Why has the Mail on Sunday gone soft on Brexit?

“[I]t is clearer than ever that the Leave campaigners are losing the economic argument … Their preoccupation with immigration … can sometimes seem more like an obsession, and one that is not entirely free of a prejudice that most British people have long ago rejected.”

These are excerpts from today’s editorial lead in the Mail on Sunday. No, not The Observer, but the Mail on Sunday, a newspaper that has long thundered about the cost of Brussels bureaucracy, real and imagined, and which is more than a little preoccupied with immigration.

No newspaper can afford to get too far out of kilter with its readers’ opinions too often, so this is remarkable, at least at first blush. Mail readers support Brexit by a margin of three-to-one. So what causes a newspaper that has campaigned against British membership for decades to perform a volte face, expressed in particularly damning terms, on the eve of the first Euro referendum since Slade were big?

British newspapers like to retain influence on the government of the day. While David Cameron will need to mend fences with Brexiteer opinion in his own party in the event of a Remain vote (witness his joint launch of a prison reform policy with Michael Gove last week), he needs to have few scruples with those outside. By dissembling now, the Mail on Sunday gets to remain besties with Number 10 if the referendum is for remaining in the EU. An editorial as blunt and surprising as this probably means the top management at the Mail on Sunday have decided that the vote will go to Remain, possibly by a substantial margin.

Something has clearly shifted in élite perceptions of the Referendum campaign, very recently. They seem to be assuming this is a done deal. I don’t know why. Here’s one possibility: both Remain and Leave campaigns have large telephone canvassing operations and will note any shift of undecideds quickly. Focus groups may have picked up a change in the perception of the issues that dooms the Leave campaign to failure, regardless of headline polling figures. In particular, if undecided voters have decided the Remain side has decisively won the economic and security arguments, then it is pretty much game over for the Leave campaigns. That sort of information leaks into the Westminster-Fleet Street gossip bubble quickly.

There also seems to be some shift in the polls, with some now recording large double digit leads for Remain, but the data is a little contradictory, and the huge gap between telephone and internet polling remains. Perception in the gossip bubble doesn’t always tally with reality, and the higher leave figures in internet polls could be a classic ‘spiral of silence’ situation: people feel they ought to be in favour of the EU even if they aren’t, and find it easier to express that by anonymously clicking a button than they do to tell it to a nice person on the telephone.

Yet, there are reasons for thinking a shift of opinion has definitely occurred and both sides are seeing it. It would explain why the Leave campaigns have hit the panic button in the past fortnight or so. Most significantly, the Leave campaigns have retreated into too narrow a focus on immigration, especially so far from polling day. It’s an implicit admission that other issues aren’t playing for them.

That panic seems to be getting under the skin of leading campaigners on the Leave side, and they’re making mistakes. Nigel Farage’s threat of violence was the worst episode, but Boris has invoked Godwin’s Law and Ian Duncan Smith had a strange meltdown of a Sunday morning TV interview under minimal pressure.

The problem with Leave talking too much about immigration is that alienates a key part of any winning coalition they might construct – the business-friendly libertarians, who dislike anything that smacks of bureaucracy but who are neutral to actively positive on multi-culturalism. Many of these people believe that not only is a looser post-EU structure possible, but that it would be popular with our friends in other parts of Europe – and they do think European nations basically are, and should be, friendly. The weird Putin-worship that exists on the fringe of Leave.EU will really alienate this group of voters as and when they encounter it. The patchy but real evidence from polls is that undecideds among mainstream Tory voters, in particular, are breaking for Remain – immigrant-bashing and Kraut-bashing might be reasons why they are.

There was always a danger that the Leave campaigns’ army of passionate supporters would see them playing to the gallery rather than reaching out to the undecided middle, which is where close elections are decided.

A month of campaigning remains, most notably the series of head-to-head TV debates. There is also the scope for external events to radically change the course of the campaign: Austria may have voted for a far right President today, which would cause conniptions in EU capitals; President Erdoğan’s slide towards outright dictatorship may yet set the powderkeg that is the Near East ablaze; a major incident of Islamist terrorism in the UK or elsewhere in Europe sadly cannot be ruled out.

I don’t think an election as unique as this one can be predicted until the exit polls are released.

Follow me at twitter.com/gerrylynch and facebook.com/gi0rtn and catch up with all my blog posts at sammymorse.livejournal.com

  • On the fence!

    I don’t see the “leave” campaign focusing on immigration at all, I see the reporting of what the “leave” campaign are supposedly doing focusing on immigration.

    In truth the establishment focus on immigration because it’s easy to put it down to bigotry, right-wing extremism, etc which (a) deflects attention from the really important stuff, and (b) may sway some undecided voters to the remain side as it’s something they don’t want to be part of.

    But generally I think we’re going to see the remain campaign really crank things up increasingly in the coming weeks, they’ll certainly not want a repeat of the “Boaty McBoatface” scandal where us “plebs” had to be reminded of our really place vs the great and the good of society so publicly.

  • Gerry Lynch

    I just got my official referendum booklet through the post. The first part and main headline of the Leave page is about immigration. This was produced by Vote Leave. I got a web ad while watching a YouTube video yesterday from Vote Leave saying only by voting Leave could we retain control of our borders. And there’s a web video doing the rounds as a paid ad from Leave.EU saying 75 million Turks will have the right to immigrate to the UK (even though Turkey isn’t going to be joining the EU anytime soon, if ever)…

    …so, it isn’t just the media/élite/conspiracy/chemtrails making this up, this is what the Leave campaigns are choosing to run, front and centre, right now.

  • On the fence!

    Sorry but I really don’t see that, then again I am following the whole thing as closely as possible as I want to be as certain as possible of making the right decision. So, what either side does for “headline grabbing” doesn’t really interest me.

    It would be a real pity if the vote ended up being simply an issue of immigration when there is so much important at stake.

  • Gerry Lynch


  • Surveyor

    That’s easy to answer. It’s because the Mail On Sunday’s editor isn’t Paul Dacre.

  • Chingford Man

    Gerry Lynch doesn’t seem to know the difference between the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    FT’s poll of poll’s has it 47 Remain, 40 Leave at the moment. I think the calculation by the Mail on Sunday may be that Leave is not winning new people over at the moment. There is no momentum or sign of where it might come from. And the forces ranged in favour of remain are now vast. The Bank of England was a really huge one. A lot of people don’t know their IFS from their IMF etc, but they know the Bank of England = the rock.

  • colmh

    I wonder what impact shy-leavers might have and will they turn out to play a key role. I’ve seen myself the fervour with which some Remain people will go for anyone who shows any hint that they might be considering Leave.

    I think a considerable number of people are more sceptical than they let on for fear of being labelled a UKIP supporter or racist.

  • Anglo-Irish

    The main point being used by the Leave campaign is the immigration angle.

    Appealing to the xenophobic ” It’s all them foreigners what’s causing our problems ” lowest common denominator angle.

    Whilst I fully agree that there is a need to discuss and deal with immigration, and that unchecked and uncontrolled entry isn’t acceptable to anyone, I would like to see a rational and humane debate and solution take place.

    What I find strange about it is that it has been stated on a number of occasions that if we leave and then wish to continue to trade with the EU we would have no choice other than to accept their rules on immigration.

    People keep prattling on about Norway and Switzerland but both of them operate systems which mean a considerable number of immigrants live in their countries, in fact more per capita than live in the UK.


    So why don’t the Remain campaign make this absolutely clear and remove one of the Brexiters main arguments ?

    And if the EU wants us to stay why doesn’t it come out and make the point also?

  • Zorin001

    The potential impact on house prices mooted at the weekend was another body blow to the Leavers on the economic argument.

    We will see a real doubling down on immigration over the next month, it’s their last Ace and they have to play it; we’ve already seen the start of it over Turkey.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    that Leave is still doing so badly despite having several media owners on its side must be causing panic among whoever is in charge of the campaign.

    I think it’s not just about the arguments in this referendum as people can’t really evaluate the truths one or the other, it’s future-gazing anyway. What will matter will be gut feel and in terms of seeking out guidance, looking at who is on each side, not so much what they are saying. Leave just don’t have anything like an adequate team of big, reassuring public figures. They look and sound like the minority.

    That may sound trite but anyone who has read Mark Earls’s ‘Herd’ will know that’s pretty fatal.

  • WindowLean


  • colmh

    I know right! ???? but there are some out there

  • Gerry Lynch

    This was the web ad that confronted me from Vote Leave when I logged into Facebook during my lunch break: https://www.facebook.com/voteleave/posts/598203533689908 “Immigration is out of control and our NHS can barely cope as it is. If
    we stay in the EU we face an unprecedented migration of 5.23 MILLION new
    immigrants into the UK. WHEN WILL THIS STOP?”

    And they’re also running a few full on porky pie stories about Turkey – see https://www.facebook.com/voteleave/videos/vb.505084413001821/597189967124598/?type=2&theater

  • Chingford Man

    So if not 5.23 million migrants, what number do you think is accurate?

  • Chingford Man

    A fall in house prices would be good news in London and the South East. No body blow at all.

  • Neil

    It would be good news for house buyers. Not so much for house sellers, government, the tax income from property and effect of the resulting recession. That’s not to say there is no upside as you say, it probably needs to happen sometime, but we may as well be honest. It would be dire news for the economy.

  • Angry Mob

    “So why don’t the Remain campaign make this absolutely clear and remove one of the Brexiters main arguments ?”

    They don’t because it’s an argument they would lose easily. Switzerland and Norway first of all are both in the Schengen Area so anyone can freely move across their borders. The fact that we live on islands also helps reduce this effect further.

    Both are less densely populated than the UK also and in terms of real numbers both have accepted less immigrants.

    Probably the best argument which demolishes the idea that the EFTA/EEA states have to accept freedom of movement is Article 112-113 of the EEA agreement which allows members to take safeguard measures “If serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties of a sectorial or regional nature liable to persist…”

    Liechtenstein successfully used this in the past to keep restrictions on free movement and Iceland also used it to suspend the movement of capital when the banking crisis hit in order to stop money pouring out of the country.


  • Anglo-Irish

    So, if we leave we will be able to pick and choose our relationship with the EU?

    Our wishes will be paramount and all remaining 27 countries will be delighted to acquiesce to our every demand?

    Liechtenstein, population of 37,000, and one of the highest incomes per capita in the world and an unemployment rate of 1.5%.

    Iceland, population of 330,000 and with lava fields covering significant areas of land and providing most of the country’s heating.

    The parallels between those two countries and the UK are uncanny.

    You believe that we can exit the EU causing serious disruption to the organization and it will be accepted with good grace and there will be nothing but goodwill forthcoming in the ongoing negotiations which will be required to establish future trade agreement?

    I am no particular fan of the EU, it is without doubt a seriously flawed entity.

    It’s concept is admirable, it’s reality less so.

    However, it has helped to increase prosperity among its members and also for the first time in many years dissuaded European countries from settling disputes by going to war and destroying lives.

    It isn’t perfect for the simple reason that there are very few things in this world created by man that are perfect.

    We are an imperfect species, on rare and wonderful occasions usually in the realms of art, music or sport we produce moments of perfection, but usually it is nature that does that.

    We are being asked to choose between a bad choice and a worse choice, which is which is down to the individual.

  • Gerry Lynch

    That’s the “spiral of silence” effect I raised as a possible explanation for the gap between telephone and internet polls.

  • Angry Mob

    No, we can’t pick and choose our relationship but we will be able to work within the confines of pre-existing legal treaties, one of which I pointed out which can be used to curtail any of the four freedoms. We wouldn’t be demanding anything that isn’t already available to the existing EFTA/EEA states, until we have completed the process of disentanglement. From there we could seek to change the structure of the single market if we so wished.

    The EFTA/EEA is the route of least resistance and least disruption, that is exactly the point, an orderly exit with no economic shockwaves that would destabilise Europe’s or our own economy and allow us to continue trade uninterrupted.

    Ask yourself, has the EU itself which is political union helped increase prosperity and stopping wars? The answer should be unequivocally no, economic union and cooperation brought this about before the EU existed. The EU has of course had the opposite effect in where it has brought war to Ukraine.

    You’re right it isnt perfect but we shouldn’t settle for second rate or maintain the status quo as thats just how things are done around here.

  • colmh

    Regarding Norway and Switzerland the thing that really resonates with me is that despite having to comply with EU regs etc the vast majority of Norwegians do not want to join the EU. Around 70/30 against.


    I can’t find similar stats for Switzerland but the fact they have dropped their application to join speaks volumes.

  • On the fence!

    Well as I said, I closely follow both sides so don’t get the “hey look at this” headline grabbers from either side. I can only assume that they are reacting to the perceived success of the remain one topic argument (economic) and have decided to likewise concentrate on a single issue.

    I would suggest you should possibly do the same as myself and subscribe to both sides for a more balanced and informed view.

  • Reader

    Neil: It would be good news for house buyers. Not so much for house sellers
    Strictly, good news for people who want to buy a house, or who want to trade up. Bad news for people who want to sell part of a housing portfolio, or trade down. Doesn’t the first category outnumber the second category by some margin?
    As for tax income from property (stamp duty, consumption taxes on equity release, tax on rental income, capital gains tax on second houses) – isn’t that exactly how Gordon Brown kept the show on the road until 2007? Why would we want to keep the current boom going at the expense of a deeper bust? Better to choke it off now.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Norway is self sufficient in both oil and gas, but its farming sector is insignificant.

    If they joined the EU they wouldn’t qualify for any of the generous farming grants and the EU could start pressurising them for a share of the oil and gas.

    Pure speculation on my part but maybe the reason.

    Also because of its energy situation Norway is a very rich country, it doesn’t need the EU other than to be able to trade with, and it pays handsomely for that privilege.

    Switzerland has obtained for itself a very cushy number.

    It’s untouchable, wars may come and go, national boundaries may wax and wain but none of that applies to Switzerland.

    Every dictator and dodgy politician in the world is banking with it. It’s their ‘get out of jail ‘ card if all goes wrong. Who’s going to damage their own stash?

    Don’t think we can look to either of those countries as examples to follow.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You are aware that any single member of the EU can veto an EU trade deal aren’t you?


    Romania, a country of approximately 20 million people which only joined the EU in 2007 and is mainly famous because an Irishman chose to base his stories of Dracula there used their veto to block a trade deal with Canada for purely selfish reasons.

    Thankfully Britain hasn’t upset any of the other 27 members over the years,we are bezzy mates with all of them, so what could possibly go wrong?

    The fact that we are contemplating leaving a club and then having to apply to rejoin the same club under different conditions which they will all have a say in doesn’t strike me as a particularly brilliant strategy.

    Incidentally, I replied to you on the other thread 10 hours ago, for some unaccountable reason it’s being held up for approval by the mods. There is nothing offensive nor particularly controversial in the post so no idea why.

  • Sharpie

    No everyone who owns a house does not want to see the price going down. If I am buying a house I don’t want to believe its value will fall after I buy it. I want to buy and know that the next week it is worth more than I paid for it. If there is a doubt I will wait before spending my money. Spiral.

  • Neil

    What you’re saying is the upside. It may well have to happen, Brexit or otherwise, and the economic ramifications would be almost impossible to predict. However wages and house prices are going to have to bear some relation to each other, sometime in the future, whether through a long period of stagnation in the property market and wage growth, or through the property bubble bursting. As Sharpie says below most of the people voting own homes and the idea of negative equity or a major drop in house prices is a turnoff. Pros and cons everywhere in this whole Europe business.

  • Angry Mob

    Joining the EFTA would not be a trade deal nor is it within any EU nations remit to veto as we will be applying to join the EFTA whilst invoking article 50 to leave the EU. I also remind you that under the treaties all parties are bound to negotiate in good faith.

    We keep our access to the single market better known the EEA and instead we remove ourselves from political union of the EU and join the EFTA which is a non political union, which retains market access and allows us to form free trade agreements with nations not in the EU such as China which Switzerland and Iceland have successfully done. Out of the EU and into the world, literally.

  • Angry Mob

    Also because of its energy situation Norway is a very rich country, it doesn’t need the EU other than to be able to trade with, and it pays handsomely for that privilege.

    Between the period of 2007-13 EU spending was €70 billion, the EFTA contributed approximately €1.7 billion, an average of about €250 million a year in which Norway contributed 95.77% so that equates to €1.63 billion. When you take the net figure it equated to €90 million a year.

    Small change compared to what we are paying the EU.

    They do pay EFTA contributions, EEA Grants, Norway Grants, their own CAP policy etc etc which significantly closes the gap but it is still less in real terms and on a capita basis.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Population of Norway 5.1 million. Population of the UK 64.1 million.

    Norway contributes 31.6 Euro per capita per year to the EU more than the per capita payment from the UK.

    That works out at 60 cents per week per capita and for that they get access to the EU market providing that they adhere to all the EU regulations.

    They also have no;

    Veto in the EU council.

    Votes in the council of ministers.

    MEP’s or votes in the European Parliament.

    European commissioner.

    Judges at the European Court of justice.



    Yes they pay less but they also get less, that’s the way it works.

    Also, Norway haven’t peed everyone else in the EU off by joining and then leaving and causing major disruption, so maybe they were dealt with in a generous fashion and maybe we wont be treat so kindly, who knows?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Out of the EU and into the unknown, Literally.


    You really think that we are well loved, have unique things to sell, and are led by dynamic influential Statesmen who will ensure our future prosperity?

    We have an aging population, poor productivity, an economy that is too South East centric an ailing manufacturing industry, a Stock Exchange which looks as though it’s about to be bought, possibly by the Germans.

    We are also Trillions in debt, which is growing at £5,170 per second, that;s £310,200 per minute.

    Yeah, lets go for it, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Angry Mob

    Where did you get the €31.6 from?

    “Perhaps the most powerful point of all is that Norway pays £22 per capita less into the EU budget than the UK, equivalent to £1.68 billion for the British population as a whole.”

    “..they get access to the EU market providing that they adhere to all the EU regulations.”
    They only have to abide by the regulations that govern the free market which makes up less than a 1/4 of all the acquis communautaire. Plus they can ignore the regulation if they no longer wish to access the market for whatever that regulation concerns.

    They have no votes on the EU because they are not in the EU, thus they have no judges in a court for the EU.

  • Angry Mob

    All of those conditions will apply whether we leave or remain, at least if we leave we have more power to correct them.

  • Anglo-Irish

    From this.

    Currently £22 equals 29 euro so the rate has altered as it tends to do.

    The point is that the difference is minor when looked at in per capita terms and in comparison to the waste that governments are regularly responsible for.

    The NHS computer debacle cost us £11 Billion and there is an estimated £120 Billion waste of taxpayers money by the government on an annual basis.


    Making an effort to rectify that ongoing disgrace would make a significant difference to the economy.

    At least we are getting something in return for our contribution to the EU.

  • Anglo-Irish

    How do you suggest that we go about correcting an aging population?

    Encouraging immigration is the usual answer but the Brexit supporters presumably wouldn’t want that?

    We have lost much of our engineering capacity over the years and many of the factories which operate here are foreign owned, and they may well choose to relocate to other EU countries if we leave.

    We are currently in the throes of making a desperate attempt to rescue the Steel Industry which looks as though it’s going the same way as Ship building and Mining.

    Even if successful in saving it it’ll be in foreign ownership.

    Meanwhile we are wracking up debt at the rate of £310,200 per minute.

    To say we don’t appear to be in the best possible shape to take a leap into the unknown is an understatement of some magnitude.

    Add in the current crop of politicians who we would be relying on to lead us into the land of milk and honey and I can’t say that I’m in any way optimistic as to our chances of success.

    If Brexit happens I hope I’m wrong for the sake of the younger generation but it doesn’t look good.

  • Angry Mob

    That’s less though, Norway contributes less.

    Then this is before you look as OE figures. I read an article quite a while ago which referenced this very page as to how they had fudged the figures to include Norway grants and other things which are voluntary and nothing to do with the EU.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Yes, they contribute less and they get less that’s how it works, and if we leave the same will probably apply.

    I say probably because it will depend on whether the EU gets the right hump and decides to make an example to discourage any more potential deserters and also what happens with the pound.

    If the pound falls through the floor everything will cost more including imports. holidays and any contributing fee to the EU.

    Your right about figures being manipulated to reflect the bias of whichever side is quoting them. Problem being both sides are at it and you can’t really believe either of them.

  • Angry Mob

    I’m not claiming brexit will fix everything but things you point to such as an aging population, that’s going to persist in the near to medium future whether we stay or leave.

    Not all brexit supporters are completely against immigration either and outside the EU we could continue to have a policy that is open to the wider world and not just to those who happen to reside within EU borders.

    It’s not taking a leap into the unknown, as I’ve pointed out many times before the EFTA which we were in many moons ago exists and is still there, it ensures access to the single market.

    Foreign investment is still coming in despite to ‘fears’ over brexit. Boeing choose the UK as its European base, Avon is moving its headquarters from the USA to the UK, HSBC conducted a review and decided to stay rather than move to Hong Kong, etc etc

  • Angry Mob

    Contribute less, get to control more of their own policies, retain fishing rights,control of their own Agricultural policies, access to the single market, more say on global legislation, still participate in EU wide programmes such as Eurasmus and Horizon 2020.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You did take note of how many costly EU regulations that still have to be adhered to even if we leave in my previous link?

    So we will need to comply with most of the EU requirements if we wish to trade with them, still pay a fee and have no input.

    Any replacement trade agreement which we make will need to be ratified by all 27 member countries, if one disagrees it’s back to the table and could take years to come up with a satisfactory answer.

    Meanwhile British companies set up to supply the EU market in that particular field go out of business if no other customer can be found.

    As for your insistence that membership of EFTA ensures access to the single market please scroll down to the section headed ‘ Background & Summary ‘ and read the last paragraph.


    It also agrees with me as to who exactly is in the strongest position the supplier or the customer.

  • Anglo-Irish

    We will participate in EU programs if the EU gives us permission to do so.

    You do not choose to leave an organization and then expect to be able to pick and choose what you will take part in with that organization.

    Where does the ‘more say in global legislation ‘ come from?

    The President of the USA has just told us that we will have less stature and influence outside the EU.

  • Angry Mob

    100% vs 94.3%. Still a reduction if you’re all for deregulation it would be considered a step in the right direction.

    Like I pointed out before, we would not have to comply with even a 1/4 of the acquis, only that which relates to the single market. As for having no input Norway is represented on EU committees that make the rules that affect them, so yes they do have an input, even if they do not have a vote.

    No “replacement trade agreement” would be needed to be made if we join the EFTA trade organisation which already exists and gives us access to the single market including all of the four freedoms.

    So businesses can continue to import and export freely.

    As for your link, isn’t it funny as to how these papers list the “negatives” of EFTA membership whilst forgetting whilst we remain; we are in the EU we have to comply with them and more.

  • Angry Mob

    Would you not see the benefit in mutual cooperation with our EU neighbours? Take Erasmus, which is a student exchange program. If they removed us from that they would be stopping our financial contribution towards the program, they would stop students from the UK traveling to other EU universities and would stop other countries students from studying at our universities, four of which are ranked in the top ten in the world. Would countries like Ireland not push for our involvement in this as it benefits them too?

    Please have a read of this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/25/brexit-will-make-us-richer-thats-why-leave-could-still-win/

  • Anglo-Irish

    Depends if the reduction saves enough to compensate for other things.

    A lot of regulations which we will need to comply with will refer to manufacturing standards. In many cases it won’t make much sense to change anything for non EU markets so will make little difference.

    Norway may well be represented but if one EU country disagrees with its input it’s disregarded whereas an EU country can reach agreement with others to accept a suggestion.

    That link specifically states that ‘ There are no guarantees of privileged access to the EU’s single market if the UK left the EU it would be up to the remaining 27 member States. ‘

    Bearing in mind that Romania, a country which joined the EU in 2007 blocked a trade agreement with Canada which had been agreed by the other States for purely selfish reasons, I am having difficulty imagining plain sailing in our renegotiation program.

    Yes it is funny, just as it’s amusing that all the Brexit supporters tend to big up every positive which they can think of and disregard possible difficulties.

    Neither side is impressing me in this debate, it goes to show the paucity of leadership we currently have in the country which to my mind is a reason to vote Remain.

    None of them from either side could lead a conga line with any degree of success.

  • Anglo-Irish

    No doubt Ireland and quite a few of the other countries would, but it will only take one to object and it’s not going to happen.

    As for stopping students from other countries studying at our universities if we went down that route we would be cutting our nose off to spite our face.

    Universities make huge amounts from foreign students, mate of mine who lectures at Sheffield Hallam University has just spent time in China trying to drum up interest in students coming to the city.

    That’s the problem, we will need to persuade all 27 of the States to agree to our requirements.

    Given our somewhat checkered history, and our current trouble making as regards the EU ‘project’ it may not be as straightforward as some might think.

  • Angry Mob

    If any of the countries disagree with our input they can outvote us, or decision isn’t final inside the EU either.

    We would not be seeking “privileged access”. The access that Norway has is more than sufficient.

    As for the countries being able to block free trade deals as you have pointed out, that has a massive detrimental effect on us. France with its protectionist trade policies veto’d a deal that Spain has fought desperately for as they seen the particular benefit to have an agreement with Spanish speaking South American countries. This has cost the UK billions in lost trade, I believe the figure was £2.8 that I read.

    Had we been an EFTA state we could of made that trade deal maybe years ago and benefitted massively among others.

    There may be difficulties but in regards to the EFTA option they are over exaggerated, not forgetting it could be an interim solution before we move on to something even better.

    I can’t say I’m impressed with any of the political parties either but from what I’ve seen of the EU leaders I believe it may be better sticking by the devil you know.

  • Angry Mob

    It wouldn’t be us stopping cooperation as you suggest, if the EU didn’t let us continue it would be they who stopped it and everyone would suffer for it. Personally, I don’t think that they would be so petty as to do that.

    As for our continued participation to these programs I’m not sure whether the other nations actually get a vote on it, I would have to look into that further but it would seem unfair (and against the principle of negotiating in good will which the member states are bound by) to let another EFTA state such as Norway have access whilst denying another.

    Air traffic control is another area where we would continue to work together as it obviously benefits everyone to do so and even security…

  • Anglo-Irish

    I’m not as confident as you about the potential pettiness of politicians, or as they would look at it the necessary objective and calculated reaction to a threat to their grand plan.

    You are probably aware of the French use of actions ‘ Pour encourager les autres ‘

    The execution of the occasional senior military officer in order to encourage the remainder to sharpen up their act.

    They used to do that to their own – as did we – and there will be precious little love lost if we cause major disruption in leaving.

    Taking retaliatory action against us would simply be seen as a necessary strategy to ensure the continuation of the EU.

    Should other members who are less than enthralled by the EU – a few I would imagine – see the UK suffer no negative effects then it may well induce them to follow the lead.

    No doubt you are aware that there was a trade ‘war’ between the Irish Free State and the UK following the events of 1916?

    Countries with grand plans and ambitions do not take kindly to other countries throwing a spanner in the works.

    Don’t see any problem with air traffic control, mutual benefit involved. Security not so sure, but probably on balance it will suit all parties.

  • Anglo-Irish

    The deal that you refer to would obviously have benefited Spain mostly.

    Whether or not we could take much advantage is another matter.

    When you consider that the UK exports more to the Republic of Ireland as it does to Brazil, Russia,India and China combined it doesn’t really inspire much confidence in our export ability.

    Third paragraph up from the graph.


    There is too much unjustified optimism coming from the Brexit side ” We’re Great Britain, how can we fail, the rest of the world is awaiting us with open arms and the tea on! ”

    And there is too much pessimism coming from the Remain side ” Out there they be Dragons! ”

    Neither side is convincing but whilst it isn’t totally satisfactory I tend to lean toward the devil we have known for the past 43 years.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    “How do you suggest that we go about correcting an aging population?

    Encouraging immigration is the usual answer but the Brexit supporters presumably wouldn’t want that?”
    Encouraging immigration is what you are told to think is the answer. But if you pause for a minute and put your brain box in gear, the answer is to have the indigenous population have more babies. Countries such as Italy offer a bonus payment to couples to have more children, and they are considering increasing it. We could easily do that and it would probably be much cheaper than dealing with millions of immigrants.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Has it occurred to you that there a quite a number of people in the country that do produce lots of children, but they have a tendency to be in the feckless state dependent category?

    They then raise their children to continue the pattern, have more children than the average and claim state benefits to live on.

    Those people are a drain on the country rather than an asset, do you have a plan to prevent them taking full advantage of your proposed incentive to breed more? Indentured servitude perhaps?

    The reason that immigration has been used as the answer is twofold, firstly immigrants tend to work harder than many of the indigenous population as they wish to make a better life for themselves and their children. It’s what made them leave their homes in the first place.

    Secondly, immigration has little to no effect on the people making the decisions, they are cocooned from all that inconvenience living in wealthy areas and buying their children educational advantage.

    You need to put ‘ the brain box ‘ back in the box.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    I’ll keep my brain box out in the open thank you very much ! 🙂

    As an immigrant, I understand completely what you are saying about people coming to a country to work and make a better life for themselves. That’s spot on. As a professional skilled person, that’s what I did, and got a job fairly quickly.

    The Australian model of only letting people in according to need for their skills is the correct way to run immigration. This is what we will be able to implement after leaving the EU.

    The current immigration issue is about uncontrolled mass immigration of anyone at all to the UK. Doesn’t matter if they have no skills, cant speak English, or have no intention of adapting to British culture, they are allowed in. This doesn’t benefit the country, it harms it. All the social services have to support these people with benefits, housing, health care and so on. They cant get work with no skills.
    Apart from the cost, the system actually harms the country. Anyone with half a brain would change it to something manageable and beneficial to the country. Eg. Australian model.

    “Those people are a drain on the country rather than an asset, do you have a plan to prevent them taking full advantage of your proposed incentive to breed more? Indentured servitude perhaps?”

    I don’t think we should look on kids of lazy benefit scroungers in a bad way, its not their fault what their parents are like. How about promoting schooling and achievement to young people? Generally helping and being positive? What percentage of children come from families like that anyway? A tiny % I guess. Maybe you should stop watching back to back Jeremy Kyle online !! 🙂

    “Secondly, immigration has little to no effect on the people making the decisions, they are cocooned from all that inconvenience living in wealthy areas and buying their children educational advantage.”

    Can you illustrate how immigration has no effect on the people making the decisions? The politicians, business people and so on, are all talking about it in this referendum. The cost to the state effects everyone. Maybe you are imagining this cocoonment ??

  • Anglo-Irish

    First of all, is there any chance that you could keep your assumptions to yourself with regard to how I may view things until such time as I inform you?

    For your information, not only have I never watched an episode of Jeremy Kyle I make a point of not watching so called ‘reality’ programs as they are cheap productions designed to appeal to voyeuristic tendencies and ‘ look at them lot aren’t we so much better ‘ attitudes.

    My knowledge of the benefit culture has been provided to me by family and friends many of whom know people that they attended school with and have never worked, have several children and some of them dabble in the black economy to supplement their income
    Children born and rared in that environment tend to follow suit, and it isn’t uncommon to hear of third generations following the example.

    Unfortunately in my city and many other northern towns factories, steelworks and neighbouring mines have been closed and no alternative source of employment provided.

    Immigrants in particular those from eastern Europe tend to be well educated, hard working and ambitious to make a better life for themselves.

    I was in management for a number of years prior to starting my own business.

    Although the particular business that I was in didn’t employ that many new immigrants – plenty of second generation ones – I am fully aware of employers attitudes when recruiting new staff.

    It may seem less than kind but anyone applying for a job who has been unemployed for any length of time is regarded with suspicion..

    It is easier to find employment when you already have a job than when you’re unemployed.

    Unfortunate, but employers don’t want to risk time and money training someone who may be workshy.

    Immigrants or at least certain ones such as Poles have earned a reputation as hard working decent people and will tend to be favoured over locals with no work history.

    It’s a tough old world but unfortunately too many of our native youngsters either don’t get it or don’t care.

    That said most youngsters are not like that and I regularly meet and talk with British born teenagers and early twenties of both sexes who want to make a decent living for themselves and are prepared to put the work in.

    It’s a fact however that there are too many idle people, happy to scrounge a living off others efforts and apparently without any feelings of guilt. As far as they’re concerned we are the mugs.

    The immigration effect on those making the decisions?

    Well, their sponsors and friends obtain cheap and hardworking manpower for their businesses. This enables them to keep wages low and introduce zero hours and dispense with costly working conditions requirements. Obviously if we vote to leave that will allow a lot more pressure to be placed on employees with no opportunity to protest.

    Many of the politicians and their friends themselves have a steady supply of nannies, gardeners and housekeepers.

    So yes there is of course some effect, just not a negative one.

    You really believed them when they said ” we’re all in it together “?

    When the bankers gambled with other peoples money and through their own greed and ineptitude virtually bankrupted the country they were bailed out with public money, and used a proportion of it to pay out bonuses to themselves amounting to Billions.


    Compare and contrast that treatment with the current situation in the Steel industry, and what happened when Mining, Ship building and other Industries got in trouble.

    Little or no effort to help or find replacement employment is the answer.

    ” The cost to the State effects everyone ”

    No it doesn’t, and it never has.

  • Angry Mob

    I can’t envisage many situations that the EU could take punitive actions against us that they wouldn’t also be shooting themselves in the foot, especially as we would still be trading with them within the single market.

    In regards to anything to do with trade, the WTO has protections built in to that protects against punitive measures so the EU states could simply not start placing tariffs on us without breaking international laws and all the consequences that would come with it.

    Who knows, maybe some of in the EU would welcome the UK leaving as it would allow them to press on with ever closer union without the UK constantly dragging its heels.

    As for the continued participation in EU programmes it seems that provision has been built into the EFTA agreement for “flanking policies” so continued access would almost be a given.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Well, if we need to renegotiate all of our agreements there is potential for delay and dragging it out as much as possible .

    Also there is the genuine situation that renegotiation presents the EU with the opportunity to drive a hard bargain and get a better deal, a perfectly legitimate business tactic.

    The Brexiters seem to be under the impression that we will be the ones getting a better deal, I don’t see why that should be the case, certainly not in every situation, after all we’re the ones who left and now want an agreement to allow us to trade with a 450 million consumer market.

    As for tariffs, they are currently applied to non EU members in order to ensure that EU members can compete on a level playing field with non members, so there’s nothing to stop them being applied to us.

    We immediately become a competitor once we’ve decided to leave and shouldn’t expect any favours.

    As for WTO protection there is no law as far as I’m aware that forces anyone to trade with any specific country.

    If the EU decide to invite competition for the products and services we currently supply that is again standard business practice when renegotiation of terms are being discussed.

    The economic strength of countries is dependent upon their ability to trade in a profitable manner on an international basis.

    It is a concern that the UK currently exports more to the Republic of Ireland a country with a population of 4.6 million than it does to Brazil. Russia.India and China combined, countries with a combined population of over 3 Billion.

    The lack of marketing and commercial ability shown by that fact does not bode well for our future prospects when going it alone in a competitive world.

  • Angry Mob

    We wouldn’t have to negotiate all our agreements, that’s the benefit of the EFTA it’s already there to be taken advantage off, an off the shelf solution if you like. Nor does it mean going alone, we would still be in the single market in the EFTA, which would become the fourth largest trading bloc in the world.

    There are no laws that force them to trade, but like I said if we remained in the single market punitive tariffs could not be levied against us as WTO rules protects against that and nor can they discriminate against us in any way related to trade. Why would they not want to trade anyway?

    The EFTA agreement isn’t an ideal but as a first step towards disentanglement from the EU it’s the only real alternative to what we have now.

    As for exporting more to Ireland, that’s understandable given they are our closest neighbour and we are in economic union in the single market. As I pointed out in the other discussion France vetoed a deal with South American nations such as Brazil, had we got the deal today we would be benefiting from increased trade, being in the EU has restricted that, Iceland has negotiated its own deal with China whereas the EU hasnt.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Maybe we won’t have to renegotiate all agreements in that those in place that suit both parties will stand, but any that one party believes can be improved upon will be the subject of talks.


    According to that link we will need to renegotiate over 100 trade deals.

    Not all will be reconciled in our favour.

    If you read the link below and particularly the last paragraph headed ‘What would that mean ‘ it would appear that there may be quite a few complications involved in agreeing a new deal.


    And as said in my previous post, past British performance in exporting internationally doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in our ability to forge a brave new world left to our own devices.

  • Angry Mob

    Wow, that LSE article is terrible. From the article It seems to think that Switzerland is an EU country given that it states “All but 2 of the top-10 trading partners of the UK belong to the European Union” but Switzerland, China and the USA appear in the chart.

    Regardless of this, and what is evident in the article these reports all conflate the EU with the single market. The EFTA in itself has its own trade agreements that we would become a party to. In addition they neglected to mention the (1978) Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties which means that any trade deals that were made whilst we were a member would continue after we cede our relationship with the political EU on the same terms as before.

    Past performance is no reason not to try and remember we would benefit from cheaper imports as well.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Any views on the Telegraph link which in the final paragraph under the heading ‘What would that mean ‘ suggests that the problem may be individual countries raising objections?

    The thing is that to me the Brexit campaign is based upon jingoistic BS and arrogance.

    When we joined the EU in 1973 we did so because we were in the crap to an incredible degree. We were known at the time as ‘The sick man of Europe ‘, we are now apparently under the impression that every improvement that has been made in our circumstances was entirely down to our own efforts and that no credit whatsoever should be given to our membership of the EEC/EU.

    The fact that we will need to survive and prosper with our ability to gain international trade, and that to date we haven’t managed to export more to the 3 billion BRIC consumers than we have to the 4.6 million ROI consumers is indicative to our lack of ability in a vital area.

    Anyway, I’m about to go on holiday to Rhodes for 11 days from Saturday, so I have limited time to argue the toss from now on.

    Let’s see what transpires on referendum day and let’s hope whatever the outcome it turns out to be the right decision.

  • Angry Mob

    The Telegraph paragraph you point out seems to be arguing from the position as if we took the “WTO option” which is the worst option that we could take, hence why all or most of the reports that have come out in favour of remaining base their analyses on this, forgoing the fact that it’s probably the least likely option that we would take even if Vote Leave are advocating it.

    I’ll partly agree with you in only that the Vote Leave campaign are being jingoistic (I wouldn’t tar all brexiters with this brush), but both official sides are spouting BS from the £350m a week lie to the WW3 and £4,300 worse off, all absurd and equally deserving of scorn.

    As for joining the EEC in 1973, it was different then as it was an economic union, that’s something I could tolerate if it was still to this day but it mutated in 1993 with the intorduction of political union. When I do argue against the EU; it’s the political union aspect that I’m most in contention with and I object to the idea that political union helped our circumstances when it was truly economic union that benefited us.

    The problems we have in exporting to those BRIC countries could
    partly be put down to the EU’s poor history of negotiating free trade deals, EFTA and its members have constantly started and concluded deals much quicker than the EU and its member states like Iceland and Switzerland whom have a FTA with China already. The other issue is the Common External Tariff which has brought about “fortress Europe” where we all end up trading mainly within the confines of the EU due to the tariffs imposed.

    Very nice and enjoy, I wouldn’t mind visiting Greece some day either.

    This guy puts it more eloquently than I could, leaving isn’t a binary choice: https://thescepticisle.com/2016/05/26/the-false-dichotomy-an-independent-britain-will-not-be-isolationist-or-inward-looking/

  • Anglo-Irish

    The thing that has irritated me immensely in all of this is the pathetic standard of debate from both sides.

    There is nothing to choose between them, both as inept, lying and duplicitous as each other.

    It is tempting to try to use this as an argument to vote Remain in that it shows that our politicians are pretty useless.

    However, my cynicism toward the political class is international in scope.

    I’m still inclined to vote Remain but not for any committed and ardent reason but simply because it seems that there is less room for damage.

    Not the kind of passionate feeling that resulted in storming the Bastille or occupying the Post Office in 1916 but still you go with the flow.

    Hopefully whatever the result it turns out well for the next generation.

    We’ve been to Greece on a few occasions and it’s well worth a visit. You can appreciate why such a place gave birth to the dawn of human civilization.

    We have been to Bodrum in Turkey the last two years and absolutely love it, but given the political situation we decided to err on the safe side.

    Hopefully we will speak again in 12 days or so.

    Be lucky.

  • Angry Mob

    I think the electoral commission has to take responsibility for some of this, Leave.eu was bad but they made the worst possible choice by appointing Vote Leave, how did they ever come to the conclusion that the leave campaign would be best reperesented by those fiends I do not know, espically when they were pushing the £350m figure. Possibly the political establishment scratching each others back seeing as most of Vote Leave consisted of tories?

    Last night when I was typing my reply I was watching/listening the BBC debate at the same time, the views that some people spouted about the EU is cringe worthy as was that ‘debate’ itself.

    I really believe that the EFTA is the best way forward, without any of the risks advanced by the current leave campaign and their current idea of agreeing a FTA based on WTO rules that encompasses agricultural policy, fishing policy, etc etc. Rejoining the EFTA wouldn’t be the end in itself either but rather the beginning of a gradual process to remove ourselves in a considered manner over a longer period of time, rather than a single event which would undoubtedly be a disaster.

    Obviously I’m for brexit but I couldn’t actually vote for something that I thought would bring about our own demise. Even if leave did win, any proposal will have to go through the commons. A WTO option would never get very far even with a Tory majority but an EFTA may just get the approval needed as it’s not radically different to what we have now.

    Who knows, maybe we could bring about actual democracy rather than a semblance of it, fitting that you are going to the birth place of it.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Problem as I see it is that we’re being asked to vote to choose between an unsatisfactory thing and an even more unsatisfactory thing, and none of us really knows which is which.

    In terms of the personalities involved I tend to dislike more on the Brexit side than the Remain, but it’s a close run thing as impressive people in political terms are hard to find.

    My faith was tested a bit when Clarkson, a man I can’t stand, came out on the Remain side, then I remembered that he’s a Chipping Norton pal of Dave’s.

    Anyway, about to leave for the airport so all being well I’ll look in again on the site on 9th June.

    Take care.