The EU Referendum campaign has less than thirty days to run and seems to have settled into a pattern of new daily accusatory ‘he said/she said’ claims and denials from both camps.
In the past fortnight we have had the Remainers claiming that every family in the UK would be £4,300 worse off, that World War Three would break out and that the flights for our annual holidays in Mallorca would become £230 more expensive in the event of a Brexit. A succession of impressively-titled world bodies, trade and business organisations have queued up to carpet-bomb the Brexit defensive positions and housing estates in support of the Remain argument.
In response the Brexiteers have been somewhat lacklustre.
Boris has burned a large cheque, eaten a Cornish pasty, done wheelies in the passenger seat of a racing car and effectively claimed that the unelected EU politburo is merely trying to achieve the same goal as Hitler (domination of the continent of Europe) but by different – peaceful – means.
Iain Duncan-Smith has savaged the Treasury for supporting the Government and Remain and then also Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business, for allegedly doing a 180 degree turn and switching camps in the cause of political advancement.
Meanwhile the media pundits are being very careful about either quoting or attacking the weekly polls being taken, presumably because (1) overall, the pollsters got the 2015 General Election result completely wrong, and (2) one has pay lip-service to impartiality, but the message I am receiving from all I see and hear is that the Remainers are going to win the Referendum at a canter by a 15 to 20 point margin.
With a somewhat heavy heart, as we approach the last four weeks of the Referendum campaign I can only foresee an endless diet of ‘more of the same’ as the protagonists become ever more desperate to engage the voting public and attain victory.
My only hope is that the novel feature of the ‘home straight’ (the schedule of pre-arranged live television debates and ‘question and answer’ sessions) may just liven things up.
I say that because if things continue as they are at the moment there’s at least an even chance that in the end apathy will decide the Referendum result, viz. the number of people who just won’t bother to got down to the polling booths, either (if they are natural Remainers) because they believe the result is a foregone conclusion and/or (and this applies to supporters of both camps) they’ve become so disillusioned by the campaigns and/or so distrustful of politicians that they’ve decided to adopt ‘a plague on all their houses’ stance and refuse to take part.
With the campaigners’ well of inspiration nearing empty (I hope I’m not mixing my metaphors too badly here) they have begun scraping the barrel of history in search of supporting evidence.
Here’s a link to an ‘opinion’ piece by Beatrice de Graaf that appears today on the website of The Guardian, building on Boris Johnson’s invocation of Adolph Hitler as a fellow-traveller of the EU secretariat in seeking to secure control over the continent of Europe by drawing the Duke of Wellington, victor of the Battle of Waterloo, into the argument.
Apparently his 1815 campaign against Napoleon was/is as an example of the benefits of the UK getting involved in (rather than turning its back on) Europe – see here – THE GUARDIAN
As an avowed Brexiteer myself, sadly for her case, it seems to me that de Graaf has failed to gain a proper grasp on the history or circumstances of the early 19th Century.
The key difference between then and now is that in the spring of 1815, after two decades of Napoleonic wars, the powers of Europe had met at the Congress of Vienna to discuss the (post-Napoleon) future of Europe.
Suddenly, faced with Napoleon’s unexpected escape from Elba and return to power in Paris which potentially heralded another endless period of conflict, they immediately turned to Britain – and specifically the Duke of Wellington – to lead what everyone recognised was going to be an era-defining military campaign.
That’s Europe as it should be. It gets itself into a hell of a mess and so naturally calls for Britain to get involved, provide some leadership and come to its rescue. Effectively, for the duration, the powers of Europe surrendered their military sovereignty and pledged themselves to the greater good of defeating Napoleon under British leadership.
Contrast that with now (Europe as it shouldn’t be).
The UK isn’t being asked to take the lead and sort out what everyone agrees has become an enormously costly and inefficient failing continental project.
Instead, shackled to it, the UK and has no more say in any of the decisions being taken than any of the other 27 member countries – 22 of which are economic basket-cases.
Why should we accept this state of affairs?
Had it been the case that at any time in the last forty years the EU had done the obvious and handed over its executive power to the UK government in perpetuity, milk and honey would now be flowing freely across the continent of Europe, the migrant crisis would have been solved, Greece would have become the permanent home of the Olympics, Russia might have done the decent thing and applied to join, and England would have won the soccer World Cup in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
There’s still time!
All you have to do in the next four weeks is pass a EU directive that all EU member countries hereby cede all political power to the UK government in Westminster with immediate effect.
That will surely ensure a Remain victory in the UK’s EU Referendum.
Think of the benefits – your trains will run on time. Cricket will be played in all European capital cities. Continental breakfasts will be banned and replaced by calorific full-cooked ones … [I could go on] …