#EUYourChoice – robust debate in Belfast across Tory and Labour lines

EUYourChoice panel - Owen Paterson, Kate Hoey, Jeffrey Peel Angela McGowan, John Stevens, Vernon CoakerTonight’s EU Your Choice debate began with ten minute presentations from the four GB political panellists before moving into a Q&A. The full event was live-streamed and should soon be available to replay.

  • Kate Hoey (Labour MP) – leave
  • Vernon Coaker (Labour MP) – remain
  • Owen Paterson (Conservative MP) – leave
  • John Stevens (former Conservative MEP) – remain

The panel was co-chaired by Quadriga Consulting’s Jeffrey Peel and Danske Bank Economist Angela McGowan, making it an interesting format given their differing voting intentions!

There were arguments from the heart as well as from the head. There was talk of competing visions, contradictory facts and figures, scare stories swept away (on both sides). One of the more memorable lines was when Owen Paterson assured the audience that the morning after Brexit it would not be a case of “dragons are going to come up the Lough and mice will come out of the taps”!

Having covered six or more EU Referendum debates over the last few months, this was the first in which I’ve heard Leave campaigners who were more logical and reasoned in their arguments than those speaking in favour of Remaining. [Ed – they’re wearing you down!]

EUYourChoice Final pollIpsos MORI’s polling app was used to determine the level of innies and outies amongst the in-room and online audience. By the end of the night, there was a swing (in terms of what was in the best interests of the UK) from remaining to leaving the EU.

Alan Meban. Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you’ll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse set of subjects. Comment on cinema, books, technology and the occasional rant about life. On Slugger, the posts will mainly be about political events and processes. Tweets as @alaninbelfast.

  • Angry Mob

    It’s reassuring to see that given the facts people become much more receptive to the brexit cause.

    Much more balance than the previous EU “debates” slugger has been involved in as well although difficult to find, two non-partisan hosts would have been preferable.

  • Ernekid

    My concerns around Brexit were well articulated by the British ambassador to Ireland. Brexit could do irrevocable damage to Anglo-Irish relations. The transformation of the official UK-Ireland relationship in the past 40 years was facilitated by their interactions in a European context. Not to mention the massive uncertainty surrounding the Irish border. Any hardening of the border would be disastrous for Northern Ireland’s economic development.

  • OneNI

    No contact! Oh dear the British Ambassador appears not to have heard of the British Irish Parliamentary Association or the British Irish Intergovernmental secretariat. Perhaps he should consider moving on to another posting – say Brussels – no wait.

    The best way to avoid hardening of borders would be for us to remain civil. Perhaps the Ambassador suspect the EU masters will instruct the Republic to harden their border. Perhaps the Republic should consider leaving too?

  • murdockp

    Yeah that’s the answer let’s hold hands and jump of the cliff together!

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    What does ‘would of’ mean? Might you need to be receptive to the English language?

  • Chingford Man

    196 countries in the world, 168 that are not in the EU, including some of the wealthiest. I wonder how the 168 manage without handing over £55 million a day for Brussels to waste on madcap schemes and fraud.

  • Chingford Man

    The average Foreign Office panjandrum peddles BS for a living, so no surprise here. If there ever is a problem the Irish Embassy in London can always lay on another drinks night.

  • Chingford Man

    His/her good sense is perfectly comprehensible.

  • jm

    I agree. ‘ve course the meaning is clear 🙂

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Hmmm but exposing oneself to potential ridicule does nothing to substantiate or strengthen a position. Poor command of language implies poor command of facts and unsound observation.

  • Chingford Man

    I disagree. In your case, command of language rarely appears to lead to any sound observation.

  • terence patrick hewett

    “Would of” may not be Received English: it is however a phonetic transcription of one of the UK’s vernaculars: not really a hanging offence.

  • mac tire

    Interesting financial argument – I see your point. So, let’s say that the 10 billion figure the north requires from Britain each year is correct.
    What do you get for your circa £27 million a day? Or should that figure just not be mentioned?

  • Chingford Man

    Thank you. At least it is not gibberish like yours. Do you really not see the difference between handing over a huge sum to a corrupt supra-national racket like the EU and a subvention to a region of one’s own state?

  • Ernekid

    I love the Brexiteer attitude to dismiss the argument of an experienced professional diplomat out of hand but they take the opinion of a charlatan like Farage as gospel.

  • Angry Mob

    *would have

  • Chingford Man

    I know who I would trust more, and it isn’t the blatant scaremonger from Enoch’s “Nest of Vipers”.

  • mac tire

    Well, since you are anti-gibberish let’s face facts.

    Britain does not pay in £55 million per day. That would equate to over £20 billion per year.

    Britain pays in around £18 billion per year. It gets an instant rebate of £5 billion. So, it pays in £13 billion per year. So far so good?

    EU spending on Britain last year amounted to over £4 billion. That means Britain is at a net loss of around £9 billion. That’s around the same, it is claimed, that is pumped into the north each year.

    Surely from your point of view both are “corrupt rackets”.

  • Danny

    How disappointing that ‘Chingford Man’ couldn’t manage a decent rebuttal of your point.

  • Angry Mob

    Given that my statement was entirely an opinion I fail to see how a slight grammatical error in anyway invalidates my own personal views.

  • Angry Mob

    To be fair you’ve only given him thirty minutes to reply.

  • Ernekid

    What on earth are you talking about CM? Nest of Vipers? The EU is more of a nest of benign middle aged civil servants.

  • Chingford Man

    I was referring to Enoch Powell’s famous description of the Foreign Office as a “Nest of Vipers”, although perhaps not famous in Fermanagh.

  • Chingford Man

    The ONS has put the UK’s transfers to the EU for 2013 at £22.6 billion, the latest year for which I have a number. From where do you get £18 billion? Sinn Fein’s economic advisers?

  • mac tire


    Note the net contribution in 2014/15 was £9.1bn – just under half the gross figure of £18.3bn.

    Source: Office for Budget Responsibility Forecast of UK contribution to EU budget 2014/15 – 2020/21.


    The above is from the House of Commons Library.

    Here is the link to the above example, page 3.


    ‘Sinn Fein’s economic advisers’? They can’t be any worse than you.

  • Ernekid

    Enoch Powell is famous mostly for being a nasty little racist. No wonder you’re a fan.

  • Chingford Man

    You’ve put forward the OBR figures, not the ONS ones. The ONS figures relates to all receipts to the EU, not just to contributions to the EU budget. However, even the OBR figures show that our net contribution to the EU has more than doubled since 2009.

    The figures relating to the future are forecasts only, of course, although, even on them, I think we can spend £10.1 billion better than on the EU.

  • Chingford Man

    Please point to my “racist” comments.

    Otherwise acquaint yourself with the guidelines for commenting here and if you can’t follow them, go elsewhere.

  • Ernekid

    A Kipper telling someone they don’t like to go elsewhere. Lololololol

  • Chingford Man

    If you’re dumb enough to equate membership of UKIP with racism then you disqualify yourself from being taken seriously. Maybe you should stick to the parochial matters of Fermanagh and leave the big subjects to people less blinkered than yourself.

  • Hugh Davison

    Fermanagh, more parochial than Chingford?