14 October 2015
A couple of months back, I listed 12 reasons why the positive momentum was with Brexit campaigners, and in closing said I would return to give another 12. Well here we are again and I can tell you that I’m even more upbeat. Here’s why the sun is still shining even though the summer is over:
1. Eurozone Greek debt tragedy. Forget the billions involved, what people can see is that, even after a country votes in two elections to end austerity, the EU elite will impose it anyway. This woke up many on the left, like Guardian columnist Owen Jones, to why leaving the EU will strengthen democracy.
2. Migrant crisis. This humanitarian tragedy has been stoked by EU leaders, exposing the conflict between countries like Germany, which desperately needs more working-age people to avoid a demographic cliff, and others experiencing record immigration levels. People now see that regaining control of our borders can only be achieved outside the EU.
3. Jeremy Corbyn elected. The new old-school left-wing leader of the Labour Party may have had his arm twisted to say that he will campaign to stay in the EU, but that’s not the point. We all know what he really thinks and his election has made being EU-sceptic in the Labour Party respectable again. Expect many Labour and trade union people to now come out of the closet.
4. Purdah to be enforced. No sooner had MPs returned to Westminster from their summer holidays than they forced a government climbdown, ensuring the establishment machine of public servants and taxpayers’ money cannot give the Prime Minister an unfair advantage during the referendum campaign.
5. Question changed to be more balanced. Then the Electoral Commission showed it had bottle, telling the Prime Minister that the question was not balanced and drafting a new question of “remain” or “leave”. No longer can “Yes2Europe” sound positive at the expense of “No” to the EU campaigners.
6. General Motors and Vauxhall deny the EU matters. We’re told by politicians that leaving the EU means leaving the Single Market, and that this equals job losses. Only it doesn’t make sense; the UK is the rest of the EU’s biggest market, so an agreement to keep trading will be reached. Now General Motors’s UK subsidiary Vauxhall has stated that EU membership will not affect its investment decisions and that it is here to stay.
7. Prudential threatens to leave the EU. To emphasise the problems stemming from heavy EU regulatory costs, the Pru has let it be known that the threat of EU-led financial regulations has forced the company to consider relocating its HQ outside the UK if we stay inside the EU. And still politicians don’t get it.
8. Scottish nationalists are split. Would you believe it, a poll by YouGov into attitudes towards Brexit found that 27 per cent of SNP supporters also back leaving the EU. Once the debate gets going in Scotland, I’m confident we can build on that.
9. The issue of TTIP draws closer. It is received wisdom that trade deals are a good thing, but with the EU’s Canadian deal (CETA) – widely seen as the template for the EU-US trade deal (TTIP) – now approaching the European Parliament, watch for demonstrators complaining that Westminster cannot amend anything. Outside the EU, we could have our own deals that suit the UK.
10. Leave.eu and Vote.leave launched. Having two campaigns preparing to convince the British public of the benefits of leaving the EU is an advantage; the competition will generate innovative ideas, they will reach different audiences, and this will widen public involvement. That’s double the trouble for Europhiles.
11. Francois Hollande says ever closer union or Brexit. The cat is out of the bag. The French President told us last week that EU members needed to pull closer together and, if the UK didn’t like that, we should leave. That’s what we’ve been telling people for years. No opt-out the Prime Minister gets will change this.
12. Major, Blair, Brown to campaign for EU. The announcement that the last three ex-Prime Ministers will campaign for continued EU membership was met with a mixture of hilarity and embarrassment on social media. Let EU supporters rely on the establishment. Leave supporters will be out speaking to real people.
It is still early days in the referendum campaign, but the momentum has definitely shifted towards Brexit supporters, and so much so that Westminster talk is that the Prime Minister will postpone the vote until 2017. Whenever it is held, we are ready and confident that the arguments are mounting to convince a majority why we should leave.