Leaders of Britain’s campaign to leave the European Union seem to have momentarily forgotten their liberal principles to argue that an exit will enable them to nationalize industries and keep immigrants out.
Michael Gove, the justice secretary, Daniel Hannan, a Conservative member of the European Parliament, and Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, have all argued that leaving the EU would unshackle Britain’s economy from centripetal forces that stifle growth. Their vision is of a free-trading Singapore on the Thames: cosmopolitan, nimble and proud.
Britain’s European Union referendum is turning into the perfect demonstration of two of the theories I’ve been promoting here about European politics: one, that there is a “blue-red” culture war going on over modernity; and two, that it are reasonable, middle-class voters who hold the balance of power. Read more “Middle England Finds Itself Between Blue-Red Divide”
Advocates of a British exit from the European Union have ramped up their attacks on Conservative Party leader David Cameron with some threatening to topple him no matter the outcome of the referendum next month.
Andrew Bridgen, a lawmaker in Cameron’s party, told the BBC on Sunday that more than fifty of his colleagues are ready to move against the prime minister because he is at “odds with half of our parliamentary party and probably 70 percent of our members and activist base.”
Nadine Dorries, another Euroskeptic parliamentarian, said Cameron — who favors continued EU membership — needs to win the referendum by at least 60 percent or he will be “toast within days.”
The Sunday Times quoted another lawmaker, who had apparently come unhinged, saying, “I don’t want to stab the prime minister in the back. I want to stab him in the front so I can see the expression on his face. You’d have to twist the knife, though, because we want it back for [George] Osborne,” Cameron’s deputy and possible successor.
Michael Gove, the justice secretary, and Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, have also taken direct aim at Cameron in recent days, accusing him of eroding the “public trust” by promising to lower migration to Britain at the last election and failing to deliver. Read more “In or Out, EU Exit Crowd Wants Cameron’s Head”
The Financial Times is spot on when it warns that Euroskeptics risks doing serious damage to Britain’s political institutions before the referendum campaign is over.
In the last few days alone, the Bank of England, the Treasury and the head of the National Health Service have all been derided for pointing out the dangers of leaving the European Union.
The former have provided detailed analyses of what an exit would mean for Britain’s economy. They are, of course, estimates and sensible people can disagree about what the future would hold. Open Europe, a mildly Euroskeptic think tank, for example, argues that the Treasury may be overstating its case a little.
If Boris Johnson is trying to sabotage his chances of succeeding David Cameron as Conservative Party leader and Britain’s prime minister, he should keep doing what he’s doing.
The outgoing mayor of London took a risk when he joined the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union earlier this year, but that should not in itself have undermined his ambitions. He is likely to end up on the losing side but could have justified his holiday from the political mainstream as an idealistic, if quixotic, indulgence.
This is starting to get old: the notion that those who want the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union need to show more “passion” to persuade a Euroskeptic electorate that staying in is the better option. The Financial Times argued as much recently. So did the news agency Reuters, citing pollsters and political scientists.
Euroskeptics in the United Kingdom turned on each other on Wednesday when the group Vote Leave was designated the official campaign for an exit from the European Union.
The Electoral Commission’s decision allows Vote Leave to spend up to £7 million to make the case for leaving the EU and gives it free media and £600,000 in public funds.
Leave.EU, a group affiliated with the United Kingdom Independence Party, said the decision “smells of political corruption.” Vote Leave’s application, the group’s Arron Banks alleged, was “full of lies and misrepresentations.”
The now-official exit campaign is backed by prominent Conservative Party figures, including Boris Johnson, the outgoing mayor of London, and Michael Gove, the justice secretary.
Britons are due to vote on whether or not to stay in the European Union in June. Polls suggest they are evenly split. The right-wing government of Prime Minister David Cameron is campaigning for membership, as is the opposition Labour Party. Read more “There’s No Satisfying Some Euroskeptics”
Proponents of a British exit from the European Union have taken to accusing their opposite numbers in the referendum campaign of appealing to fear for the consequences of leaving.
It’s not as though the out campaign is a ray of sunshine. It is after all predicated on the notion that belonging to the EU is unbearable. But let’s tackle this criticism of the “in” side, because their appealing to fear is actually perfectly justified.
There isn’t a joyful case to be made for membership, unless you’re an ardent federalist. For many Britons especially, the status quo isn’t terribly satisfying but it’s not unacceptable either. Being in the EU comes with obvious benefits, like ease of travel and doing business, and some disadvantages, like restrictive agriculture policies and fishing quotas.
On balance, it will probably seem a tolerable arrangement to most — especially when Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiation did give the United Kingdom a few additional prerogatives.
The alternative, exit, is an unknown. There is no template for it. No other country has ever left the EU. Would Britain be able to negotiate a better deal outside? Or would it join the ranks of Norway and Switzerland, being forced to follow most EU regulations without the power to help write them in exchange for staying in the single market? Read more “British Proponents of EU Are Right to Appeal to Fear”