Friday, January 15, 2016

From "Project Fear II" to "Project Threaten"

I do not think I am the only floating voter in the EU referendum who is seriously annoyed by those on both sides of the argument who have moved from a "Project Fear II" approach of trying to scare people with what might happen if the vote goes a particular way to open threats that the EU will sabotage Britain/England in the event of a "leave" vote.

This is NOT all coming from supporters of "Remain" either.

The original "Project Threaten" article, which I have referred to a couple of times already, appeared in the Guardian and was written by Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk, called "It's time for Europe to turn the tables on bullying Britain." It was accompanied by this cartoon showing a larger than life figure representing Europe threatening to thump a smaller one representing Britain, and Mr Luyendijk's words as a caption:

"The best way forward for Europe is to threaten to hit the English as hard as we can."

Stephen Kinnock MP, son of Neil and Glenys, put it even more brutally in the House of Commons yesterday when he suggested that in the event of Brexit the European Union would give the UK "what would amount to a punishment beating."

Guido Fakes writes here that this argument is a "fantasy:" I hope he is right - and he certainly should be and may well be - but Kinnock and Luyendijk are not the only ones pushing this sort of line.

In today's Telegraph Fraser Nelson has an interesting piece called A vote to leave the EU is no guarantee we'd shake off its' malign influence."

Quoting some of the problems of the Norway option - where he expresses some of the same concerns I quoted in a recent post - he goes on to make the suggestion that the EU might try to make it difficult for Britain post BREXIT even if this were not in the EU's own best interests.

He quotes David Oddsson, former Prime Minister of Iceland, as warning that if Britain voted to leave and then attempted to strike a free trade deal, the EU would “try their best to make sure it would not work … if a country left, and it did work, it would be a humiliating example for them.”

I find the deployment of this argument a very unhealthy one which is likely to be actively counterproductive.

Those who want Britain to remain and use threats to try to keep us in the EU are being very foolish because this is likely to produce the opposite reaction to the one they want.

Those who want to leave and raise the issue run the risk of giving the rest of the EU ideas - if people respond with anything other than outrage they might be more likely to think they can get away with such behaviour (though it would of course be self-destructive for them too.)

Not a good idea, guys. Leave this one alone.


Jim said...

Look, here is a consolidated (33 page) outline of our exit plan.

Now, the example you posted is saying that the EU wont allow the first stage, thats the EFTA/EEA route. But its very unlikely this will ever happen. Firstly the EU wont concede that we get a better deal than we have now, why? - because lots of others would want it too.
its also unlikely they would block us from getting the same deal, why? it could mean a recession for us. A recession for us is a recession in the EU at a time when the Euro is a long way from being "out of the woods".

Is the EU irrational? - well yes at times.
Does the EU make some bad decisions - Yes it does
Is the EU un - democratic? - You are damned right it is
Does the EU have a death wish? - Well luckily for us NO I don't see that it does.

Its in no bodys interest for the EU to Bash the UK post a vote for Brexit, it really is not.

Chris Whiteside said...

I agree 100% that it is nobody's interest for the EU to Bash the UK after a BREXIT vote.

I think you and Guido are probably right that it won't happen.

I certainly hope you are right and you certainly should be right.

I am annoyed and concerned that some people on BOTH sides of the debate are suggesting to the contrary.

You probably know the old James Bond quote from "Goldfinger" that

"Once is happenstance,
twice is coincidence,
the third time is Enemy Action."

The first time I saw this argument I thought the person making it was doing a false flag or needed to be detained under section II of the mental health act for his own protection.

But then I saw it twice again today, and from both sides.

I hope this is stamped on.

Jim said...

But then I did not respond with outrage, I responded with a coherent, thought through six stage exit plan. To be honest if doing that gives the rest of the EU Idea's to come up with a "remain" plan (as the status quo is never on offer) then to be honest, I welcome it.

Chris Whiteside said...

Well yes, but you are more rational than many people. There will be some who do respond with outrage.

Those who respond with coherent logic, yes that should indeed be welcomed.