EU Referendum: ‘It’s going to get nasty’
The EU referendum campaign is going to get ‘nasty’, promised those pushing for Britain to leave the EU.
In a taste of what’s to come, two Eurosceptic students interrupted a speech by Prime Minister, David Cameron, at a CBI conference yesterday, yelling, “CBI! Voice of Brussels”.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign is “now gearing up for 12 months of protest, including disrupting the meetings of pro-EU companies and organisations.”
Their campaign director, Dominic Cummings, was reported to say:
“You think it’s nasty – you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
He promised a “guerrilla-style war” against pro-EU bodies and companies and said, “These guys have failed the country, they are going to be under the magnifying glass. Tough s**t.”
The two students who disrupted the Prime Minister’s speech obtained passes to the conference by setting up a fake company and website, reported The Telegraph.
The CBI has repeatedly been a target of Eurosceptics because they undertake paid research for the European Union.
In a Parliamentary debate earlier this year, Eurosceptic Tory MP, Bernard Jenkin, claimed that the CBI received funds from the European Union, “presumably to promote the EU.”
Added Eurosceptic Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg: “We know that the CBI is in part funded by Europe. It is therefore under an obligation either to return that money or to support the objectives of the European Union.”
But the CBI robustly rejected the allegations.
Their Director of Campaigns, Andy Bagnall, told me, “We strongly refute these misleading claims. The EU debate has a long way to go and both sides must base their arguments on the facts if they are to have any value at all.”
Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s Director of Economics, added that the organisation competitively tenders to provide the EU with economic data and that this represented just 0.6% of the CBI’s total annual income.
She told me, “The CBI is under no obligation to promote the EU. We speak on behalf of our 190,000 members who employ nearly 7 million people and while the majority wish to remain within a reformed EU, we do not shy away from criticising aspects of European legislation where necessary.
And Ken Clarke, former Justice Secretary and a co-President of British Influence, wrote to say:
“It is really absurd for hard-line Eurosceptics to argue that the CBI is being bribed by Brussels to support British membership of the EU. Anyone who knows any number of senior businessmen knows that the vast majority strongly believe in the benefits of membership.”
According to the latest opinion polls, Britain is split right down the middle on whether the country should remain a member of the European Union or leave. A poll by Survation for the Daily Mail this autumn revealed that the electorate was 51/49 against Britain’s continued membership of the EU.
The poll revealed a stark difference to a poll by Ipso Mori at the beginning of the summer, which claimed that 75% of British people were in favour of Britain’s continued membership of the EU, with only 25% wanting to leave.
That’s all now changed, according to some commentators, because of Europe’s mishandling of the refugee crisis.
The new poll revealed that if the “current migration crisis gets worse”, 22% of those wanting Britain to ‘Remain’ in the EU might switch to the ‘Leave’ campaign.
So there is everything to play for by both sides of the campaign. If the new poll is right, neither side currently has enough support for a decisive win, so both sides will have to work harder. No wonder things are getting desperate.
But is ‘getting nasty’ the way to win hearts and minds, and most importantly, votes? Wouldn’t a more calm, considered and edifying debate, where both sides listen carefully and politely to both sides of the argument, be in the best interests of the country?
After all, whether Britain remains in the EU or leaves, we’ll all still have to live with each other after the referendum result is announced.
So wouldn’t it be better for the referendum campaign to be civil, rather than to become a civil war?
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Related stories by Jon Danzig:
- Many most affected by the EU referendum will have no vote
- The rich who want Britain out of Europe
- There must be 50 ways to leave your party
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Greate article. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog. Im really impressed by it
Nick Moon of the British Polling Council appears to think differently.
We know this as he inadvertently hit reply all on a recent email.
He wrote: ‘Bugger – at first glance the odious Cummings might be onto something.
‘Survey looks pretty dodgy but luckily we don’t need to rule on that. But my initial thought is that YouGov did not give as much info as they should have.’
CBI has history in this regard, they were correctly overhauled for the same sampled polling during the Scottish Independence Referendum, and muzzled after their own members started resigning.
More than 99% of their claimed ‘membership’ employ less than 50 employees, a reflection of British business as a whole, yet only 20% of those polled fell into this category.
The new Chair may change things, I won’t be holding my breath.
Roy Jacobs, I am not a spokesperson for the CBI, but for the sake of fair and accurate reporting, it should be pointed out that the CBI claim that they did poll its members only for their survey on support for Britain’s continued membership of the EU. Their spokesperson said:
“The survey was clearly presented as a survey of CBI members only, which found that around 8 out of 10 respondents – who employ 1.5 million people between them – wanted to stay in the EU.”
Regarding your claim that the CBI has received £1 million in earnings from the European Union, their spokesman has stated that this was over a period of a number of years. The CBI spokesman added,
“In fact, the EU chooses to use our top-quality economic surveys as part of its work to collect robust economic data from across Europe, the income received amounts to only 0.6% of our income. The vast majority of our income comes from membership subscriptions.”
I should add I cannot find any evidence that the CBI is beholden to the European Union. In fact, I have sometimes been disappointed that the CBI has strongly criticised the European Union when I have considered that such criticisms were not warranted.
For example, John Cridland, Chief Executive of the CBI, this week complained that the European Union imposes unnecessary consumer and employment regulations on Britain. However, he did not explain which regulations were unwanted or make clear that such regulations are not ‘imposed’ but democratically decided by the European Parliament. I hardly considered that his comments were particularly ‘pro EU’
UKIP receives millions of pounds in income from the European Union; much more than the CBI. Does that make UKIP a supporter of the EU? Actually, quite the opposite.
In other news a bear was seen entering the forest with a toilet roll in its paw Jon.
Why doesn’t it ballot its members then?
It has received more than one million pounds from the EU, so it has the funds.
Other institutions for the representation of business interest are, why doesn’t the CBI?
The CBI has no credibility in this debate, if it actually polled its members that issue could easily be resolved.
It won’t though, why Jon?
Roy, the CBI strongly rejects your allegations. These are two statements issued by them:
Vote Leave attacks on the CBI
CBI: Our response to attacks on our President’s Committee Meeting
The reason the CBI is under fire from those who wish to see a Brexit is very simple.
The research and subsequent data provided by the CBI is slanted and is not carried out in a manner that reflects its ‘membership’.
If the CBI wishes to use the more than one million GBP it has received from the EU commission to carry out an independent poll of its ‘membership’ then I would personally accept the result, but I very much doubt the CBI would.
During the debate on the Euro replacing the Pound the CBI came up with equally spurious research suggesting that it’s ‘members’ were wholeheartedly behind Euro replacement.
Of course this was not the case, and the CBI wishes to not remember that they were wrong then, and wrong now.
The whole issue of ‘membership’ is also extremely odd, I ran a successful business in London for two decades, I never applied for membership, never received any information from the CBI, yet I and my employees became members and no doubt were part of their EU funded propaganda.
Will this referendum get nasty?
That depends very much how you perceive nastiness I guess, it will be passionate, because it’s very important, and those that wish to preserve our status within the failing EU had better get used to that.
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