This was how Spitting Image lampooned David (now Lord) Steel and his “go back to your constituencies and prepare for Government” end note to his conference speech. As UKIPERS you should all prepare yourself for the fact that we will lose a referendum on EU membership. We will probably put up a decent fight, but we will lose. Of that there can be no doubt. And the country will be much the poorer for it.
Dr Richard North notes that in May 2013, according to pollsters YouGov, support for leaving the EU stood at 47%, for staying in stood at 30%, 4% saying that they would not vote in the referendum and 19% were undecided. Now the split is as follows: exit 39%, stay in 39%, would not vote 4%, and undecided 17%. If we take into account the status quo/better the devil you know effect, we are doomed. Why has this level of support dropped away?
Do people actually know what they would be voting for or against? That might sound like an appallingly elitist question, but hang on and ask yourself this question: how does the European Union actually operate? Do people know how the European Council makes its decisions, what the remit of the European Commission is, how many Commissioners can you name, what powers the European Parliament has, how the budget is raised and allocated, what OLAF does, who runs the European External Action Service, what the role of the European Investment Bank is, and so on and so on? Also, how does a country actually leave the EU? And to me, the most important question of all is, what exactly are we going to do once we leave?
Without knowing what the EU actually is, and how it works is something that UKIP should be doing. We should be holding seminars and town hall meetings, addressing schools, arranging public debates and radio phone-ins. If we do not, and my bet is that we will not, we will get a few decent second places and lots of credible thirds, but not one MP, and without a voice at Westminster, our cause is lost.
Next week, UKIP Daily will be taking an in-depth look at the prospects of winning an In/Out Referendum, and how we can secure the ‘Out’ vote that is so badly needed. If you would like to contribute an article on this topic, please contact Donna@ukipdaily.com