Monday, February 29, 2016

A challenge to Brexit supporters from a floating voter

It's an unusual position for me to be a floating voter in any referendum or vote, but I still have not quite decided how to vote on June 23rd.

I would like to know exactly what the comparison is in terms of what the people supporting "Leave" propose Britain should do and what the people supporting "Remain" propose Britain should do before I make up my mind.

In the meantime I would like to issue a challenge to all the Brexit supporters who have been flooding my Twitter Feed, Facebook Timeline, and Inboxes with comments accusing "Remain" of following a "Project Fear" strategy,  pictures of various catastrophes with captions like "What George Osborne says will happen if you vote for Brexit" and please to avoid "scaremongering" from the Remain side.

This is the second referendum in Britain within two years, and the second time that the side of the argument who want all or part of the UK to leave the present arrangements has accused the side who don't want this of being "Project Fear" and scaremongering.

The following challenge does not apply to people who have only made this charge in the context that they have published an actual argument about why a specific claim which has actually been made by the "Remain" side was wrong.

So, for instance, it does not apply to people who have expressed the opinion, whether I agree with them or not, that the PM was wrong to suggest Brexit might result in the people who are presently residing in the "Jungle" near Calais having to be dealt with in Kent, if they based this objection on an actual argument such as the fact that the 2003 Le Touquet treaty under which the French police our border for us in France is a bilateral treaty which would not automatically lapse if we left the EU.

Now, I myself have previously published posts on this blog, particularly in the "Worst of both worlds" series, in which I produced specific arguments designed to prove that some people on both the "Leave" and "Remain" sides have suggested dire consequences of their opponents win which do not appear to be supported by the evidence. It's not producing reasoned arguments that I mind, whether I agree with them or not, because then you can debate them.

But I am getting more than  a little tired of the people on both sides, but particularly "Leave," who are producing a constant stream of this kind of allegation without bothering to back it up, often knocking down "straw man" arguments which their opponents had never actually made.

So here is the challenge

Can anyone, any one individual, who has published material accusing the "Remain" campaign of being Project Fear, of being scaremongers,  of threatening dire consequences if Britain votes to leave the EU, sign their name to a statement disputing that at least one warning of dire consequences in the event of an exit vote which was made during the 2014 referendum and dismissed at the time by the side who wanted to leave as "Project Fear" and "scaremongering" proved to be fully justified?

Just to refresh your memory, I will suggest one: "Better Together" and the UK government predicted that the SNP & "Yes" campaign's projections of the oil price were overoptimistic and that lower oil prices might leave a huge hole in the budget of an Independent Scotland.

On that issue the people who were called Project Fear" and accused of scaremongering were right.

If you think you have good reason to believe that something said by the other side is wrong, tell us what those reasons are. Suggesting that all and any warnings of potential problems by your opponents are just scaremongering with no evidence or argument to back up the charge is rather foolish and, if I am anything to go by, rapidly becoming irritating to floating voters.


Jim said...

Ok I think the following paragraph was pretty much excuding me from answering the challenge

The following challenge does not apply to people who have only made this charge in the context that they have published an actual argument about why a specific claim which has actuallybeen made by the "Remain" side was wrong.

So instead I will show you what out looks like, including the all-important why it looks like that.

We know all about the options presented. But remember this is a referendum to Leave or Remain in the EU. After the referendum the government will then (if instructed) negotiate a Brexit with the EU.
We know that immediate single shot exit, as Vote Leave proposes has no basis in reality. Neither our government or the EU would seek it, and would actively seek to avoid such a disaster. A sudden death Brexit has massive consequences for Britain and the EU alike, nobody wants it so they will not let it happen.

The government will want to keep single market access (not to is too damaging) this means at least a non-tarrif mutual recoginition agreement, but there is too much else to cover as well in the 2 year timeframe.
Also as the negotiations will be conducted by a government that did not even want to leave, it will likely look at off the shelf solutions. This means we'll look at every existing legal instrument presently available and arrive at the conclusion that the EEA is the best one on offer. It takes care of the fundamentals.

It means they will concede on “freedom of movement” but then this is not a referendum on freedom of movement, it’s a referendum on leaving the EU. (pity the poor drooling kipper, but that is the price of being stuck in transmit only mode, and remaining wilfully ignorant.
There will be those who mutter about the Swiss Option, but they haven't stopped to ask if the EU wants that. It doesn't. It puts Switzerland in a perpetual state of constitutional crisis and the EU hate having to tailor its system for the Swiss all the time.

In every respect both sides will play it safe. What we end up with will be as close to EU membership without actually being EU membership. And that's a good thing because it gives us much of what we want in the first instance - out of the EU, able to trade freely, a veto on new laws we don't want and control over fishing and agriculture.

If we want to go further we will have to evolve out of the EEA one issue at a time. Adding our weight to Efta, we have a good deal of leverage to renegotiate or even replace the EEA agreement for all Efta members - but that comes afterwards. In the meantime, our main concern is leaving the EU.

This is why the Leave campaign should be looking to play the long game and accept that Brexit is a process and not an event.

So there you go, you want to see what Brexit looks like then read Flexcit, honestly the government negotiating with the EU will arrive at this conclusion too.

Its what Brexit actually looks like, not what some of the campaigns think, but its how it really does look at the end of the day.

Jim said...

There you have it, there will be no end to freedom of movement, there will be no bonfire of rgulations and there will no savings of X thousand million "nurses".

What really happens is where we go after Brexit, and what doors we have opened, if the leave campaign were wise they would be focusing on Camerons deal, lets take the emergency brake on child benefits.

wow, in our first stage EEA option they will quickly realise that the EEA agreement (articles 112 and 113) allow an "emergency brake" - not jut on migrant child benefits (for a limited time) oh no, it allows an emergency brake on any of the 4 freedoms in totality.

the only one that has ever used it in anger is Iceland when after the banking crisis it temporarily suspended the free movement of capital. You see playing the clever game will win the support of people, coming up with unrealistic rubbish won't.

Im not going to tell you that Brexit is this great Eutopia, its blooming well not. Its going to be a long road to travel, but what the hell, at least we will be in the driving seat. I understand neither the government or the EU will go for a sudden death brexit (thankfully) so it wont happen anyway.

We have to stick to the real world here, as that is where we live and how it will play out.

Jim said...

That one point I can not stress enough, I have told you what out looks like. I have not told you what I want out to look like, I have not told you what I, or anyone else is campaigning for Out to look like.

Remember its a referendum to instruct the government to either negotiate a Brexit or not to. It says nothing about how the Brexit will be. That is key. If and when it comes to Brexit then that is the way the government (taking the adivse of its best economists and advisers), and of course the other negotiating partner, the EU, will go.

It's what Brexit Actually does look like.

Jim said...

Now, vote as you see fit, that is your decision to make, just which ever box you decide to put a mark in, please do it for the right reasons.

Chris Whiteside said...

Jim, thank you for those three posts.

You are correct that the challenge was not aimed at you because you have actually produced arguments.

If we get to June 23rd without a clear answer being produced by the "Leave" campaign to the question of what they want, then the government - whoever heads it, might still be Cameron, I would guess Gove - will have to answer the question and you may well be right about what they will go for.

Of course, the people who voted for Brexit in order to cap immigration won't be pleased.

I would prefer if both sides were much clearer about what they want to happen and think will happen if they win so that we can have an honest debate.

As Alistair Meeks posted at Political Betting today, the problem is that Leave seem to be trying to be all things to all voters. I suspect that may backfire on them.

Jim said...

Of course, the people who voted for Brexit in order to cap immigration won't be pleased

Nor will those who voted for a massive saving we can spend six times over on zillions of Nursers, and gold paved roads, and new schools with massage chairs in them so they can watch the bonfire of regs. As i said, no, I tend to keep that quiet, one "leave" vote is as good as another, that is the price for willful ignorance.

but, to the people that matter (the swing voter) then I think a campaign of honesty is the way forward, and am more than willing to debate the matter further to either you Chris, or any other reader who reads this blog and has any questions.

Jim said...

(a foot note on ignorance)

I had a face book post today here you go word for word "we could not join Efta for as long as it remains a member of the EEA."
I answered "erm, Efta is not a member of the EEA, that is why Switzerland are not EEA members, Efta is the European free trade Association, it has no membership of anything right the way down to a local scout group, its something you would take part in or not, and it takes no part in anything else."

the reply to that is awesome [direct copy paste] "You are clearly a UKIP hater who knows nothing of the EU, or how to research things for yourself. Its a shame as i thought i could have counted on someone like you to vote leave, its clear you are just another EU plant."

Chris Whiteside said...

Can't win with some people, can you?

Of course, at the moment EFTA, of which Britain was once a founding member, has four member states, of which three (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are currently also in the EEA and one (Switzerland) is not.

But pointing out the facts does, not sadly, endear one to everyone.