Anti-EU campaigners and euperspective agree on one thing. Cameron is not going to manage a reform of the EU. So, the question boils down to this: are the British going to accept the EU as it is or reject it as it is. The way things stand it looks like Britain’s on the way out.
Trying to engaging in a meaningful debate about the benefits of EU membership is pointless in Britain today. Years of “drip-drip” negative reporting and gleeful ridiculing of the EU in the mainstream British media is beginning to bear fruit. To such an extent that the general English (not necessarily the Scottish or Welsh) population has an extremely skewered view of what EU membership actually means. That combined with a lacklustre, non-existent pro-EU campaign has resulted in many in England concluding that the EU has nothing to offer them other than “red-tape”.
Lord Lawson was given a front page spread in The Times this week, where he writes “… we are stuck with an out-dated EU – a solution from the last century – that is slow to react and resists many of the changes we need to compete in a globalised world.”
To a modern, forward-thinking European “Lord” Blaby himself sounds like a solution from the last century – a century that was divided, at war and committed some of the most heinous crimes. Could it be that Lord Blaby with his “let’s get out of Europe” rhetoric, is the anachronism not the EU? An octogenarian from the Antipodes living in the US doesn’t think so. Murdock is happy to give him front page space.
And thus Lord Blaby is allowed to blab a whole load of nonsense. According to milord “It cannot be stressed too strongly that the purpose of the European Union is entirely political. If it were to bring economic benefit, that would be coincidental. In fact, as we see from the continuing poor performance of the Eurozone economies, the reverse is the case.”
European prosperity “coincidental”? Ahuh – it just, kinda happened, as it does, you know. Nothing to do with the EU, which is so bogged down with its own red-tape it is completely stuck together. The OECD report stating that the Eurozone will grow by two and a quarter per cent by the end of 2016 is obviously just plain wrong and not even mentioned by Blaby. Germany, power house of the European economy and staunch member of the Eurozone since 2001 is, according to this theory, really doing “poorly”. Perhaps if he were to venture out of his London penthouse and take a “grand tour” of Europe he may just find a vibrancy to the Eurozone economy that many small English towns, including the small town of Blaby in Leiscteshire he lends his name to, could do with a bit more of.
Meanwhile over on the BBC, Business for Britain, is given a considerable amount of air-space with a report that “Two Million SME Leaders say the EU hinders their business” The CBI, ostensibly pro-EU, gave a dismal retort to this report. There was a lot hand wringing and sitting on the bench and talk of not giving an opinion until the results of Cameron’s so-called reform of the EU are announced. Jeez the CBI is really on fire ready to swing the electorate!
The pro-EU campaign is underfunded and ineffective in comparison to the anti-EU campaign and hardly as well connected as the likes of Matthew Elliot CEO of Business for Britain, who on his “Taxpayer’s Alliance” page notes that he is:
“one of the most effective lobbyists at Westminster” – BBC
“probably the most effective political campaigner that Britain has produced in a generation” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times
“his influence as a campaigner has grown following his successful leadership of the No to AV campaign” – Iain Dale, publisher and LBC broadcaster
He’s not wrong. This guy has a regular column in The Guardian from where he can continue to spout his anti-EU rhetoric and clearly has the ear of the mainstream British media.
Compare this to Peter Wilding, Director of British Influence, who has had one piece published in The Guardian. In 2013. The Pro-Europa site can only muster a dismal 61 supporters under their “I am pro-Europa” campaign. Most in the pro-EU campaign be they the CBI, British Influence or pro-Europa are either not being heard, are completely underfunded compared to their wealthy anti-EU opponents or else, like the CBI, are just sitting on the fence waiting for the results of Cameron’s attempts to reform the EU.
Bearing all of this in mind it is probably time to concede defeat and accept that Britain will vote to leave the European Union. Not that many in continental Europe are going to shed a tear. They may look on with some amusement the day Britain begins to extract itself from the EU and get itself into a tangle on the way out.
Brexit, unlike Grexit, is a total non-issue in Europe. No one’s agonising over the repercussions of Britain drifting off into splendid isolationism. They hardly bat an eye-lid over the assertion that Britain can “prosper” all on its own. The British media may be abuzz with the EU referendum but it barely raises a shrug of the shoulders amongst Britain’s continental neighbours. There are currently so many other pressing issues to worry about why bother spending any effort on trying to schmooze with the likes of Blaby.
The EU core, with or without Britain, is powering ahead – amidst turmoil and recessions, set-backs and successes – the EU is here to stay. Twenty years from now, when todays octogenarians are long gone, it will be the next generation that is going to have to renegotiate entry into a future Europe they had no say in shaping.