Daily Debrief REFERENDUM DAY!
One chance in a lifetime for freedom! Vote Leave.
Today’s the day!
This pretty much sums up what most of the papers have to say. The “i”: “On your marks; get set; VOTE”. Telegraph “The time has come”. The Daily Star: “Your Country. Your future. Grab the future by the ballots”. Indy: “The Day of Reckoning” Morning Star: “Decision Time”. Mail: “Too close to call”.
The Telegraph adds “Allister Heath: Vote Leave today, and in a hundred years’ time, historians will celebrate”. And a piece by David Twiston Davies: “Young Europhiles need to stop patronising their elders: we know the EU far better than you”.
Others make no secret of their stance. The Express: “Your Country Needs You: VOTE LEAVE TODAY”. (I like that one). The Mirror: “Don’t take a leap in the Dark”. Guardian “Last-Ditch push to stay in Europe” (they mean “in the EU”). They could equally have said “Last ditch push for Brexit”. And the Sun: “Independence Day. Britain’s resurgence. You can free UK from the clutches of the EU today”. It includes its campaign slogan “BeLEAVE in Britain”.
But the Daily Mail has perhaps the most interesting front page. Under a banner headline “NAILED: FOUR EU LIES”, it announces (1) Talks with Turkey WILL start in days; (2) Brexit WON’T start a trade war, say the Germans; (3) Brussels will NOT reform open borders; (4) Deportation of jobless EU migrants a MYTH.
The FT offers “Tension mounts in the City ahead of historic vote” with stories of Forex counters under pressure. The Times Business section leads with “City banks tell clients to prepare for Brexit chaos,” managing to combine a last gasp of Project Fear with reasonable advice in the face of possible volatility.
“Scotland holds the key”: In an arguably hubristic headline, the Scottish Daily Mail leads with “Scotland hold the key to Brexit”, adding “As polls open in historic referendum, result of a knife-edge contest could hinge on votes cast here”. Of course the Scottish result is of particular interest, given the SNP’s position, but a Scottish voter has exactly the same weight as every other voter in Britain. In the least surprising story of the day, the BBC offers “Welsh voters go to the polls” h
Brexit dominates social media
The Express reports both Twitter and Google saying that interest in Brexit is running around double that of Remain. This tends to support the view that enthusiasm and differential turn-out may win it for Leave. Let’s build on that and get the vote out today.
German Business leader says no post-Brexit trade barriers
A leading German businessman Marcus Kerber, head of Germany’s BDI (like our CBI) has said that the EU must not impose trade sanctions against the UK after Brexit – “It would be a very foolish thing to do”. As I have repeatedly said, if the European Commission delays a free trade deal with the UK, it will find the CEOs of major German companies kicking its door down.
Meantime, French economists and a major German newspaper, Die Welt, have taken a very relaxed view of Brexit and do not expect it to cause economic damage.
And even the IMF joins in: The IMF has grudgingly admitted that Brexit “may not even cause a recession”. Well thanks guys. We appreciate you starting to tip-toe towards reality. Pity you didn’t mention it earlier.
Wolfgang Schaeuble, the powerful German Finance Minister, in an angry broadside at Brussels, has said he sympathises with British voters who want to leave the European Union. The EU’s leadership has become “self-regarding”, has gone “too far” and lost touch with voters across the continent. “The Britons who’ve expressed scepticism in the European Union have also to a certain extent expressed our concerns,” Mr Schaeuble told a conference in Berlin. This strikes a much more emollient tone than his previous comments, when he insisted that the UK could not access the Single Market after Brexit – “Out means Out” – and added that there could be “no way back” (that’s a relief).
PM offering contracts & gongs to secure Remain support from bosses
Several papers and LBC report Boris Johnson’s claim that the PM is leaning on businesses, and offering contracts and honours, to ensure support for Remain. If true, this marks a new low in British politics.
Sturgeon: “Scotland could drop the Pound and adopt the €uro”
Nicola Sturgeon says that if Britain votes to leave the EU (and she’s assuming Scotland votes Remain) she could ditch the Pound and adopt the €uro. She seems to think that this is a credible threat. Personally I have more respect for the common sense of the Scots than to believe for a moment that they would regard the €uro as a policy to vote for. Try selling that one in Sauchiehall Street, Nicola.
Patel: “Schools will need 260,000 new places and £1bn by 2030”
The Telegraph reports Employment Minister Priti Patel saying that schools will need 260,000 new places by 2030 at a cost of £1bn a year for children arriving from the EU if we vote to Remain. The Sun ups the ante to 570,000 children, a figure also quoted by the Mail. The discrepancy arises because the higher figure assumes that the current five accession states all join. But the lower figure is scary enough.
EU citizens rush for UK passports
The Express and Mail report a 29% surge in applications for UK passports by EU citizens in a year. The papers attribute the rise in demand to concerns about Brexit.
In Calais, migrants rush for UK-bound lorries
The Mail is the only paper I’ve noticed reporting the running battles in Calais where police are battling migrants intent on stowing away on British-bound lorries. Again, fears of Brexit are blamed for the latest rush.
Are the polls right?
Polling guru Peter Kellner in the Guardian asks whether pollsters have called the referendum right. But as the polls are close to a dead heat, they are more or less right either way.
The big question:
When you wake up tomorrow, will you be living in a free, independent, democratic global trading nation? Or in an offshore province in a country called Europe? Your call.