Thursday, July 14, 2011

Right. Again.

Some years ago, at the fag-end of 2009, I was excoriated by people in the Albion Alliance—indeed, they accused me of having been subverted (maybe even with large amounts of EU cash).

Why?

Because I said that the time was not right for an in/out referendum on the EU. My reasoning was, quite simply, that we would not win: the voting projections were too tight, I maintained, and the EUphiles have dined out* on a referendum victory of about 40 years ago (that wasn't even on the same issue).

So, I am interested to see this little post from EUReferendum...
In August 1974, a private poll conducted for the Labour Party showed that, should there be a referendum on membership of the Common Market, 50 percent would vote to leave, against 32 percent who would vote to stay in, a "huge" lead of 18 points.

At around the same time, Gallup confirmed these proportions, with a poll coming out at 47-30 percent in favour of leaving, exactly the "huge lead" about which the Mail is crowing. Then, as history will recall, when there was a referendum nearly a year later, 67.2 percent voted to stay in, while those voting to leave had fallen to 32.8 percent – a "huge lead" of over 34 percent.

And therein lies the most important issue in relation to those who call for, or argue for an in/out referendum on the EU. Those who advocate such a course of action must be able to show that a slender majority in favour of withdrawal prior to the event would be able to survive a prolonged sustained attack from the Europhiles, once a campaign had started.

To believe that a referendum is winnable on the basis of a helpful poll showing is self-delusion of the worst kind. And without the evidence and arguments to demonstrate how the UK could benefit from withdrawal from the EU, we would stand to lose any referendum.

Assuming the EU lasts as long, that could set the cause of euroscepticism back a generation. And, with that much at risk, with very little assurance that we could win, one really does wonder about the motivations of some of those who support the idea of a referendum.

Quite.

So whilst some might think that I took a "moronic stance on the EU Referendum, through [my] lack of understanding of politics", I think that my understanding of politics—and the history of politics—is rather more complete than anyone who argues that "the EU Referendum must be now".

Let me state again why this last view is mistaken: because those of us who wish to leave will lose. It is as simple as that.

Back in 2009, I said that we needed at least another five years in the EU—ensuring that the pain is hammered home to the British people—before we might have a chance of winning such a vote.

And I stand by that, no matter what the current polls might suggest.

* And fucked us all up the arse.

9 comments:

Michael Fowke said...

So another three years to go, then.

I just hope there's something to save.

Hugo said...

Solution: don't have a referendum. Just leave.

Blue Eyes said...

It's similar to the Scots and NI situations. In NI there was a body of unionist opinion that called for a referendum on the basis that a unionist win would hammer the nationalists for a good long time. In Scotland lots of people support the SNP but would vote against independence in a referendum so to have an early referendum would harm the SNP cause immensely.

What Eurosceptics need to be arguing for is for national governments to take advantage of the current crises to throw a spanner in the works towards ever closer union.

ENGLISHMAN said...

If not now,when?3 years and if the time is still not suitable?I agree that there is something in what you say,but in three yeas the eussr will have us done up like a kipper,o lord make me good,but not till tomorrow.

mojo said...

Face it, you silly buggers went and joined a dinosaur herd, and now that it's rather predictably dying off, you can't find a way to leave.

You shouldn't have joined that imminent failure in the first place.

Devil's Kitchen said...

mojo,

Part of the point, of course, is that "we" not only joined said "dinosaur herd" before I was born, but the referendum on staying in was held before I was born too.

And I'm nearly 34, so it's not like I just missed the boat...

DK

Anonymous said...

The referendum that we did have, all those years ago, was not about joining the EU, it was about the Common Market.

It's as if you got married, then years later your missus started going to church every Sunday, and by default that has somehow joined you in holy bloody wedlock to the entire contingent of the Catholic Womens' League.

I think the Yanks would call this "bait and switch".

I agree with your point about avoiding overplaying the eurosceptic hand. It is too soon, and the public aren't yet furious and vengeful enough.

Monty

James Higham said...

If you would care, DK, to read the post which went up two minutes ago, it updates my stance.

Anonymous said...

My recollection is of the "No" media turning their coats, becoming "Oh well, I suppose it would be for the best if we joined."