Eu referendum campaign- dull isn’t it?
So far, I have found the #eu campaign dull, on all sides. I say on all sides because so many different elements make up the “yes” and “no” arguments. There will be some strange coalitions over the next few months….
The three main strands are straight OUT, wait to see what Dave does and IN. I can’t be the only one who thinks that the “wait to see what Dave does” campaign is a waste of time. I can’t see swathes of OUT/NO supporters suddenly thinking: ” Well done Dave, that makes all the difference. I’m going to vote Yes now” when the negotiations are completed.
The OUT/NO campaign is doing exactly what I expected them to do- retelling stories with no basis in fact and with the connivance of the mainstream press.
The IN/YES campaign is also doing exactly what I expected it to do- play on the fear of the unknown.
I am a convinced European. I will vote YES/IN , come what may. But we can’t rely on fear of the unknown and apathy lead the campaign- that is what the “Better Together” campaign in Scotland relied on and it nearly didn’t work. Instead, we and the media need to be asking what our relationship would be if outside of the EU. It is only right that the OUT/NO campaign explain how this would work. Not in vague terms but exploring the practical options.
4 my main concern is that the IN/YES campaign is not doing enough to point out how much better off we’d be if, instead of just tolerating the EU, we embraced it and took full advantage of what we can contribute and benefit from. The obvious example in recent times is the floods and the EU solidarity fund. We could have, but did not, claim money from 4the EU to help the regions affected by the recent flooding. Why?
I cover this extensively in this post- Confused European: floods, rebates and solidarity fund.
Basically, the government could have claimed money from the EU to help pay for cleaning up after the floods but, despite campaigning from local MPs and MEPs, this has not happened. Why not? The media has been slow to take this up. What they did though was pick up and run with a spurious story, promoted by the OUT/NO campaign about how EU regulations caused the floods… My blog post here-
This is a serious issue, which affects people across vast regions of the UK but which has barely touched the IN/OUT debate.
Another issue that has a real impact has arisen this weekend. I hope it becomes part of the debate. I suspect it won’t.
It relates to the scandal of the Google tax negotiation and tax havens. The EU has been trying to bring in sanctions against tax havens but this has been opposed by the British government-
Full story here (The Observer.)
To me, this is another example of how we could positively contribute within EU and benefit from EU. A European approach to tackling tax on global companies would be welcomed by many. The IN/YES campaigners should not be afraid to highlight these issues yet they seem to hang back. So dull it will remain I fear. Worse, I fear that, if the IN/YES campaign don’t highlight these issues, the so-called immigration debate will dominate, disrupt and deceive.