I am tempted to think that whatever the Remain side do now it will help us Leavers. The government “impartial” pamphlet has angered many more people. Most think it quite wrong that taxpayers are being asked to pay for one sided propaganda close to an important ballot. No-one believes a Labour or Conservative government should send out a document written by the civil service recommending general government policy and its benefits ten weeks before a General Election, and no past government has tried to do that. This is similar to such a decision.
It is true that in 1975 the Labour government sent a pamphlet to all households arguing the case to stay in. Subsequent changes to election law have tightened provisions for elections and referendums to ensure greater fairness between the two sides. That can no longer be regarded as acceptable practice.
It is interesting to look back at the lies we were told then by the government. The biggest was our sovereignty was not at risk. They told us that “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests. … Remember: All the other countries in the market (note not EEC, its true name) enjoy, like us, democratically elected governments answerable to their own Parliaments and their own voters. They do not want to weaken their Parliaments any more than we would”
The pamphlet denied the idea that the Commission has important independent power, and did not mention the binding nature of European court judgements. It was before a directly European Parliament had some say. Ever since we have seen the constant erosion of that veto by Treaty change, and erosion of power away from Ministers to the Commission, Court, European Parliament and other EU institutions.
So why would anyone believe the modern version of this pamphlet? That says “The UK has secured a special status in a reformed EU”. Where are the reforms of the EU? Where are the legal guarantees for the UK and restoration of our rights to make our own laws and levy our own taxes? It says “The UK will not be part of further European political integration” That is clearly wrong. Every new Regulation, Directive and court judgement will drive us into more dependence on the EU and its laws.
It implies we could lose our right to travel and spend money on the continent, which is absurd. It is silent on how we can control numbers of EU migrants properly within the EU, just referring to some changes to benefit rules.
Many will send their pamphlet back to Downing Street, and will want their taxpayers money back from this ill thought through venture. We warned the government not to do this in Parliament before the event, and thought Ministers had assured us it would not happen.