LibLink: Tim Farron – Britain braced for momentous day of decision

Tim FarronTim Farron writes for the Yorkshire Post today, looking behind the Blue on Blue punch up to see what is at stake for the region.

The leave campaign wants you to forget that voting to leave will endanger our access to the world’s most valuable single market. Over 250,000 jobs in Yorkshire, or almost one in 10, are linked to trade with the EU. I would never suggest these jobs would all vanish if we left, but the fact is Yorkshire remains hugely dependent on trade with EU countries.

A massive £8.4bn of goods were exported from the Yorkshire and Humber region to the EU in 2014, accounting for virtually half of all exports. Four out of five of this region’s top export destinations are in the EU – the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and France.

The economic case for Remain – until now based on theory and analysis – has been bolstered by the empirical evidence of a falling pound and a falling stockmarket in response to opinion polls showing a high risk of Brexit. A weaker pound, weaker shares and weaker investment will mean higher prices, lower pensions and fewer jobs.

Tim goes on to talk about the positives of EU membership – for our prosperity, security, and influence in the world.

But the challenges we face, from climate change to international terrorism and the refugee crisis, all demand cross border co-operation. I passionately believe we are stronger and safer when we work with our neighbours to tackle threats to our prosperity and security.

As with our membership of Nato, being in the EU magnifies our influence. Turning our backs on allies, perhaps even helping the disintegration of the European Union, is not the patriotic choice. I would much prefer to see Britain being a powerful force for good.

Membership of the EU provides all of us with the right to live, study and work freely across the EU. Young people in particular have told me how important this is to them, because of the opportunities and career choices it brings.

I am struck, again, how only Remainers (and not even all of us) are being positive about Britain’s role in the world. When leavers say they want to do something positive, the method always seems to imply the opposite: boost trade by putting up trade barriers; make us safer by turning our backs on our allies; gain influence by giving up influence.

I want to see a strong, confident and optimistic Britain that is working with its neighbours to help deliver prosperity, peace and a cleaner planet for future generations. This is why my party and I are campaigning for a vote to remain in the EU on June 23.

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* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • There is obviously no certainty in terms of the precise damaging effect which Brexit would cause to our nation’s economy. This report I found interesting:

    It appears that the range of damage which leaving the EU might have upon this country could, at the top of the range, equate to that done to the Japanese economy by the 2100 Tsunami – without, of course, the death and injury toll.

    Meanwhile, hardly a single person representing either the owners, the managers or the employees in Britain’s biggest manufacturing institutions – or our public sector – appears to favour Britain leaving. So how is it that the result of the referendum, according to the polls, is in doubt?

  • @Tony Dawson – “So how is it that the result of the referendum, according to the polls, is in doubt?”

    Probably because there is so much rubbish being spouted (mostly by the Leave side) and doom-laden exaggeration (by both sides) that the only way to properly understand the issues is to invest a lot of your own time investigating and fact-checking for yourself. Most people aren’t prepared to do this (and shouldn’t have to) and so are basing their decision on pre-existing bias and/or whatever (potentially biased) news sources they are exposed to.

  • Young people have gone through an education system where the pro-EU propaganda, subtle or otherwise, has been deep and continuous; indeed, any questioning of the EU was met with terms like xenophobic, racist, extreme-right, little Englander. In reality it is now much harder for young people to find good jobs after education than it used to be – and except for a small, favoured group (public school, Oxbridge, pushy parents, etc.) that will get worse if we stay in.

  • Judith Schilling, ‘School liaison’ at European Commission in London: “Because everybody has now picked up the idea that we will never succeed in convincing people about the value of being a member of the European Union if we do not start early enough with the young people, before they form prejudices and are misinformed by other sources.”

    A couple of illustrations of how large sums are being spent:

  • “Give me an example of this pro-EU propaganda “deep and continuous” or otherwise in the education system.”

  • Rightsaidfredfan 14th Jun '16 - 4:35pm


    The. Result is in doubt because millions don’t benefit from the EU and are hurt by it and the remain campaign don’t acknowledge this or care about it.

  • Peter Watson 14th Jun '16 - 4:49pm

    @Joe Otten “As for sending a school a booklet that doesn’t appear on any syllabus and will sit in the library unread: Is that what you mean by a) “large sums are being spent” and b) “deep and continuous” propaganda?”
    Or c) a pointless waste of our money by the EU? 😉

  • “The only deep and continuous propaganda around that I’m seeing is from the same stable as Boris’s ban on bunches of 4 bananas.”

    Though a “ban” – or at least rules governing – bunches of 3 bananas actually exists. As a fairly entrenched econmic liberal why do you think we need continent wide rules on such things?

  • Peter Watson 14th Jun '16 - 4:55pm

    I can’t help but feel that the referendum debate involves one side wanting to Remain in the sort of Europe they don’t have, another side wanting to Exit into the sort of Eutopia they won’t get, and the rest of us in the middle entirely nonplussed.

  • The problem for Remain is that tends to equate prosperity with GDP, society with economics and instead of listening to the electorate thinks it can challenge the narrative, or some such. The only reason what’s unfolding now didn’t happen earlier is because we have not had a Prime Minister as reckless and, quite frankly as dim as David Cameron in anyone’s living memory. Of course if you give people a referendum on something they are mostly either indifferent or hostile toward the result will be a mess.
    The challenge now is how best to handle the fallout from whatever the result is.

  • Many younger people don’t see the point in national borders. Through the internet and other instant communications opens us up-to the world and we find we have more in common with people from overseas than we do in our local or national community. Gone are the days where you are born, grow up, work and die in the same town. We want free access to the world around us and get away from the form of patriotism which talks up one nation/social group/ethnicity as more important than another.

  • “Oh Lord, we didnae noo, we didnae noo”. “WELL, YA NOO NOW!”

  • Why is the public giving Leave an easier ride than Remain when they come out with distortions, exaggerations and porkies? Because Remain are defending a status quo which people don’t like, and Remain are averting their gaze from problems like migration. Leave are getting an easier ride because they are the challengers, they are sounding off and moaning, and most people think it’s reasonable to have a good old rant when there are problems to rant about.

    The silver lining might be when people start to see Leave as they saw Ed Miliband, a challenger potentially gaining charge and making a pig’s ear of it. It has not yet happened. Cameron and Osborne could make it happen. Cameron should now announce that in the event of a Brexit vote, he will go. Osborne should announce that he has explained what sort of budget would be needed, and that he would not be prepared to be the Chancellor who had to introduce that budget. That would focus minds. Tim Farron could propose it, not as an act of hostility to Cameron and Osborne, but as a necessary step to make the referendum choice clear.

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