Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Self-delusion or self-interest

As readers of this blog know I tend to be very sceptical, indeed, of Conservative eurosceptics and of the various front organizations, especially those who deliberately fudge the issue of supporting a referendum with pulling out. I have written about that too many times to link to all the postings but should my readers wish to do so, I can.

The latest brouhaha about half those asked being in favour of withdrawal because of the economic mess on the Continent is a good example of that fudge. As I said to the East European Furniture Polish campaign:
A referendum campaign is not the same as an understanding of how we get out and what that entails or even the need to get out; an opinion poll or even two, are not the same as winning that referendum as a quick perusal of past opinion polls including 1975 would show you; and "doing something" is not the same as doing the right thing.
It is not, of course, in their interest to unravel these contradictions. All the more reason why we should do so.

EUReferendum, as one would expect has done so citing interesting parallels with the situation in 1974-75. Let me just add one rather depressing thing: in 1975 the No campaign was better organized and, above all, had better arguments than an Out campaign would have now. It did not help them.

To those who say that even if we lose a referendum, it is worth trying and we would be no worse off, I can only reply: we would be back in the position people were in 1975 with the European project far more advanced. We would be considerably worse off.


  1. Helen

    You are right of course that losing a referendum would be a disaster. But not having one is also disastrous. Furthermore if we can't even mount a campaign that is capable of twisting the arms of our 'representatives' so that they grant us one, how can we hope to win it if they do? Ultimately people tend to be convinced of the need to have a referendum when they are convinced of our need to leave the EU. To a considerable extent, in my view, the more people who demand a referendum the stronger the support for leaving will become. A successful and concerted campaign for a referendum sjhould in effect be campaigning for an 'out' vote at the same time.


  2. No, no, no. The resources wasted on that referendum campaign are resources not used on a successful political campaign to make people understand what the EU is, how it works, how we can pull out, what do we have to do to achieve that and what do we do afterwards. When the other side starts campaigning and they will with a great deal of money we shall not be able to answer any of those questions because we are not prepared. Nor are we working on that. We are wasting and have wasted over the years time, money and energy on useless campaigns. These two are the latest efforts.

  3. What I am saying is that wanting a battle that we are likely to lose on the off-chance that we might conceivably win, possibly, is insane. And until we prepare, we shall lose that battle almost certainly. So why fight it?

  4. If I thought that our chances of winning were so slight then I would agree with you. I have to believe though the British still possess the good sense to seize such an opportunity to escape their plight. I would like to know how you think we can prepare for such a contest given the media environment. We cannot simply wait for ever. Our only available exit route might be closed off in the meantime.