EU Referendum and the count process

We are now just a few days away from polling day and I thought it would be useful to put up some information about the count process in Northern Ireland for the EU referendum. Unlike other referenda that have been held in the past, Northern Ireland will count through the night and in 8 different centres across the province. You can see the estimated declaration times for the rest of the UK here, but I have compiled the Northern Ireland … Read more

#EURef in grave danger of setting down its own “poisonous foundations”?

I’m struck by this optimistic note from Ruth Dudley Edwards… Narrow-minded nationalism is being left behind. We have slowly evolved “a more civilised discourse” and we are much better people for it. She argues that Ireland has become a much more civilised place because it has committed itself (if not always in the slow, patient Scandinavian style) to conversation more than confrontation. The contrast with Britain just now could hardly be more stark. Of course, Britain is, as Ruth points … Read more

EU Referendum: “At the start of the campaign I was relaxed over a Brexit vote.”

Interesting piece in the Guardian from Simon Jenkins who, by his own admission, has “long been a Eurosceptic”.  Although, as he also points out, “that is not the same as being a leaver.”  For a start he is equally critical of the ‘Leave’ and the ‘Remain’ campaigns – an assessment I broadly agree with. Here’s what he has to say on the ‘Remain’ campaign When marching to the remain drum, I have been shocked at the mendacity of “project fear”. … Read more

Doesn’t allegiance to the Republic of Easter Week require Brexit?

For all his political career Jeremy Corbyn opposed Europe. He stood against Europe in the 1975 referendum and repeatedly cast his Commons’ vote against EU Treaties. For the Islington North MP and the hard left, the EU was a committedly capitalist project to be smashed.  The Corbyn conversion to the European plan is symbolic of the erosion and slow death of left-wing euroscepticism. Under the cover of worker rights and free movement of labour, many on the traditional left have … Read more

Remain must look to more trusted and well-regarded figures to get #EURef over the line

Shortly before polling day in last year’s Marriage Equality referendum one of the Irish national daily newspapers ran an opinion piece by a marketing/messaging expert evaluating the Yes and No campaigns to that point. Though he had several criticisms of those of us on Yes side and even suggested that the Yes campaign was putting the outcome in unnecessary doubt, the subtext to his article seemed to be: this would have been a whole lot better if he had been … Read more

The EU does not guarantee workers rights

I must take umbrage with various politicians on the Remain side arguing that leaving the EU threatens workers rights. We currently see trade union strikes in France & Belgium over EU deregulation where train drivers are due to lose rest periods and undermine working conditions. Last night on BBC The View we saw Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson cite a loss of workers rights if we left the EU as a reason to vote Remain, yet her colleague Mary Lou … Read more

“The most successful Union in history would be broken apart.” Major and Blair’s message from Magee in Derry

Derry was an interesting venue to chose for two former prime ministers to defend the Union against the threat of Brexit.  In one sense it was powerful symbolism to see them together, as the Guardian says. – Snap verdict: Of all the Remain media events we’ve seen, that was probably one of the most effective. Sir John Major and Tony Blair may seem like figures from the distant past, but in 1997 around three quarters of the British electorate voted for … Read more

UPDATED #EURef extention: In NI, it doesn’t exist..

And there’s another digital divide. After last night’s big TV event with Nigel Farage and David Cameron there’s been such a rush to get registered to vote in the 23rd June Referendum that the deadline has been extended until tomorrow night. According to the Telegraph… Of the total 525,000 who registered on Tuesday, 132,000 were aged under 25 and a further 170,000 were aged 25 to 34. There were 51,600 applications made by those aged over 55. How did they get that … Read more

The Digital Border and the Euros

As we approach the vote on 23 June to decide whether or not the UK remains in the European Union, an increasing amount of the discussion has focused on the possibility of the erection of border posts along the boundary between Northern Ireland and the 26 counties should Brexit become a reality. However there’s a very real border on this island already and it’s not been voted on at all. It’s what I call the digital border and as another … Read more

However #EURef goes, parties will have to do a much better job at listening…

Okay, so now we have an election out of the way, we have a referendum (at this point, please do read Paul Evans’ widely read critique of Referendums for context here). And, sadly, if inevitably, we are already drowning in Bullshit. It is by no means a one-way street. Both sides are at it. The mere calling of a Referendum means that any subtlety and/or the normal trade-offs are out of the window. It’s a populist bonfire instrument which forces campaigns to search … Read more

Sinn Fein believe the EU is undemocratic, lowers wages and damages Irish fishing and farming

Sinn Fein have launched their Vote Remain campaign because they think the EU is undemocratic, is behind austerity, has decimated Irish fishing, lowers wages, undrmines working conditions and damages family farms: 9 March, 2016 Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada asked “Is austerity ruling the EU BUDG committee as it has been ruling some of our Member States?” February, 2016 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams “We are critical of the European Union because of the democratic deficit …” 18th February 2016 Sinn Féin … Read more

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 … Read more

If Brexit happens, Ireland may be united for the purpose of entering Great Britain

In the Brexit propaganda battle the hare is now being raised not of imposing controls on the Irish border but of geographically more convenient checks between the island or Ireland and the island of Great Britain. While the Irish Times quotes “official sources” in Dublin bringing up the issue again, the piece invokes a report by the House of Commons’ Northern Ireland Committee that discusses it. The Commons committee warned in a report entitled Northern Ireland and the EU Referendum … Read more

Soapbox: Brexit isn’t about cutting ourselves off from the world….

Sammy Morrison is a TUV Press Officer and an assistant to Jim Allister. Here he challenges Ferdinand Mount’s cautionary tale about the motivations of Brexiteers, and argues that Brexit could liberate the UK to fulfil its potential in the world in Europe – and beyond. Ferdinand Mount cannot hide his contempt for those campaigning for Brexit telling us that it is “tempting to regard ‘Brexosis’ as a mental disorder”. He repeats David Cameron’s warning that Brexit could lead to World … Read more

How little thought have ‘the Brexotics’ given to any form of risk from a putative #Brexit?

This morning’s #SluggerReport featured this great essay from Ferdinand Mount in the London Review of Books (h/t Ciaran!). Here’s  some of the highlights in the argument… Splendid isolation’. ‘Very well, alone’. ‘Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off’. That is the name of the game, the only game that appeases the dreams and resentments of the Brexiters. It isn’t about economics. Decca Aitkenhead traipsed all the way to Nigel Lawson’s gentilhommière in Gascony to seek enlightenment on the economics. But … Read more

@davidmcw games one #Brexit outcome…

“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.” Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot Interesting piece from David McWilliams on an unintended consequence of the Brexit vote. The title – ‘A nation once again? Don’t write it off’ –  neatly encapsulates his argument and commits the obvious sin of deviating from a pro-unionist consensus. The line of reasoning he follows is: The English lead the British out of Europe. The Scottish then go to the polls again, wanting to stay … Read more

Brexit Essays #1: Time for Ireland to grow up and get beyond its devotion to the EU?

James Darby writing in response to the Irish Ambassador to London Dan Mulhall’s opinion piece on the UK’s EU referendum and the implications for Irish-UK relations found here . Official Ireland is fully against the UK leaving the EU. Once again groupthink has dominated discourse in Ireland about this issue. As in 1999 when all of the political establishment supported Ireland adopting the EURO, no alternative view has been put forward. Ambassador Mulhall’s argument on how Breixt would affect Irish-UK relations … Read more

EU kettle ban gives Brexit campaigners a PR coup…

You can waffle on all you like about trade tariffs, migration controls, budget rebates, etc but to the general public this tedious stuff goes in one ear and out the other. But tell them you are going to monkey around with their tea and toast and you get their attention. From today’s Daily Express: The UK accounts for a third of all European kettle sales, with Britons drinking six times more tea per head than their continental cousins. The ban might also include … Read more

Cameron gambled with national security?

The BBC are announcing that today David Cameron is going to claim that the UK leaving the EU would increase risks to peace. The BBC suggested Elgar or Vaughan Williams should be playing. I suspect Holst’s Mars would be the most appropriate. Turning from the classic music back to the politics. One of the primary responsibilities: probably the prime responsibility of a Prime Minister or the like is maintaining the safety of the population that elected him and as such … Read more