A dog’s Brexit?

Jon Danzig |

eu rope dogs brexit

Rival groups are bitterly battling each other to gain the official nomination to run the EU referendum Brexit campaign.

Three campaigns with different visions of Britain after Brexit have applied to the Electoral Commission to be designated as the official ‘Leave’ group.

Only one group from ‘Leave’ and one from ‘Remain’ can be awarded the title, each giving them access to government funding, mail shots and media broadcasts.

But there is only one Remain campaign group – called Britain Stronger in Europe. It has no rivals and it is united and clear in its vision for Britain staying a member of the EU.

A decision will be made by the Commission by 14 April at the latest.

The Brexit rivals include ‘Vote Leave’ which is backed by some Tory ministers and grandees, such as the London mayor, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, John Whittingdale, Theresa Villiers and Iain Duncan Smith.

‘Vote Leave’ also includes UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, who is reportedly no longer on speaking terms with his party’s leader, Nigel Farage.

Pitched against ‘Vote Leave’ is ‘Grassroots Out (Go)’ which includes Nigel Farage, with the backing of some Conservative, Labour and DUP MPs and the millionaire UKIP supporter Arron Banks.

And the ‘Trade Union and Socialist Coalition’ has also applied to the Electoral Commission to run the official campaign to get Britain out of the European Union.

There’s no chance of any these groups working together to offer a united platform. They clearly hate each other.

They not only want Britain to leave the EU – they have also left each other.

The Trade Union and Society Coalition has threatened legal action if either ‘Vote Leave’ or ‘Grassroots Out’ are chosen.

‘Vote Leave’ refuses to work with Nigel Farage and his ‘Grassroots Out – Go’ group.

Writing for the Telegraph political journalist Simon Heffer commented that ‘Vote Leave’ has been “riven by internal dissent.”

He added that there had been a failed attempt to “oust its mastermind, Dominic Cummings, who seems hated by all who work with him.”

But it is external, rather than internal dissent, that seems to be driving apart the disparate – and increasingly desperate – Brexit campaigners.

Last week Nigel Farage and his ‘Go’ team arrived at the Electoral Commission to deliver 13 crates of submissions that they hope will persuade the Commission to pick them.

That is assuming the Commission has time in the next few days to read the 50,000 ‘Go’ documents which arrived with a huge anti-EU ‘Go’ truck (manufactured, I should add, by Renault).

The ‘Vote Leave’ campaign adopted a different strategy. They sent their application to the Electoral Commission by email.

Mr Farage said that he had wanted to work with rival group, ‘Vote Leave’ “from the start.” But, he added, “They have not wanted to work with us. Simple as.”

On the steps of the Electoral Commission, donning a garish green ‘Go’ tie and with his supporters waving ‘Go’ banners, Mr Farage further explained:

“I’ve played nice with Vote.Leave for months. It’s just that’s not been reciprocated.

“I think they view many of the (Go) people here as members of lower orders, and not really fit to sit around the same table as them.”

Thinking wishfully, Mr Farage added:

“I don’t see any difficulty in the groups on the left, centre and right in this coalition working together happily and harmoniously between now and June 23 and then I hope, once we’ve voted for Brexit, we can disagree with each other vehemently.”

But the truth is that there is no coalition of Brexit campaign groups, and they are not working “happily and harmoniously” together at all.

Last night a ‘Go’ campaigner posted on my Facebook page  his YouTube video of Nigel Farage and ‘Go’ presenting their application to the Electoral Commission. I wrote back to thank him:

“An excellent video, thank you so much for sharing. I feel it should help the Remain campaign tremendously.”

On the video the ‘Go’ campaign truck is shown with a sign declaring that Britain should keep its £19 billion annual payment to the EU.

But surely voters won’t be fooled by that fib anymore? Most people in the country should know by now that the UK’s NET contribution to the EU budget last year was around £8.5 billion – not even close to £19 billion.

Mr Farage opened the video by saying that non-EU countries also participate in Erasmus, which is true.

But as Erasmus is an EU funded scheme, Mr Farage is in no position to say whether or not UK students would still be eligible if Britain left the EU.

And Mr Farage didn’t let on that upon Brexit, British students planning to study in other European countries are likely to be charged the high tuition fees that non-EU students face.

It’s also on this video that Nigel Farage confirmed that the Brexit campaigns are so far apart that they can’t even sit at the same table together, let alone properly talk and work together.

He hoped though that, after the country votes for Brexit on 23 June, the Brexit campaigners can then, “disagree with each other vehemently”.

Is this some sort of double-talk?

Personally, I wouldn’t trust any of the Brexiters to organise my birthday party (there’d be at least two parties in two locations!) let alone to lead the country into a new direction (or would that be two or more directions?)

But think about this. If the country votes for Brexit and these people are in charge, what sort of deal would they achieve for Britain’s departure from the EU?

Would they need two tables to sit opposite the EU’s one table? Would it all be lost in translation? Would we get two or more deals, and then need another referendum (or more)?

This is all looking like a complete mess; a dog’s Brexit.

Who’s going to vote for that?

Seeing is believing, so have a look at this video for yourself.  And do the Remain campaign a big favour. Share the video widely (along with this blog, of course) with all your friends, family and co-workers.

There is only one official ‘Remain’ campaign, so only one name to remember: ‘Britain Stronger In Europe‘, with a credible plan to keep Britain in the EU; with the support of the government, a number of Conservative MPs, most Labour MPs and the Labour Party, LibDems, the TUC and most trade unions, many leading businesses and ordinary voters; all talking with each other and our allies in Europe; all around the same table; all grown-up and very sensible.

I know who I’ll be voting for..


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*A ‘dog’s breakfast’ is an informal British saying meaning ‘a complete mess’


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