Smoke and mirrors with one week to go

The talk will naturally centre on the Ipsos Mori poll which shows that a majority of Brits favouring leaving the EU has suddenly, savagely reversed into a majority wishing to remain.

This was first carried, online, by the big business daily Reuters UK and you’d expect it of them. Now the other dailies are picking up on it and so we get this ludicrous situation where the same article says UKIP will wipe the floor in the Euros but that those same people think UKIP racist and want to stay in Europe.

And this is it – the smoke and mirrors. The Telegraph gave various cogent reasons why the fickle public has reversed its view but this commenter gets, IMHO, closer to it:

As with the ONS statistic showing that 4000 Romanians have apparently quit their jobs just when all work restrictions have been lifted this is, to say the least, an odd finding. If it is to be believed, 54% of all Britons have suddenly had a “lightbulb moment” and realised the joys of staying in the EU. Equally strange is that it has appeared less than a week before the Euro elections.

At the same time, the Gorbachev quote about being amazed the EU wants to set up as a Soviet Union also comes out – the stakes are clearly high on this matter.

Ponder this YouGov poll from May 6th on the Euros:

UKIP 31%
Labour 25%
Conservative 23%
LibDem 9%
Greens 8%
Plaid Cymru 3%
BNP 1%
Other 2%

Now to the actual question:

‘If the EU can be reformed are you in favour of staying in a reformed EU?’

If the EU can be reformed. This is quite different to “if the EU can’t be reformed, which is the honest state of affairs [posts passim]. That question and the way the result was picked up as a desire to stay in is really quite criminal in its dishonesty.

The public or rather a section of it is actually beginning to believe Dave and his repatriation of powers, when so many students of the EU have shown, in chapter and verse, that there is no mechanism for doing so. The EU is structured to give directives and recommendations and to influence secondary legislation by financial incentive – how could Mr and Mrs Public hope to know that, except through a Clegg debate?

One commenter mentioned a Telegraph article from 2001:

THE European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the European Union can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents on civil liberties.

The EU’s top court found that the European Commission was entitled to sack Bernard Connolly, a British economist dismissed in 1995 for writing a critique of European monetary integration entitled The Rotten Heart of Europe.

The ruling stated that the commission could restrict dissent in order to “protect the rights of others” and punish individuals who “damaged the institution’s image and reputation”. The case has wider implications for free speech that could extend to EU citizens who do not work for the Brussels bureaucracy.

Does it not concern the public that the EU Parliament does not make legislation – that it is made by an unelected Commission? Apparently not. We cry out about the nest of vipers which is the parliament and the media but that nest of vipers knows its target voters very well, does it not?

And the racism slur has clearly left its mark. To not be against immigration but against uncontrolled immigration – just how is that racist? Name a country other than us who allows open slather immigration? Not even Italy, part of the EU, does that, not Germany, not France. And look at opinion in France now.

One last point for now is how much the comments threads have also been infiltrated by party trolls. It’s not hard to discern those on one side or those with reservations but then in come the mocking and they reduce the thread to a slanging match, diminishing its value in the eyes of readers.