Scottish campaign interventions show us more of what an EU Referendum will look like

The Scottish independence campaign has, in the last two weeks in particular, shown us the extent to which prestige will be amalgamated with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the effort to influence and persude voters to back the political class’ preferred outcome.

Despite the President of the United States having previously pledged to stay out of the Scottish independence debate, he could not resist chipping in with his comment that the US has a deep interest in making sure one of the closest allies the country has remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner. To what extent the US will work to ‘make sure’ the Kingdom stays united remains to be seen.

Now His Holiness Pope Francis has passed opinion, reported in the Telegraph, with regard to the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland, suggesting the case for independence in Scotland is not clear and may not be just:

Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya.

There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyse it case by case.

If His Holiness has a desire for unity, he should stick to matters ecumenical.  The Scots people were never asked to vote on union.  Their voice on union or independence has never been heard.  Yet outsiders are trying to push them in a particular direction – and not because it would be in the interest of Scots themselves.

The independence debate in Scotland is a matter for Scots, not for American Presidents, their Secretaries of State, the Vicar of Rome or the Swedish Foreign Minister. It is about a country’s people deciding, to an extent, the nature of their governance and how their country will be organised. It is a matter of democracy, such as it exists.

If the ‘yes’ campaign wins the referendum, what the Scots do with their restored national self determination is up to them.  If they choose to retain that self determination and represent themselves in the world, using their own voice and promoting their own interests, that is for them to establish.  If they regain ultimate decision making authority over their country, yet then choose to give it away again to the European Union, that too is a matter for them.  It is wrong for politicians and religious leaders from elsewhere in the world to seek to exert influence over the Scots’ decision.

This interference gives us a flavour of what we should expect if the Conservatives win the general election next year and a referendum on our membership of the EU is held in 2017.

Leaders of EU countries and the US in particular will be joined by religious figures and politically motivated industrialists from a variety of corporations and nations to spread FUD about what they believe about the implications for our economy if British independence is restored.  They will be joined by media cronies doing the bidding of their owners, who are in bed with the political class.

There will be no fair or impartial hearing for the ‘out’ side.  Only the most extreme, divisive or deluded figures will be invited to speak, so they push voters to the ‘in’ side due to their conspiratorial or frankly idiotic views, or lightweight claims that fall apart under the most cursory scrutiny and examination.

To win a referendum campaign the ‘out’ side must not rely on the normal channels, such as the media.  The message that a referendum is exclusively about who should run Britain, needs to be spread face to face directly to voters in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.  It is only then that the positive vision for a successful and independent Britain – as set out in FLEXCIT – can be heard and explained to counter the FUD which will flood the airwaves and print media to paint a false picture of economic armageddon should we free ourselves from the EU.

The ‘out’ side can win the referendum in the face of overwhelming dishonesty and misrepresentation, but it will need to unite around common strategy so the electorate receives a consistent and clear message.  Witterings from Witney has already started putting out feelers, with limited success.  The problem though is that some entities – which despite being nominally against EU membership have done nothing to develop or promote a strategy for getting out – will use the referendum campaign as a career move, with one eye firmly on individual prospects to become MPs or prominent figures in political circles.

There is still time to address this. But whether the individuals involved will set aside their own personal agendas, in order to help secure the exit from the EU they claim to want, remains to be seen.

24 Responses to “Scottish campaign interventions show us more of what an EU Referendum will look like”

  1. 1 Edward Spalton 14/06/2014 at 4:05 pm

    ” a decision for the Scots”
    Well, up to a point Lord Copper. Not for the perhaps 1 million Scots who, like my wife, live in other parts of the UK.

    Yet Mr Salmond will allow EU residents of Scotland to vote in the referendum and also reduced the voting age to 16.

  2. 2 scottishcalvin 14/06/2014 at 5:36 pm

    Actually, I know quite a few Scots who have or are going to register their vote at their parents’ address to get a vote in the referendum. Tactical location voting, it’s the same means by which all those green students in Brighton managed to get Lucas elected by registering to vote there rather than at home. Along with postal voting, it’s one of the huge problems that needs to get sorted out in the UKs electoral system

  3. 3 Autonomous Mind 14/06/2014 at 6:00 pm

    Edward, if they have chosen to live outside Scotland, why should they vote on Scottish matters? I feel that people should vote in the jurisdiction that they have made their permanent residence. It is similar to the issue of Scots MPs voting on English only matters.

  4. 4 David 14/06/2014 at 6:23 pm

    The union is between England and Scotland. It is not a matter for the Scots only. Salmond wants to keep the English out because he knows he’d get the result he doesn’t really want if we had a say. Either way, devolution will eventually free big England from the shackles of the British parliament.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  5. 5 Edward Spalton 14/06/2014 at 6:36 pm

    If being Scottish is a nationality, then surely that is what counts. Most countries have arrangements whereby expatriates can take part in elections. The Germans certainly do for people of German descent, living in other countries who may never have lived in Germany at all. The Federal German Election a Leader ( Bundeswahlleiter) makes the arrangements and gets pretty stroppy if the Czech, Polish or other a Eastern European governments are unhelpful – and this is mostly for people who have taken German citizenship as a second citizenship. ( it is reckoned to be helpful for employment with the German companies which increasingly dominate the economy of that part of the world) . Then, of course, Australia requires its expatriate citizens to vote. I have a neighbour who periodically gets the summons from Australia House although he’s lived here on and off since the Fifties.

    I checked up with the a Electoral Commission which does not decide who is eligible to vote. That is specified in the Bill establishing the referendum. Cameron was stupid enough to agree that the Edinburgh parliament should make the rules. So EU nationals and babes and sucklings were enfranchised by the slippery Mr Salmond.

    The aborted EU Referendum bill put forward at Westminster specified that British and Irish citizens could vote, plus Commonwealth citizens with permanent leave to reside. This is the same as in a UK general election.

    Edward Spalton


  6. 6 Autonomous Mind 14/06/2014 at 9:31 pm

    Edward, I didn’t say what the rules are, I just said what I believe to be an appropriate manner for deciding who votes. If I left England I would not feel I had any place trying to influence what happens there when it does not affect me.

    David, it doesn’t matter who makes up the union, if one party expresses a wish in leaving then it is a matter only for them. Using your example, should there be an EU referendum, everyone in the EU would have a say about whether we should leave, when it should only be a matter for the British people.

    Perhaps you should be careful what you wish for.

  7. 7 Spinwatch 15/06/2014 at 10:05 am

    “Only the most extreme, divisive or deluded figures will be invited to speak,”
    Whereas that rings true of the 1975 campaign, if the BBC tried to totally rig debate, it could backfire, just as the recent media anti-UKIP hate campaign did.

    There are also some pro-EU figures like Martin Sorrell who positively put people’s backs up.

    I agree with you about the need to use alternative media. This was a key to the success of the No campaigns in Norway and Denmark. However don’t forget that many local newspapers will be fair minded in covering spokesmen and letters from both sides. And outside London, the BBC is more even handed than many assume it to be.

    Finally, the evolving Flexit document has some solid research, but would be miles over the heads of most of the public. Something far simpler and shorter would have to be produced to sell that Brexit is viable.

  8. 8 Autonomous Mind 15/06/2014 at 11:14 am

    Time and again it has been explained that Flexcit needs to be detailed and worked out before simple messages from it can be extracted and used.

    Soundbites with no evidence and research to back them are quickly exposed as empty words.

  9. 9 tallbloke 15/06/2014 at 6:28 pm

    Nonetheless soundbites are what will stick in most people’s minds come referendum day. Whether or not they are based on sound research. Emotion is as important as reason in the ballot booth.

    Both Emotion and reason are well served by UKIP’s slogan:

    “The best people to govern Britain are the British themselves”.

  10. 10 Autonomous Mind 15/06/2014 at 6:58 pm

    They aren’t worth squat if they are not backed up.

    UKIP will find this out when people realise that for all the anti-immigration rhetoric, UKIP has not plan for dealing with immigration because they don’t understand the global agreements and conventions that apply.

    When that happens, UKIP won’t be forgiven.

  11. 11 tallbloke 15/06/2014 at 7:05 pm

    They are if they influence people’s voting decisions. What is there that needs backing up in the statement anyway?

    It’s self evidently true to the vast majority of people in Britain. Like this one:

    “Britain should be governed by the people we elect as our representatives”.

    You know this, which is why you are trying to sidetrack the discussion onto immigration, just as the MSM do. It’s so transparent.

  12. 12 Autonomous Mind 15/06/2014 at 9:35 pm


    When someone asks UKIP ‘how’ we will be governed you will have no answer. When people ask ‘what about the 3 million jobs’ you will have no answer. When the Europhiles challenge you to set out how this country’s economic and commerical interests can be safeguarded when we leave the EU, you will have no answer. UKIP hasn’t got a bloody clue.

    This is political reality. A campaign with an outcome of such far reaching consequences as a referendum will have, cannot be fought on a bloody soundbite. It is a serious issue for serious people, not the clowns who run your party.

    UKIP are nowhere. Your lot are even exploring staying IN the customs union! Yes, still being governed by the EU. And they have the temerity to call themselves Eurosceptic. UKIP is lightweight and superficial, but to divert attention from the reality you come at me with this bollocks about trying to sidetrack the discussion onto immigration.

    So lets get real. UKIP has no plan, and if you think all that’s needed is a soundbite to win the biggest political fight for decades you have no bloody clue. It’s people like you who will lose us a referendum.

    Is that transparent enough for you?

  13. 13 tallbloke 16/06/2014 at 8:22 am

    “UKIP are nowhere”

    Heh. Tell me, how many attended the recent CiB Harrogate workshop where Dr north presented his Flexcit plan? Or is Richard too embarrassed to tell anyone?

    “you will have no answer”

    I realise you are upset that you are not privy to UKIP’s internal discussions, because there are no moles any more, but you shouldn’t mistake a tight ship for an empty vessel.

  14. 14 Autonomous Mind 16/06/2014 at 8:52 am

    Is that the sum of your response? Is that all you’ve got? Utterly pathetic, but of no surprise whatsoever.

    This from the man who moaned that UKIP doesn’t have the manpower to visit the farms and explain their excellent agriculture policy to the farmers, then when it was pointed out UKIP doesn’t have a policy on agriculture, backtrack and say that policy will undergo final development until manifesto publication, so it can’t be leaked yet!! Perhaps you could do with an couple of insiders to help you stay on message.

    You’re almost a parody of yourself with your tribal desperation to defend the party and attack anyone who points out its deficiencies.

    Oh dear, AM is raising some home truths… I know I’ll ridicule the Harrogate Agenda – which is the only group to develop a comprehensive workable plan to leave the EU – because there’s only dozens of people involved in that and we’ve got thousands on our side, so I’m in a big gang hahahaha…. He’s pointing out we’ve got no policies after all these years… I know I’ll make out we’ve got everything in hand after Farage disowned our last manifesto and claimed he hadn’t read it even though he wrote the foreword to it, that will shut him up… He’s mentioned the idea of staying in the customs union which means we basically stay under EU control…. Hah, I’ll just pretend it wasn’t even mentioned because it sounds a bit embarrassing and I don’t really understand what it means….

    You’re the worm that can’t turn.

  15. 15 tallbloke 16/06/2014 at 9:46 am

    *IF* a referendum is announced, as a political party, UKIP can’t run the out campaign. What then, is the point of UKIP muddying the waters by pre-empting the campaign organisers with a BRexit policy announcement?

    The outcome of that would be accusations of disarray in the eurosceptic camp from the europhiles. Not that the disarray of also rans aren’t already achieving that with their internicine squabbling and cold shouldering.

    Farage is attempting to diffuse that squabbling by showing flexibility and openness to ideas, and you are busy undermining the effort by recasting it as vacillation.

    UKIP *IS* the biggest euro-sceptic movement in the UK.
    UKIP *HAS* won the euro-elections
    UKIP *WILL* take Britain out of the EU at the earliest opportunity

  16. 16 Edward Spalton 16/06/2014 at 10:21 am

    The trouble is that UKIP has been vacillating ( or rather doing nothing) on the issue of Brexit – its main reason for existence for fifteen years since its first MEPs gained access to funding for researchers and all the information facilities of the EU parliament.

    This has been a common failure of the pro Independence movement, mostly concerned with saying (quite correctly) how dreadul the EU is and, at bottom, looking forward rather romantically to the magical great day of liberation without giving much thought as to how it would be achieved.

    Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!

  17. 17 tallbloke 16/06/2014 at 11:30 am

    A lot can happen between now and a referendum. Two examples:

    Greek and Portuguese default.
    The collapse of the euro and ECB.

    Now is not the time to be setting a BRexit policy in stone.

  18. 18 Richard North 16/06/2014 at 1:20 pm

    Talbloke: even if one accepted that collapse of the EU was a possibility, it remains only a possiibly. That is not grounds for complete inactivity. As for locking a Brexit policy in stone, that is a straw man argument.

    The essence of policy is that it constantly evolves, and with the Flexcit plan, I am preparing, it is just that, cast as a “living document” with new editions posted as it grows and evolves. That is the antithesis of being “cast in stone”.

    Presenting policy development in this way, as an open process, encourages debate and partication, adding to depth and quality to the finished product. As it stands, UKIP’s silence means that it isn’t even part of the debate. If it then produces a policy, ex cathedra, the likelihood is that it will be a shallow affair, having not emerged from an ongoing debate.

  19. 19 Richard North 16/06/2014 at 1:24 pm

    BTW, UKIP is represents only a fraction of anti-EU sentiment (about a third). It does not represent the majority of people wishing to leave the EU. It did not “win” the euro-elections – it holds about three percent of the vote in the European Parliament. And currently, IF Mr Cameron’s referedum represents our best bet for getting out of the EU, the main obstacle to EU withdrawal is UKIP.

  20. 20 tallbloke 16/06/2014 at 2:50 pm

    Richard says: “with the Flexcit plan, I am preparing”

    I applaud your efforts with Flexcit. As a non-party aligned independent voice it’s an important contribution, even if many don’t like the ‘kick the can further down the road’ implications of what you see as the most viable way forward.

    Richard says: “Mr Cameron’s referedum (sic) represents our best bet for getting out of the EU, the main obstacle to EU withdrawal is UKIP.”

    Are you referring to the ill-fated one their Lordships binned or the hypothetical one we’re waiting for a private member to table?

    Cameron wouldn’t win a working majority whether UKIP was around or not. The Tories haven’t since the early 1990’s and their membership is dropping faster than an honourable members expenses claim sheet total.

    As it is, UKIP stands a good chance of winning the balance of power at the GE in 2015 and putting some vim into the process.

  21. 21 Richard North 16/06/2014 at 4:17 pm

    You are deluding yourself if you believe that UKIP will gain any MPs, much less hold the balance of power. All the party can hope for is the negative outcome of blocking marginal seats that might otherwise fall to the Tories.

  22. 22 Autonomous Mind 16/06/2014 at 4:22 pm

    ‘Kick the can further down the road’ implications of what you see as the most viable way forward….

    Such as, and as opposed to what, exactly?

  23. 23 tallbloke 16/06/2014 at 8:36 pm

    Richard: Thanks, cut and pasted for posterity. ;-)

    AM, you’ve read Flexcit and been through Richard’s powerpoint presentation from the CiB Harrogate presentation?

  24. 24 Autonomous Mind 17/06/2014 at 6:07 am

    Yes, and I’m still waiting for you to explain your comment and provide evidence.

Comments are currently closed.

Enter your email address below

The Harrogate Agenda Explained

Email AM

Bloggers for an Independent UK

STOR Scandal

Autonomous Mind Archive

%d bloggers like this: