Monday, 20 June 2016


I have just received the EU Myth Buster from the Brexiteers. Firstly it still has the already proven wrong 350 million a week claim, as well as the nonsense about expansion to new members including Turkey. This is all scare mongering and the gall of the Brexiteers to claim it is Remain that are using economic fear to win the argument is just nonsense.

On the back the great and the good making their arguments. I wanted to go through them one at a time.

1) Sir Richard Dearlove - former chief of MI6.

"Brexit would bring about two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights ... and more importantly, greater control over immigration from the European Union."

Sorry but this makes me very worried when a former head of the security service thinks that not having human rights is a good thing. This is the person who was in charge during 9/11 and then the dodgy dossier fiasco. Regarding his second statement, is the EU a source of terror threats to the UK? The 7/7 attacks were home grown and we do control immigration from outside the EU. He is also on record as stating that the media have exaggerated the threat from Islamic terrorists. So maybe he thinks the French farmers have been radicalised and are a threat?

2) Tim Martin - chairman of Weatherspoons

"The EU places tariffs on goods from outside the EU, which is bad for British shoppers and the developing world. And the EU forces us to charge VAT on goods, pushing up bills for working families."

By his argument leaving the EU and becoming one of those countries outside this is going to be good because now we are subject to those tariffs he is talking about. The levels of taxation are set by governments and they are to make sure that the finances of the country are in good order. The UK sets its own levels of VAT. These had to be increased because of the banking crisis not the EU. When we face tariffs because we are outside of the EU tax levels are likely to rise even more.

3) Nigel Lawson - former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

"As Chancellor, I became increasingly aware that, in economic terms, membership of the EU did us more harm than good. Outside the EU, we would prosper, we would be free and we would stand tall."

Sorry Nigel but this is pure rhetoric without a single shred of evidence or valid argument. He was last Chancellor in 1989 before the Berlin wall had fallen. The world has changed a bit since then and certainly the economy has changed beyond all recognition. Free and tall are not economic arguments, they are useful for boxers and cage fighters but they do not secure wealth for nations.

4) John Longworth Director of the British Chambers of Commerce.

"The EU interferes with UK firms and stacks the rules in favour of a select number of big businesses. It we Vote Leave jobs will be safer. We can have faster growth and greater prosperity in the future."

The EU spends a very large amount of its business spending on what are called SMEs and not the very large firms. Big business and big interests are very effective at lobbying the EU. My dad was a lobbyist for the Cattle Breeders Association and the UK farming industry which is hardly a big business. He would have never dreamed of voting out. The EU actually is more effective than the UK in dealing with the excesses of global business such as Microsoft and Google. These are companies that individual nations do not take on. In fact the UK government is noticeable in its reticence to get involved in taxing many of these businesses (Vodaphone is a high profile example) which get special tax deals that are certainly not given to small UK firms. Exactly the opposite to his claims is closer to reality.

5) Gisela Stuart Labour MP

"The rights we have won for British workers came from our Parliament, not the EU. The EU is run in the interests of the big corporations who spend billions lobbying to make it work for them."

I think that billions is an exaggeration. Even big business cannot spend that much on a Parliament that has so little legislative authority. I seem to remember the Conservatives opposing EU legislation precisely because it did protect worker's rights and asking for opt-out clauses. I seem to remember the social charter causing uproar from Mrs Thatcher, which does not agree with the MP's claims. It was only finally accepted in 1998 by a Labour government. I was also discussing this issue and where Deutsche Bank would move to if there was Brexit and the wife of one of their employees said not back to Frankfurt because they are only allowed to work a 37 hour week in Germany because of the EU legislation (that has not bee adopted by the UK) whereas her husband has a 67 hour week here.

It is amazing that in 5 quotes there is not a single good reason to Brexit. There is nothing there that is not fabricated, untrue or not pure fallacy. If that is the best they have got in their arguments then the Remain camp have very little to worry about.