#EUref: A remainian win would be a Pyrrhic Victory at Best

Posted: April 9, 2016 by tallbloke in Accountability, Big Brother, EU Referendum, government, People power, propaganda

pyrrhic-beaverReposted from View To a Hill

Over the past few days we’ve seen the implosion of the ‘Remain’ campaign. That doesn’t mean Leave will definitely win the referendum, only that if ‘Remain’ do still win the price they pay for victory will be so high that the reputations of the politicians and institutions involved will be too damaged to recover. But before we look at ‘Remain’s’ disastrous week, let’s remind ourselves of the context in which the referendum campaign is taking place.

The referendum was promised in the Conservative manifesto of 2015. It was a potent weapon in persuading wavering UKIP voters to back the Conservatives. If a potential Kipper said, ‘I’m thinking of voting UKIP’ a Eurosceptic Tory canvasser could say to them, ‘look, no one loathes the EU more than me, but I’m working my socks off here to make sure we get our referendum, to get us out of the EU.’ In my opinion it worked more often than not. Slightly less Eurosceptic canvassers could say, ‘we’re going to have a referendum, but only after a full renegotiation and treaty change which will see powers flowing back from Brussels to the UK. So, even if you lose your referendum, the ratchet of EU integration will be broken.’ Once again it was an effective tactic and it was backed up by what was in the manifesto of 2015. What happened was very different, Cameron asked for nothing and received less. The ratchet of European integration has not been broken, Cameron did not take back control of Employment Law as he promised. We are still not in control of our borders and a case can be made that the renegotiation actually weakened some of the protections we previously enjoyed. Most important of all, there is no treaty change and there is absolutely no guarantee that even the pathetic changes Cameron achieved will be accepted by the EU commission and parliament.

It is no wonder that even at the start of the campaign pro-Brexit Conservatives felt they had been betrayed. Cameron’s position always was if he didn’t achieve a viable renegotiation he would recommend vote leave. None of us honestly expected that to happen, but he didn’t even make an attempt to get a viable renegotiation, he cut and ran at the first opportunity. Even Lynton Crosby, the man who really won GE2015 for the Conservatives, told him he was wrong. Crosby recommended that if Cameron did not get a good deal in 2016 to put matters off until 2017, even if just to look as if he was trying. Cameron thought he could take the electorate and his party so much for granted he could not even be bothered to do that. A British Prime Minister, the heir to titans like Palmerston, Disraeli, Churchill and Thatcher, would have sat on Merkel’s lap purring in a red leotard to get any crumb he could, just so that he could sell to the British public that he had a renegotiation.

Now, to the last week. Things began with Cameron’s feeble effort in the Telegraph on Monday. In it he announced ‘Leaving the EU would be an act of economic and political self-harm.’ Conveniently forgetting that at PMQs on January 6th he had said, ‘My argument is not going to be in any way that Britain can’t succeed outside the EU. Of course we could we’re a great country.’ Given the speed social media works these days it’s impossible to get away with a gaffe like that. Within an hour of the Telegraph article appearing Vote Leave had a Photoshop of Cameron facing two ways, one face saying one thing, the other face pointing the opposite direction, saying the other, under the heading “Why is Cameron now doing Britain down?” It was all over Facebook and twitter in no time, and my tweet of it alone was retweeted 84 times and had over 8000 views. The rest of the article was similarly uninspiring with his most effective line being ‘stay in the EU if you want to keep cheap flights.’ Churchillian it wasn’t. However, the worst mistake the Remainians have made came on Wednesday night when they announced £9.3 million of taxpayers’ money would be spent on pro-EU propaganda. They (very unwisely) published this on Facebook and rapidly received over 2000 comments, virtually all of them hostile. And quite rightly so. It was an appalling act by a democratic government. Why it is so appalling is probably best summed up by Thomas Jefferson. ‘To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.’ What the government is saying to me and everyone else who wants Brexit is, ‘your opinion is valueless, we know best, we will force you to pay for something you detest.’ It is an outrageous misuse of scarce public funds in a time of austerity. Unsurprisingly, the various Leave campaigns made hay again. Boris using it as a fund raising appeal and Leave EU producing a particularly good cartoon of Kim Jong Cameron.

But the worst blow came on Thursday when a sharp eyed researcher discovered that by spending £9.3 million on pro-EU propaganda the government was not following the CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE ON REFERENDA outlined by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. It states:

• Equality of opportunity must be guaranteed for the supporters and opponents of proposal being voted on
• Public authorities at every level must not engage in excessive one sided campaigning but show neutrality.

Spending £9m plus of taxpayers’ cash on propaganda for ‘Remain’ affects the perception of legitimacy; even Russia abides by the Venice Commission. Since then the action has also been condemned by the Electoral Commission, the body that regulates elections in the UK, who said, “We don’t think the government should have done it, but it’s not illegal” and warned that such use of public money could give ‘Remain’ an “unfair advantage”. These words are politically explosive.

Let’s place this action in the setting of a General Election. Imagine if in March 2010 two and half months before the General Election of that year, Gordon Brown had gone on TV and said ‘I’m going to spend £9.3 million of taxpayers’ money to persuade the electorate that it’s safer to vote Labour’. There would have been outrage, especially from the leader of the opposition, one David Cameron. It would have been said, rightly, that it’s the type of sharp electoral practice that happens in a banana republic. That is how arrogant David Cameron and his ‘Remainian’ acolytes have become. As a result, even if they win the Referendum the matter will not be closed. The unfair advantage given to ‘Remain’ has seen to that. Brexiteers will move on, and look for other ways to liberate this country from the dead hand of Brussels.

The issue of membership of the European Union has long been an open wound in British politics, especially in the Conservative Party. The referendum was an attempt to heal the wound once and for all. By throwing the might of the government machine behind one side at the expense of the other, and attempting to con the electorate with a fake renegotiation, not only has David Cameron destroyed the legitimacy of the referendum, he has used tactics of which Dr Goebbels would be proud. It means that instead of lancing a boil, Cameron has actually nurtured it. No Brexiteer will now accept a ‘Remain’ victory because it’s clear that ‘Remain’ has had the deck loaded in its favour. The bitterness against Cameron and his cronies is becoming palpable, his formerly loyal lieutenant Michael Gove has contemptuously described the £9 million EU letter as propaganda and, in under a week, the hard back version of Dan Hannan’s book Why Vote Leave has stormed to the top of the Amazon bestseller charts in Politics, while the Kindle Edition is at number 5. Paradoxically, if Cameron had wanted to help ‘Remain’, he would probably have been better advised to give the £9 million plus to Brexit. As the Hannan book shows, Brexit is in the country’s best interests. The only way the Conservative Party can come out of the referendum campaign relatively unscathed is for Brexit to win. For both country and party Conservatives everywhere should vote Brexit.

  1. Fanakapan says:

    On employment, consumer, and human rights laws, is anyone brave enough to just imagine how those areas would shape up if they became the sole domain of a Tory government ?

  2. tallbloke says:

    Who says there’ll be a Tory govt in 2020? Looking very doubtful to me. Especially if they make a manifesto commitment to repealing employment and consumer laws after brexit on June 23.

  3. TinyCO2 says:

    6 months ago my brother in law was thoroughly dismissive of Brexit for financial reasons. A few weeks ago he admitted that Cameron hadn’t come back with anything and he was open to the idea that an orbiting UK and Denmark around an EU single country would be disasterous. At the moment he’d still vote to remain but if he’s less adamant, there’s hope for Brexit yet.

    At the moment Cameron is doing more for Brexit with his clumsy bullying than anything the Brexit teams are doing. The key thing is to give people as many cracking facts as possible, without pretending Brexit will be easy. The public actually want to hear that it will be tough but survivable.

  4. ntesdorf says:

    Title should read: “#EUref: A Remainian win would be a Pyrrhic Victory at Best”

    [Reply] Thanks, fixed

  5. Fanakapan says:

    So will it be the case that existing EU laws will stay on the books ?

    As for the shape of the government in the next cycle, its overwhelmingly likely that it will be Tory dominated, should they not achieve outright majority.

    Obviously the public would take fright at the prospect of existing rights being swept away in short order. What is more likely is the gradual diminution. Every time some hook handed fellow manages to impede the government, not by his own genius, but by the ineptitude of government, there will be diminution of the worst sort.

    Of course there may be an argument that Britain is well able to guarantee ‘Rights’ on its own, an argument based upon the fact that we discovered earlier than much of Europe the paths that lead to modern democracy. But I worry that like much of the Brexit argument, such a view depends on a rosy view of past glories which become insignificant when the other players have at least caught up with, and more probably overtaken us in terms of human progress.

  6. tallbloke says:

    Well Fanakapan, whoever you are, you can talk Britain down if you like, but I believe in my country and my fellow people, even if you don’t. Plenty of them believe the over regulated, over bureaucratised EU superstate’s monster sized rulebook needs quite a lot of diminution anyway. They will be voting for brexit. Let’s allow democracy to take its course, even though David Cameron thinks it’s OK to skew the debate by propagandising us using £9.3million of OUR money.

    Over 80% of the UK’s GDP is generated by trade within its borders, by companies which don’t export to the EU. But 100% of UK companies have to obey all the excessive regulation the unelected EU commission invents on a daily basis.

    Fanakapan: “Obviously the public would take fright at the prospect of existing rights being swept away in short order. What is more likely is the gradual diminution.”

    Funnily enough, that’s pretty much what Jean Monnet said in the 1950’s too.

  7. As an ex-pat from long, long ago (via Birmingham and Llanelly), I must say that I’ve never understood why the U.K. even considered – let alone joined – the EU, a body that, in my view, is about as far from democratic as the UN (in which the EU is an influential voice – or echo, take your pick!)

    And as for “rights” … Well, sadly, it seems to me that somewhere along the way, the equally important concept of “responsibility” got dropped ‘n drowned in a sea of judicial – and/or quasi-judicial – ignorance.

    Here in Canada, we have “human rights” councils, both federal and provincial. The cases they’ve heard and the decisions they’ve rendered – with a few notable exceptions – are simply beyond reason and belief.

    I could be wrong, but it seems to me that on far too many fronts mediocrity rules … on both sides of the pond** Very deep sigh.

    ** On this side of the pond, we are now governed by Trudeau Junior, who has absolutely no qualifications beyond dimples and a now deceased famous father (and a ditzy but adoring mother). His cabinet is comprised of 50% females whom he appointed “because it’s 2015”. Amazing, eh?!

  8. Stephen Richards says:

    Pyrrhic Victory at Best

    Maybe, but a victory will be a victory and a disaster for the UK

  9. Paul Vaughan says:

    CTVnews headline today:
    “British PM Cameron gets caught up in Panama Papers fallout”

  10. Anon Eumouse says:

    Definition of PYRRHIC:…………..a metrical foot consisting of two short or unaccented syllables

  11. Fanakapan says:


    So now I’m talking down ‘Your’ country ??

    Being Britsh born and bred, I’d have to be a little worried about that distinction, whoever I am.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Angry postal workers pose a risk to the government’s referendum campaign by threatening to dump the pro-remain EU leaflet described as “one-sided propaganda”.

    In recent days an e-petition calling to “stop Cameron spending British taxpayers’ money on pro-EU referendum leaflets” has gathered more than 200,000 signatures – meaning it could be debated in Parliament.

  13. edmh says:

    I am an ex-pat in France. In spite of the mess its likely to cause me directly I am 100% for Brexit.

    The EU has far exceeded the mandate I and many others in the UK gave it 1975. The crazy thing is that the “Common Market” was all that needed to be done to maintain peace in Europe. It is overweening and stupid political ambition of “ever closer union” that has destroyed that laudable aim.

    The EU is bound to collapse under the weight of its undemocratic anachronisms within 20 years or less. Its currency experiment has failed and its uncontrolled borders, internal and external are unable to control malign influences. The demise of the EU could even turn violent in the process.

    There is huge democratic dissatisfaction within the EU and its escalating. Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, just ignored. The youth of many southern countries unable to find work. Fatuous energy policies. The Dutch and the Finnish people have just defied Brussels. 25% of the French voted for Marine le Pen in the first round of their recent elections. The list goes on.

    Whenever the people are given a chance to oppose Brussels they take it. I hope it will be the same in the UK in June.

    The EU has gotten just as undemocratic as the old USSR, as even Gorbachov himself has said

    With Brexit the Brits will do the all the PEOPLE of Europe an huge favour. This will put down a marker that will accelerate the rot in the EU and show the way.

    Brexit could advance the demise of the EU house of cards so it only takes 5 years. Cutting the loss quickly will be much less painful.

    As the Confucian curse says, “May you live in interesting times”.

  14. A C Osborn says:

    But where is the e-petition?
    As I want to sign it.

  15. tallbloke says:

    ACO: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116762

    Fanakapan. If it’s your country too, Why are you talking down your country?

  16. oldbrew says:

    E-petition is here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116762

    Over 200,000 signatures to date.

  17. tallbloke says:

  18. Fanakapan says:

    ”Fanakapan. If it’s your country too, Why are you talking down your country?”

    I’m hearing that line of argument more and more the closer we get, and the more intense the argument.

  19. Paul Vaughan says:

    there’s a quick way to end trust

  20. JohnM says:

    You really think Cameron is so stupid that he would shoot himself in the foot by accident.
    The guy is a devious bag of s**t, I wouldn’t trust him with anything, nor would I believe a word he says.
    Mark my words, brexit or bremain he will take the credit. He’ll never smell of roses, but he’ll survive.

  21. Paul Vaughan says:

    Solar cycle lengthening cannot maintain its current trajectory indefinitely.

    Although I have not yet made the breakthrough needed to predict amplitude of terrestrial response (only phase), the further up it goes the more basic instinct inclines me to anticipate (at least the possibility of) an intense correction like in the early 1800s. Even mild corrections like in the 1970s, 1940s, & 1910s are of consequence. The spatial axes of natural geopolitical advantage shift with climate.

    The people of the UK are quite possibly the most brave in Europe (given their history this may be no surprise) for being the first willing to fill an international leadership void by turning to squarely face dark forces threatening a chilling changepoint in the history of civilization.

    I’ll do what I can to encourage others to stand with you in the new order and I have this one request: Please do everything possible to maintain ever-improving relations with the people of China (no matter what their government does or doesn’t do).

    I’m confident that China (the government) can be persuaded to see Brexit as a strategic plus for international stability (that’s the key word, please take note). I suggest drafting the needed diplomatic communications without delay if they aren’t already on file. May I suggest doing an absolutely perfect job as the accuracy of these documents will be crucial in the construction of the improved world order needed to maintain stability as axes of natural geopolitical advantage shift with climate.

    Dear friends in the UK: Thank you for any vital leadership you can provide in stagnating Europe to counterbalance dark forces boldly going so far now as to threaten us all.

    You have earned my respect. It may deepen in June.

    Please don’t let down our Chinese friends who are in need of reassurance. Stability is the key.

    edmh (April 11, 2016 at 5:43 am) makes some convincing points above. It certainly appears to me that the EU is becoming unworkably corrupt in too many ways. I see this as an increasingly formidable threat to international stability and my instinct is that an uncorrected EU is dangerously flirting with a tipping point. Getting off a slippery slope isn’t the kind of thing to procrastinate about. I will feel reassured about the prospects for global stability in June if EU correction is initiated in the most peaceful and expeditious manner possible, which may well be Brexit.

    This result is already in:
    This referendum is changing the world.

    Sincerely and with the Deepest Respect

  22. catweazle666 says:

    Fanakapan says: “I’m hearing that line of argument more and more the closer we get, and the more intense the argument.”

    Perhaps that should tell you something…