The ‘official’ campaign for the Referendum on June 23rd started yesterday, and we’re off! The two sides have limbered up their Big Guns, providing us with some amazing news.
Cameron won’t last 30 seconds if we vote for Brexit, says Ken Clarke as he warns of immediate Tory leadership contest
David Cameron ‘won’t last 30 seconds’ as Prime Minister if the country votes to leave the EU, Ken Clarke said last night.The former chancellor claims the idea that Mr Cameron could remain in Number 10 after a Brexit vote is ‘farcical’ and it would prompt an immediate Tory leadership contest.Mr Clarke, a longtime pro-European, also said the mood in the party was ‘dangerously close’ to that faced by John Major in the 1990s when he was under constant onslaught from Tories rebelling over the Maastricht Treaty.The Tory grandee is his party’s most senior figure to link the Prime Minister’s fate directly with the outcome of the referendum.His comments will be very unwelcome in Downing Street, where officials are keen not to make the referendum a vote on Mr Cameron’s future.
Here’s another Tory grandee, picking up on the issue we’re all worried about:
Britain cannot cut migration unless we quit the EU: IDS warns public services are coming under ‘unsustainable pressure’
The Prime Minister cannot fulfil his pledge to slash migrant numbers while Britain remains in the EU, Iain Duncan Smith said last night.Membership of the bloc means the UK has ‘absolutely no ability to control the numbers of people coming to this country’, the former work and pensions secretary said in a devastating attack on the Government’s immigration policy. […] The comments are Mr Duncan Smith’s most significant intervention in the Brexit debate since he resigned from the Cabinet last month over cuts to disability benefits.Describing the June 23 referendum as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity to become independent again’, he argued:[…] The EU is a ‘ratchet’ constantly increasing its power over member states and a Brexit vote would take power away from judges and unaccountable bureaucrats and restore it to elected MPs.The bloc is ‘driving to a predetermined destination’ and Britain can be ‘carried along in the boot of the car’ or ‘stride back into the light and take back control of our future’.
Ken Clarke’s remarks also attracted the attention here:
Mr Cameron earlier this week insisted he would remain Prime Minister even if he lost the historic in/out vote on June 23.But veteran Tory Ken Clarke has hit back today by claiming: “The Prime Minister wouldn’t last 30 seconds if he lost the referendum.” Heaping further pressure on Mr Cameron, he added: “We’d be plunged into a Conservative leadership crisis which is never a very edifying sight.” The former Chancellor and Home Secretary added: “He’d be in a farcical position having campaigned for a position that’s been rejected. He’d be a Prime Minister facing a parliament in which the majority of the MPs wanted to remain in the EU. ‘Leave’ is in a minority in the Conservative parliamentary party.”He also warned the Conservatives were “dangerously close” to being immersed in the “civil war” of the 1990s that left them unelectable for years.
And Boris naturally gave a ‘rousing’ speech:
BORIS Johnson tonight buried the dreary and passionless doom-mongering of the pro-Brussels camp as he countered their endless negativity with a soaring vision for Britain’s “glorious” free future. The roaring Mayor of London dismissed David Cameron’s “depressing” campaign and laid out how the UK will thrive free from the shackles of constant EU interference. In an upbeat speech which marked a stark contrast from the Remain camp’s constant moaning and scaremongering, the Tory big hitter thundered: “They say ‘it’s crap but we have no alternative’.Well folks, we do have an alternative and it’s a glorious alternative.”
Ken Clarke’s pronouncement also hit the headlines here:
David Cameron would be overthrown as prime minister within 30 seconds of a vote to leave the EU in the June referendum, Kenneth Clarke has said. In a direct challenge to Cameron, who told MPs this week that he would remain in office to negotiate Britain’s exit in the event of a vote to leave the EU, the veteran pro-European said it would be “farcical” for him to continue. […] The intervention by Clarke, whose frontbench career was revived by Cameron a year before the 2010 general election, will be seen by No 10 as particularly unhelpful.
From the Remainian camp, a Big Gun provides us with a nice dose of fear, well calculated to make us all rush to stay with Nanny Brussels:
George Osborne has issued a stark warning that mortgage rates will rise if Britain leaves the European Union.The chancellor said he thought it was likely interest rates, and therefore the cost of home loans, would rise if Britons vote to leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June. But Brexit campaigners accused Osborne of panicking and resorting to intimidating voters. […] The chancellor’s argument is that if there is a vote to quit the EU, sterling would slump and that would push up the cost of imports. That would mean rising prices and the MPC would have to act to prevent inflation taking hold.
Of course – because remaining in the EU would make us ‘inflation-proof’, right? Right!
For a stellar exercise in how to mislead with headlines, look no further:
Senior figures behind the campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union have advocated charging patients to use the NHS and cutting £50 billion of public expenditure to reduce the deficit. On Friday Vote Leave suggested that a large chunk of the UK’s £10.6 billion net contribution to Brussels could be diverted to fund the NHS if Britain quits the EU. But the ‘Remain’ campaign said such proposals were a cynical attempt to win support from floating voters – and directly contradicted previous statements by leading figures in the Leave campaign. These include Boris Johnson, who suggested that money currently being sent to Brussels could be used to build new hospitals. But the London Mayor is previously on record as suggested that he did not believe in a free NHS.
“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” – said John Maynard Keynes, allegedly. Remanians seem not to know this …
Here’s yet another Big Gun, a rather unexpected one:
The most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales has given the strongest possible indication that he backs remaining in the EU, saying that a vote to leave would result in Britain “facing more complex problems with greater difficulty in finding our role in response to them.”
Why don’t we channel the Elizabethan Times, under the glorious Elizabeth I, where people said ‘no popery’ …!
And then there’s Tony Blair – not on the Referendum campaign (yet):
Tony Blair used a secret trust to manage his multi-million pound fortune, it emerged on Friday. The former Prime Minister used an interest-in-possession (IIP) trust, which he has not previously disclosed, to receive payments for his consultancy projects, including his work with controversial regimes. IIP trusts do not have to file accounts, and can offer significant tax advantages, including the possibility of passing on wealth to children free of tax. MPs called for an investigation after it was claimed last night that consultants hired by Mr Blair’s lawyers approached Dave Hartnett, head of Revenues & Customs, to ask about the trust. Shortly after Mr Blair left office in 2007, two of his advisers discussed with HMRC officials how the fund would be treated for tax purposes, The Times reported. A spokesperson for Mr Blair said: “Tony Blair did not set up this structure for reasons of tax advantage. He has paid full UK tax on all his earnings.”
Of course he has! It’s all innocent – it’s Saint Tone, after all.
And finally, here’s a proposal from the Green Party, which truly deserves the label ‘you couldn’t make it up’:
The Green Party has suggested that men should be prosecuted if their female partner has an abortion, under Northern Ireland’s abortion ban. She [the leader of the Greens, NI] said: “This means that every time a woman faces prosecution or is prosecuted, the man can be charged and face the same penalty. The law would embed the notion that men are (1) also responsible for unwanted pregnancies and (2) will be [as] liable for their reproductive choices or lack of them- as women are.” Ms Bailey added that the law would be “in the interests of equality.”
“Reckless conception” – oh dear! Why not make a law against ‘reckless spouting of nonsense’?