Saturday, 20 February 2016

Winning the Referendum - for the Outsiders.

Whether or not Richard Nixon's special counsel Charles Colson had a cartoon on his wall with the legend: 'When you get 'em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow', the fact is that remains a terrible piece of advice.

It guarantees that come the day you relax your grip of said appendages their owners will turn on you and kick your arse - out of power. Forever. Yet between now and Thursday, June 23, the day when the people of the UK have the opportunity to vote to leave the European Union - the biggest single confidence trick of the modern era - we can expect a great deal of ball-squeezing to persuade the credulous to stick with what they are used to rather than risk change.

A host of rich and prize-winning celebrities from entertainment and politics will get extensive air-time and print space to hammer home the vital importance of 'staying in Europe' for the sake of trade, security, defence and inclusivity. The United States, they will be told, is in favour of Britain staying in the EU. That strikes me as a pretty good reason for baling out of the leaky boat that constitutes the EU's ship of state.

The issue is not the continent of Europe but the artificial political construct currently known as the European Union but which in previous incarnations was the European Economic Community ansd the European Community. The name of this federal state seems to be different with every significant treaty change so that Joe Public is never sure what he belongs to or what it means, leaving the way open for old Europhile politicical grandees like Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine to talk down to them in tried and trusted cliches about Britain's position 'at the top table' of world affairs.  

Nor is the issue a black and white conflict between 'Little Englander' nationalism and pan-europeanism. It is about whether the free peoples, or allegedly free peoples, of the United Kingdom want to go on being part of an unaccountable  political organisation that arbitrarilly takes their money and tells them what they cannot do. I recognise that there are occasional readers of this blog who believe that membership of this organisation has enhanced the well-being of many people. In my opinion the EU, in its various forms, inadvertently started the war in Yugoslavia and damned nearly dragged us into military conflict with Russia by trying to sign up Western Ukraine as an associate EU member - the status that is being offered to David Cameron.

I think those BREXIT factions currently sniping at each other over who has and hasn't got the better exit plan have lost sight of what an amazing turn of events the forthcoming referendum represents.Three years ago, the likelihood of a Conservative Prime Minister, a professed supporter of EU membership, putting such a referendum into place was as remote as Leicester City topping the Premiership table. Armchair strategists felt confident in ridiculing anyone who looked forward to the day when that would happen. And when the unlikely looked highly likely they ridiculed the idea that the referendum might take place sooner rather than later, later being 2017.

The Prime Minister has put himself in this precarious position, partly to try to steal the thunder of the UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage and partly to prevent he Conservative Party in Parliament from being torn asunder on the issue of EU membership as was the party of David Cameron's predecessor John Major. Will his gamble pay off, will this turn out to be for him a beneficial crisis? If you beome transfixed by the know-alls, then yes, probably he will win the day on June 23.

I think it entirely depends on whether the out campaigners have the humility to learn a lesson from the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. His unexpected victory was due entirely to popular support from the electorate at large, not the Parliamentary Labour Party, its fellow travellers and their cronies in the media. That's why the media has spent so much time subsequently undermining Mr Corbyn (ironically an advocate of EU membership), for he is there without their benediction. 

The referendum will be influenced by Question Time, Any Questions, staged televised debates and the Today programme, just as it will be influenced by blogs; but it will be won by those who go out into the country and address public meetings. This is what Jeremy Corbyn did, and he won overwhelmingly. This referendum won't be won on fine-print details, as some purists would wish, but on blood and guts passion and conviction. David Cameron is adept at that. But Nigel Farage is better, and he has the advantage of knowing the EU from the inside.

Our balls have been in the hands of lying Europhiles since the last referendum in 1975, when they told us that memebership of the EEC was vital for Britain's economic future. They knew all along that the project was really about creating a federal political state. The time has come to kick their arses once and for all and get out into the sunnier uplands of the wider world.

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