Posts Tagged 'EU Referendum'

A poll finding that should concern all who want to leave the EU

Ask voters which party they most associate with wanting the UK to leave the EU and they will reply UKIP.  This is despite the declining importance of the EU question that has become evident among UKIP supporters.

So You Gov’s poll findings that voters feel a lot more negative and less positive about UKIP  than they did five years ago, as covered on Political Betting, should be a concern to all people on the anti-EU side.

To howls of derision, copious amounts of abuse, occasional smears and some more measured and polite dismissals by UKIP supporters, this blog has tried over many months to explain that the approach of UKIP’s leadership (in particular Nigel Farage, as he sets the direction in autocratic fashion) was actually setting the party up to fail at a time when everyone has been pointing at higher polling, membership and votes in elections.

This You Gov poll puts meat on the bones of my many blog posts on the subject.  UKIP is hitting a glass ceiling where its support is at its maximum.

While it might have formed a hard core of committed, fervent, extremely vocal, almost evangelical supporters – many of whom use social media and newspaper comment threads as echo chambers to increase mention of the party, encourage each other, and aggressively gang up on anyone with a criticism – they are gradually alienating an increasing number of middle of the road voters they need to attract if they are to make a political breakthrough of any substance.

Ordinary voters who share many of UKIP’s concerns, particularly rejection of the UK remaining in the EU, are increasingly choosing not to support the party because of the unrefined and hollow rhetoric on immigration, the behaviour of supporters on the internet, and the vacuous, policy-lite hotch potch of ‘aspirations’.  But as they turn away from UKIP, many will also turn away from the anti-EU side of the EU membership argument just as it looks possible a referendum could finally be held.

This blog has long considered itself a critical friend to UKIP, despite the attacks by those who consider themselves virtuous defenders of the cause.  But if UKIP looks set to hamstring the prospects of the anti-EU side by acting as a repellant rather than a recruiter, then the friendship has to end and UKIP has to be taken on and defeated.

I wish there was an alternative to this.  But there’s far more at stake in a referendum than there is in preserving the ambitions of Nigel Farage.  UKIP’s failings must not be allowed to drag down the chances of the anti-EU side of winning a referendum.

I am often asked just what my agenda is as people cannot believe I want to leave the EU, but remain critical of UKIP.  It is very simple. We need UKIP to sort itself out and shape up, or we need to get it out of the way so we can take on and defeat the Europhiles.

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.

One political earthquake looks likely to be replaced by another

National polling over the last few days has caused some ripples among political anoraks.

As Political Betting has highlighted, Labour and Conservatives are now level pegging on 34% according to You Gov.  The last time that Labour was that low with the firm was in June 2010 only weeks after the party’s GE2010 defeat.   With four pollsters in two days showing the same broad picture the trend is becoming clearer Labour is down.

Miliband effect kicking in?

It seems no one has quite ‘got’ why this has happened yet. Most people are not political anoraks and therefore take little or no interest in politics until the week before they are going to vote.  Now there is a nationwide election due and we are less than a year from the General Election, so more people are inevitably taking a look at politics, whether they will vote and if so who they will vote for.

This is forcing people to look at Ed Miliband for the first time in a while and consider whether they seem him as this country’s next Prime Minister.  It seems they are concluding that he is not Prime Minster material and slowly turning away from Labour.

Where’s the UKIP bounce?

What is interesting is that there does not seem to be any rise in UKIP support, as the national polling for 2015 still shows the party rooted firmly in the 15% range.  UKIP has made much of its belief that more of its voters in the forthcoming European Elections will stick with the party in May 2015, and that a political earthquake will result.

What this assessment seems to ignore is that only around 30% of the electorate will bother to vote in the Euros, with UKIP mobilising just about all its support.  Most Labour and Tory voters and a good many Lib Dems will stay at home.  In May next year around 65-70% of the electorate will turn out for the personality politics vanity contest.  UKIP’s current vote will be significantly diluted.

Make no mistake, UKIP has the capacity to hurt the Tories next year.  But if  Labour support continues to fall back and the UKIP polling share doesn’t advance then the Tories may mitigate a lot of the damage.  UKIP’s political earthquake would then only have power comparable to a fart on a waterbed as the classic two party squeeze returns.

A lot can change between now and next May.  But as things stand it’s hard to see people’s perception of Miliband changing, particularly as the economy continues to improve.  Similarly it’s hard to see where UKIP will make any new breakthroughs, particularly as its immigration strategy is permanently alienating many more potential supporters than it is attracting.

One earthquake fails to materialise, but another might loom

Cameron could well be on course for a second term in Downing Street.  It’s not a prospect that fills me with joy, but as a result of that the UK would be on course for an in/out EU referendum in 2017.

This could be the best opportunity for the ‘out’ side to secure a Brexit from the EU. That would be an earthquake right at the top end of the political richter scale.

2017 is a date well before a point by which Cameron could ever hope to deliver on his renegotiation pledges.  There is no prospect of treaty change, which Cameron acknowledges some of his pledges require if they are to be delivered.  Four years after promising reforms he would have achieved nothing and would fight a referendum on a platform of promises that he can deliver, eventually.

People would see the reality that repatriation of meaningful powers to nation states just will not be allowed to happen.  Just like that crushing moment when a child discovers Father Christmas is not real, many pro-reformers will finally see their fantasy for what it is and admit at last the only options are in or out.

At least that is what will happen, if UKIP don’t secure enough votes in 2015 to deprive the Conservatives of some seats they currently hold in Parliament.  UKIP supporters face a paradox:

  • fight the Tories and do enough damage to prevent them winning the 2015 election, handing Downing Street to Miliband and thus losing any hope of bringing about a winnable in/out referendum.  Or,
  • don’t fight the Tories in the hope that they win the election and present EUsceptics with the golden opportunity they have craved for decades, to have and fight a winnable referendum and take Britain out of the EU

Welcome to the often soul destroying world of realpolitik.  After more than 20 years of campaigning to get the UK out of the EU, UKIP may find itself in a position where putting party first actually deprives voters of the chance to escape from the control of Brussels.

Thanks for nothing, Farage and UKIP

In May this year, when UKIP had its ‘big’ electoral ‘breakthrough’ opinion polls asking people their views on the UK’s membership of the EU had 47% in favour of leaving, and 30% in favour of staying.

Despite Eurosceptic UKIP’s ‘surge’ the signs have been clear that the number in favour of staying in the EU would rise.  This is because of the concerted campaign that has been conducted by the Europhiles and their corporate sponsors to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about the impact on the UK of leaving the union.

This blog has not held back in accusing UKIP of failing the Eurosceptic side because it has utterly failed to use its prominent platform to even attempt to counter the flood of misinformation, lies, manipulated statistics being pumped out.  This isn’t a case of UKIP struggling to get attention for its rebuttals of the Europhile FUD, it has simply not devoted a single moment to rebutting the Europhile nonsense.  In return this blogger has been attacked by some UKIP supporters who refuse to accept any criticism of their party.  Time and again this blog has said that if there is no rebuttal by the prominent Eurosceptics to counter the lies, using evidence and facts, voters will start to believe the Europhile claims are true and increasingly – however reluctantly – opt to stick with the status quo.

This blog’s UKIP detractors and naysayers have rubbished this argument. Voters, they claim, do not want lots of detail in rebuttal of the Europhile lies.  UKIP’s simple ‘we want out’ message, they assert, is far more effective than explaining the truth.  No one is that interested, they say, in an argument that extolls the opportunities and benefits of the UK freeing itself of EU control.  This blog explained why these arguments are wrong, but to no avail.

So it is that a YouGov poll question, ‘If there was a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, how would you vote?’ returned the following results:

Taken from PoliticalBetting.com

Richard has his own analysis of the findings over at EU Referendum.  He points out the trend that is emerging, this being the lowest margin of the year so far, dropping 17 points from the peak in 9-10 May when the “outers” stood at 47 percent and the “inners” took 30 percents. By August, the margin had dropped to 12 points and last month it stood at a mere five points.  While Richard points out the linkage between anti-EU sentiment and UKIP support is no longer clear-cut, for me the linkage between this decline in support for the ‘out’ campaign and UKIP’s silence in the face of Europhile FUD is clear.

It does not give me any pleasure.  There is no smug self satisfaction about this.  But it was so bloody obvious.  What it does is make me want to scream in frustration at those cult-like morons who blindly follow Farage regardless of any evident failings, both political and strategic, and adopt a tribal defence of UKIP even though it is clearly letting down the Eurosceptic side – even reducing the argument to things such as misdirections where they demand I compare how many Google returns there are for UKIP as opposed to The Harrogate Agenda, as if that refutes UKIP’s failure.

With only a small handful of blogs reaching out to their audience of readers in low five figures, getting the message across to voters is an almost impossible ask.  With UKIP having run  away from the fight, because Nigel Farage is frightened of the debate that needs to be had and won, it is clear that no political party is going to devote the kind of focus to this issue that a campaign requires.  A non-party political campaign is not now preferable, it has become essential.

For all its talk of a ‘surge’ in support, its boasts of thousands of new members added to its roll, and its predictions of a big result in the European elections in 2014, UKIP has done the sum total of nothing to push the positive reasons for leaving the EU and nothing to counter the flood of spin and deception that characterises the Europhile media blitz.  The Europhiles are in the ring throwing punches while UKIP is searching for the fastest car away from the venue.

My message tonight to Nigel Farage and his Praetorian Guard in UKIP, is short and sweet.  Thanks for nothing.

Europlastics at large

Today’s big political story, the Adam Afriyie inspired vote to bring forward an EU Referendum in this parliament, will be the big story for the wrong reasons.  As the Daily Mail reports:

David Cameron is facing a Tory rebellion of up to 20 MPs today as he tries to head off calls to hold a referendum on Europe next year.

Maverick Tory Adam Afriyie last night indicated he would defy the Prime Minister and force a Commons vote as he tries to make the PM hold a referendum before the 2015 general election.

The media will paint this as Eurosceptics trying to push David Cameron into an early referendum so people can have their say on who runs Britain.  The reality is rather less noble. They are not doing this for us.  This posturing is the political equivalent of the Italian Job with Afriyie in the Michael Caine role, leading a small gang on an enterprise in their own interest.  This is the self preservation society in action, putting their electoral prospects before all else. As the story reminds us:

In a letter to MPs, Mr Afriyie said: ‘This is Conservative MPs’ last chance to try to secure a  referendum. If we don’t take this opportunity we risk sleepwalking to election defeat by driving voters to Ukip.’

We may as well look away.  This is a local issue for local political climbers, there’s nothing for us here.  Whereas in the film we are left guessing as to whether Caine’s gang managed to save the gold they had plundered, the outcome of this little enterprise is nailed on.  It is going nowhere.  But that won’t stop the media hamming it up in an effort to embarrass Cameron.  With most governance being managed from abroad, this is what passes for major political news in Britain these days.

Still, it will serve to deflect attention from something else.  So keep your eyes peeled for something unappetising being sneaked out while the glorious media corps piles into Westminster in an effort to make a big drama with some colouring pencils, old pieces of newspaper and paste.

Breaking media revelation: Cameron secretly wants ‘yes’ vote on EU!

What would we ever do without our lamestream media?

Adam Afriyie’s electioneering inspired calls for an EU referendum to be held before the General Election are back in the ‘news’.  He has managed to push for a vote to bring forward Cameron’s proposed referendum, so his profile has been dusted off as the Mail indulges its fascination for parliamentary spats.

It is there we find that Simon Walters is in ‘educational’ mode, sharing his very special insider insights:

Afriyie hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of winning Friday’s vote. But merely by forcing a vote on the issue, he could snatch one of Cameron’s Election trump cards from his hand.

The Prime Minister’s ploy of offering an EU referendum in 2017 is his only realistic hope of wooing back fed-up Tories from UKIP and, in turn, his only hope of winning the Election.

A 2014 referendum would wreck that. For all his anti-Brussels rhetoric, Cameron does not want to go down in history as the man who led the UK out of Europe.

And he believes there is far too little time before Afriyie’s chosen date, October 23 next year, to win concessions from Brussels needed to secure the ‘yes’ vote the Prime Minister secretly wants.

No doubt this revelation will cause a great deal of excitement.  Who shared this secret with Walters?  What was behind it being leaked?  Is there a naysayer deep inside Cameron’s inner circle who doesn’t agree with him?  This clearly is clearly big news.  Why it isn’t on the front page is a mystery.  Thank God someone has revealed this to us.

Sarcasm aside, the story offers a smidgen of value as it reinforces the point that Afriyie isn’t doing this because he passionately believes in people having their democratic say or because he wants the UK to withdraw from the EU.  Afriyie’s motives are partisan in the extreme…

I did this because my conscience demanded it.

I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if, out of 650 MPs, not a single MP said, “Hang on a second, we should at least  be trying to get a referendum in this Parliament.”  The Conservatives are sleep-walking to electoral defeat if we don’t have a referendum before 2015.

Some conscience.  Clearly Mr Afriyie is this Parliament’s leader of the self preservation society.

BREXIT: We were wrong

When Richard North submitted an EU Referendum blog crowdsourced entry to the IEA’s competition for writing a Blueprint for Britain outside the EU (Brexit) – covering the process of withdrawal from the EU and the post-exit repositioning of the UK in the global trading and governance systems – neither of us thought the judges would shortlist such a radical submission, which counters and corrects a number of long held yet badly considered assertions and assumptions about the subject.

We have been proved wrong. The entry has been included on a shortlist of 20 from 149 submissions received by the IEA from around the world.

Credibility is everything in blogging. In an effort to maintain that credibility, I want to be seen as big enough to admit that I was wrong.  Very well done to Richard and everyone who contributed to the submission.  Your efforts have seen to it that a well researched and groundbreaking submission that will correct so many misconceptions, will be aired before a substantial audience.

Congratulations!

As with this initial entry, Richard would welcome any help: advice, ideas or direct assistance, and in particular he would appreciate views on how we deal with costing out the options we might present.  These can either go on the EU Referendum forum, on The Boiling Frog’s comments page, on the AM BREXIT page, or you can e-mail Richard via the blog, with your observations.


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