“The moment there is a suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted” Mahatma Gandhi
David Cameron and his cabinet supporters (with the backing of multi-national big business) have just published a leaflet entitled “Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK”. The estimated cost to the taxpayer is said to be around £10 million and now over 100,000 people have signed a formal petition demanding that the government stops spending public money on biased campaigning – a view supported by the Electoral Commission. Here’s a summary of Cameron’s Remain message with commentary in italics:
- The EU is by far the UK’s biggest trading partner, therefore we need to be a member of the EU. No mention of a free trade deal achieving the same result, no mention of EU constraints on our ability to trade with non-EU countries. Just talk of how countries with relatively small economies have to pay to trade with the EU and must abide by its rules, plus very brief reference to the length of time the virtually no-strings Canada/EU trade agreement took to conclude. The UK is one of Germany’s biggest export markets – as a PR man, has Cameron forgotten that the customer is king?
- Leaving the EU would put pressure on the pound which would risk higher prices on some household goods and damage living standards. The Bank of England has been actively seeking to devalue sterling for some time and this policy is supported by the government as a means of boosting exports and the economy
- Voting to leave would create years of uncertainty and potential economic disruption. “Nothing is going to happen if we come out…There will be absolutely no change…It’s not going to be a step change or somebody’s going to turn the lights out” Lord Rose, Chairman of the IN (Remain) campaign
- Immigration – the government has negotiated a deal which will make our benefits system less of a draw for EU citizens. Some 250,000 EU immigrants enter the UK every year and there’s no mention of by how much a temporary restriction on access to welfare benefits is going to reduce this number, if at all. The leaflet is equally silent on the huge pressure this creates on the NHS, schools and infrastructure generally
- EU membership means UK police can use law enforcement intelligence from 27 EU countries. Why on earth wouldn’t this arrangement (if it exists in practice) continue in the event of a Leave vote? And of course there’s no mention that the EU’s free movement rules mean that criminals and terrorists can travel from the EU to the UK undetected. “…pulling out of the EU would have very few security implications – neighbours help each other regardless…” Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6
David Cameron together with George Osborne and a few cabinet cohorts have decided to ignore the British tradition of fairness and integrity and have displayed zero confidence in the UK’s potential to remain a world leader and world trader. Instead, they’ve just sidelined the electorate which seems to be a deliberate policy. Remember their determination to pursue HS2 (the ludicrously expensive, blank cheque railway line that no-one wants and we can’t afford)? And then there’s Cameron’s illogical overseas aid budget of £12 billion which amongst other things apparently includes a £35,000 payment to boost Panama’s hospitality and tourism industry. The UK has struggled to recover from the Blair/Brown government’s economic and social disaster and now it seems that exiting the EU to regain control of our destiny will need to be followed by finding a leader that believes in Britain – a genuine vote winner.