Posts Tagged ‘Remain’

The geopolitical case against Brexit matters

22/06/2016, 03:08:43 PM

by Rob Marchant

The decision Britain will make tomorrow is clearly a big one. Perhaps truly the most significant of our lifetimes, in terms of its strategic direction of travel as a country and the way the 21st century will shape up for us.

A decision in favour of Brexit will inevitably have short-term impacts. Some of them, such as a potential drop in sterling for exporters, may even be positive. But some vital, long-term effects are likely to be about Britain’s place in the world; its geopolitical power, if you like.

These are difficult-to-gauge, but nevertheless important, effects which are largely drowned out in the current debate by the bread-and-butter arguments about trade or immigration. Or “sovereignty”, that largely meaningless word currently being flogged to death.

Which would be fine, if we lived in a world full of stability, free of threats. Or even such a Europe.

We do not.

It is a good time to remember, for example, that only a few hundred miles of Mediterranean separate Daesh forces from the southern shores of the EU. Or that its eastern fringe – the Baltic states – is currently subject to a very real threat of clandestine invasion by Russia, as has already happened in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Or even that the Americans and Russians are currently engaged in an increasingly threatening war of words over US presence in the Black Sea. And this is all in the context of a savage war in Syria, exacerbated by the meddling of Russia and its proxy, Iran, which has triggered the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

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The EU referendum is Cameron’s mess. So of course the media try to blame Jeremy Corbyn

15/06/2016, 05:31:29 PM

by Jon and Libby Bounds

The leavers are rising in the polls and everyone is starting to get scared that they might actually win. And, of course, it’s Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.

It’s not unusual for Corbyn to come under attack, he doesn’t sing loud enough, or bow at the proper angle, and he baulks at the idea of mutual mass destruction. And we all know what Cameron thinks about his suit and tie. But what is odd is that this time around he’s effectively being criticised for not coming to the aid of his opponent in his hour of need.

David Cameron is struggling to get his message across. For the first time his privilege is not buying him an easy ride with an unusually un-supplicant press: and he’s looking to those with experience of not having everything their own way.

Cameron did not see this coming, but in many ways he is the architect of his own downfall. The establishment is trying to pin the blame on the Labour leadership but everything about this is a Tory mess. Even leaving aside that the very referendum is Cameron’s own fault – a self-serving promise to prevent haemorrhaging even more votes and party “loonies” to UKIP – the actions of the Tories have created a situation in which rational argument has lost its power and a new idiocracy rides the waves of ill-informed public opinion.

When Ed Miliband said that the media has focused on the “sexy blue-on-blue action” in covering the referendum campaign, he may have made Today programme listeners push away their boiled eggs, but he was right. Labour has been hamstrung in getting the socialist case for remaining in the EU across, not through a lack of passion, but through a lack of coverage.

Labour (and especially Ed) are used to this, but it is the first time that sections of the Conservatives have been on the wrong side of the tactics that they have spent the last 10 years developing.

So successfully have they terrified the BBC into a false version of impartiality they call ‘balance’, that ideas are never challenged, only countered. Lies are given equal weight to the truth.

And the right wing press doesn’t even have to pretend to be impartial. So if a view – or most frustratingly a fact – isn’t palatable to the owners and their editors then it will get the shortest of shrift. This is a problem. Yes, social media and the internet means that we can go beyond newspaper bias to get to more of the truth – but only if we have the time, critical analysis skills and networks to do so. (more…)

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It’s always the economy stupid. Time for Project Fear to turn up the volume

15/06/2016, 12:42:39 PM

by Samuel Dale

What has Remain been doing? The campaign to keep Britain in the EU has been spinning around like a Catherine Wheel in the last few days.

Some of this is down to effective campaigning from Vote Leave. After months of focusing on nonsense like sovereignty and weak economic arguments, they have started to focus on the only topic they can: immigration.

They are running advert after advert on Turkey becoming a member of the EU by 2020 and millions of Turks (or, nudge, nudge, hint, hint: Muslims) coming to the UK.  Total lies and nasty smears but effective campaigning and the only message that resonates for them.

But Remain’s initial response to this aggressive shift and a few worrying polls has been bonkers.

Instead of ramming home it’s winning economic arguments it left the floor to Gordon Brown to waffle on about global peace and influence.

And instead of simply ignoring immigration – which it absolutely must at this late stage – it has left Labour to talk about a future deal or renegotiation. Or even a Scotland-style Vow on controls.

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Can Corbyn save the Remain campaign?

11/06/2016, 11:26:20 PM

by Kevin Meagher

‘Just exactly what has Jeremy Corbyn done during the EU referendum campaign?’ is a familiar refrain from people inside the unflinching pro-Remain Labour party.

The Labour leader is a long-time euro-sceptic and has seemed reluctant to fully immerse himself in the Remain campaign hitherto. Frankly, he adopts all the enthusiasm of a weary teacher staring at a pile of end of term marking.

But there is something authentic about his reluctance to fully devour his principles and sing the praises of an institution he has spent three decades criticising.

In a bid to maintain party unity, his concession has been to emphasise the importance of the EU in underpinning workers’ and consumers’ rights.

It’s decent enough ground for any social democrat, but Corbyn is clearly not prepared to give the full-throated endorsement of Remain that many in the party want him to.

But here’s the thing: his lack of enthusiasm is actually an asset.

Corbyn is plainly no swivel-eyed euro-enthusiast. But then again, neither are most voters.

They are pragmatists and recognise there are aspects of the EU that are important – worthy even – at the same time, though, they have big reservations about other parts.

They can like clean rivers and beaches, courtesy of the EU’s urban wastewater treatment directive, even if they don’t like the nannying and corruption of the EU.

They can value the ease with which travellers can get around Europe, even if they hate mass migration.

This is now the nub of this referendum campaign. Many voters’ final decision will come down to whether its head or heart that wins out.

After weeks of puerile and increasingly desperate scares and smear by the Remain campaign, it’s clear that public opinion has now hardened and their approach is simply not capable of sealing the deal with the electorate and winning this referendum.

As jaded voters weary of lunatic politicians predicting economic Armageddon chaos and war, Corbyn encapsulate the nuances and doubts that speak to real people.

This is the point in the referendum campaign where he is most potent.

As he proved in the Labour leadership election last year, Jeremy Corbyn can reach parts of the electorate that other politicians can’t.

On 20 June, Corbyn will face a grilling from an audience of young people on Sky News.

Just three days before polling day, it will be one of the last big interventions by a national politician and is certainly the last best chance to enthuse young voters, who, while disproportionately backing Remain, are less likely to turn out and are perhaps most mistrustful of politicians.

How ironic if it’s Jeremy Corbyn, the Bennite Eurosceptic, who saves this referendum and gets Remain across the line.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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Disaffected Labour voters will use the referendum to vent their frustrations

08/06/2016, 10:19:24 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Forget Farage and Cameron. The most telling interview about the EU referendum came on yesterday morning’s Today programme on Radio Four.

A former steel worker from Redcar, Mike Gilbert, was describing his life following the closure of the steel works last year. After 31 years in steel, in decently paid work, he was reduced to taking a job as a driver on little more than the minimum wage.

In all, 2,200 jobs had gone and like many of his former workmates, Mike was struggling. He and his family had had to economise. Even though he was now working, they had moved to a smaller house and by his own estimation, he had lost around £1000 a month in wages. Others were in the same boat.

He rattled off a laundry list of local industries that had been lost since Britain joined the EEC in 1973. Fishing. Agriculture. Ship-building. Mining. Steel.

His conclusion? He was voting to leave the EU.

Hang on a minute, the Remainers will say, ‘Europe hasn’t closed down our steel industry!’ No, but state aid restrictions mean the government couldn’t do much to save it. And despite its role in leading trade negotiations, the EU has not stopped China dumping excess steel on world markets.

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Jeremy Corbyn is both an asset and a liability for George Osborne

21/03/2016, 03:36:03 PM

by Greig Baker

I have put my neck out before and predicted that Tory MPs won’t put George Osborne into the final two candidates for Conservatives to pick their leader. Jeremy Corbyn has no small part to play in this, as polls showing a Labour lead – even if rare and questionable – are enough to put the wind up Conservative MPs and make them look round for someone with more voter pull than the Chancellor.

Paradoxically, at the same time Corbyn is hurting Osborne’s medium term prospects, he is also giving him a short term boost. The suggestion that Corbyn, McDonnell, & Co could get near the levers of power is scary enough that most people would try to reduce risk wherever they can – to the advantage of the Remain side in the EU campaign.

In other words, while Labour’s polling spike last week could help bring down George Osborne in the end, it gives him a better chance of being on the winning side in June.

Greig Baker is Chief Executive of The GUIDE Consultancy

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