We need a positive EU campaign and we need it now

We’re in danger of losing the EU campaign. We’re making the same mistakes we made in the AV and Scottish Independence referenda and if we don’t turn things around we could find ourselves losing Europe.

The Remain campaign seems to have worked with the assumption that if we present the facts then people will believe and make their decision based on their facts, but unfortunately it just isn’t so simple.

For one, people have no idea of what the facts actually are. The Leave campaign have been extremely effective at casting doubt on any facts they disagree with. The conspiracy theories they come up with may sometimes sound daft, but they resonate with anyone who has come to distrust the political ‘establishment’.

Furthermore, emotion plays a big part in how we decide things. The Leave side have run a very emotive campaign, making effective use of fear (immigrants!!) and hope (unshackled we can do anything!!)

The Remain campaign, in comparison, have only really played to fears (economic ruin!!) and has assumed that because their scare stories are more factual that that will win it. (I saw more factual but even our side has exaggerated and twisting things)

The Remain campaign has lacked a positive message to go alongside the negative message and it desperately needs one!

When Tim was interviewed the other day, we had an opportunity to put a more positive case out there. What Tim ended up doing was “I’d like to give the positive case but…”

I don’t blame Tim. The Leave campaign’s lies and misinformation get under my skin too and our first instinct is that the facts need to be set straight, but that’s a trap!!

It allows the Leave campaign to define the terms of the debate – when we rebut their lies, we also repeat them and help publicise them. It means we’re using our air time to talk about their message rather than our own!

I’m no fan of the Coca Cola company. I think the drinks are junk food, I’m in favour of the sugar tax and I even have concerns about the alleged assassinations of Columbian union leaders. But when Christmas comes around and I see the adverts with the Santa truck, or cute polar bears fumbling around with cola bottles, it feels warm and familiar.

Adverts with positive emotional messages work. Established brands prove this as ad firms battle to find new creative ways to make them feel ‘homely’ and ‘familiar’ to us.

I’m not saying we should switch to an entirely positive campaign – the Leave campaigns lies need to be attacked and exposed, but we need a positive campaign as well.

So what could a positive campaign for the EU look like?

So how do we get an obscure and technocratic organisation to become familiar and lovable in the eyes of the public?

I think we need to tell stories, positive stories, about what the EU has done and what the EU has achieved for people.

  • How have we grown as a country since joining the EU? Economically, socially – what part has the EU played in our development as a modern country?
  • How the EU handled the fallout of the cold war and assisted the Eastern European states in transitioning to modern democracies.
  • How about stories where the EU helped the little guy, like the McLibel case, where the British Courts sided with American Corporations and it took the European Court of Human Rights to intervene and protect their freedom of speech? (Ok, so the ECHR is technically separate, but it’s part of the EU image that Leave is attacking)
  • There’s a good one going around on Facebook about the FishFight story where a celebrity chef ran a popular campaign and was able to force change on the EU discards policy, showing that the EU does respond to ‘the people’.

There must be lots of positive stories out there where the EU played a role in solving a problem. And I think these kinds of stories could just about swing it back in our favour.

It’s not too late! It was at around this stage in the Scottish Indy ref that Gordon Brown made that famous intervention – things are still close! The right message could swing it!

* Daniel is the chair of Leicester Liberal Democrats

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48 Comments

  • It was around this stage in 2014 that a couple of polls put Yes firmly in the lead in Scotland. The SNP got all overexcited by this but it actually could have served as a bit of a jolt – people started questioning independence more fully and it turned round again by about 8 – 10 points as people became more cautious (this always happens in any election or referendum.)

    I get your points about the good things the EU has done – but the problem is most people outside the political bubble vote based on how things affect them and their lives, not how it might help others or what benefit here has been to other countries (if they did, we’d never see a Tory government again.) The debate has to be relevant – how has being in the EU better off? People are thinking about their holidays just now – what are the benefits for us in terms of travel? Healthcare when on holiday? Using your mobile phone abroad?

    We have to get out of the habit of thinking as Liberals and having our usual obsessions with constitutions, history and legal intricacies. Joe Bloggs doesn’t really give a toss about these, and frankly this isn’t the time to change his mind. What matters is the cost of his shopping, the money in his pocket or bank account, whether or not he can afford his trip to the sun during the summer. That’s what’s going to swing it for Remain if they can get their act together enough.

    Sadly, our biggest hitter on Europe died last year. If CK was around I’m certain the Remain campaign would be in a better place. So we need to use what we’ve got; we need to get Cameron, Corbyn, Sturgeon and Tim together on the same platform giving the same message – put aside the petty party points, this is much bigger and more important than that.

  • “The Remain campaign seems to have worked with the assumption that if we present the facts then people will believe and make their decision based on their facts,”

    What did you expect when Ryan Coetzee is in charge of things? He actually thinks things work like that.

  • Roland Harmer 11th Jun '16 - 12:57pm

    I agree – we need something much more uplifting. The remain campaign in the Bristol area has been pathetic.

  • Daniel Henry 11th Jun '16 - 1:13pm

    How it affects people is part of it, but not enough on its own.

    Telling stories about other people works if its stories they can relate to.

    I think stories about people having their freedom of speech protected, or managing to successfully campaign for reform of an EU policy would do that.

  • The extent to which polls are going to be accurate is (obviously) yet to be proved. Dangerously everyone seems to be revising their weightings and adjustments “on the fly” during the campaign which makes it hard to compare like with like. Eg Mori have just revised things to reduce an over-representation of graduates which (apparently) reduces the remain lead by 3-4 points. That does show how much differential turnout will have an effect but it is terribly hard to predict just what will happen on that front.

  • Daniel Henry 11th Jun '16 - 1:38pm

    It’s not just the accuracy of the polls though. The polls contribute (especially their direction of travel) but also people get a sense through what people are saying.

    Are a large number of people they meet in favour of Leave?

    Are non-political friends who were initially open minded coming down towards Leave?

    I’ve personally got the same bad feeling that I had at this point during the AV campaign.

  • Remain has come up with no positive message for why we should be in the EU because there isn’t one to be found.

  • I’m still not quite sure why being blindly in favour of the EU is a Liberal policy. It’s as if the party has been taken over by a subsect of liberalism.

  • Daniel Henry 11th Jun '16 - 2:25pm

    David, there’s plenty of positives reasons to stay in the EU. The key one is that we achieve more when we work with our European partners as a team.

    Whether it’s over trade, security, global warming or human rights, the EU countries speak louder as a single voice.

    There’s also the examples I gave in the post, how the EU helped the ex soviet states become modern liberal democracies, how the EHCR ensured free speech during the McLibel case, and how a grassroots campaign managed to improve the EU fishing policies.

    Jane, I don’t see how any of that is ‘blind’.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Jun '16 - 2:35pm

    The problem with a positive campaign is when I see constant praise for the EU my heart starts switching towards Leave. I don’t want people saying 300,000 net immigration per year is fine or even good. If that’s on one side then I want to support the people saying it’s not sustainable.

    That’s why I like Cameron in this campaign. He shows desire for change.

    Why I’m still remain is I think eastern European immigration will reduce once their economies grow. I would also find it sad to turn our backs on our European friends who want us to stay.

    Europe is largely governed in English. We should ensure this continues by voting remain.

  • ” Whether it’s over trade, security, global warming or human rights, the EU countries speak louder as a single voice.”

    Yes true but international co-operation on the environment or counter-terrorism should not be confined to the EU, ‘global’ warming is exactly that – global. Why do we need to be part of a European super-state to co-operate with the rest of the world, not just the EU, on matters which affect the whole world??

    (I am going to vote to Remain for my own reasons but I find the broad Remain campaign woefully unconvincing).

  • Eddie, the immigration figure of c300,000 is only half from the EU, the other half is from the non-EU countries. The Brexiters say they want to increase non-EU immigration, especially from the Commonwealth, so I’m not sure how leaving the EU will help reduce immigration overall. That’s just one if the confusing thongs about this debate.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jun '16 - 2:48pm

    “How the EU handled the fallout of the cold war and assisted the Eastern European states in transitioning to modern democracies.” Yes, and a very good story to tell about Spain and Portugal. If either or both of them had flipped from dictatorship to communism we would have had a military risk behind us. Spain’s transition to democracy was entirely peaceful.
    The King appointed Suarez, whom I was fortunate to meet at an ELDR meeting in Luxembourg.
    Portugal suffered badly from expensive colonial wars in Africa. They took in over a million returning citizens. Several net contributors to the EU budget invested in Iberian infrastructure. Portugal is our oldest ally.

  • The remain campaign has failed to realise that the onslaught of facts have cancelled each other out, and that for many people this is a gut decision based on irrational considerations including national identity.

  • What we need to be telling people loud and clear at every opportunity is that BREXIT is a plot by right-wing Tories and the worst kind of businessmen to rob us of our employee, consumer and environmental rights. That is what Tory and media opposition to the EU has always been about, right back to Thatcher’s handbagging of Jacques Delors in Bruges in 1987.

    IDS (one of the more honest of the Brexiteers) said us much this morning. He claimed that EU red tape was diverting investment from Britain to emerging economies. By “EU red tape”, of course, he means workers’ rights. He was warning us that businessmen like Mr Dyson would build their factories wherever labour is cheapest unless we start treating our workers like they do in China and Brazil.

    Why is the Remain campaign not shouting this from the rooftops? Basically, because the pro-EU Tories are also against workers’ rights, and the Lib Dem leadership is scared of offending the Orange Bookers, who are against workers’ rights as well. As for the Labour Party, words fail me. Their leaders seem to be more interested in fighting each other than doing what their party was established to do, which is campaign for the interests of the working people.

  • Christopher Haigh 11th Jun '16 - 3:21pm

    The liberal democrats have done well to stay out of this crass debate as much as possible. It is difficult to defend the status quo against impassioned radical conservatism. We need to concentrate on sorting out the resultant chaos.

  • Stevan Rose 11th Jun '16 - 3:35pm

    Keith Legg is spot on with every point.

    “How have we grown as a country since joining the EU?”

    This question invites 2 responses. You can’t show that growth would not have been at least as good outside. Are you saying Norway. Switzerland, and Iceland are backward? And, it is Leave strategy to claim the EU has held us back. So there is a backfire risk to this one.

    “How the EU … assisted the Eastern European states in transitioning to modern democracies.”

    As Keith points out this type of thing only matters inside the political bubble. To those outside the bubble… they have a cousin who is married to a builder, etc. who lost a big job last week, undercut by a Polish builder using cheap labour from Bulgaria and they’re not even paying minimum wage. And the Bulgarians are claiming tax credits and got a council flat. Sometimes true, sometimes convenient excuse for losing a quote. If you are going to bring up Eastern Europe, have your counter-arguments ready or you’re walking into a trap of your own making.

    “How about stories where the EU helped the little guy… it took the European Court of Human Rights to intervene…”

    You said it yourself. The ECHR is not part of the EU and every Brexit campaigner knows that. You’re caught misleading, game over for your credibility.

    “There’s a good one going around … force change on the EU discards policy, showing that the EU does respond to ‘the people’.”

    LOL, good for Brexit.. Leave would say that had we been outside the EU we wouldn’t have had a stupid policy of throwing perfectly good fish back, and our fishing fleets wouldn’t have been decimated whilst Spanish trawlers mop up our stocks. Fisheries are one of the major weaknesses of the EU. I want to remain despite it so another area I wouldn’t go near at the moment.

    They may be boring but, please, stick to facts backed up by evidence from credible sources. Don’t create or walk into Brexit traps. They are all great points inside the LD bubble, preaching to the converted, dangerous outside.

  • Jenny barnes 11th Jun '16 - 3:51pm

    The Eu is rubbish, but better than the alternative. Either way, we get ruled by neoliberals.

  • Adrian Sanders 11th Jun '16 - 3:53pm

    Sadly I thought the campaign was lost before it began when Cameron placed his hopes in a deal aimed at the already decided leavers rather than a positive effort to sell the reasons why we are in the EU to a new generation who didn’t get to vote last time.

    It’s Cameron’s mess for framing the debate in negative terms and the more fact free opinions I hear from the ill informed and people who think their opinions are facts the more depressing it becomes.

    The remain case is fear based on facts against the leave campaigns fear based on emotion. Each side simply entrenches the other and the undecideds remain undecided.

    The problem is finding a message that doesn’t patronise or challenge deeply held opinions but enables the wrongly informed to save face and change their mind. Any ideas on how to this over the next two weeks?

  • My reasons for voting for leave are not actually to do with the issue itself on economic, social, environmental or other. It is purely political. In particular post referendum issues. If we leave the Tories will descend into total civil war. This war will be much greater than if we vote for the status quo. We will benefit from this. Secondly there will be no need for ukip. Protest votes will need to go elsewhere. And if we narrowly vote to remain just imagine what will happen to ukip vote. Just look at SMP when they narrowly lost a referendum. I know all this is cynical but we need to think about the political realities post referendum.

  • Tony Dawson 11th Jun '16 - 4:31pm

    I agree with Adrian above. How the hell was it that the first group of (totally useless) ‘campaigners’ (sic) to get together were permitted to take all the official money to run the official ‘Remain’ campaign? It is AV Plus all over again with knobs on. Cameron has misjudged absolutely everything including the timing of this referendum, the definition of the electorate and the definition of the question. What an arrogant man. The number of Tory MPs who he has with him 55-45 is nowhere near enough for a Prime Minister to have conviction.

    There is no real national ‘Remain’ campaign that I can see. Cameron puts off both Right wing Tories and Labour supporters. The Labour leaflet on ‘Remain’ which I received this week is so massively ‘Labour’, with ‘Remain’ almost an afterthought within it, that it will put off non-Labour people who receive it from voting ‘Remain’.

    Only a collection of chocolate teapots could be in with a chance of turning a position which is supported by all the sensible people in industry and commerce into a losing position – against a campaign led by a couple of blokes who have never done a proper job in their life and believe that the EU bans bent bananas. 🙁

  • Bill le Breton 11th Jun '16 - 4:40pm

    It is impossible to predict the result of this referendum. But as I have been arguing here for days – coming out is actually a strong Liberal position.

    We are at the moment a member of the EEA and that remains even after notifying the EU that we are leaving. No laws need to the passed. We are in the EEA. That means we will retain the four freedoms of the single market. If the EU tries to put up tarrifs against us they will be breaking the terms of the Lisbon Treaty. And the way ahead is open outside the EU for us to go for unilateral free trade.

    It is also quite clear that others will follow us into this status. Just look at the latest Pew research. http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/06/07/euroskepticism-beyond-brexit/

    We are not the most EU sceptic. So, as these countries force their governments to hold similar referenda the power of the EEA will grow and also the Euro will unravel – which is also another plus for Liberalism – Liberals should support freely floating exchange rates.

    The effect of these countries leaving the Euro with their currencies free to find the right market level for their economies will be similar to that enjoyed by the UK when it left the ERM – a strong recovery will across the former EMU. Their recovery is our recovery too – as trade with them will increase. And trade will increase between them and those who remain in the Euro – Germany, Austria etc.

    Recovering economies are bad news for right wing extremists in these countries. Economic recovery is the best way of defeating the type of right wing parties growing in strength across Europe.

    The only thing that is surprising is that the Liberal Democrats in this country have not been campaigning for this type of leadership – with the UK once again helping many countries across Europe find their freedom again – where was our William Pitt the Younger?

  • paul barker 11th Jun '16 - 5:09pm

    Campaigning for Leave doesnt just mean standing alongside Farage & Boris, its means fighting alongside The BNP & The Communist Party. Anyone with a Liberal heart would find that prospect revolting.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 11th Jun '16 - 5:32pm

    I’m no fan of the EU and I believe I have the facts.

    The establishment favour the EU, the lib dems are clearly part of the establishment as the Brexit debate shows.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 11th Jun '16 - 5:38pm

    @Paul Barker. And campaigning along side remain means campaigning a long side the establishment and the likes of tiny Blair. Something many of us will find repellent. But anyway, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  • Nom de Plume 11th Jun '16 - 7:51pm

    @ Bill le Breton

    “We are at the moment a member of the EEA and that remains even after notifying the EU that we are leaving.”

    I am not so sure. Perhaps you could provide evidence to the contrary. My understanding of Article 50 is that everything needs to be renegotiated. Anyway, EEA will not satisfy some Brexiteers; it includes free movement of people. I consider it the poor relative of full EU membership. Here is an old newstatesman article which might be helpful: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/business/2015/10/what-actually-happens-if-britain-leaves-eu

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jun '16 - 8:57pm

    Bill le Breton 11th Jun ’16 – 4:40pm The alternative to cutting your throat is not to cut it.

  • @Non de Plume – re: post BREXIT EEA membership

    I agree the BREXIT campaign do need to provide more details. My understanding is that the UK ceased to be a member of the EFTA when it joined the EU. Given that only members of the EFTA and EU can be members of the EEA, it would seem that on exit from the EU the UK would not have an automatic right of entry into the EEA. Hence, the German’s are right in their warnings that membership of the EEA is not a given…

  • David Singerman 11th Jun '16 - 11:05pm

    We need somebody to gave an idealistic reason for IN. Not just the economy. We should be in because of peace, the environment, and cooperating with our neighbours. We need a Liberal Voice yet because of our poor election performance we are hardly heard at all.
    However, Ukip did not do that well and Farage did not even get a seat, yet the BBC have him on almost every news. I get the feeling that someone in the BBC and most of the rest of the media are willing Brexit to win. After all the turmoil caused by a Brexit win will be much more newsworthy than just a boring Remain win.

  • Yellow Submarine 11th Jun '16 - 11:11pm

    Firstly it’s too late to introduce a completely new message at this stage.You can only fiddle with the existing one a bit. Secondly I was genuinely shocked to discover Ryan Coetzee was Remain’s Head of Strategy. This explains a great deal. I think at this stage all Remain can do is #1 Not panic #2 Double down on the original strategy. Safety v Risk, Decency v Farage. #3 Call Gordon Brown.

  • Peter Watson 11th Jun '16 - 11:15pm

    @paul barker”its means fighting alongside The BNP & The Communist Party”
    Doesn’t that mean it averages out at an ideal Lib Dem “centrist” position? 😉

  • Stevan Rose 12th Jun '16 - 1:39am

    “We need somebody to gave an idealistic reason for IN.”

    Why? There is no uniting ideal. What floats the boat of a Green makes a right wing Tory Remainder want to sink it. What unites us is the impact on trade, jobs, the economic benefits. If you go on about *your* idealistic notion of why the EU is the closest thing to Shangri-la, you are in severe danger of alienating some who would otherwise be your ally for this one and only event. We win this with rational logical verifiable facts that can be recognised and accepted by right wing Tories to left wing Corbynites and everyone inbetween. Not with narrow idealistic concepts that appeal to one niche market whilst driving the rest in the opposite direction.

    Bill, EEA qualification is via membership of the EU or EFTA. If we leave the EU, since we are not members of EFTA, we no longer qualify as EEA members. Germany has confirmed we will not be granted free trade status. You are in or completely out. This EEA half way house does not exist for us. The only way for you to retain free trade and movement is to vote Remain.

  • Bill le Breton 12th Jun '16 - 5:46am

    Stevan, I can only plead Mandy Rice Davies, but of course she was right.

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th Jun '16 - 8:40am

    @ Jenny Barnes,
    The most honest and succinct assessment that I have read so far.

    At this late stage, it is probably the only one that will cut through. I’m off to test it on my ‘Leave’, husband.

  • Christopher Haigh 12th Jun '16 - 9:11am

    We need authentic case studies about what will happen post UK exit eg car worker in Sunderland, banker in London, whiskey industry in Scotland, foreign trade in general. Forecasts that exit will just do damage to our economy by respected institutions have effectively been dismissed by LEAVE just saying they have been wrong in the past and can’t be trusted. However ordinary people I have engaged with just hysterically want to leave and academic arguement just do not interest them.

  • Barring a last minute reversion to small-c-conservative type, I fear this referendum is now lost. With the polls close (or Leave even way out in front in some), and research consistently showing that Leave supporters are much more committed and likely to vote than Remain supporters, it’s difficult to see how this can be won now without a dramatic loss of nerve from Outers.

    The main reason we have ended up in this sorry state is encapsulated by an exchange between Baroness Kennedy and the US Republican commentator David Frum on Andrew Marr this morning. Kennedy was complaining, in familiar fashion, about the xenophobia she believed was behind voter concerns on immigration. In response, Frum said something like: “But don’t you think that if voters are concerned about something, then politicians should listen to them? Because if you don’t, you end up with Donald Trump.” In the face of this logic, Kennedy was uncharacteristically lost for words.

    All the polls show immigration is a major issue for many voters. TV news journalists struggle to find any vox pops who do not say it is a major issue. Yet still Remain politicians speak contemptuously about anybody who raises it. This is the main reason the referendum is now in deep peril. It doesn’t have to be like this. The pro/anti immigration debate is phoney; the vast majority of people are at neither extreme, they can see the benefits of immigration but just feel they want a level of control over it. This is a reasonable view and the people who hold it do not deserve to be treated the way they have been.

    The only way the referendum could conceivably be won would be if Remain were to offer a sensible argument about how the benefits of immigration can be optimised better within the EU than without. Cameron, for all his faults, is at least trying to do that. But every time another Remainer calls the public xenophobes (flying in the face of the evidence that even a large percentagte of voters of non-British origin have concerns too), you can put another big pile of votes on the Leave table.

  • How can Cameron make the case the that the EU protects workers rights from his own party ? What was needed was a list of leave points that were refuted. Leaving the EU won’t mean less immigration, more council houses, lower house prices, higher wages, more sovereignty, curved bananas, etc. I have seen few attempt to argue the case.
    The irony is that we were in Government and did nothing about the EU. Two sites for the EU Parliament is a farce, it gives opponents a stick to beat the EU with and yet it persists, now it not even featuring as an issue, the damage has been done and the image of waste and corruption enshrined. Hard to disagree that its retention was about a out of touch arrogant elite ignoring the people.

  • “We need authentic case studies about….”

    This is a flawed idea. It’s based on the idea that there is some “decisive” argument or fact which can be put to people, which is concrete and unrebuttable and decides the argument.

    Politics just doesn’t work like that (except perhaps in Ryan Coetzee’s head) – It’s not just a case of finding the absolute killer point that settles any argument.

    Or at least as Pres Bartlett said, there are days with absolute rights and wrongs, but those days almost always include body counts.

  • AC Trussell 12th Jun '16 - 2:22pm

    This a draft of the letter I am sending to my local paper:

    Reasons to Remain!
    Fed-up with all the negative stuff? Over decades; there has been so many “good-news” stories but you won’t hear them from the majority “Brexit” press.

    To mention a few:
    Together, we have created the largest free-trade area in history. We helped make all countries protect wildlife, animal welfare, food safety and traceability. Also, checking imports (e.g. meat), from outside the EU.
    What is wrong with the idea of promoting peace; helping people live better lives; protecting the environment by legislating to improve the quality of our air, rivers, seas and beaches; reducing acid rain and sulphur emissions; helping under-developed regions to grow (e.g. Rumania is growing faster(4.5%) than UK(2%).-this helps cut immigration (the natural way).

  • AC Trussell 12th Jun '16 - 2:22pm

    Part 2:

    There is the European Arrest Warrant; Data Protection Regulation; Free medical help when you travel in the EU; cheaper phone charges; cheaper and safer flights; Driving licences recognised across EU.
    Also, protecting products from specific areas across 28 nations- like Melton Mowbray pies; Cornish pasties etc (40+); helping stop unfair competition from, say; using toxic chemicals; slave labour or animal testing (cosmetics). The “CE” mark is for safety, health, and environmental protection.; workers rights, safety standards for cars, buses, lorries and aircraft The EU consumer rights directive; promoting equal opportunities; making the French eat British beef again!
    Some say: “our government could do all this!” –but they didn’t! The state our government is in- it can’t get anything done! The EU makes our bickering politicians look silly- apart from the embarrassment of Farage and UKIP -when they turn-up!
    Things to come:
    Did you know the EU is helping- through the European Space Agency; to put into orbit- Europe’s own GPS (“Galileo”)- 10 up already and accurate to a metre; so we, (and the world) are not reliant (as now), on the American military’s GPS.
    After 2018 all new cars will have “eCall” – this automatically dials emergency services – wherever you are) if you have an accident.

    Has living on an island made us so self-centred and visionless, that we are incapable of seeing the big picture? We should help to make it work.
    Are we going to walk away from; and possibly start the collapse of, the largest peace project in history just because it’s not perfect and we don’t get everything we want?

  • Peter Watson 12th Jun '16 - 3:03pm

    @AC Trussell “We helped make all countries protect wildlife”
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/599738/Map-Bird-killings-Europe-North-Africa-Robins

  • AC Trussell
    “After 2018 all new cars will have “eCall” – this automatically dials emergency services – wherever you are) if you have an accident.”
    This is why I get so frustrated at EU fanatics, and their apparent never ending ability to be EU~hoodwinked.? Can you seriously not see that with a bit of software tweaking, this eCall embedded phone-in-a-car, can also be programmed to do a monthly auto phone call to a central agency somewhere in Europe, tell that system how many miles per month you have driven,… from which a brand new EU, money stealing,.. per mile Road tax will arise.? Seriously why can some people not see these malevolent EU policy moves, hidden in plain view.?

  • AC Trussell 12th Jun '16 - 5:26pm

    Peter Watson- you are not wrong; the EU Birds Directive needs to be properly implemented and enforced!
    J Dunn- they are all out to get you- you know!!!!!

  • Peter Watson 12th Jun '16 - 9:20pm

    @AC Trussell “Peter Watson- you are not wrong; the EU Birds Directive needs to be properly implemented and enforced!”
    In some ways this reflects a key obstacle for the Remain campaign’s attempts to find a positive message. Pointing to genuine problems in the EU is easy. From this realistic or pragmatic starting point, saying that things would be better outside the EU is a positive Brexit message, saying they would be worse is a negative Bremain message.
    Trying to spin a positive message about the status quo is a challenge (your attempt above is good, but the European Space Agency is not an EU organisation and perhaps – along with CERN – stands as an example of the kind of collaboration that is possible outside the EU!). In that context, I applaud Labour’s attempts to make it sound like a positive choice to vote to remain in the EU and then reform it to benefit workers.

  • Denis Mollison 12th Jun '16 - 10:45pm

    AC Trussell –
    Well said, a good list of positive points.
    We do need to concentrate on the bigger picture: what hope is there for humans on the planet if we can’t keep working on this unique experiment in international democracy? On the economic front we need to stop worrying about whether we’ll be 2 or 5% better or worse off, and start co-operating on finding an economic framework more compatible with social justice and the environment than neoliberalism. That may be hard to do within the EU, but it has even less chance in a Johnson/Gove/Farage little England. And I say `little England’ advisedly, as I hope Scotland would opt out.

  • (Leaving the EU won’t mean less immigration, more council houses, lower house prices, higher wages, more sovereignty, curved bananas, etc. I have seen few attempt to argue the case.)

    You just don’t get it. It’s not just about leaving the EU it’s about punching within our weight to gain the reforms required with the EU. Your argument is that Remaining in the EU will mean the same level of immigration WITHOUT the control. It’s based on a specious economic model that more always means good. More immigration means the necessity for further immigration and all immigration is good. Whereas Leave are saying that this should be controlled. Often it’s those most to gain from this argument who fail to see the other argument as they never come into contact with people from those affected.

  • “Our first instinct is that the facts need to be set straight, but that’s a trap”

    Couldn’t disagree more. We have failed to set the facts straight, and that’s the trap we have fallen into.

    Leave have remorselessly attacked the Remain campaign by talking about the facts, and insisting that their lies are the facts. Remain have ignored the lies told by Leave. When you don’t rebut lies, then people believe the lies.

    Leave lie, not so much that it’s £350M, but that whatever it is (it’s more like £250M) is important. It’s not. It’s 2% of our total tax take. We spend 98% of our tax take wholly within the UK. What goes to Brussels (and yes, a lot then a lot of that then comes back again) is tiny by comparison. It is dwarfed by the economic benefits. Why is the figure 2% not hitting the headlines? Because Remain have failed to put it there. We have failed to rebut what is effectively a lie, so we will fail to win.

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Jun '16 - 11:55am

    Daniel Henry

    We’re in danger of losing the EU campaign. We’re making the same mistakes we made in the AV and Scottish Independence referenda and if we don’t turn things around we could find ourselves losing Europe.

    Yup, the incompetency of those who lead us from the top is staggering. I remember the despair I had when Nick Clegg debated with Nigel Farage and used the line that Brexit would return us to the past, that Brexiteers wanted old fashioned British values.

    Der!! That’s what people who are voting Brexit or who are tempted to WANT! That’s what the people running Brexit want people to think – that it will be a return to a mythical golden age, back to the security and certainty of the old days when there was plenty of council housing and jobs in industry, and people felt much more safe and secure and so happy, because they weren’t under this constant threat of losing their jobs and losing their homes due to the sort of free market economics we have now.

    So Nick Clegg was actually pumping out Brexit propaganda by his claims. The elite in our society are just so detached from the lives of ordinary people that they can’t see why the small-c conservative line is so popular among those at the lower end of society.

    Of course, the reality is that there is no way that Brexit will return us to any sort of golden age past. Those running it know that, but they know making out that it will is a vote-winner for them.

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