The Spectator's Notes

Why did Cameron call a referendum if he thought it could start a war?

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: why clamping down on tax havens would be seen as gross interference; Jeremy Thorpe; the BBC and North Korea; Sats

14 May 2016

9:00 AM

14 May 2016

9:00 AM

One of the many problems with David Cameron’s threat that leaving the European Union could plunge us into war is that it sits so strangely with how he spoke about the EU before he called a referendum. In those days, he was studiedly cool about the union: he had no sentimental attachment to it, he told us, just a pragmatic weighing of the advantages for Britain, depending on what he could obtain. His ‘deal’ for a ‘reformed Europe’, supposedly essential to recommending a Remain vote, contained no Tolstoyan themes at all, just stuff about when migrant EU workers could claim benefits and suchlike. When he now says, ‘By the way, if we leave we’re all going to die,’ one feels he should have thought of that earlier.

‘In the modern world,’ says John Major, supporting the EU, ‘you have to share sovereignty.’ Does the United States, China, India, or Japan do this? Does Australia, Canada or New Zealand? Are they all wrong, Sir John?

I am no tax expert, but when 300 economists, particularly if led by Jeffrey Sachs and Thomas Piketty, all agree about something — as 364 did that Mrs Thatcher, in 1981, was messing things up — one can be confident they are mistaken. The 300 want this week’s global anti-corruption meeting to clamp down on tax havens. This is, among other things, an attack on Britain, because they call on us and the United States to deal with ‘all countries for which they are responsible’. This ignores the fact that some such places — Jersey and Guernsey, for example — are not governed by Britain, though they share the same Queen; and that others, such as Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands or the Caymans, though colonies, have systems of self-government. In any other context, a British attempt to overthrow these systems would be regarded as gross colonial interference. At any one time in the world, there are lots of places or countries which provide services which citizens from other countries find useful. Britain, for instance, is the main place to settle disputes in maritime law. Tankers are Liberian or Panamanian registered. Macao used to thrive on gambling because mainland China prohibited it. Cannabis may be smoked in Colorado. The state of Delaware gives more freedom to companies than other US states. An expert in the field tells me that 80 per cent of all the world’s mutual funds are established in Cayman, so it is probably true to say that every single one of the millions of British citizens with private pensions depends to some extent on offshore arrangements, and the British government’s own pension fund has billions in offshore investments. The same expert informs me that while Britain is only now enacting ‘beneficial owner’ identity collection rules, Bermuda has had a government-vetted register system since 1943. ‘Offshore’ is, in principle, a legitimate means of competition by which a small place can gain advantages over a big one. Has much happened in the past ten years to show that big ‘onshore’ countries are better at regulating their financial industries than the hated offshore?


John Preston has just published a gripping account of the Jeremy Thorpe case, A Very English Scandal (Penguin). Sometimes the details make one laugh out loud or gasp with amazement at the tale of the shooting of Rinka, the Alsatian dog, and all that followed. But although I was completely carried along by the narrative, I found myself resisting the book’s implied conclusion that Thorpe’s acquittal of conspiracy to murder Norman Scott was a disgrace. Possibly I am biased, because my father worked for Thorpe over some of the period involved, writing his speeches and giving him political advice (luckily the personal and constituency sides of things never fell to him). But the point that emerges very clearly is that almost all the people involved — Peter Bessell, Scott, David Holmes, Andrew ‘Gino’ Newton, perhaps Thorpe himself — told lots of lies. There is almost no part of the narrative, therefore, which can confidently be believed. So when George Carman QC, counsel for Thorpe, decided not to call his client in his trial, he was doing the right thing. If he had called him, Thorpe would have had to admit to various homosexual affairs which, though not strictly relevant to the case, would in those days (the late 1970s) have ruined him. Instead, Carman set about destroying the credibility of the witnesses against Thorpe, and triumphantly succeeded. After long debate, the jury decided to acquit Thorpe. They were surely right. Juries are not supposed to guess about who is guilty (if I had to guess about Thorpe, I would guess that he was), but to decide on the sole basis of the evidence heard. The acquittal was a triumph for the jury system.

Preston records that my father drove Thorpe to Downing Street for his leader’s talks with Ted Heath in February 1974 about forming a coalition. If this were true, it would conclusively prove that Thorpe really was an insanely compulsive risk-taker, since my father has never learnt to drive. I checked with my father, and he assures me that he arrived in one of the passenger seats.

It’s not all bad in North Korea. You can at least expel the BBC, as happened this week, when you consider that it is ‘speaking very ill of the system’. No such luck here, where the BBC’s supporters hijack the Bafta awards to speak ill of our system and the corporation claims the continuing right to demand licence-fee payers’ money with menaces.

Sitting on a train to Scotland last week, I found myself opposite a mother with a dear little dark-eyed son. By their accents, clothes etc, they were clearly not from the educated classes. The boy had a textbook open, and his mother, encouraging him to do some work, pointed to a word in it and invited him to read. ‘Onomatopoeia,’ he said without hesitation and with perfect pronunciation. Maybe these hated Sats tests are working.

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Show comments
  • Jojje 3000

    Yes, the states of the US do share sovereignty, and it turns them into the worlds sole super power.

    • Richard Lutz

      Seems to me that the UK should share sovereignty with Saudi Arabia so it would then become an oil rich nation. Don’t know if this would mean British paedophiles could marry little Arab girls, but some people seem to think that would be the blood price of boosting the wealth and power of the UK. Oops! Is it racist to mention that Saudi Arabia facilitates the rape of little girls?

      • Jojje 3000

        But oil doesn’t make you rich anymore, update needed.

    • Freddythreepwood

      Do you think the EU would be justified in declaring war on the UK because of our refusal to share sovereignty, as happened to the southern states?

      • Jojje 3000

        Hmm, do the UK feel a bit like the southern states ? Will you try to form a the confederation of breakout states ?

        • Freddythreepwood

          Do I take that as a ‘yes’?

          • Jojje 3000

            Please do.

          • Freddythreepwood

            In which case, we will be ready.

      • Richard Lutz

        Sadly so. The Confederacy… I mean the UK, must not be allowed to succeed from the EU. The US… I mean the EU, must not be allowed to dissolve even if this means war.

    • WFC

      So too did the states of the Austo-Hungarian Empire share sovereignty. It turned them into the sick man of Europe.

      Which one do you think the EU most resembles?

      • Jojje 3000

        The states of the Roman Empire also shared sovereignty – admittedly under some pressure to do so – and it turned them into a influential power with enormous clout.

        • WFC

          Until the Germans turned up.

  • Richard Lutz

    I heard that he meant to say that leaving the EU could lead to war when he announced the June referendum at a press conference in February but lost his post-it note that reminded him of this grim possibility, and that the post-it note recently turned up in the pocket of his other jacket.

  • jack

    Perhaps, deep in his heart he is a warmonger just like his ideal hero Mr Blair.

  • commenteer

    I doubt if the boy’s good spelling had anything to do with school. The mother had simply realised that if you want your children to learn, teaching has to be done by the parents.

    • tjamesjones

      spelling? no marks for comprehension.

  • monsieur_charlie

    If I’ve got it right, what he is saying is if we vote Brexit and stop bribing them with all our money, they will revert to their age old habit of killing each other at the drop of a hat. Well, I think thats an offer he shouln’t turn down. Bite their hand of Dave, you’re unlikely to get a second chance

  • tjamesjones

    it’s true, Cameron’s positions don’t add up that well. It’s also not a big deal, is it? We’re not voting on whether or not any two arguments about leaving or joining the EU are consistent. We’re voting whether or not to leave the EU. As a conservative I’d need an overwhelmingly clear argument for leave. Which doesn’t exist. What does exist is lots and lots of parties around the world saying they think we should stay in. I just don’t buy the argument that they have some malicious interest in supporting Britain remaining in the EU. I think they genuinely think it’s for the best. Perhaps they’re right! Even if the EU is annoying, which it is, why am I in an argument with those people (US president, IMF, former Oz PM etc). I just don’t care that much, the argument isn’t made, so I’m out (well, I’m for the status quo, so I’m in).

    • tjamesjones

      and save your breath if you’re going for the “voting to remain isn’t voting for the status quo” line, as if any two uncertain things are by definition equally uncertain. They aren’t. Remain is the best option I’ve got for the status quo.

      • What will the EU and the UK’s position look like in 5/10-20 years – any idea? If not, how is that “voting for the status quo”?

        • tjamesjones

          No idea Phil. Wouldn’t have a clue. Won’t be on the ballot either, it’s either “in” or “out”. Best I can do is “in”. I genuinely have sympathies for Brexit but Outers have not managed to get anyone I respect to come on board. Poor old Dan Hannan was having a go at the investment banks on twitter, and claiming start-ups are pro brexit but no evidence of that and not my experience. So in the absence of a compelling argument I’ll stick with the devil I know.

          • Conway

            Is that the best you can do? Nobody you respect is in favour of Brexit? Good grief! I suppose you respect Mandelson, Heseltine, Brown, Blair, Kinnock and Clegg, do you? Most of whom, may I say, have a financial interest in staying in which they consistently fail to declare (their generous EU pensions depend on their promoting the undemocratic, failed, would-be superstate).

          • tjamesjones

            that’s not an argument for change Conway. It’s a list of relatively annoying largely left-wing politicians. I’m talking about outside the political realm. Dan Hannan is one of the major voices for Brexit, and he’s tweeting b&llocks about the major investment banks. Yes, that’s what I’m looking for an argument with the financial services sector.
            bottom line is that the burden of proof is on Brexit campaigners, and if you haven’t got a compelling argument for change, then it won’t happen. Listing people you don’t like who are in favour, isn’t an argument for change.

          • Check out Daniel Hanan’s speech at 31:15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYTJGBBjkGo.

            And George Galloway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym7ENcDeE3w.

            Also Michael Gove’s article: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/michael-gove-why-im-backing-leave/.

            Also Professor Patrick Minford re: economics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg4VJPrNFeY.

          • sebastian2

            My hunch is that some see the EU as a sort of business and financial closed shop – under corporate control – and the UK as a cashpoint endlessly coughing up for the EU’s many failed or questionable projects, subsidies and bail-outs.

            Besides, it’s about more than money, important though that is. It’s about whether or not we have sovereignty, the supremacy of our laws and our parliament and the control of our own borders. All else is secondary.

          • tjamesjones

            this is just rhetoric. the EU isn’t going away, however much of a bureaucratic mess it is. We’re going to keep dealing with it, trading with it, in or out.

          • sebastian2

            Of course the EU isn’t going to go away and nobody is suggesting that it will. The intelligent position is separation from Brussels, and close co-operation with Europe as based on mutual interests, of which there are many and which will probably continue largely unaffected if the EU knows what’s good for it.

            I’ve never really understood why we need an expensive and unaccountable bureaucracy, rule obsessed and gluttonous for power, to mediate and control our dealings with European countries and the rest of the world. Brussels is politically far removed, culturally haughty, and otherwise irrelevant.

            We’re better without it.

          • tjamesjones

            this is the crux of the issue. Janan Ganesh was making the point months ago, that the case that the EU is crappy is much easier to make than the case to exit it. We don’t get to vote on switching from the status quo (which means what we’ve got right now) to some neater and nicer arms length relationship, which probably a large majority of us would prefer. In the very first instance, the EU would probably make a point of being a horrible counterparty for all the necessary negotiations. After all, as you’d no doubt agree, the EU is not obviously best at acting in simple “mutual interests”, for various reasons including the expensive and unaccountable bureaucracy.

            Tyler Cowan has just made this point on his blog:

            http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/05/dalibor-book.html

          • sebastian2

            So, with friends like that who needs enemies??

          • tjamesjones

            the world is what it is. if you want perfection, try socialism.

          • Dacorum

            You must have a short memory!

            It was all the usual supporters in the current Remain campaign who were strong supporters of joining the ERM around 25 years ago and then the Euro some 15 years or so ago, saying we would be ruined if we didn’t join the ERM and later the Euro. They got it very badly wrong then so why do you believe these incompetent idiots now? They are always wrong.

            Haven’t you heard the saying “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. But what makes it even worse is that you appear to be volunteering to be fooled three times in a row!! It is time you woke up and realised you are being fooled again.

          • tjamesjones

            I have no idea who was in favour of ERM, Euro, nor do I see that as at all relevant except to make the opposite point. The fact is we didn’t join the Euro, we stuck with the pound. That was the correct + conservative thing to do, not buy into some new project.

            Likewise, I don’t buy the Brexit project. Over these months there has been a chance to make a case (as some change is good, even if most isn’t). But the case hasn’t been made. When your argument resorts to ranting about elites and claiming every international organisation or investment bank has some obscure vested interest, as poor old Dan Hannan has been doing, I think it’s time to admit that as nice as it would be if the UK wasn’t part of the EU, there’s just no good reason to leave it right now.

          • Dacorum

            “I have no idea who was in favour of ERM, Euro, nor do I see that as at all relevant except to make the opposite point”.

            What a truly bizarre answer! And of course it is relevant!!

            John Major was the leading supporter of ERM and threw billions away in a totally futile attempt to keep us in the ERM and here he is campaigning for us remaining in the EU saying it would be disastrous if we left! The fact is that he ruined us in the early 1990s, he split the Conservative Party over Maastricht rather than support a referendum and so paved the way for Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.

            I suggest you wake up and smell the coffee. The self serving elites you kowtow to are not there to serve our interests and neither do they know any better. They have always been wrong over the EU and that is why you should do the opposite and vote for Brexit.

            Voting to Remain is NOT voting for the status quo. The aim of the EU written into the Treaty of Rome was to work “towards ever closer union” which is why the EEC has become the EU, there is a single currency for the vast majority of member states and increased majority voting that means we are always outvoted. A vote tor Remain will be the green light for greater EU integration which they will be able to push through because we are in a permanently outvoted minority. There is much to fear from a Remain vote but you haven’t even considered that.

            Finally has it not occurred to you that every international organisation or investment bank that supports our EU membership does so because it is in THEIR interest to do so. They are not concerned about OUR interests which differ from theirs!

          • tjamesjones

            personally, if I found myself ranting about unaccountable or self-interested elites, I’d wonder what exactly I was getting myself into.

            specifically, you have a complicated argument about the politics of ERM. concluding in the 1997 election won by Tony Blair. Well isn’t Tony Blair in favour of staying in the EU? And your Euro point, wasn’t Gordon Brown firmly against the Euro, and so we stayed out? And isn’t Gordon Brown in favour of staying in the EU?

            International organisations and investment banks do have different interests to me, or you, or the UK. But that is not an argument to ignore their views!! At some points their interests will overlap with mine (the economy, to which the IBs contribute much employment and tax).

            Of course I’ve considered the downsides of remaining in the EU, but it’s a known quantity. It isn’t perfect, it is annoying, it does impose costs. But you know what, life goes on. Let’s leave it to the socialists to put their faith in a world that doesn’t exist that has all the answers.

          • henwilv W

            your naivité and ambivalence are typical of those who do not wish to think – you make yourself irrelevant

          • tjamesjones

            all too relevant I’m afraid HW. lacking a convincing story, Brexit has failed to convince people like me who could have been convinced. Trying to argue that voting “remain” is not a vote for the status quo is a symptom that Brexit just doesn’t have a compelling case. So out will lose.

          • Sirgar

            I think some of these predictions won’t be too far out if we stay, http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/670954/economy-take-big-hit-if-stay-in-EU-Patrick-O-Flynn The EU economy is still dropping and it’ll be dragging us with it, it’s a basket case, be prepared to pay a lot, lot more money.

          • tjamesjones

            1. maybe those predictions will turn out true, maybe they won’t. I don’t know.
            2. what’s to say leaving the EU won’t help cause these sorts of problems!
            3. the UK is kind of stuck with the EU on its doorstep whether it’s in or out
            4. If there is to be a recession in mainland Europe, would it be such a bad thing if London and the rest of the UK picked up clever staff immigrating (as has happened as france has been attacking its high earners the last couple of decades).

      • Conway

        Status quo means nothing will change. There are five new, very poor, countries with their applications in the pipeline and the EU is already in the process of moving towards closer fiscal union, not to mention establishing its own armed forces, so remain is anything but opting for the status quo.

        • sebastian2

          Indeed – today’s status quo is not tomorrow’s. “Ever closer union” will guarantee that.

          • tjamesjones

            good grief, isn’t this a Tory paper? The UK is a deeply integrated member of the EU and has become so over 40 years. The EU might suck but membership is the status quo. The ref asks the question: do we change that? The answer “no” is the status quo vote. Note to readers: this doesn’t mean it guarantees that the world will never change.

          • sebastian2

            I would say that the UK is a deeply resentful member of the EU. Our integration with this anachronistic bureaucracy was never anticipated at the Common Market outset but has crept upon us by degrees and on devious politicians’ tip-toes.

            If what we see now had ever been in a mainstream party’s manifesto, their electoral prospects would’ve been zero.

            Status quo or not – I don’t care. The only Status Quo I admire is the rock band, and the only status I want is Brexit.

          • Dacorum

            “good grief, isn’t this a Tory paper?”

            True conservatives believe that we should govern ourselves so that we can preserve our identity, our culture and way of life. It was Sir Robert Peel who defined conservatism in his Tamworth manifesto as “the correction of proved abuses, and the redress of real grievances” and we can only do that if we govern ourselves by voting for Brexit, You are not a conservative.

    • Conway

      As a conservative (sic), I’d need an overwhelmingly clear argument for staying. There isn’t one. You’re right the EU is annoying and it’s going to get more so, not to mention more expensive and dangerous.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      There is no ‘status quo’. Well, apart from the popular beat combo, as Ian Hislop would say. That is why Cameron and his team have very careful to not allow the risks of staying in to be bandied about. His £9m taxpayer-funded Masterpiece of propaganda is a prime example. Not a word about the Eurozone, EU banks about to go under, the impact of uncontrolled immigration, or Syrian migrants being thrust onto us.

      • tjamesjones

        sigh. there is a status quo, and that is to vote “remain”. this is by far the weakest brexit argument. nobody who is uncertain about the issue is going to stand in the ballot box and think “oh well, there is no status quo, I’ll just pick one side at random”.

        Someone who is overly concerned about immigration and Syrian migrants might just vote Brexit, you’re right about that, but that is nothing to do with voting for the status quo…

  • davidblameron

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Thursday, 23rd June : your local polling station : Vote L E A V E<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

  • AtMyDeskToday

    “By their accents, clothes etc, they were clearly not from the educated classes.”

    …but clearly not the vulgar snob that you are Mr Moore.

    • Conway

      Is “dark-eyed” a euphemism?

      • Flintshire Ian

        Non reflective I would guess, but he can’t say that.

    • jeffersonian

      How is that snobbish? It’s simply a statement of fact. Professional offence-merchants are what’s poisoning public life.

    • Ade

      …but the boy shows he IS educated. So what class were they from?

    • Flintshire Ian

      Maybe not the same social class? But they were in the same class of train carriage.

  • Bodkinn

    I am puzzled and I suspect I am alone. Where were all these threats of dire consequences if we left the EU a year or two ago. Every day we are confronted with an orchestrated line up notables from all sorts of disparate organisations telling us that everything from job losses to WW3 will result from Brexit; it will be the end of civilisation as we know it. If all this is true, why was it not made known when a referendum was first spoken of? Why waste all the time and money needed for a referendum if it was fully known by the powers that be that we are imprisoned in the EU with only suicidal consequences if we break free? If Mr Cameron knew he had all these experts on his side panting to reveal the awfulness of EU free existence he could easily have used them to crush the ambitions of his Eurosceptic back benchers and all the other Brexiters years ago. The idea of a referendum would have been still born. So did these experts exist in their present form a year or two ago or have they been conjured into existence for a special purpose?

  • PETER NEAL

    BECAUSE HE IS MAD NORMALLY AT HOME WITH A WHITE HANDKERCHIEF ON HIS HEAD AND TWO PENCILS UP HIS NOSE AND A LABEL HANGING FROM HIS NECK SAYING THE WORDS I LOVE THE EU

  • Toby

    “Why did Cameron call a referendum if he thought it could start a war?”

    If I remember properly when David Cameron was elected the new leader of the Conservative Party (why it is beyond me) he did not want to know or to be involved in the EU debate. Push by UKIP he has to be involved, since he has been pretending “I do not exclude anything” when he never had one minute thought about getting out of the EU. He called the referendum because he was cornered to do it. It is as simple at that and now he is proven dishonest about the issue; that badly dishonest, even me, I am suprised..

  • monsieur_charlie

    We should vote out to save our bacon.

    • rjbh

      Nae… Vote in to have our cake.. and eat it.

      • Dacorum

        No! If we vote In, we pay them to eat all our cake!

  • tonyjakarta

    ‘The acquittal was a triumph for the jury system’ a system we are destined to lose when the EU decides to impose its own judicial rules on us.

  • Marvin

    He lied about Titan prisons, he lied about locking knife carrying thugs up for five years, he lied about the Bill Of Rights and the ECHR, he lied about reducing migration, he lied about almost every cowardly demand in his manifesto to reform Europe, though reform is his buzz lie at the moment, he lied about WW3, he lied that he would walk if he did not get any of his demands, SO! still believe a word he says you fools who cannot make up your minds?

    • congreve

      Many who are indifferent to the EU question will vote Leave so that Cameron walks.

      • veryveryoldfella

        I consider it to be the icing on the cake if Brexit happens, watching him scurry out of No 10 and hopefully a Conservative leader walking in.

      • Marvin

        The British public has seen through the lies of this narcissistic “Man who would be god” attitude towards us peasants.

  • JohnnyNorfolk

    Cameron is bonkers thats why.

  • katie65

    Take the economy out of it, just for a moment, take the EU as it is today out of it, because it is ever changing, more rules regulations, in the pipeline, an EU army has already started to be formed, immigration into the UK understated by 2 million, NHS facing ruination, schools overcrowded, and getting worse. I was always taught look after your own first, then help others, however we are not looking after our own are we?? Outsiders are being put in front of our own people, and not just in the UK. It will not change my life when i vote out, but if it means my grandchildren will have a country to indentify with then yes I will vote out. Immigrants who come here always talk about their homeland go back love it. Where will my grandchildren go?

  • Marvin

    Because these Cretins are dogma filled into thinking that us peasants do not need any respect or consultation, and we must obey our supreme toffs no matter what. They are educated as such that they need not THINK before saying or doing ANYTHING. We do not deserve the effort, so everything they do is lies, spin, rhetoric and deceit.

  • Jacobi

    Cameron is an enigma. He has it wrong so often, one just wonders.

    His consistent pro-USA stand in Iraq and Libya is now seen to have been disastrous as are his pro-Saudi and pro-Turkish policies.

    The Scottish referendum was badly handled . All he had to do was to say to Scots, in or out and if out, the barriers go up from Burnmouth to Gretna. But instead he has created this carping whinging slide towards independence.

    What a lousy manager of matters he is proving to be!

    He is now panicking about Europe, a situation of his own creation. There was no need after all to call a referendum.

    He has gone along with the myth that EU immigration is the great danger while deliberately
    ignoring the fact that non-EU immigration, which he has control over, is far worse. and as for his anti corruption campaign well he really should start with UK before he gets round to Nigeria.

    I suppose it is just the fact that Labour are in an even bigger mess that keeps the Tories
    going!

  • chalkhillblue

    Rinka was a Great Dane (not an Alsation) as is pointed out in the book review on page 36.

  • United Kingdom of Great Britain economy generates 4pc world GDP:

    Second-largest EU economy measured by nominal GDP

    Second largest stock of inward foreign direct investment

    Second-largest stock of outward foreign direct investment

    Fifth-largest global economy = G5

    Ninth-largest global economy measured by purchasing power parity

    Fifth-largest importer

    Ninth-largest exporter in the world

    Fastest growing economy in the G7 for four consecutive years

    Regarded as one of the world’s most globalised economies

    All this, I suggest, in spite of the burden of European Union membership to where we contribute 9.9pc of the entire budget yet are rewarded with less than 1/28th influence and at over 70 times is the most outvoted EU country!

    Trade in the EURO|zone by all leading EU countries is in decline. The share of world output accounted for by the 28 current members of the EU has fallen from 30% to 17% from 1980 to 2015.

    United Kingdom liability for 2015 EU membership £18 billion:
    The ‘rebate’ was worth £5 billion.
    UK government paid £13 billion to EU.
    EU spending on UK was £4.5 billion.

    Brexit for better prospects on all essential fronts!

  • Tom Cullem

    Why? It’s perfectly obvious why: just as when he agreed to the Scottish indy/ref, he thought the polls were so far apart the IN vote couldn’t lose. Like most politicians, he never looks beyond the end of his nose. Then came the migrant crisis, the annual rising immigration numbers, Merkel opening the gates of Europe to the Third World and then the EU trying to shove mandatory migrant quotas down the EU’s throats, Paris and Brussels, the impact of the recession, the housing crisis, the primary school places crisis, Greece, the “deal” with Turkey (now on the brink of collapse) and the prospect of millions of Turks flooding into Europe on their visa-free status, and the total bungling of the EU in addressing every last one of these issues.

    Came the day, World Events struck, the polls drew closer together, and Cameron was forced to make clear where he really stands and has stood all along: NO BREXIT, NOT NOW, NOT EVER.

    He has always been a complete Europhile, and wouldn’t have backed a BREXIT campaign if Germany sent U-boats into the Dover Strait.

    He hasn’t a shred of personal integrity and has lied to Britain from the start, and is still lying. It is astounding to me that anyone with sense wouldn’t immediately vote the opposite of whatever this PR windbag supports.

    • antoncheckout

      The British electorate is incurably gullible and irredeemably poorly-read. Whatever someone in a suit tells them ‘could’ happen is good enough for them to believe.
      Whatever lessons we have gained from history go completely ignored.

      • John

        Amen to that.

  • Santiago

    Evidently Cameron called the referendum as he arrogantly assumed the country would fall into line with his wishes, and predetermined stance on the matter. World events have played favourably for exit however the hubris of Cameron is the inability to see beyond the confines of his own Shire.

    Incidently I would guess that this dark haired child was in fact Scottish, attended a respectable school where they still taught Grammar much like one of your successor’s, Fraser Nelson’s alma mater.

    The descent of Cameron began from true Conservatism to the the neo liberal group think that has dominated the last two years of his tenure when he reigned on his decision to reintroduce Grammar Schools throughout the entire UK, even though it was shown that a majority of Conservative voters wished their return only in order to gain leftwing votes.

    It would be interesting to see the level of attainment and education in the country after twenty years of their reintroduction under a new more contemporary model and what it would do for overall educational attainment for the entire population irrespective of level without even mentioning the dreaded phrase of “social mobility”. A term almost as loathsome as “the politics of envy”.

    Always a pleasure to read Charles Moore.

  • davidblameron

    Cameron painted himself into a corner over the EU referendum ; we have short memories, before the last General Election, serious people were saying that he has cunningly provided himself with wriggle room by being in coalition with the EU-fanatical Party, the Lib Dems. A clear majority for him at that Election (which nobody including him expected) meant he had to stick to his pledge for a referendum.

    • Roger Hudson

      We don’t have short memories, Cameron is a zombie premier , whoever loses.

      • davidblameron

        you didn’t get my well explained meaning : he is staging the forthcoming referendum because he had no choice ; he only promised it because he, like many others believed that UKIP would take former Tory votes in marginal seats that it would let Labour in . Joke is, many erstwhile fervent UKIP supporters defected back to the Tories (many with a heavy heart) because they dreaded a Miliband/SNP deal so after all that, he didn’t need to promise it in the first place.

  • grumpyoldrockape

    If British voters don’t have the guts to stop the madness, they will
    have a few more months/years of suffering — but the EU will eventually
    self-destruct.

    Cameron’s mate Obama will be out of office next January, so his stupid threats about
    UK/US trade have absolutely no merit at all. He is lying again
    (still). Obama lies to US citizens constantly, so Brits shouldn’t take his threats
    personally.

  • davmut

    I live in the Canary Islands and the drivel that expats are believing is astounding; some of them are preparing to return to Britain if you vote out, their stupidity is astounding.The politicians are telling us so many lies it is as if the Country didn’t exist at all before the EU.

    • Roger Hudson

      All expats are secure under non-EU treaties, but it does show how ‘project fear’ has been made to work. Whoever loses the whole referendum debate has poisoned politics, probably beyond repair.

    • Bertie

      That’s because they’ve been frightened into believing post Brexit, if that’s the way it goes, they’ll be dispossessed and deported.

      Seriously – what kind of arsehole tells such lies.

  • ‘By the way, if we leave we’re all going to die,’

    He never said that – this paper is a bit like most UKIPpers – it pretends people say things and then criticises them for (not) saying it.

  • Central power

    “We are swamped with all these Europeans.Our schools and hospitals can not cope.” Farrage et al
    Facts:most migrants from the EU are working and young with hardly any demands on the health service.
    There are 11 million children in the UK. 50 000 children are from Europe (according to The Migration Watch).
    Non European immigration is twice as high as European. Many Europeans will return home. This can not be said about non Europeans. Most schools in Birmingham and London have practically only non European children.
    How will Brexit solve this problem? Gove, Farrage, Johnson – not a word.

    • Bertie

      “Farrage et al
      Facts:most migrants from the EU are working and young with hardly any demands on the health service.”

      How does that alleged fact of yours square with:

      “MASS immigration is costing British taxpayers £17billion a year, a bombshell report warned last night.”

      The burden of public services, benefits and pensions for migrants and their families far outstrips the income from what they pay in taxes.

      Migrants contributed £89.7billion in taxes but received £106.7billion in public spending during 2014-15, the report shows. The cost to taxpayers included a staggering £20billion paid in working-age benefits. They also received £21.4billion in working-age welfare payments, including jobless benefits, housing benefit and tax credits.

      http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/670875/migrants-cost-britain-brexit-eu-referendum-migration-report

  • mikewaller

    The opening paragraph above is so stupid it makes me despair of the human race. What was Cameron supposed to do when entering negotiations with other members of the EU, say it was the best thing since sliced bread and that under no circumstances would we consider leaving?

    As usual, the same shallow thinking infects Moore’s remarks about the BBC. There are many things individuals don’t want that that the government makes them pay for under threat of criminal prosecution. People who privately educate their children still have to help fund state schools. People who use private healthcare still have to pay for the NHS. Pacifists still have to pay for the armed services. Those who have never seen an opera have to help fund this art form etc. etc. The only difference is that the BBC is funded out of the license fee which sensibly gives it a bit more distance from government. The net effect is an extraordinary range of services, highly appreciated by tens of millions, and all for a very modest £12 or so per month. Let Murdoch and his greedy pals (including Moore’s new best friends, the Rothermeres] destroy this arrangement and the costs to viewers, listeners and those who use the wonderful website would go through the roof.

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