OMFIF debate shows good swing to Leave

The OMFIF debate drew an audience of 200 to Westminster yesterday.

The vote at the start of proceedings showed 68% in favour of Remain and just 29% in favour of leaving.

Following the debate, led by myself and Gerard Lyons for Leave, with Lord Adonis and Vicky Pryce for Remain, the vote was 38% for Leave and 60% for Remain, a useful swing of 8%

It demonstrates  that even with an audience of well connected establishment figures it is possible to sway opinion if we have a chance to explain our case properly. As latest research  shows, this was a far from representative audience, as Leave is doing well overall and is ahead in recent polls.


  1. Dame Rita Webb
    June 2, 2016

    Its says a lot about the “establishment” if it includes a convicted liar

    1. Ian Wragg
      June 2, 2016

      Rita the establishment is riddled with liers.

      1. Jerry
        June 2, 2016

        As is the internet!

      2. Yosarion
        June 2, 2016

        Its how they Establish their facts

    2. Lifelogic
      June 2, 2016

      Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

      More to the point is the lack of any logic or reason in any of her economic arguments. One might have thought she could at least understand the huge damage being done to Greece by the EURO structures.

      I just listened to a discussion on radio 4’s Today programme about 8.40 am with Alastair Darling and Prof. Patrick Minford. Darling opened the discussion, was able to interrupt Minford, spoke for about 75% of the time and was allowed to close the discussion. The BBC bias is on this referendum is totally overwhelming. If remain wins it will surely the endless BBC bias that has ended UK democracy and buried the UK in anti-democratic, EU socialism.

      The next item was on the disasters that engulf (what was it seems was basically Corbyn’s agenda) – Venezuela. The EU is not that distant from that.

      I still think Brexit will triumph, despite the BBC’s agenda.

    3. formula57
      June 2, 2016

      It may well (given Mr Cameron’s record, inter alia) include some unconvicted liars too

    4. Bob
      June 2, 2016

      The should have put up pro Remain’s Dennis MacShane (another jailbird).

      I notice that the BBC is giving far more prominence to pro Remain pronouncements, without even attempting to challenge them.

      They now telling us that wages will go down by (up to) £38 per week, despite the fact that Remainiac leader Lord Rose said wages would rise. I spotted the inconsistency, but the BBC with all their teams of researchers missed it. The least they could do is point out that “uo to” 38 includes any number below 38.

      They’re also holding up UK/Ireland’s open border as a weakness in the Leave case, whereas I would have said it’s no such thing, unless the EU wished to implement restrictions on movement between the Republic and the rest of the EU.

    5. Chris
      June 2, 2016

      It really concerns me that Vicky Price is often in the media and asked to comment, as though she is a respected voice. …………………I have no respect for her, nor her opinions.

    6. Jagman84
      June 2, 2016

      Maybe she feels at home there? The truth is in short supply in the Remaniacs fantasy world.

  2. Lifelogic
    June 2, 2016


    Remain simply has no arguments that stand up to even superficial scrutiny. Lord Adonis and Vicky Pryce are hardly a strong team, even if they did have any valid arguments to defend.

    It is our duty to leave for the interests of the UK and the interests of EUROPE. These are very much not the same as the interests of the EU bureaucrats and the establishment.

  3. Richard1
    June 2, 2016

    Was the event videoed?

    Reply Yes

    1. Richard1
      June 2, 2016

      Could you let us know the link so we can watch it?

  4. eeyore
    June 2, 2016

    Thank you for this. As the poll draws near such reports of voting sentiment are of enormous interest. I wish other commenters here would let us all know what their own friends and colleagues think. I ask everyone, argue with no one, and find somewhere north of 60-40 for Brexit.

    Leavers seem determined, even strident, Remainers rueful and apologetic. I have yet to meet a wholehearted Remainer, but that probably just reflects my own limited acquaintance.

    1. Anonymous
      June 2, 2016

      Eeyore – I experience a similar proportion of Leavers to Remainers. Possibly higher.

      People only say they are Leave in hushed tones. The position has been smeared as racist. Remainers speak loudly and confidently – as though they are the enlightened and are on safe ground.

      I enquired about joining the EU Social and Democratic Party a couple of weeks ago. The fact is that an ordinary person can’t. The EU Parties are not formed of grass roots members but of a select elite.

      Anyone who is for Remain should at least know which Party they are allied to, who leads it and what it stands for. If they don’t then they ought not be voting Remain.

  5. agricola
    June 2, 2016

    Quite right, not necessarily representative. The majority of voters were probably at work.
    All credit to Boris and Nigel who are getting out and meeting real people on a daily basis, unlike Cameron who seems to prefer closed doors and a controlled situation. When we do see glimpses of his chosen audiences they never seem very animated with enthusiasm.

    Leave should make much more use of Daniel Hannan whose analytical approach has convincing effect. Witness his speech in Amsterdam about a year ago.

  6. Margaret
    June 2, 2016

    Here you go again: eclectic abbreviations. Nevertheless this is good news that some are not pig headedly sticking to their opinion when they realise that they are wrong in their assumptions.

    I have always been an advocate of ‘u’ turns if the evidence demonstrates a need to change, but then there is always the question of validity or more pertinently, truth, of the evidence.

    1. margaret
      June 2, 2016

      I hope everyone realises that the women coming into the country all have approx 6-8 children and they will all have 6-8 children. I had a list of 16 people today . One was English.

      Reply Just not true

    2. getahead
      June 2, 2016

      Acronyms Margaret? They drive me crackers too. The user always expects the reader to know what they are talking about.
      You can always Google acronyms for the acronym solver.

  7. DaveM
    June 2, 2016

    Local straw poll in my area done by the local MP was 79% Leave. Admittedly the demographics may be somewhat skewed, but at the same time they are indicative of those who are genuinely engaged in the debate. I remain optimistic.

    England’s Dragon says:

    “Invest in a failing currency and a wannabe Superstate project? I’m Out.”

  8. Dioclese
    June 2, 2016

    Polls are notoriously unreliable – just look at the last General Election.

    I’m sure you’re not, but please don’t get complacent. I was asked how I would vote a couple of days ago. I sad ‘remain’ because I want to lull them into a feeling of false security whilst giving your side a prod to get on with it. I’ll be voting leave on the 23rd tho’ assuming my postal ballot ever turns up. I’m beginning to wonder where it’s got to…

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      June 2, 2016

      Looking at what happened with the postal votes in Bristol and the usual jiggery pokerery associated with such things, best of luck in getting one if you want out

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        June 2, 2016

        If it has not turned up by now I would ring the local authority asap

    2. Anonymous
      June 2, 2016

      Chase it up. I have had mine for over a week now.

    3. ian wragg
      June 2, 2016

      My Mother in Law had her postal vote and asked me for advice. There is one definite LEAVE returned in the post.

      Reply There are two – I sent mine in yesterday

  9. Lifelogic
    June 2, 2016

    The odd are moving fairly strongly to Brexit too. As it becomes very clear remain lack any coherent arguments at all. Still some way to go though to defeat the BBC bias & the establishment lies.

    1. getahead
      June 2, 2016

      If, God willing, we win this referendum and if, God willing, a conservative party wins the next election, one of the first jobs of the government will be to cancel the BBC tax in its current form.

  10. formula57
    June 2, 2016

    Congratulations are due to you and Gerard Lyons. Given the audience, and the likelihood many would have researched and thought about the issues in advance, an eight per cent. swing is indeed impressive.

  11. NickW
    June 2, 2016

    Apparently we have contributed 8.5 Billion Euros to the so called Juncker plan, on top of our “Normal” EU donations, and the money has now all gone, with nothing to show for it.

    The EU plans to ask for more in the next EU budget, which will hit us between the eyes after the referendum.

    So we volunteered another £6Billion to the EU and its all gone!

  12. NickW
    June 2, 2016

    I recommend this article in the Telegraph, by Allister Heath


    Remain is not a safe option, either the EU has to integrate further or it will disintegrate. If we vote to remain we will not be able to resist the integration process, if the EU disintegrates we will have a far better chance of navigating through the chaos if we leave.

  13. Bert Young
    June 2, 2016

    Well done John . Tackling an audience such as that was a tough proposition .

    1. alan jutson
      June 2, 2016

      John on good form this morning at a local Business Breakfast debate.

      Arrival Poll Exit Poll

      Leave 34% 58%

      Remain 43% 37.5%

      Undecided 23% 4.5%

      Just shows what can be done with simple and logical arguments with real facts.

      The opposition was a Labour MEP for Remain.

      It shows why Remain have to use campaign fear, they have nothing else to offer.

    June 2, 2016

    The media is/are well-trained in their profession. When they wish to “input” opinion ( the more recent term of the in-people far far away from public ears; I have spies) , they first go hell-for-leather OTT for one slant of an argument with the odd opposing view thrown in as if trying to cover-up bias. When the inputted audience ( they mean We The People ) see they are being deliberately fed biased nonsense, they then miraculously, seamlessly, pendulum to the opposite view…as we have seen in the last day or so with the Leave Camp getting quite an airing, in fact OTT, to be objective. It is deliberate. Psychologically, by such extremes, they first convince those to be inputted ( us )they are being lied to…then by swinging to the opposite that they are not after all or perhaps “Things have been remedied ” showing the overall value of democratic strings attached to the wayward media are in fact working.

    What is important is what the media do next. If they follow their form, they will continue their bias to LEAVE until perhaps Friday or Saturday, and then by deep, frowned more seemingly sober consideration minus their previous hyperbole give the “rational” case after many feigned “unpickings” of the information. Thus we the inputted will believe we have with our superior intelligence and analytic abilities come to the correct view and voting intention. Opinion polls will be made throughout and the emphasis by the media adjusted accordingly to achieve the Establishments’s desired result.
    UNLESS something goes terribly wrong for the Establishment. Like the genuinely accidental “Bunch” said by Mr Cameron in Parliament. I saw his face, it was not an act, he made a genuine Freudian slip. But a terrorist attack on mainland UK, depending on its extent and nature could move votes to Leave irrespective of media manipulation. Or a black swan event in one or more EU nation states as happening now in France and East Europe without much media coverage.
    We shall have to pray that innocent people being killed and wounded are not the necessary events required for the British Establishment figures to behave like legitimate Britons.

  15. Not long to go now
    June 2, 2016

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

  16. NickW
    June 2, 2016

    Ambrose Evans Pritchard says the following; (Telegraph).

    “Leave camp must accept that Norway model is the only safe way to exit EU.”

    Cameron pulling strings with the Telegraph owners again and shoving propaganda down our throats.

    Why “must” our negotiated settlement with the EU be the same as Norway, and why can’t we negotiate a unique arrangement tailored to our requirements as Norway did?

    We need a British model to exit the EU, and there is no reason on earth why we should not get one.

    1. Richard1
      June 2, 2016

      I think those advocating Leave should stop crying conspiracy every time someone says something they don’t agree with. The Telegraph employees advocates both of Remain and Leave. ambrose Evans-Pritchard is a (good) independent journalist

      1. getahead
        June 2, 2016

        However we do not need the strings attached to the Norway EEA agreement.
        We want out. We must, as an independent country, be able to make our own laws. That excludes membership of the EEA.

        Britain does not need the EU in any form.

    2. Denis Cooper
      June 2, 2016

      You mean a unique arrangement tailored to our requirements as a large scale net importer from the rest of the EU, rather than a net exporter like Norway?

      Some kind of special arrangement to keep a very good customer happy rather than annoying it so that it takes its business, and its trade deficit, elsewhere?

      Oh, but the government and its allies are firmly convinced that would not be possible, in fact they say it’s just another fantasy on the part of the Brexiteers …

    3. Tom William
      June 2, 2016

      But many Leavers have suggested the Norway option as a first step, followed by EFTA and then full independence.

      Independence can not realistically be instantly achieved by magic.

      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is a very distinguished journalist in no one’s pocket.

    4. anon
      June 2, 2016

      They only want the Money i.e contributions.

      Norway pays a similar sum per person.

      So how will the gap be funded. Good luck. When QMV meets resistance by the contributors.

    June 2, 2016

    Economists counterintuitively, are not the people to ask about economics. Especially if their views are to be made public.
    Generally speaking, economists/financiers/fund managers/etc go with the flow. One can expect from them nothing but what amounts to the middle-of-the-road accepted view. From their basis of employment, including legal proceedings for error, safety in numbers is their modus operandi. It’s not just they cannot risk stepping out of line, their survival in the financial world is dependent, if they are wrong, then they cannot be singled out for ALL are wrong.
    I believe the Ex-Greek government’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is the only person of what is in general considered to be the Remain Camp who has made an intellectually valid case for Remain. He is a very clever person. His command of English should embarrass many of us who have been educated in our Mother tongue from birth.
    However the Remain camp will never use his argument. They are not too clever.

  18. forthurst
    June 2, 2016

    Greeks obviously have a lower threshold than we English when it comes to defining a political experiment as a success; on the other hand, perhaps they want to keep us under Brussels regime rule so that we can accommodate more of the (migrants ed) from Turkey.

  19. Gordon Riby
    June 2, 2016

    I would be curious to know the average age (roughly) of the audience… Is that something you could guestimate John? A “Bremainer” friend of mine said that younger people tended to be in favour of remaining and those inclined to leave were of an older generation. Needless to say, I doubt that assertion…

    1. Bob
      June 2, 2016

      @Gordon Riby
      Good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement.

  20. Dennis
    June 2, 2016

    On the Today programme this morning Alistair Darling and Patrick Minford were being interviewed by Nick Robinson.

    As Darling is a practised MP, whenever Nick said ‘OK’ to stop him to ask something Darling just carried on – this happened many times and Nick just let him continue uninterrupted for up to 1 minute one time.

    Minford stopped talking when Nick interrupted as he is a normal person and his point was interrupted.

    I have timed the total length of the two speakers:-
    Darling – 3 mins 35 seconds
    Minford – 2 mins 34 seconds so Darling spoke for nearly 40% more. I bet the Remainers are pleased.

  21. Dennis
    June 2, 2016

    According to A.J.P.Taylor in his book ‘The Origins of the Second World War’ the thoughts of the Allies in 1919 on how to deal with Germany “was that the only secure future for mankind lay in a return to the liberal economic system of a free would market which had been abandoned – temporarily it was supposed – during the war.”

    What was this free world market – something we could emulate?

    1. Mitchel
      June 3, 2016

      Keynes continues and develops that theme in his “Economic Consequences of the Peace”,which remains a good read nearly a hundred years on.The big imperial blocs-the British,French,Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires made cross border trade easy;when these fragmented,especially in Eastern Europe,things became problematic.

  22. NickW
    June 2, 2016

    Angela Merkel has taken to stand up comedy. (Press conference Berlin, Source Telegraph)

    She tells the British, “You’ll never get the results you want if you’re not in the room”.

    We never got the results we wanted when we WERE in the room, so no change there.

    1. walterb
      June 2, 2016

      72 times we tried — 72 times we failed.

  23. ian wragg
    June 2, 2016

    I nearly drowned in my cornflakes this morning when I read that Gideon says the Brexit gang are making it up as they go along.
    ……world war 3 anyone…..

  24. Cheshire Girl
    June 2, 2016

    My sample is ridiculously small, but I went to a coffee morning today, and did a little poll round my table.
    Result: OUT. 12
    IN: 1
    Undecided: 1

    I think the OUT vote will be much higher than some of the Politicians would have us believe. Many of my friends object to the tactics of the Remainers.

  25. DaveM
    June 2, 2016

    It seems that once again our illustrious leader has run out of things to threaten his electorate with and invited another foreign leader to do it. Although in all fairness Merkel did just state her opinion, unlike Hollande, Obama, and the bloke who used to be in charge of that valley between Belgium and Germany. Guess Germany learned the hard way not to make pathetic little threats.

    I presume that – as all EU members have equal status – all the other leaders of EU countries will be chipping in with their thoughts? I also presume that when all these other countries have votes to decide their future that all the other leaders will interfere?

    Cameron really doesn’t know us at all.

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