Saturday, October 10, 2015

ON BRITAIN AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

From the perceptive of an outsider looking in, the vote on whether or not the UK should exit the EU is simply fascinating.   It pits family against family; political party against political party and, within political parties, it pits the pro and anti factions against each other.

The only (major) political party firmly committed to exit is the UK Independence Party (UKIP).   Indeed, it could be argued that this single question is the sole rationale for its existence.   On the other side of the fence the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) are staunchly pro Europe.

That leaves the Tories and Labour.   Up until recently the Tories appeared more split on the issue.   The Conservatives have always had a Euroskeptic Wing while David Cameron will be campaigning against any exit on the back of a promise to renegotiate a more favorable deal for the UK prior to the referendum.   Labour on the other hand has appeared more pro Europe but, with the election of Corbyn as Labour leader, the dynamic has changed.   The Islington North MP voted to leave Europe in the 1976 referendum and has been criticised by senior Labour MPs for refusing to pledge he would vote to stay in the EU whatever the outcome of Cameron's renegotiation of Britain's membership.

It was announced yesterday that Lord Stuart Rose, Conservative Peer and former chief executive of 'Marks & Sparks' (Spencer) will lead the campaign for Britain to stay in the EU.

That was preceded by the launch of  'Vote Leave' made up of Conservative, Labour and UKIP MPs and donors.   That grouping is being challenged by the UKIP backed 'Leave EU' campaign for the right to be the official 'Out' campaign in the referendum.   Clearly there is a personality clash between Nigel Farage (UKIP leader) and Douglas Carswell (UKIP's sole MP).   They are playing for high stakes ... whoever is recognised as the official mouthpiece of the Nays gets to benefit from an increased spending limit (up to STG 7m) during the campaign; the ability to make campaign broadcasts; free mail-outs to households; access to public meeting rooms; access to the electoral register and public grants up to STG 0.3m.

So. between the Yeahs and the Nays and between that Nays and the Nays it's on for young and old.   I do so enjoy blood sports.

  

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