The arguments that will decide an EU referendum

If you want to defeat your opponent it is essential that you watch him, listen to him, learn about him, understand how he thinks and how he will react. That way you can devise the approach to take to beat him when you engage.  This is the space where anti-EU heads need to be right now.

Ken Clarke is one of the leading lights of the pro-EU side.  He is connected, knowledgable and always engaging with like minded people throughout the EU. When he speaks, EU sceptics should listen carefully because it will provide a wealth of information about the battle grounds the Europhiles will pick and the tactics they will employ.

Clarke gave a timely interview on the Today programme yesterday morning that provides us with an insight into where Europhile thinking is, and the arguments we will be faced with in a referendum campaign. You can listen to the interview below:

We can see from Clarke’s comments that the Europhiles do not see the election results as a setback. For all the media hoohaa, they are making a cold assessment of the facts and contenting themselves that the factors which brought about the result are not a rejection of the EU, but a combination of other gripes.

The Europhiles are reassured that UKIP’s performance, while seemingly barnstorming, really only amounted to one third of a third of the electorate supporting them, less than 1 in 10 voters.  The performance of the Lib Dems is not considered to be a reflection of anti-EU sentiment, rather a combination of the loss of protest vote status, the loss of tactical voters who have returned to Labour and that most pro-EU voters stayed at home last Thursday.

The battleground they will fight on will not be a surprise – but it will require some tightly targeted arguments to counter and defeat the lines the Europhiles will take, namely:

  • Prosperity (the 3 million jobs meme, further opening of single market, access to other markets on better trade terms etc)
  • Political security (stability since WWII, deep and peaceful cooperation etc)
  • Role in the World (more clout as a group, more involvement in world events, increased capabilities etc)
  • Immigration (a feature for all western democracies, need businessmen, students, skilled workers and ability to fill unskilled labour gaps etc)

Counter arguments to many of these points have long been uncoordinated, piecemeal, often badly informed or erroneous – making it possible for the Europhiles to discredit, undermine confidence in and defeat the anti-EU side.  But a roadmap for leaving the EU that provides robust, effective, accurate and attractive alternatives to the Europhile vision now exists with FLexCit. Click on the link below for the latest edition:


Having such a roadmap enables the anti-EU side to reassure voters that the UK can leave the EU and rid ourselves of the political straitjacket, without suffering the economic consequences that are often used to justify remaining in the  union. Having the well informed details to hand will enable the anti-EU side to counter, discredit and undermine confidence in the scare tactics and fatuous claims that the Europhiles will make.

You may be asking yourself, do we really need to be doing this now?  Absolutely.

The local and European election results showed that the Conservatives are actually stronger than supposed and Labour somewhat weaker.  There is a lot that can and will happen between now and May 2015, but as things stand the Conservatives have a better chance of beating Labour than many had previously supposed.

If the Conservatives win, David Cameron has boxed himself into holding an in-out referendum in 2017.  Any attempt to not honour that commitment will result in a backbench assault that would finish his leadership.  Therefore, the anti-EU side needs to prepare for a make or break vote in 2017.

While there are a number of different ‘sceptic’ groups, only by agreeing common ground and working together to achieve a shared objective will we win a referendum against the full might of the political class and their media helpers. The current state of the political landscape shows we need to begin the process now.

If you want to the UK to free itself from the EU, please spread the word.

15 Responses to “The arguments that will decide an EU referendum”


  1. 1 cosmic 28/05/2014 at 1:47 pm

    It wouldn’t be a strictly in-out referendum. It would be an “in on a reformed basis, out and be thrown into the outer darkness” referendum. You’ve pointed out the fatuous but very dangerous nature of the reform line.

    The idea to kill is that the EU wants, or is indeed capable, of any reforms along the lines Cameron is hinting at. Do that and Cameron becomes a fantasist and a liar – not a difficult step for most people.

    Flexcit is important in that there needs to be a thought out strategy and answers so it isn’t all a giant step in the dark. It would have to be reduced to soundbites, then ever greater detail to back up the broad brush arguments. I don’t see it being pivotal if the reform idea has any credibility.

    I’m convinced that the referendum pledge was issued in the confident hope that the Conservatives wouldn’t be around to be called on it. TPTB in the Conservative Party would far rather severely damage the party than see us leave the EU and Cameron is expendable. They are perfectly capable of getting out of it or putting it off. They are passed masters at kicking the can down the road.

  2. 2 Brian Lloyd 28/05/2014 at 2:26 pm

    Ye s

    UKIP have given us opportunity an opening ,we must capitalise on it not just ping pong among ourselves.

    Its going to get very nasty

    regards Brian

  3. 3 Robert 28/05/2014 at 8:39 pm

    Quote:The battleground they will fight on will not be a surprise – but it will require some tightly targeted arguments to counter and defeat the lines the Europhiles will take, namely:

    Prosperity (the 3 million jobs meme, further opening of single market, access to other markets on better trade terms etc)
    Political security (stability since WWII, deep and peaceful cooperation etc)
    Role in the World (more clout as a group, more involvement in world events, increased capabilities etc)
    Immigration (a feature for all western democracies, need businessmen, students, skilled workers and ability to fill unskilled labour gaps etc) end quote

    If that’s all they’ve got they should be worried. Given the choice of getting out but staying with the single market and running our own affairs beats staying in hands down. The one thing that that concerns me is the free movement of people which along with the free movement of goods and services is one of the pillars of the single market. A lot of people want controls on the people who live and work here.

  4. 4 Dave_G 28/05/2014 at 8:43 pm

    The Conservatives would happily sacrifice Cameron to avoid the issue of a referendum – he’s on dogy ground even now so I would expect him to be at the forefront of the campaign to stay in office, followed by failed renegotiations (well d’uh…) followed by being thrown to the wolves to avoid said referendum. Disposable.

  5. 5 CastIron 28/05/2014 at 9:52 pm

    Has Cameron explicitly promised that a simple majority for the ‘Out’ side would be sufficient?

    Has anyone checked whether he is leaving open to option to introduce thresholds?

  6. 6 Andrew 28/05/2014 at 10:37 pm

    Interestingly Clarke states that the pro-EU camp has to make “the intelligent case for Britain to stay in the EU” but then, with nearly 6 minutes of “open mike” radio time to make his case, he doesn’t bother. The more I consider this the more I’m convinced that they will rely solely on FUD. In fact I feel their whole tactics will be based around just the fear factor. They only have to instill a modicum of doubt in voters’ minds that an “out” vote will be the end of civilization as we know it and they’ve won. The status-quo effect will carry the day.

    Flexcit though is certainly turning into an excellent piece of work but the reality is that most of the 2/3rds of voters who stayed at home on May 22nd will never bother to read it, or even be interested in it. They are the ones we need to mobilise into action. We need to use the fear of a dark future ahead by staying in the EU (1984 if you will) contrasting that with more certainties of a brighter dawn by coming out. Yet, for all the excellent work by Dr North and others Flexcit is still a post-referendum blue-print not an argument for the ‘out’ vote. It will matter to business and the more interested of voters but not to the average voter, most of whom have no idea about the EU; what it is, how it works, how it affects their lives or what it’s ultimate aim is. First steps might be an “EU Made Simple” education campaign.

    A sympathetic newspaper proprietor is what we really need.

  7. 7 tallbloke 29/05/2014 at 8:05 am

    “our prosperity, our security and actually our role in the world depend on being a leading member of the EU”

    This is just scaremongering. Trade with European nations will not stop when if we leave the EU, because it’s in their interest to continue it. We have our own army and nuclear deterrent. Our ‘Role in the world’ is restricted, not enhanced by EU membership. We cannot do our own bi-lateral trade deals with non-EU countries as a member.

    “It’s no good blaming foreigners, blaming immigrants”

    Farage repeatedly says he doesn’t blame EU migrants for taking advantage of the open door. The problem is the people holding the door open. I.E. Ken Clarke.

    “Proper restrictions and controls are demanded(? obscure) by 90% of the British public.”

    Yes Ken, but you are unable to do anything about it because the EU won’t let you.

  8. 8 Autonomous Mind 29/05/2014 at 11:36 am

    Robert – “If that’s all they’ve got they should be worried. Given the choice of getting out but staying with the single market and running our own affairs beats staying in hands down.

    It sounds very thin, yes. But in reality the argument boils down to ‘if we leave then jobs will go and the economy will suffer’. That will be enough for many uninformed people to vote to maintain the status quo. We must not underestimate the power of that simple, flawed argument.

    Dave G – “The Conservatives would happily sacrifice Cameron to avoid the issue of a referendum.

    I disagree Dave. They would happily burn Cameron, but if he reneged on this promise. Too many backbenchers are counting on the referendum promise to underpin their re-election campaigns and if this one is not honoured they will be slaughtered politically. Cameron and the ‘philes still know they are in pole position to win and bury this issue for decades or longer. They have no reason to back away from it now.

    CastIron – “Has Cameron explicitly promised that a simple majority for the ‘Out’ side would be sufficient?

    Not that I’ve seen. There has been speculation that he might not honour the will of the people, but to do so would spark a crisis in the country and a backlash of such magnitude it would be folly. More likely the approach would be to make the post Article 50 negotiation a nightmare to slow things down.

    Andrew – “Interestingly Clarke states that the pro-EU camp has to make “the intelligent case for Britain to stay in the EU” but then, with nearly 6 minutes of “open mike” radio time to make his case, he doesn’t bother.

    This has been the case for years. How many times have we heard the Europhile side say we need a debate on our membership benefits, but then never go any further? Their arguments are little stronger than Clegg’s in the debates, although not being Clegg they carry more weight because the arguments are backed by business leaders and economists – and people do tend to become pliant in the face of arguments by people with ‘prestige’.

    Tallbloke – “This is just scaremongering. Trade with European nations will not stop when if we leave the EU, because it’s in their interest to continue it. We have our own army and nuclear deterrent. Our ‘Role in the world’ is restricted, not enhanced by EU membership. We cannot do our own bi-lateral trade deals with non-EU countries as a member.

    You keep pushing this line, so let’s nail this nonsense once and for all please, Rog.

    If you follow the Rodney Atkinson doctrine of just repealing the European Communities Act and declaring we are out of the EU with immediate effect, there will be no legal trading relationship between this country and the EU member states. We will not be protected by the WTO because we would have not followed the rules set down and agreed for the method of leaving the EU.

    It is irrelevant whose interest the trade is in. The member states are bound by EU law and as we would not be part of the EU or part of the single market, it would be illegal for the member states to trade with a brand new market entity (which we would be). An agreement that formalises what the trade relationship would be is required. That is what Article 50 does, as Farage has also made clear. Article 50 is not a trap – something you have previously claimed. It is the formal process to ensure a clean, organised and defined end of EU membership while defining and enacting the trade relationship the UK commercial community is desperate to retain.

    So as a candidate which party are you part of? UKIP, or Atkinson UKIP?

  9. 9 John 29/05/2014 at 2:09 pm

    The establishment will not back down over the EU. Too many, especially Farmers & Landowners, have done very well out of the EU, CAP & poor taxpayers

  10. 10 cosmic 29/05/2014 at 3:02 pm

    When it comes to a question of leaving the EU, it’s my belief that the movers and shakers of the Tory Party would not only be perfectly prepared to sacrifice Cameron, which they’d do in a trice, they’d be prepared to see the Conservative party holed beneath the water line.

  11. 11 Lost Leonardo 29/05/2014 at 9:08 pm

    “… people are blaming foreigners…”

    Very affable demagogue that nice Mr Clarke.

    How about this line of argument:

    Imagine a world in which the United Kingdom had ceased to exist. Our ancient constitution lies in tatters on the floor of the House of Commons. The nations laws are made with the consent of foreign officials. Elections to Westminister are a sinister pantomine because the electorate no longer has the power to sack the government. Welcome to Britain in 2014.

    Sovereign nations must be free to make their own laws and control who lives, works and settles on their territory. Only independence can secure these country’s future and restore self-government to the British Isles. The alternative means subjegation and tyranny.

  12. 12 tallbloke 29/05/2014 at 10:14 pm

    “If you follow the Rodney Atkinson”

    I don’t.
    I am sure that the ECA the treaty of Rome and the Lisbon treaty are unconstitutional.
    I’m also pragmatic in politics and I believe Farage is too.
    Nothing in what I said says we can’t/shouldn’t go the article 50 route.
    I merely pointed out that the internal pressure in the EU to resolve trade issues would be considerable, even if article 50 negotiations stalled and we had to short circuit the process.

  13. 13 grumpyoldmanuk 29/05/2014 at 11:02 pm

    A Third of a third is 1/3 x 1/3 = 1/9, or 11%.. Thats more than 1 in 10, not less.
    The Europhiles have not made a cold-blooded assessment. They have manipulated the facts to fit their Narrative and ignored anything inconvenient. Clarke is a past-master at talking very quickly and skating over the thin ice of his arguments with heavily disguised non sequiters and straw men.

  14. 14 Autonomous Mind 30/05/2014 at 6:35 am

    Tallbloke – It’s very interesting that you don’t follow Atkinson, yet take the same line as him, such as calling legal treaties unconstitutional. He calls them far worse, but you’re on the same lines. Maybe you just don’t realise the origin of some of the things that circulate in the party – and far worse conspiracy theories he and his gang spout from time to time.

    Grumpy – Your calculations should go to Ken Clarke, it was his comment and just possibly used for convenience as a soundbite that can be rattled off. UKIP’s actual vote was less than 10%, so he is inflating their support.


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