ll throw it all away.

  21. agricola
    February 22, 2016

    I too am pleased that cold logic has prevailed and both are on board, particularly as Michael Gove can give substance to the practicalities of dealing with the EU and ECJ.

    Four months is a very long time in terms of an election programme, we will need to learn how to pace ourselves. While going round the country you can keep hammering out the message with the rest of your colleagues, but there is a chance that it could become repetitious in your diary. We now largely know the arguments and have made up our minds. Can we try to deal with aspects we may not have thought of, such as getting agreement on the mechanism that will extract us from the EU with the minimum of disruption particularly to trade. What impact for instance would the existing rules of the WTO have upon our continued trading relationship with the EU.

    Can the EU subsidies to our farmers and universities be detailed. I know it is our tax money making a return journey, but it would allay any concerns in those two industries that they were going to lose out if we left.

    What support could government give to a re-born deep sea fishing industry. Large wads of capital are involved in creating a fishing industry and the system for policing it in places up to two hundred miles from our coast.

    Will you give some thought to the fact that it will be a UK referendum, not something that can be picked apart by small parts of the population residing in NI, Wales or Scotland who’s collective populations don’t add up to more than that of London. Their fears will be that of a dependent population as they may see it. Being such did not protect the South Wales steel industry from dumping and the cost of EU inspired electricity.

    Meat on the bone of those areas that will be subjected to Cameron inspired fearmongering is what is needed. Shoot down the fears he will try to spread with hard fact.

    1. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      All very true: i’ve seen 3 interviews with apparent Vegan leave MPs post saturday who have not done their homework and forgone a decent supper of meat on the bone. A great example of how to slay the snakes here:. Mandelson is one of the most slippery around but Hannan skewers him in this FT debate. It’s just simple facts, Leave MPs should read JR’s pamphlets and be better briefed.


  22. Javelin
    February 22, 2016

    I look after one of the worlds largest fx trading systems in the city.

    This is the text from the Cameron – Tusk agreement that is spooking the traders.

    It basically says the whole Eu is on the hook for a Eurozone bailout.

    3. “Emergency and crisis measures addressed to safeguarding the financial stability of the euro area will not entail budgetary responsibility for Member States whose currency is not the euro,or,as the case may be,for those not participating in the banking union.

    Appropriate mechanisms to ensure full reimbursement will be established where the general budget of the Union supports costs,other than administrative costs,that derive from the emergency and crisis measures referred to in the first subparagraph.”

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 22, 2016

      I have to say that I don’t read that passage in the same way.

      My interpretation is that in the event of another euro crisis the EU Commission would use the EU budget but the non-euro member states would be compensated for part of their budget contributions being used in that way, so the burden would fall only on the euro member states.

      However to delve a little deeper it seems that in July 2015 it was agreed that the non-euro states would be provided with collateral against the Greeks failing to repay the loan, rather than direct cash compensation:


      I would point out that the relevant Council Regulation (EU) No 407/2010 of 11 May 2010 establishing a European financial stabilisation mechanism:


      is based upon the abuse of Article 122(2) TFEU:


      (1) Article 122(2) of the Treaty foresees the possibility of granting Union financial assistance to a Member State in difficulties or seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused by exceptional occurrences beyond its control.”

      Which Article was moved from a requirement for unanimity on decisions to QMV through the Nice Treaty, and Cameron did not ask for that to be reversed.

      There is more general background here:


  23. Anonymous
    February 22, 2016

    The state of the stock market is being reported by the BBC as a result of the threat of Brexit.

    This needs to be answered and the public told not to fear it.

    1. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      The stock market also dropped when we refused to join the euro.. Typical establishment conniving

  24. Denis Cooper
    February 22, 2016

    Yes, well done, and until Friday June 24th let’s suspend any carping about what either may have said or done in the past. Likewise with Farage and also Galloway. For the moment all that matters is winning this referendum, because if we lose we’ll be sunk.

    1. stred
      February 22, 2016

      On BBC2 Politics the team seem to have decided to make as much of the Out campaign falling apart by inviting George Galloway to express his views. They interviewed almost all the few people who left the meeting because of his extereme views on other matters. Then they invited him in to be interviewed. He made the point that he had been invited in to talk about the referendum rather than himself and kept making the point, while Mz Coburn kept asking about personalities. In the end after asking many times, he was allowed to make a brief point about democracy remaining at home. He made her look like a complete airhead. What an amateurish bunch (sorry) they are. Haven’t they ever read about Winston getting together with Joe? That’s Churchill and Stalin, not Joko.

      1. stred
        February 22, 2016


  25. Bob
    February 22, 2016

    @Bluedog –

    “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, if taken at the flood, lead on to fortune”

    “…Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat…”

  26. Denis Cooper
    February 22, 2016

    JR, sorry to pester, but please could you help us all out with a response to one of the comments I made yesterday?

    ““Our trade with the EU is not at risk”

    I don’t think for one moment that it would be; but we need proof, JR, or at least strong evidence, mere assertion will only take us so far.”

    Reply I have done this time and again.

    1. Michael Walzer
      February 22, 2016

      The 1000+ pages report from Business for Britain is a very detailed document, available from the Leave website.

      I would think it is much better researched and argued than anything than JR can say (which most of the time is indeed politico-speech without real facts to support it. But unfortunately, that’s what most people here want to hear).

      Reply My summaries are based on detailed reading and research. I have produced three books on the EU problems.

      1. Hope
        February 22, 2016

        Neil Woodford, fund manager, had independent work carried out on this. It was highlighted by Heffer yesterday. Neil Woodford has no axe to grind either way.

      2. Michael Walzer
        February 22, 2016

        Our currency, March 1997.
        Death of Britain, May 1999.
        Just say No, July 2001.
        Superpower Struggles, Dec’2006

        I read some of them, but still think they are a bit dated, given the present campaign. Sorry.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 22, 2016

      Well, I suggest that it would be a good idea to do it yet again!

    3. a-tracy
      February 22, 2016

      John I think what I’m looking for is a paragraph of how our trade with the EU will be safe until we can expand our sales and exports all over the world freely again? If the EU decide to play nasty if we leave, do we have a back up list of suppliers for the main products we need that we can’t produce ourselves quickly?

      I read an interesting snippet on your blog yesterday, that we talk of 50% of our exports go to the EU, then someone simply went on to explain that 70% of our GDP is generated within the UK of the 30% less than 15% of that is with the EU. What I’d also like to know is what we spend with the rest of the world and what % of that is with the EU? Of our gross spending how much of it is within the UK?

      I also would like to know how did we used to work and live in the EU area before we joined? Did we have agreements of % of emigration/immigration? My sons friend is about to go and work for 6 months in Belgium, my daughter has EU friends that work and study here what is being proposed if Brexit occurs? Is that what we will be forced to pay into the EU to reach agreement on?

      What of airspace agreements?

      Finally are the Germans totally happy with the EU? The French? The Danish? is every other Country in the EU all in full agreement other than the UK?

      Why didn’t our flooded areas in England get EU financial assistance immediately?
      Why are we allowing them to tell us what we can dredge or not? Do the other Countries all follow this rule including those Countries on reclaimed land that have serious flood risks? Who made this decision and why?

      When a young girl I know became ill in Spain with meningitis her parents had to pay privately for her care and to bring her back to the UK because she hadn’t got travel insurance thinking we had an EU reciprocal healthcare agreement, what do we have? What do we offer do Spanish citizens have to have travel insurance to be treated in the UK?

      Reply The worst that could happen is the UK would trade with the rest of the EUI on exit under World Trade rules, which provide low tariffs and prevent various non tariff barriers. WTO rules govern large trade Activities for most n on EU countries with the EU. In practice the UK will have a better deal than WTO, WTO Plus, because they will not wish to impose any new tariffs and barriers up to permitted WTO levels.
      In your extreme case where the EU decides to break international rules and make itself a pariah trader there are plenty of places who would like to sell us their cars, wine, timber etc.

    February 22, 2016

    Boris Johnson in his condemnation of the political project of Brussels was thoughtful enough to say he ” love(d) Brussels” and “Europe is the greatest civilisation in the world”.

    No doubt he was using the term “civilisation” in the sense of railways,structures, cars, and other bric-a-brac and not the dead centre of the world’s graveyard of bombed, shot, burned soldiers and civil-ians of the most disgusting and largest wars of all Mankind. As people said in the USSR : “Da, we have the world’s greatest writers, our civilsation is locked up in solitary confinement inside their books. ” The UK in the EU is little different.
    Even this morning I saw “our” Defence Minister on TV saying the EU added to “our” protection and security because only through the EU were WE able to level economic sanctions against Russia. Now why would a civilisation wish to deprive Russian people of fruit, fish, meat, cheese, wheat, barley and seed…and food SEEDS? Russians are said not to have a democracy; with absolutely no say whatsoever in what its “dictator” orders.

    The EU is a very dangerous organisation indeed. A war-ful organisation. A nasty piece of work etc ed.

  28. MikeP
    February 22, 2016

    Having watched interviews on Andrew Marr, Sunday Politics yesterday and on BBC Breakfast today, the BBC’s strategy seems clear:
    – soft deferential interviews for Remain supporters (eg Cameron on Marr and an unknown Environmental campaigner this morning)
    – hectoring interrogations for Brexiteers, eg Chris Grayling constantly interrupted by Jo Coburn
    – vox pops with a majority of people who haven’t a clue so say it’s better to stay put
    – pushing their own agenda (eg Laura Kuenssberg tweeting that Boris is only after his career interests for the PM-ship and sneerily asking him about his delay in coming out)
    – pressing for examples of how and where the EU interferes in our lives that people can identify with. John Whittingdale mentioned VAT rates and animal welfare today but frankly the Brexit camp needs to have far more examples to hand as it’s often difficult to respond with an absolute clincher on the spot, and the Remainians certainly aren’t going to volunteer any.

    So a plea for your blogs this week John, and I know you have provided examples already, but perhaps you could assemble a fuller list of areas where a Brussels law or directive, that we voted against in Brussels and/or UK citizens would not have wished for, has been imposed on us and would be seen by the man in the street as an unwelcome intrusion. Or a link to a list if it already exists would be just as good. I think this would be invaluable in each area of our daily lives to those of us who are spreading the word.
    Sovereignty is not something the average voter thinks about each day sadly, but I’d really value a list of key things that we would vote out a Government for, given the chance, but where we can’t because of how the EU works making our Parliament impotent.

  29. Kenneth
    February 22, 2016

    I agree that there are many positive arguments for the LEAVE campaign to put forward. It is a long list.

    However, when will they get a chance to put them? The Gove and Johnson statements were a welcome one-off opportunity.

    However, the media – and the BBC in particular – are boring the pants off everybody talking about the process, administration and gossip around the campaign rather than allowing debate on the substance.

    I agree that the Remain camp have very little of substance they can put forward and I am sure that, if we could have proper discussions around the issues that will affect us – which, incidentally will make tv and radio shows far more interesting than they are now – then people will be more engaged and the Leave camp will gain the upper hand.

    However, I don’t hold my breath. The BBC would rather talk of splits, style, the future of the PM and anything else apart from the issues.

    I wonder why?

  30. Bert Young
    February 22, 2016

    There is no doubt that Boris Johnson joining up with the Leave campaign will have a positive effect . His charismatic style and wit and his ability to appeal to the ordinary is a major plus ; I am delighted that my ex MP has shown his determination . Michael Gove is a highly intelligent man and – as a close friend of Cameron , ought to know how to anticipate how he will direct the “Remains”. Together , if they decide to work this way , they will create a solid approach and – hopefully , a successful outcome . I have no doubt that Boris will be Prime Minister and will give this country the leadership that is presently lacking .

  31. Denis Cooper
    February 22, 2016

    Here’s a rather silly but perhaps telling comment:


    “The European Commission has no “plan B” if Britain votes to leave the EU, finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday.

    In an interview on France 5 television, Moscovici said: “No, there is no plan B. It doesn’t help us in any way to envisage disaster scenarios.”

    Of course, it would be completely wrong to draw up contingency plans against possible disasters, such as the euro disaster or the migrant disaster …

    Following parts are also worth noting:

    “He added that the EU’s executive would not take part in the referendum campaign.”

    I’ll believe that when I don’t see it.

    ““For me, it is prudent not to go campaign and try to impose a choice on a sovereign people. Referendums are dangerous, especially for Europe,” he said, warning that any campaigning by the Commission could backfire.”

    1. Kenneth
      February 22, 2016

      I suspect the plan (if we vote for Brexit) is to tie the UK up in years of renegotiations while we continue to pay the subs.

      They will try to pull this with the support of our Foreign Office which has always been helpful to its eu masters.

  32. rick hamilton
    February 22, 2016

    Very good news indeed, and a strong endorsement of everything JR has been saying for so long. BBC World TV News today reported Boris’ comments factually.

    True to form only hours later they were at it again with their pro-EU bias, interviewing two Swiss nationals who both stated without any supporting arguments that the UK must stay in the EU. No explanation why the Swiss voted to stay out, no interview with anyone of that opinion. Next they interviewed three in Ireland, two saying the UK must stay in the EU, the third saying Ireland must get the same deal as the UK !

    I e-mailed the BBC to ask if their bias will continue in this way right up to 23/6 but have yet to receive an answer. Who cares what the personal views of their reporters might be: their job is not to lead opinion but to reflect it. Thank goodness we have CNN at least, to give a relatively objective report of UK events.

    1. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      Whether you like or loathe George Galloway he can be a persuasive speaker and he put an abject Jo Coborn in her place on Daily Politics . Yet again a BBC interviewer wanting to spend 80% of an interview with a leave MP talking about personalities not issues. Galloway exposed this remorselessly, he does have over 1m social media followers if he can persuade some of those to vote leave good luck to him. I wish a few more MPs would take a leaf out of his book.

  33. The PrangWizard
    February 22, 2016

    Both Mr Gove and Mr Johnson, have given us all a magnificent morale boost, each are of great intellect, and their statements and speeches are of the highest order. We need more people to say these things. I wonder how many waverers they have won over in the party and how many remainers will change their minds. They will have won over many in the country at large.

    Cameron on the other hand, can say little other than we will be safer. Safer from what I wonder, terrorism? Or on the streets.

    Safe, like the French? Safe, like the women of Cologne?

  34. Patti Lee Salter
    February 22, 2016

    Well done Michael and Boris. Now the hard work must start. I do feel that much more emphasis must be put on specific industries that will be much better off outside of the EU, and I think one of the most important is the fishing industry, out of the EU would surely get fishing back on its old successful course, giving back much needed employment to all those coastal areas where it was once their main source of income. Inside the EU we are barely allowed to catch any fish at all whilst other countries can just come in and take everything. Meanwhile Mr Redwood, I think you are doing a marvellous job.

  35. miami.mode
    February 22, 2016

    As our host has pointed out many times, the pro-EU campaigners do not want to join the Euro and do not wish to participate in the Schengen area which are both fundamental to the Union. How is this compatible with wishing to remain a member?

    It’s no wonder that existing members become frustrated and annoyed and seem at times to dislike us when we are constantly battling against what they have created and only want to cherry-pick the bits that suit us. Geographically and ideologically we are on the periphery and as seen by their slightly indulgent attitude towards us it is plainly obvious that they need us far more than we need them

  36. Tom William
    February 22, 2016

    Mr Cameron has said “what was agreed by 28 prime ministers and presidents, every EU country on Friday evening, that is itself an international law decision, a treaty that will be deposited at the UN. It is legally binding, it is irreversible”.

    This is nonsense. It was not an international law decision or a treaty or even a meeting of the European Council. It is not legally binding. Who does he think will deposit “it” at the UN? His words must be demolished.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 22, 2016

      It’s not even original: the Irish were fed nonsense about “legally binding guarantees” and “deposited at the UN” before the second Lisbon referendum.

    2. Hope
      February 22, 2016

      Mr Shulz is clear the EU parliament can vote against it. What is telling is that the vote will not be had until after the referendum. If it as as secure as Cameron claims why would the EU parliament not go ahead now, if his claim is true that it is legally binding?

  37. MikeP
    February 22, 2016

    Among many interruptions to Chris Grayling yesterday, the BBC’s Jo Coburn on Sunday Politics challenged the £10bn net cost to the UK of being in the EU. She said that it’s rather less than that “because of our rebate”.
    Was she right or is the rebate already factored in to the £10bn you often quote ?

    Reply Yes of course it is taken off first! NET is NET.

  38. alan jutson
    February 22, 2016

    I see it is being reported today in some of the Press, that Cameron perhaps offered Boris the position of either Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary to try and get him as a supporter for Remain.

    Good that Boris refused the possible bribe (as that is what it is if true), but I wonder what the present holders of those position’s feel right now, given they were both undecided at one time.

    1. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      Hammond has no spine and May no personality. Almost as supine as the useless Matthew Hancock, a wetter MP I’ve rarely seen. How such MPs cannot see that any prime ministerial preferment they get for backing CMD will last only until he goes, is beyond me. Remain MPs will not be rewarded by their constituency associations come election time..

  39. John Bracewell
    February 22, 2016

    I agree with these sentiments, well done indeed to Messrs Gove and Johnson, and the other five Cabinet Ministers who have declared their Leave vote. It is good to think there are some principled politicians still around who are willing to decide on the basis of what is best for the country and not just for their own careers. Although I do not think it will harm Boris Johnson’s Conservative leadership ambitions whatever the result of the EU referendum, the people who vote for the leader are those people in the country who are overwhelmingly Leave the EU voters. The very people through their Conservative associations that the PM reportedly told MPs to disregard.

  40. brian
    February 22, 2016

    The Leave campaign has not explained how we can access the Market again but not have to pay the annual fee and have to accept “free movement”. The other countries will insist on that.

    1. MickN
      February 22, 2016

      The Leave campaign has not explained how we can access the Market again but not have to pay the annual fee and have to accept “free movement”. The other countries will insist on that.


      How long do you think it will be before the French farmers take to the streets when we put reciprocal tariffs on their wine cheese and other produce?

      Reply Over 160 countries around the world trade well with the EU without accepting freedom of movement or contributions!

      1. MickN
        February 22, 2016

        Reply to reply:

        I think I must not have made myself clear John.
        My answer to those that say the EU countries will put tariffs on our exports to them should we leave is to say that it will not happen because if we reciprocate and put tariffs on what they sell to us would have the French farmers taking to the streets in protest.

        We are singing from the same hymnsheet . I am sorry that I hadn’t made my point clearly.

      2. Horatio
        February 22, 2016

        And this is the big lie of the CBI.. we pay their membership fee to the cost of £20b per year. Mexico don’t pay and they don’t have to accept freedom of movement

    2. forthurst
      February 22, 2016

      “The Leave campaign has not explained how we can access the Market again but not have to pay the annual fee and have to accept “free movement”.”

      The Remain campaign has not explained why the countries of the EU, in particular Germany, will not wish to continue to run a massive trade surplus contigent on Single Market access with us were we to Brexit the EU, nor why many countries outside the EU e.g. South Korea, enjoy access to the Single Market without having to subsidise inefficient French farmers or Greeks whose economy has been destroyed by Euromaniacs, nor which have to overload their already overcrowded country with an unconstrained influx of people they did not invite.

      The Remainders have not explained why they persist in their beliefs despite not having a single good argument in favour of their position.

  41. MikeP
    February 22, 2016

    Sorry John, to clarify and further to my earlier request for examples of EU interference, I have of course got lots of arguments from your recent excellent series of posts but it was specifically to answer the BBC’s follow-up to Michael Gove’s claim that his civil servants often say “sorry you can’t do that (something he’d clearly like to do) because of the EU”. So ministerial examples of being thwarted by EU regulation, thanks.

  42. ChrisS
    February 22, 2016

    Once again the Today program displayed its Pro-EU bias by giving the prime 08:10 slot to Michael Fallon, the Defense Minister. Before 8:00 they had the former boss of the border force whom the producer obviously hoped would offer a strong statement on security in favour of remaining within the EU.

    Neither speaker was particularly enthusiastic about the EU and in particular the Borders expert failed to go along with CMD’s categorical statement that our borders would be more secure if we remained in the EU. I doubt whether he will be called on again by the BBC !

    The point I wish to make is that with the referendum campaign in full swing, pressure must be brought to bear on the BBC to treat both sides fairly on its flagship news and current affairs program.

    MPs such as our host should be complaining to the electoral commission and demanding that either speakers should appear to debate referendum issues jointly or they should be interviewed one immediately after the other with each side taking it in turns to go first.

    Broadcasting Leave campaigners at 07:10 and Remain spokesmen at the key 08:10 slot should not be allowed.

  43. Richard1
    February 22, 2016

    The actual arguments of the Remain side do seem to be quite thin on inspection. Hillary Benn gave an impassioned interview on the Today programme yesterday, and one of the arguments he advanced was the EUropean arrest warrant enables us and other EU states to extradite terrorists quickly and therefore makes us safer. I thought it odd John Humphreys didn’t immediately point out that we have fast track extradition for terrorists with the US. Now I check and I see Switzerland Norway and Iceland are all in the EAW without being in the EU. It would be good if assertions – on both sides – could be subject to rigorous scrutiny and challenge.

    1. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      Absolutely true and good research Richard. Leave MPs must also get better briefed. What a simple fact to make these scaremongers look stupid!

  44. Lifelogic
    February 22, 2016

    Looking at the list of Tory MPs in favour of leaving or remaining I am struck by how the remain side also tend broadly to also be unsound on:

    The catastrophic warming (huge exaggeration of) agenda,
    The green crap expensive energy and subsidies agenda
    The bloated state sector,
    The absurd structure of the NHS
    The open door, totally unselective immigration
    The ECHR and their potty decisions
    The love of the dire hugely biased BBC and all the lefty lovies in “the arts”
    The no deterrent approach to criminal justice
    The endless waste of tax payers money on Swansea Lagoons, HS2, film subsidies and the likes.
    The desire to hike taxes endlessly and enlarge the state
    The desire of over regulate everything to death
    Plus countless other daft agendas.
    The EU is really quite a defining issue between sound and unsound. Real conservative or just another job seeking, career politician, lefty, LibDim.

    1. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      It is also quite simply a question of givers and takers. Those who pay into the union for example, the English, are Eurosceptic those who take out, the rest , are for remain. Northern constituencies generally vote labour and don’t bite the hand that feeds them.

      Remainers enjoy redistribution and taxation of the wealth creators. How else to pay for their ecofascist green projects. Which suck public money like a goitre and would never be desirable in the real world where they would never get exclusively private funding.

    2. turboterrier
      February 22, 2016



  45. Mark
    February 22, 2016

    It’s a long time since I needed persuading of the merits of leaving the EU: the arguments, well set out at this site and elsewhere have long been clear to anyone who bothers to check up on the facts and is interested enough to do so. The problem is that we have a referendum to win, and as the campaign for No in the AV referendum showed, the tricks of winning are not all about presenting the most logical arguments or about having the largest number of well known actors and “personalities” supporting the campaign.

    Importantly, it will be hard for TV to ignore Boris, or set him up to fail. It is clear that in having the support of Boris, the Leave campaign has an ally who may usefully find messages that resonate with those who are less inclined to research for themselves and more inclined to listen to Project Fear otherwise – this is where the campaign now needs to focus to ensure success.

    February 22, 2016

    I hear Mr Cameron is egging on ex-UK Military top brass to sign some letter advocating a STAY in the trading organisation of the EU. Career successes in the field and really good hairstyles may very well signal better deployment in the less challenging area of retail.

    1. peter davies
      February 22, 2016

      “STAY in the trading organization of the EU” – there’s the lie for starters

  47. Sue Doughty
    February 22, 2016

    And Zac Goldsmith

  48. EForster
    February 22, 2016

    Your principled stance is excellent news. As a former constituent and supporter of yours, I hope you can now go so far as to endorse Dr. Richard North’s excellent FLEXCIT plan, which is a fully comprehensive strategy for negotiating a satisfactory exit from the EU under the terms of Article 50. It provides a path to ensure continued participation in the Single Market after exit, which must be a desirable aim for trading continuity at first.

    Reply Thank you for your support. I do not agree with Dr North’s plan, though I value his research and enthusiasm for our exit. I see no need for us to pay contributions after we have left.

    1. ian wragg
      February 22, 2016

      One of the few pleasures Cameron has bestowed on us is having the referendum on 23rd June. This has left a lot of people with large amounts of egg on their face after categorically stating time and time again that it would be late 2017.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 22, 2016

      It’s the “at first” part which rather worries me.

    3. Duyfken
      February 22, 2016

      North likes to surround himself with disciples. Anyone with the temerity to show the slightest variance from his teachings risks vilification. Worthy but impossible to work with.

    4. Horatio
      February 22, 2016

      A trade war will not happen. Without British contributions extra pressure will fall on French and German transfers to the poorer countries in the euro zone. Without us, who will buy their cars and wine?

  49. Tad Davison
    February 22, 2016

    The BBC’s Daily Politics Show was interesting this lunchtime.

    Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, looked worried. He denied ever saying that if we left the EU, we would lose three million jobs, just that three million jobs are linked to our membership of the EU. Does that amount to backtracking I wonder. Has Labour finally come to their senses, and stopped their pathetic scaremongering to win an unfair advantage?

    We’ll see, but we know from bitter experience just how much these people try to influence the EU debate by troubling wavering people with falsehoods and misinformation .

    It stands to reason that the EU will still want to trade with the United Kingdom in the event of our exit because they could not risk losing such an important export market, especially with so much poverty and unemployment in the EU already. So those three million UK jobs are safe.

    This might come down to a matter of honesty, and I am grateful to Mr Gove and to Mr Johnson for having the courage of their convictions. Their personal standing is greatly enhanced. Conversely, anyone who resorts to telling porkies needs to be exposed, and may I say, booted out because they are not fit and proper people to represent us. I have the feeling the public will remember which way their MP voted when it comes to their re-election. The honest ones who tell the truth about the iniquitous EU have nothing to fear.

    Tad Davison


  50. Bob
    February 22, 2016

    Senior Tory outers say they will not debate against the PM.
    I wonder who could step up to that plate?

  51. Mark
    February 22, 2016

    I note this morning that a) the pound has fallen, and b) there has been no shortening of the odds for Leave. The combination implies that the market expects the UK to vote to remain in the EU, with a worse than anticipated deal. We can expect to hear a rather different spin on the fall of the pound from Project Fear.

  52. peter davies
    February 22, 2016

    I wonder how many politicians have read the Lisbon Treaty and have a grasp of where it is heading?

    This alone based on the principles of democracy should surely be enough to set off alarm bells of trouble to come in this club. Add to that the evidence of misery caused by the Euro it should be plainly obvious to all but the most stupid that the EU benefits Germany and a very small clique of politicians and officials.

    This is a historic moment and I don’t think history will be too kind to those politicians who bottled it and decided to back the stay in side knowing that staying in the EU is not the way to go for the UK, especially if we elect to stay in on the back of their opinions.

    All credit to the Cabinet Members who have stuck to their true beliefs. IDS summed it up well when he said words to the effect “this is not about economics, this is a political structure with marker elements attached”

  53. David Edwards
    February 22, 2016

    I’ve been a bit slow at working this out. Just watching Benn, that if we are not united it’s a race to the bottom. That’s it isn’t it. Or the top, if you are not statist.

  54. Denis Cooper
    February 22, 2016

    Looking at their “Value of the pound against the US dollar” chart here:


    there is a downwards trend running back to at least May 2014, about an overall drop of about 15% since then, with two year long oscillations superimposed on that trend, and that has nothing to with the prospect of Brexit.

    However when I look at the table for the sterling trade weighted index:


    on May 30th 2014 it was 86.8527 and on Friday it was 86.4750.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 23, 2016

      Over the same period the euro has dropped by about 20% against the dollar:


      The dollar has been rising against most other currencies including sterling and the euro, but for some strange reason this has to be reinterpreted as just sterling falling against the dollar.

  55. Bill
    February 22, 2016

    There is a general view that 18-25 year olds are all in favour of remaining the EU. The case for leaving needs to explain that there are even greater opportunities for them outside the EU than inside. My findings from a survey of young people some years ago showed that the educated multi-lingual greenish and often female voter was attracted to the EU and its gold-plated administrative jobs. Such people have tender social consciences and are well-meaning. The point needs to be made that an inventive, entrepreneurial, free and sovereign UK could still support the weak, the poor, the disabled and care for the environment.

  56. a-tracy
    February 22, 2016

    The best thing about Britain for me is that we encourage social movement, not just through who you know (if you’re related to people in positions of power and responsibility – although some of this does still go on), we abide more with American aspirations. Home ownership and our desire for this to follow on for our children, share ownership to help provide for a healthy retirement from work, freedom to choose your work hours (which has been eroded). What is social mobility in France? By their desire for a minimal 35 hour week, can those wishing to leverage them-self out of the lower classes do so or are they get trapped unless they emigrate? We need to know what is their E utopia.

    We are frequently told our hospitals will be short of staff, why? Why aren’t we training our own people to work in our hospitals? Who is blocking the total numbers of people trained? are there caps on training doctors and nurses? Are we doing recruitment drives in the 6th form?

  57. Barry M Watson
    February 22, 2016

    As we enter the EU referendum, it is essential that
    the state broadcaster-BBC- remains unbiased between the sides with its reports.

    Already the first headlines are being broadcast as ‘Headlines’ from the Prime Minister and the Pro
    EU side [e.g. Michael Fallon ‘EU referendum: Leaving EU ‘big gamble’ for UK security’-BBC]

    The OUT group then being given the secondary position of commenting
    on these headlines!

  58. Jumeirah
    February 22, 2016

    A Leader of Brexit must be selected NOW!

  59. BOF
    February 22, 2016

    Good news that democracy seems to matter to Leave campaigners. I have been at a loss to understand why we should be going to the trouble of electing 650 MP’s, and giving them our consent to govern the UK on our behalf, only to have them contract out that power to people we did not elect and often that the UK public have never even heard of, and we cannot get rid of them.
    Surely there can be no justification in keeping our parliament (or the Lords) when all we really require is a UK executive to enforce the laws passed down to us by the EU.

    1. Anonymous
      February 22, 2016

      BOF – If we have lost all sovereignty then why a monarch ? Why all the vestiges of state ? The expensive government security, police, grace and favour residences ? Why the ceremony ?

      Get rid of all of it and save us the money.

      Turn the great palaces into tourist attractions.

  60. Angry of SE1
    February 22, 2016

    JR – would be delighted to hear your thoughts on DC’s answer to Nadine Dorries.

    If it forms part of your column tomorrow then that would be ideal.

  61. Caterpillar
    February 22, 2016

    Briefly it seems that the Out campaign describe the EU as a “sell”, the remain campaign describe it as a “hold” and no one describes it as a “buy”.

    1. ChrisS
      February 22, 2016

      On the contrary, our own Great Leader said only the other day that if he could get these (new) terms, he would join the EU !!!

      That’s so obviously a lie that it destroys every shred of credibility he had on the subject.

      Unless, of course, he actually believes it, in which case we should all be worried about his judgement.

  62. matthu
    February 22, 2016

    If David Cameron is maintaining that Brexit would be a leap into the dark, and is also dead set against government making any plans at all about what to do in the event of a vote to Leave, why would anyone consider him to be a good candidate to lead the government after a vote to Leave?

  63. John
    February 22, 2016

    I strongly agree that the public need an informed, reasoned and sober debate.

    With that in mind it is such a shame that your leader Mr Cameron has already started doing little more than name calling, and saying almost nothing of any substance beyond “this is the right thing for Britain”

    If that is political leadership then God help us all

  64. Cheshire Girl
    February 22, 2016

    As usual, Jacob Rees Mogg put it in a nutshell in his measured and calm way. I was waiting to hear his view now that we have heard what the ‘ Deal’ is. He is so often more convincing than those who shout and sneer at others.

  65. Iain Gill
    February 22, 2016

    Funny on my commuter train journey today the passengers were all chatting about Brexit, despite being packed in like sardines. They general feelings, including the little old ladies who say “I’m not interested in politics”, were pretty unanimous for leaving Europe. They went on the say they all wanted another referendum in England on whether we should stay united with Scotland or go it alone as an independent England!
    I was staggered at this strength of feeling, and kept my mouth shut throughout.
    I think Cameron is over.

  66. petermartin2001
    February 22, 2016

    It’s good that there are new recruits in the Conservative Party for the Leave campaign. Its a pity that the Labour leadership (JC used to be anti EU himself) are so muted on the issue but not so the Labour membership.

    A recent EU referendum posting on Labourlist quickly racked up over 500 comments. Although the posting itself was pro-EU, the comments were about 3:1 for the Leave side of the argument.

    The Leave campaign will need every vote it gets so it is time to temporarily set aside political differences and unite for a common cause. Normal hostilities should be resumed as soon as possible afterwards, of course!

  67. Javelin
    February 22, 2016

    The Cameron-Tusk agreement states in paragraph 3 that the Eurozone countries can now reimburse costs of a Euro bailout back to the “general budget” – in the case of Greece this was £310 billion for the first three bailouts. As the UK pays about 15% into the general budget this would have costs us £46 billion. Italy’s economy is twenty times the size of Greece. So an Italian bailout would cost £920 billion. This is a new provision snuck in by Cameron who only mentioned the first paragraph.

    So bottom line Cameron got us into a possible debt of nearly £1 trillion and claimed it as a victory.

    Here is the text.

    3. Emergency and crisis measures addressed to safeguarding the financial stability of the euro area will not entail budgetary responsibility for Member States whose currency is not the euro, or, as the case may be, for those not participating in the banking union.

    Appropriate mechanisms to ensure full reimbursement will be established where the general budget of the Union supports costs, other than administrative costs, that derive from the emergency and crisis measures referred to in the first subparagraph.

    Reply The government reads this differently as protection of our no bail out stance

  68. ChrisS
    February 22, 2016

    So CMD ridiculed Boris and the idea that we might be offered better terms to stay on board, if we vote to leave.

    I’m not so sure. The EU has history in this area, getting countries to vote again if the result of a referendum is not their liking. In our case, they stand to lose our £10bn pa NET contribution to the budget as well as the benefit of being able to count the fifth largest economy as a member. I therefore suspect that thinking members of the Brussels establishment might well want to try and help Cameron to keep us on board.

    I think they will be overruled by the French who see us as a threat and the Belgians who are terrified of any hesitation on the way to full integration : they know that’s the only thing that will prevent their own country from breaking up into its constituent parts.

    Let’s hope that OUT really does mean OUT because you can easily see Cameron coming back from Berlin waving yet another piece of paper this time from Merkel,singing the praises of some slightly tweeked terms.

    Eurosceptics might well have the result of the referendum in their pocket, but Cameron would easily be able to assemble a majority in both the Commons and the Lords to accept a new deal and prevent us from leaving.

    Whether any of the Europhiles are dishonest enough to want to overrule the wishes of the people, I’m not sure but it would be far better for the prospect of a revised deal to be kept firmly off the agenda.

    1. stred
      February 23, 2016

      During the debate yesterday, Cameron said something which betrays his motives on the matter. When railing against his unfaithful friend Boris, he said “I am not seeking election” (or something close) – and this is why I am doing this for my beloved country etc. He seemed to be implying that Boris was only doing what he had done because he was seeking re-election. Wheras our great leader was ensuring that the HoC was going to be of little point in the future and he was off to a more profitable future- so there Boris!

      Boris then asked how anything in the deal would ensure that sovreignty would be ensured and the PM replied that “we will keep control of our borders”. Presumably, he thinks that beause we are not in Schengen, our Border Farce officers will ‘control’ at ports and stations by examining EU passports before waving anyone who has one through, while arranging for those who do not to be accommodated by the Home Office residential and stretched limo service. Mrs May, sitting beside ereeered enthusiastically.

      Five out of six MPs in the HoC are doing their best to make themselves redundant.

  69. RB
    February 23, 2016

    When Mr Cameron entered these negotiations he assured us that if he didn’t get a good enough deal he was prepared to recommend Brexit. Was he really prepared to take a “leap in the dark”, with all the massive security implications that he is now presenting to us? Or could it be that he is just presenting these imagined risks now, to deflect attention from the fact that his big “deal” is absolutely worthless? According to his own words they were risks that he was fully prepared to take under certain circumstances.

    From October 2016 Turkey will be granted Visa Free Travel to the EU, meaning Europe’s Borders will now end at Syria! (75 Million Muslim Turks) which dwarfs the entire UK population able to come to Europe overnight no questions asked (Schengen Area’s) they will set up more camps to infiltrate. This is why Cameron has rushed the date of June before the British Public realize this buried subject!

  70. Lindsay McDougall
    February 23, 2016

    The next task for Vote Leave – and the addition of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson will help – is to lobby Conservative MPs so that those wanting to leave form a majority of Conservative MPs. This will undermine the PM’s authority, something that may be necessary given the significant size of the deferential vote in the UK. There are more people than we like who are inclined always to give the Government of the day the benefit of any doubt.

    1. ChrisS
      February 23, 2016

      Be careful what you ask for :

      The referendum campaign will only last 4 months, a Corbyn Government will have five years to destroy the economy of our country, flood it with even more immigrants and decimate our armed forces. It would not surprise me if he “gifted” our seat on the security council to the EU either.

      Even if CMD wins the referendum, it will be because, as he has admitted, he will be using the full resources of the civil service, unfairly, in my view. Not to mention the the blatant lies we have already seen him employ. I very much doubt whether he will survive in office for more than a few months – just enough time to try and make it as easy as possible for Osbourne to move next door. That will be a forlorn hope : I suspect that such will be the resentment caused by the unfair deployment of resources, that only someone who was on the Leave side will be able to win the leadership.

      Every member of the party, especially MPs, needs to remember that divided parties do not win elections. Labour will keep their own deep divisions under wraps if they get a sniff of an opportunity to take power.

      If Cameron loses, it’s unthinkable that MPs or the country would trust a Europhile to negotiate our exit. Boris would be well advised to appoint our host to lead the negotiations, ably supported by Michael Gove and with Bill Cash and Nigel Farage advising them. Nobody would be needed to hold the feet of this quartet to the fire !

  71. Ian B
    February 24, 2016

    The big danger here is that the Innies are running a purely emotional campaign, and emotions are very effective. Human beings are basically emotional creatures and can often be persuaded to act against their own instincts by fear, and also by authority.

  72. Tango India Mike
    February 25, 2016

    I have always been a political-atheist but i fully support anyone who stands with us on the issue of leaving the EU so Thank You for all your efforts.
    Its took a long time to get to here.But there is not long left to go.
    Keep positive guys You Are True Brits.

  73. David R Wilson
    February 25, 2016

    Every time I see Cameron, I see Neville Chamberlain stood at the door of the aeroplane, surrounded by reporters, waving a piece of paper and uttering the immortal words…. “I have got a good deal for Britain from Herr Hitler/Merkel, peace in our time” And look what happened to that cast iron guarantee from the Third/Forth Reich.
    Will Boris turn out to be the new Winston?

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