A Strategy for Victory

By MARCUS STEAD

NORMAN Tebbit is arguably Britain’s greatest political strategist, and his game plan for winning the 1987 general election should still be used as a blueprint for any political party or cause serious about victory.

I share the view he expressed in the Telegraph recently that we should put no more reliance on the opinion pollsters forecasts than the forecasts of The Treasury. His guess (and again, I agree) is that subject only to some game changing event, the outcome of the referendum will be too close to call up to the final week of the campaign.

With less than three weeks to go before polling day, the official Leave campaign, and indeed the unofficial bodies working for the same aims, ought to take a moment to think seriously about the strategies they are applying.

My ‘gut instinct’ is that we are winning the argument with the general public, though there is certainly no room for complacency and there is much arguing and debating to be done before polling day.

It’s time to move the debate beyond economic arguments. This isn’t two sides haggling over the price of a car. There are fundamental principles at stake and we on the Leave side need to raise our game and play to our strengths.

Let us remember who our opponents are: The bankers, the BBC, the President of the United States, the European Commission, big business, especially the foreign multi nationals, most of the Labour Party (though NOT rank-and-file Labour supporters, who are often more euroscpetic than their leaders), the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, and all those who wanted us to submit to monetary union and the euro (Heseltine, Mandelson et al).

The Leave campaign has thus far allowed our opponents to dictate the terms of the debate. This is a major mistake.

We should not allow ourselves to get too bogged down by statistics and numbers. As Mark Twain (NOT Disraeli) said: “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics”. This has never been more true. Every figure each side comes up with can be interpreted as incorrect by the other. Most of these statistics can be shown to be unreliable by identifying what criteria has and has not been used to reach them.

What we can say with absolute certainty is that in simple accounting terms, we will be better off because we pay into the EU far more than we get back. We could afford to finance everything at present funded from the EU and have a considerable sum of money left over.

We can also say that the argument about trade is a red herring. The Remain side is scaremongering by saying that British business would be badly affected by tariffs if we left the EU. The reality is totally different for three reasons:

  1. It is absurd to pretend that the EU would not want to trade with the UK if we left the union. They sell £60 billion more to us than we sell to them every year.
  2. It would be enormously damaging to the EU to not trade with us on mutually favourable terms. For example, Airbus planes made in Toulouse, France would not go very far without British made engines (Rolls Royce), wings and landing gear.
  3. Even if the Remain side’s doomsday scenario came about and no trade agreement with the EU could be reached (highly unlikely), modern global trade tariffs average under 3% in any case. Even if that was passed on directly to the consumer (another big ‘if’), most people planning to vote Leave would consider an extra 3% on the weekly shop to be a price worth paying for true national independence. (In reality, George Osborne’s ‘Living Wage’ is a bigger threat to the prices we pay in the shops, though again, this should not be considered a major threat).

We need to move beyond pure economics and focus on five core arguments:

  1. The Principle of Parliamentary Democracy

For as long as the UK is in the EU, whatever you want, you cannot have. The Westminster government works within the parameters of EU laws, rules and regulations. For example, there is a good argument for nationalising the steelworks at Port Talbot at the moment, but EU directives mean that is impossible. EU laws and regulations, devised by the unelected Commission, take precedence over those made by the people we elect at Westminster.

The late Tony Benn devised five tests you should apply to anyone who has power over you:

1. What power do you have?
2. How did you get that power?
3. In whose interests do you use that power?
4. To whom are you accountable?
5. How can I get rid of you?

Let’s now apply those tests to the European Commission:

1. What power do you have?

To propose legislation and enforce EU law, implement EU policies and budgets.

2. How did you get that power?

They were APPOINTED by the Council of Ministers.

3. In whose interests do you use that power?
NOT in the interests of the people of the EU.

4. To whom are you accountable?

Nobody, really. The European Parliament has few meaningful methods of holding it to account.

5. How can I get rid of you?

I can’t!

We need to hammer the message home that if you want to have the ability to remove those who make laws and regulations that affect your life, you must vote Leave on June 23.

  1. The Supremacy of British Courts

The European Court of Justice has the power to overrule the Supreme Court (a misleading title, as it is not the highest court in the land). The European Court of Justice also has the power to render legislation passed by the Westminster Parliament as invalid.

It is true that the European Convention on Human Rights is not an EU incentive, but implementing the Convention is a requirement of EU membership, and it was implemented by the UK in the Human Rights Act that came into effect in October 2000.

This has badly damaged the British legal system, as it has led to spurious claims on the grounds of ‘human rights’, such as an on-going case which will force the UK to give prisoners the right to vote.

If you want the highest court in the land to be a UK court, which implements laws passed by a UK Parliament, you need to vote LEAVE on June 23.

 

  1. Immigration

This is one area where the Remain campaign has really struggled to make an impact. That is because it is undeniably true that for as long as the UK is in the European Union, any EU citizen can move here for any reason. Even if they have no job, no skills, no family connections, or have a string of serious criminal convictions, we can do absolutely nothing to prevent them from moving to the UK.

Net immigration in 2015 was 333,000. We will need to build a city the size of Cardiff every year to house the growing population, or a city the size of Birmingham every five years. This is obviously unsustainable.

This mass, uncontrolled immigration puts ever-increasing pressure on housing, on school places, on NHS resources, and on transport infrastructure.

The Remain side like to twist the argument by saying that ‘immigrant workers’ keep the NHS functioning. This may be true, but that is surely an argument for a sensible, points-based immigration system by which we allow in those with the skills we need, rather than a free-for-all. On that basis, are we not discriminating against potential skilled immigrants from outside the EU, by giving EU skilled immigrants an unfair advantage?

The UK has around 1.6 million unemployed people. These are the people who should be doing the unskilled jobs, NOT EU immigrants.

Oversupply of Labour caused by uncontrolled immigration from the EU results in the suppression of wages. If there is an oversupply of anything, it makes sense to remove some of that supply, which in this case means unskilled labour from the EU.

Of course, we should not blame the immigrants themselves for this problem. It is perfectly sensible for them to take advantage of opportunities to move to a country where the minimum wage is several times higher than at home, and they are, for the most part, decent, hard-working people. The overwhelming majority of them are not abusing the UK’s generous welfare system.

But when young, unemployed British people are struggling to find work, or those in unskilled work have not had a decent pay rise in many years, we have to deal with the problem at its root cause, and this means voting Leave on June 23.

  1. The Ability To Negotiate Our Own Trade Deals

This is an area where the Britain Stronger in Europe is really misleading people. In November 2015, they stated: “Half of everything we sell to the rest of the world we sell to Europe.”

Notice how they refer to ‘Europe’ and NOT ‘the European Union’. This referendum is about the UK’s membership of the EU, not the geographic reality of Europe. So why is the appropriately-named BSE campaign misleading people?

If we look at the continent of Europe as a whole, around 55% of what the UK earned from exports of goods came from European countries in 2014. BUT if we include only EU countries, that falls to just 44%.

The last time the proportion of exported goods and services heading to the EU crossed the 50% line was back in 2008.

The EU is the world’s only shrinking market. It has a shrinking, ageing population and is riddled with debt, while the single currency limps from crisis to crisis (Greece is much closer to yet another bailout than the mainstream media is telling us).

To compete in the modern world, the UK will need to trade with China, India, South America, and, yes, Iran (a country of young, well-educated, outward-looking people eager to engage with the world). In other words, growing economies in places people actually live.

President Obama absurdly threatened the British people during his recent visit to the country, saying that the UK would have to go to ‘the back of the queue’ on a new trade deal if we left the EU. He seems to be forgetting two facts:

  1. He will cease to be President in January 2017, so that will not be his decision to make. The likely Republican candidate for the Presidency, Donald Trump, has been much more welcoming to the prospect of the UK leaving the EU.
  2. The balance of trade between the UK and the USA is roughly £56 billion each way. President Obama would therefore be harming his own country as much as ours by not agreeing a trade deal in a timely manner.

For as long as we are in the EU, the UK cannot sign its own trade deals, and will be hampered by EU competition rules.

Only by voting LEAVE on June 23 will we be able to trade on our own terms with leading markets.

  1. Control Over the United Kingdom’s Foreign Policy

In his meaningless ‘renegotiations’ earlier this year, David Cameron claimed he had got a pledge to excuse the UK from the principle of ‘ever closer union’ and this will apparently be enshrined in future EU treaties.

As I said on this website recently, there are two problems with this: 1. It could all fall apart as soon as it faces a ratification process, as soon as later this year and 2. One of the purposes of the Lisbon Treaty was that there should be no more treaties. In other words, in future, EU laws, rules and reforms will take place in a piecemeal way rather than as part of a major treaty. Whether this actually happens or not remains to be seen, but it’s entirely possible there will never be a future treaty in any case.

For a more realistic assessment of the direction of travel, we should look to what those who actually have power in the EU are saying. The Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has called for the creation of an EU army, and this claim has been backed up by our own former Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Do we really want British foreign policy to be determined by unelected bureaucrats? Do we really want British servicemen and women sent in to battle by an overseas government we cannot hold to account, and cannot remove in elections?

A secret paper entitled Global Security on Foreign and Security Policy has been made available to a select group of “trusties”, all sworn to secrecy. Its chief architect is EU Commissioner and foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Publication has been held back until June 24 for fear that  British voters might see that voting to Remain in the European Union is a far bigger “leap into the dark” than voting to be free.

This is very dangerous, but to be absolutely sure it does not happen, we need to vote LEAVE on June 23.

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Author: Marcus Stead

I am a freelance journalist and author living in Cardiff, UK. In my career to date, I have worked in newspaper, radio and online journalism. I have also had three sports biographies published, on jockey Frankie Dettori, rugby star Brian O'Driscoll and controversial cricketer Kevin Pietersen. The purpose of this blog is to give you a chance to read some of my work that has not yet been published in print form. If you wish to use any of this material, please drop me an email at: marcusstead@hotmail.co.uk. I am willing to adapt or expand the work in question to suit your publication.

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