Tag Archives: eu referendum

We shouldn’t just be the party of Remain; we should also be the party of Reform

 

There is a strong chance that the Remain camp will win the EU Referendum. I say that because, through campaigning on the streets for Britain Stronger In Europe in the most Eurosceptic town in the South West, there has definitely been a shift in public attitude from a generally hostile view of the EU to the realisation of the potential damage to the UK a Leave vote would bring.

I am not saying that we are home and dry; a week is a long time in politics and there are several more weeks to go in the run-up to the vote, but this campaign is one Remain could easily lose rather than one the Brexit side could easily win.

With that said, the referendum is only the beginning in a new chapter on the debate over Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and we will make a fatal error in thinking that this vote will finally slay the dragon of anti-EU sentiment. In fact, the closeness of the vote we are more likely about the see the rebirth of a more wide-ranging UKIP party along the lines of the SNP after the Scottish referendum; rebranding itself as a Eurosceptic ‘Libertarian Party’ to draw together those involved in the Vote Leave, Leave.EU and Grassroots Out campaigns.

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments

The USA: The clue is in the title – and it is the greatest example of pooled sovereignity between states

Four of the USA’s founding fathers: (l to r) Adams, Morris, Hamilton, Jefferson

There was a rather strange moment on Thursday’s BBC Question Time. There was a discussion about President Obama’s intervention in the EU referendum debate.

Liam Fox was waxing lyrically about how the USA has great democracy, and all we want is the same democracy ourselves without our country being, he posited, controlled by “Brussels”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 40 Comments

St George for Europe!

Let’s celebrate – it is St. George’s Day! St George is not only England’s but one of Europe’s most popular patron Saints. Today he will be celebrated across Europe, especially in Portugal, Malta and Romania where he is their national saint as well.

Far from being a unique icon of Englishness he is the very embodiment of how European the English are. He is celebrated and venerated by all the Christian traditions including Greek Orthodox, Catholic and the Church of England. He is also venerated in Islam and is therefore perfect for a modern forward looking internationalist country like England.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Paddy has Brexit campaigners floundering on Question Time

Paddy Ashdown has been in very combative form on the EU Referendum. Actually, the one debate I would love to see would be Paddy vs Boris. Our former leader would show up the Mayor’s vacuous, disingenuous rhetoric for what it is.

Paddy is truly getting out there and taking the fight right to Brexiteers in a way that nobody else has managed. He’s been pretty punchy on Twitter for the last few weeks:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

We can’t forget about our core vote if we want to win on June 23rd

It’s been said that the case to stay within the European Union will work at its best if it successfully appeals to the varied policy interests of different types of party-aligned voters. The idea is that Labour voters will be drawn to EU achievements like the Social Chapter on worker’s rights, Greens to the bold environmentalism of the Union and Lib Dems to human rights and free trade statutes. But most interestingly (and perhaps most vitally), Conservative voters are being courted by appealing to their party emphasis on maintain the integrity of British foreign policy.

Whilst this is fascinating and deeply important, I think that only constructing a convincing case for foreign policy that suits Tory voters runs the risk of portraying our foreign policy interests within the EU in a one-sided manner – and does so in such a way that we risk alienating Liberal and Internationalist-minded voters who might still be undecided. To put it bluntly, if we only talk about foreign policy towards the EU in terms of maintaining geostrategic alliances, a significant part (admittedly not a majority) of our (and the IN campaign’s) core vote might at least switch off or at worst be turned off the campaign. We must also remind people about the often scandalously poorly- publicised work of the EU as a global humanitarian actor if we are to stimulate our core vote.

I’m proud that it was our leader who first got the ball rolling on this kind of position – by talking not about the EU simply in terms of alliances, jobs and interests but in terms of peace and common progress. We have to build on this by talking to Liberal-minded voters about the humanitarian element of the European Union. 

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

We need to challenge some of those Brexit statements

 

Well, the ‘official’ EU referendum campaign has finally begun. Funny, it appears to have been going on for months already.

I was interested to see the images of the two official campaigns juxtaposed the other day in the BBC report on my TV screen. The ‘Leave’ campaign was illustrated by old footage of Tories Grayling, Gove and Whittingdale etc. manning the phone lines, whereas the ‘In’ footage showed Tory, Labour and Lib Dem politicians, including the Prime Minister, doing the same thing. For an organisation that has tried so far to be unfailingly impartial in its reporting of the campaign in its ‘phoney war’ stage, I have a feeling that the BBC has possibly given the ‘In’ campaign a visual leg up, by showing its multi party nature. Now, whether we get politicians of different parties actually sharing a platform as we did in 1975 is a different matter.

So far, the arguments for and against have been pretty well rehearsed. We should park immigration for a moment, which could be the deciding factor, but which will still pose problems for us whether or not we stay in the EU. As an EU pragmatist, who thinks that, on balance, leaving the EU now would be a massive gamble, I do have to say that some of the arguments being put forward repeatedly by the Brexiters need challenging.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 51 Comments

The government’s EU “remain” booklet hits the doormats…and it is spookily reminiscent of its 1975 counterpart

P1010392 (2)Here’s the very booklet I received yesterday from Her Majesty’s government. It’s a rather dry looking document, but the message is clear, as it is repeated, more or less, three times on the cover of the booklet:

Why The Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is in the best decision for the UK.

…on the front and:

The Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK.

and

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments
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