Daily Debrief March 15th

“Brexit Campaign has the edge”

An encouraging headline in The Daily Telegraph reports an exclusive opinion poll which shows that Brexit supporters are more enthusiastic, and more likely to vote, than “Remain” supporters.  I have always thought that this was the case, but it’s nice to have it confirmed by research.  The latest raw preference figures give Leave a two-point lead (49/47).  But if we factor in likelihood to vote, Leave has a seven-point lead (52/45).

According to Sir Lynton Crosby, now writing for the Telegraph, the Referendum result will hinge on whether voters perceive the risks of staying in as greater than the risks of leaving.  The fact that voters have already identified “the risks of staying in” as a major factor is a big success for the Leave Campaign.

Tony Blair recently recognised the “enthusiasm” factor when he urged the Remainians to be more passionate.  But let’s be honest – it’s kind of difficult to be passionate about staying in the EU.  It’s summed up by my favourite misquote of Yeats: “The INs lack all conviction, while the OUTs are filled with passionate intensity”.  We’re going to win this one on differential turn-out.

Cameron and food prices

Classic FM reports that Cameron will today claim that Brexit will mean higher food prices.  It’s difficult to see how.  We shall stop paying billions a year to subsidise French (and other European) farmers.  We shall stop paying the EU’s Common External Tariff on food imports.  I suspect that the Prime Minister will rely on a very speculative prediction that Brexit could mean a weaker Pound, which would mean higher prices for imports.  Of course the Pound may weaken.  And pigs may fly, in which case we can have bacon wings for breakfast.

Other pro-Brussels organisations like the AA and ABTA have relied on the same speculative “weaker pound” argument for their scare-mongering.

My good friend and colleague – and UKIP Agriculture Spokesman – Stuart Agnew MEP tells me that beef could be cheaper after Brexit, and that “The reality now is that global volatility has a far greater bearing on food prices than EU membership”.

The truth is that, In or Out, no one knows what will happen to exchange rates in the future.  I suspect that there will be some turbulence in the markets over the Brexit period, but my bet is that over the medium term, the Pound will appreciate.  Given the choice, and having seen the €uro débâcle, would you  expect the €uro to be stronger than the pound?  I doubt it.  ABTA might also reflect that while a weaker pound would increase the cost of foreign holidays, it would be a boost to tourism in the UK.  And a welcome boost to exports.

Farmers for Brexit

Following on from food, and given the dearth of Brexit stories on today’s front pages, let’s turn to the Farmers Weekly, which is running an internet poll on Brexit.  As I write, there are 2698 votes, and the current state-of-play is 68% for Leave, 23% for Remain, and 9% undecided.  Of course we must heed all the usual caveats about internet polls.  They’re a self-selecting sample.  It could be that 68% of farmers really want to leave.  Or it could simply reflect the disparity between the voting propensity of the two sides (see the first story above).  Either way, it looks like good news for Brexit.

Cameron has recently been warning farmers that they will lose their CAP cheques if we leave the EU.  Yesterday I Tweeted: “Cameron is warning farmers that Brexit will mean losing CAP cheques. He’s too young to remember that we had a perfectly good farm support régime before 1973”.

Firms slash recruitment, anticipating the “Living Wage”

The Mail reports that firms are cutting staff, slashing recruitment and dropping employment perks in anticipation of the “Living Wage”, which it describes as “crippling”. At first sight, this scarcely seems like a Brexit issue.  But remember that Cameron is seeking some small and rather trivial changes to in-work welfare benefits for migrants, which he says will reduce the “pull factor” (though few analysts agree with him).  But the Living Wage will massively increase the pull factor, and the huge disparity in wages between the UK and Eastern Europe.  Without Brexit, immigration can only increase.  (And then there’s Turkey…….)

Hottest February on record

Again, not an obvious Brexit story – until you consider the massive impact that Brussels’ climate obsession has had across the continent, undermining both competitiveness and energy security.  The Indy is predictably alarmist.

We should bear in mind that for two hundred years we have seen a steady upward trend in mean global temperatures.  This predates any significant CO2 impact from the Industrial Revolution, and is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term cyclical trends which are undeniably natural.  So we should expect to have “hottest years on record” every so often – given that our records don’t go back to previous Warm Periods like the Mediæval, the Roman Optimum, the Minoan Optimum and the early Holocene Optima.

Add to that two other factors: the NASA data quoted seem to come from ground stations, which persistently return higher figures than (arguably more reliable) satellite data.  Plus the current El Niño event in the Pacific, which is well-known to deliver a global temperature spike.  My advice: don’t turn off the central heating just yet.














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13 Responses to Daily Debrief March 15th

  1. Let us bang this uncertainty bit on the head.
    We are currently members of the EEA.
    We ought to join EFTA on 24th June when the LEAVE Campaign wins the referendum (or even if it doesn’t). The Spinelli Group has suggested “Associate membership” for the UK and they understand that we do not fit in. That way everyone will know what is going on.
    No disruption.
    But this is not forever!
    We need to sit down and talk. We need first of all to make it perfectly clear where we stand on immigration. We need to make it perfectly clear that we are aiming at complete independence from Europe in the long term. Then there are some other matters – Non Tariff Barriers and standardisation, NATO and our declining and powerless military, foreign policy (Syria/Iraq and, more important, the Ukraine) – that need to be discussed urgently.
    Then we leave – but this will only – can only – be after at least two years.

    • There has been some discussion, Mike, about the EFTA/EEA options. But I think these will be hugely difficult to sell to the voting public. They are very difficult to understand, and they involve keeping many of the aspects of the EU that we’re trying to get away from. I’m prepared to keep an open mind — but my instinct is for full independence, followed (during the two-year Article 50 process) with an FTA.

      • Edward M says:

        Roger, I fully agree. EFTA/EEA are not just simple FTAs and outer’s would feel stitched-up if we still ended up tied to the EU. Having (hopefully) regained independence we would want to retain it and use it – an FTA or WTO rules would be preferable to EFTA/EEA.

      • pirate3012 says:

        But who is going to negotiate the terms of the withdrawal? Not the leave groups. Surely the civil servants will want to pursue the least damaging route, which would be to retain access to the single market. We’d still be able to use the existing emergency brake in the EEA agreement to have more control over immigration. The EU itself does not make a high percentage of the EEA rules, it takes them from global bodies. And as Norway has shown with the postal directive, you cannot be forced to implement the EU rules. A safe landing for the UK may encourage others to make the break too. As long as we get out of the EU, that’s all that matters to me as a first step. Once out we can plan our brighter future; there’s no need to rush.

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    On the subject of employment/recruitment. We know about Polish etc in UK but don’t hear about the wonderful working life in EU (europe)…do we? Well, this scarily involves unqualified workers on Nuclear Power stations and a lot more:

    A recent Dutch investigation:

    There is a bit more to this and is about big deductions to workers pay.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Follow up:
      “EU court entertained bogus case on welfare rights”

      A case involving a Polish man, a Dublin-based international recruitment company, a Belgian legal firm, and two Cypriot-based lawyers.


      So why would the EU be a better place than anywhere else was before the damned thing existed?

  3. davidbuckingham says:

    Very impressive, persuasive Derby performance Roger – and I thought your co-conspirator was also v good and clear, spin-free, making excellent points. Couple of things particularly came out to me.
    1. Re the current focus on risk and uncertainty – they must be greater when you have little or no control over your own affairs, whatever circumstances unfold.
    2. As with impact on food prices the single market needs to be perceived as synonymous with higher prices for those within the EU: i.e. focus on the protectionism, tariffs and regulation compliance rather than with the virtues of so-called free trade within the EU.

  4. Shieldsman says:

    Lynton Crosby is getting in on the act, as far as I know he is reasonably honest.
    The other day we had Blair’s spin merchant – the WMD man – Alistair Campbell poking his head above the fence in the pro EU Observer, with ‘This slavish Brexit propaganda would make Pravda proud’.
    As a left- winger he writes about the press – the coverage of the EU referendum so far is taking them to fresh depths of dishonesty.
    Hasn’t he noticed all the ‘porkies’ and scaremongering are coming from the lips of the Prime Minister, he is the one using his position to bring politics to a new low.

    Campbell said I am not a huge fan of David Cameron, but at least he is fighting for what he believes in. Now what might that be, he has me confused.

    David Law did his kiss-and-tell act in the Mail on Sunday so who will be the first to have the scoop on Cameron’s CON TRICK. e.g. CAMERON NEVER INTENDED TO LEAVE THE EU – ‘I HAVE REFORMED THE EU’ PLANNED MONTHS AGO

    How many people will read ‘Foreword by the Prime Minister’ in the (mythical) best of both of both worlds.
    It makes lots of claims but as we know there was nothing really new in the deal. The two items of little consequence, welfare payments (not finalised) and the red card may not be approved even if we do stay in.

    Roger, how can we get this out into the wider world, the media are slow, but if one takes it up they all follow.

  5. Jane Davies says:

    Just heard this on our news here across the pond, David Cameron has criticised Boris Johnson’s suggestion that a Britain outside of the EU could follow the Canadian model of getting rid of tariffs and having free trade deals with other EU-member nations to which Cameron has retorted “Canada is a country 4,000 miles away from the continent of Europe that does 10% of its trade with the European Union. We are a country just 20-odd miles from the continent of Europe and we do 50% of our trade with the European Union. So a Canada deal is not the right deal for us.” He also accused the Leave campaigners of making it up as they go along.

    But Canada is also free to trade with whom ever they like all over the world and are free to negotiate that trade on their own terms.
    I’m not too sure if bumbling Boris is an asset to the Leave campaign or a hindrance.
    Why is he being billed over here as the voice of the leavers?

  6. Shieldsman says:

    The best of both worlds, are there really two worlds, there is only one EU with two major currencies, the Euro and the £sterling.
    There was all that fuss about adding “It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.” to the treaty some time in the future, but not removing ‘ever closer union’ from the treaty.

    Is Cameron being being a bit thick here? Surely our whole argument for leaving is that we never voted to join the political union that each new Treaty, Maastricht, Lisbon dragged us further into the political union.
    He gave away “(UK) will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (economic and monetary union) while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of non participating member states”
    Come the next treaty the direction of travel is already known, a greater federal state with deepening monetary union, but Cameron will not be around.

    Back to best of both worlds, I am sure an astute person could pick it apart in no time.
    Ever hopeful Dave having got nowt – the task of reforming the European Union does not end with this agreement, and I will continue to pursue the further reform.
    Now we have this new agreement, I believe the answers lie inside a reformed Europe.

    Pure bull, I cannot find this reformed Europe.

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