In, out, in, out and shake it all about
Posted on: 16 May 2016 by Michael Edwards
In little more than four weeks British voters will make a momentous decision on whether to remain or exit the European Union. But this issue of national importance is fogged by egos, misrepresentation, half truths and damn lies.
Too much information, too few indisputable facts and too long a campaign have mired the Brexit debate. In or out, the media is shaking it all about, with hourly tweets and non-stop news fuelling a battle of playground taunts and pantomime farce.
“The European Community, now Union, has helped to deliver a period of peace and prosperity for its people,” Boris writes in his Churchill book so he is “in” then? Oh-no-he-isn’t and there are Sir Ian Botham, Nigel Farage, Jeremy Clarkson and Michael Gove lining up in an amusing alliance. Continuing the theme of celebrity endorsement surely Basil Brush will want to preserve British sovereignty from Johnny Foreigner? But we are yet to learn if Sooty is a true European Federalist.
You have to feel sorry for the Remain Campaign as promoting the beige coloured status quo was never going to be sexy. Europhile Ted Heath had it easy back in the early 1970s selling his vision of Britain joining a harmonious and prosperous Europe of liver sausage and sophisticated chilled lagers.
Today we are already living in the promised Eurowonderland that's inconveniently besieged by migrants and beset by Brussels bureaucracy. Over-the-top environmental Eurocrats have emasculated our Hoovers and, if you read the tabloids, high-powered kettles and turbo toasters are next on the hit list.
It was inevitable that the Remain campaign should resort to Operation Fear. Where else can they go? If we leave the EU we'll be less secure, we'll have no one to trade with and the pound will plummet they wail. Wave farewell to cheap flights and booze cruises. And don’t forget that we will be on the verge of World War 3. But Boris, please keep a grip, no-one, as yet, has said that we’ll all catch Bubonic Plague.
And we'll have no-one to play with claim the outs. The Europeans won't let us play with their football, so why do they let the Israelis compete? Also we'll be kicked out of Eurovision which seems a very good reason to vote for Brexit.
If only we had the facts. George Osbourne's formula, which make Einstein's equations look kindergarten, warns that Brexit would cost every family £4,300 per annum while Leave.EU calculate that households would be £933 better off out.
The EU’s import tariffs average a mere 1% so Brexit seems harmless until you learn that a prohibitive 8% is imposed on imports of American cars. If we say adieu we can presumably bid Guten Nacht to level playing fields.
Whilst on the subject of lies, damned lies and statistics the Open Europe Think Tank warns that UK GDP could be 2.2% lower in 2030. That’s if Britain leaves the EU with a worst case scenario of no deal with the EU. Alternatively their blue-sky scenario of trade pacts with the EU and Uncle Tom Cobley and all forecasts an increase of 1.6% in 2030.
“I’m going to put this Europe issue to bed once and for all,” David Cameron may have naively thought of a party-splitting issue that seems increasingly impossible to solve. His wife and Michael Gove’s wife have allegedly fallen out over the issue. But it could be worse. In the 1975 Referendum Mary Wilson voted against husband Harold’s recommendation that Britain should remain in the Common Market.