Hannan: Leaving the EU would be a leap into the light.

We are just under three weeks away from the referendum on whether the UK should continue to be a member of the European Union.  For years, one of the strongest critics of the EU has been the Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan. This weekend he is in Northern Ireland to make the case for us to leave the EU, I caught up with him in Belfast earlier this morning.

I began by asking him how the campaign overall was going and are there any parallels with the Scottish referendum, in respect to polling tightening in the final weeks? Hannan admits that the referendum at this stage could go either way, but for him that’s why he is campaigning every single day because he feels that it is very close and that the Leave campaign has a real shot of winning on June 23rd but the key thing is turnout on polling day.

The Conservative MEP also touched upon  what he believes are the Remain campaign’s tactics in this referendum, which he believes is to frighten people into voting to stay. He told me that the Remain side aren’t really saying anything nice about Britain or the EU, but just simply pandering to a natural risk adverse attitude that some people have, which he believes would be really for Britain if voters fell for that strategy and not stand up to what he believes to be bullying and scaremongering.

I put to him David Cameron’s charge on SKY News on Thursday night that voting to leave was a leap into the dark for Britain.

Unsurprisingly, Hannan believes that remaining has more unknowns than leaving. He told me that the Prime Minister cannot tell people what Britain’s budget contributions will be five years from now or what bailouts are we going to be dragged into. Hannan argues that the Eurozone and Schengen situations are continuing to deteriorate and people like Cameron cannot tell us what will happen. It is for these reasons that the UK is better off outside the EU, so that it is not linked with any spreading crises.

For Hannan, leaving is what he calls “a leap back into the light,” with Britain trading with allies in Europe, but having control over its own affairs like New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

I put it to him that with a majority of people in Scotland & Northern Ireland likely to vote to stay in the EU, is his campaign not simply going to provoke a constitutional crisis within the UK?

The Conservative MEP does not think that is a likely outcome, as told me that it is unlikely that somebody who voted to stay in the UK in 2014 would be so determined to join the Euro that they would support independence after a British withdrawal from the EU. He also thinks that in Northern Ireland it is unlikely that a shift in constitutional sentiment will occur here either.

He did have some interesting points to make about the land border with the South which he dubbed as the Remain campaign’s local version of “project fear.” Hannan argues that the stories around old border arrangements returning are simply scare tactics, he told me that no politician in Dublin or London believes in resuming a physical border between Northern & Southern Ireland. In addition to this, he points out that the current Common Travel Area brings together EU and non EU territories (Isle of Man) and long pre-dates our membership. Hannan simply dismisses this as a local version of “project fear,” intended to scare people.

We moved onto the prospect of a second referendum on EU membership if the result on June 23rd is close. For him, he believes that this is the opportunity to leave and that certainly in his political life time there will not be another vote on this issue.


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  • Nevin
  • hgreen

    One of the most annoying aspects of this campaign is the increased profile of this charlatan.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The issue with migration comes from the UK going full UKIP and choosing to leave the EEA/Swiss deal on Free Movement.

    The Isle of Man is a pseudo-EU state signed up to EU migration law. It has no control over migration what so ever, it is a part of the UK were homegrown Manx are outnumbered by the mainland Brits.

    If there’s a Brexit, then the pro-Leave side Tories will join with the pro-Remain Tories and opt to stay in the EEA betraying a lot of anti-immigration pro-Leave voters in the process.

    This Aussie Rules point system will still obey the EEA rules allowing Free Movement to search for work for EEA citizens.

    Migration issue was just a dog whistle to boost Tory demands to deregulate labour and environmental regulations from the EU.

  • Rob Norman

    I think the electorate will have something to say about that come 2020.
    If there were still hundreds of thousands coming in that would be blamed. The benefits issue was a smokescreen as well.
    The Remain camp have repeatedly rejected the idea of a deal like Norway or Switzerland so to backtrack would invoke a backlash. Farage would promise UKI
    P to leave the EEA and we’re back where we started. If the figures are bad a noisy campaign might put pressure on a few seats, enough to hold the balance of power perhaps ???

  • Kevin Breslin

    Westminster is 70% Remain, and they only reject these deals because their preference was to remain in the EU.
    Norway, Iceland and even neutral Switzerland have movements to join the EU and that’s why they negotiated half way houses, though some question if they are a lot more than half way in the EU already.

    I think this will bring up the question of Identity Cards again.

  • Angry Mob

    Last opinion poll in Norway, December 2015, 18% were for joining, and 72% for staying outside the EU.

    March 2015 Iceland drops it’s bid to join the EU.

    March 2016 Switzerland drops its bid to join the EU.

    Have to wonder if life is so terrible outside the EU why these countries aren’t so keen on joining.

  • Kevin Breslin

    These countries have had long established EU relationships that take on board a whole range of issues. They maintain a strong range of EU connections that many on the Leave side in the UK despise such as the Common Market’s Four Freedoms, particularly free movement of people.

    The Leave side is indecisive of its route out of the EU.

    My main point is that opinions in these countries are not singularly one way or the other, even 18% is bigger than the UKIP vote share at Westminster.

    Anyway, back to the point … should identity cards be introduced once the “UK leave the EU to fix migration” plan fails one way or the other?

  • Ernekid

    Daniel is a bit like a zealot in any hardcore cult, like a fundamentalist Christian who believes that God will unleash his wrath on the wicked and spare the righteous or a Scientologist who believes in the Galactic lord Zenu, Hannan genuinely believes in his vision of that Britain leaving the EU will mean that it will return to the sunlit uplands and Britannia will rule the waves once more despite all available evidence clearly stating otherwise.

    It doesn’t matter to Hannan that his vision of Anglophone trade bloc only exists in his own mind and that the American, Canadian, Kiwi, Australian and Irish governments have all stated that the want the UK to stay in the EU, It doesn’t matter to him that experts in every field from the Arts, the Sciences, Economics and Business have all voiced their serious misgivings about Brexit, It doesn’t matter to him that the UK leaving the EU could kick start a series of events that have the potential to fundamentally destablise the European continent.

    He’s a high prophet in the cult of Brexit. To put it bluntly he’s a bit of nutter

  • Ernekid

    Thats just embarrassingly patronising

  • terence patrick hewett

    Don’t worry Erne it will all be over by Christmas!

  • terence patrick hewett

    And the horse coming up unnoticed on the outside is the Constitutional Reform Group’s Draft Act of Union in July. One of the options is a federal solution which if Brexit comes off will have to be presented to the UK sharp-shoot. If Brexit comes off fundamental constitutional reform will be inevitable.

  • Abucs

    I expect the Brexit effort to fall short of an overall majority. Still that leaves untold millions of people not just in Britain but all over Europe who feel trapped within a political union which they didn’t vote for; have no allegiance to; and one which doesn’t represent their interests and aspirations.

  • Reader

    Did he pop into a bar and take a sip of Guinness too (or is that too American?)

  • hgreen

    Bit like the being governed by the Tories despite them getting 37% of the vote.

  • Ernekid

    A bit like how nationalists in the six counties have felt since 1921.

  • eireanne3

    and how the scottish have long felt in Scotland viv a vis a Conservative govt
    with regards to the repercussions of a brexit win, we don’t know how or in what form the UK will exist – https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/post-brexit-bye-bye-uk/

  • eireanne3

    indeed TPH – constitutional refoorm will be essential if the majority in England vote for Brexit and Scotland, Wales and NI vote remain https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/post-brexit-bye-bye-uk/

  • terence patrick hewett

    Well I am for Brexit because it will bring things to a head: it will concentrate some minds on exactly what they want: do they wish to be an EU satrapy or one of four independent nations within a federation. The big circle to square is the English hegemon. Only time will tell.


    Because the EU cannot remain as it is: it either becomes a full blown state with fiscal union, armed forces, parliament the whole shebang or it will collapse under it’s own contradictions.

    It is time to s**t or get off the pot.

  • John Collins

    We try to counteract this in the South with PRSTV and where is it getting us?