The Referendum of Fear

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light – Plato

So it has begun. We don’t even have a concrete date set yet for the EU referendum and already the tried and tested strategy of the politics of fear is being peddled out by the “remain” group.

This week has seen a senior US official claim that Brexit would make it more expensive for British firms to deal with the USA, through the use of trade tariffs. We have also heard from Standard & Poor who have claimed that the UK would lose its coveted AAA credit rating if it votes to leave the EU.

Much the same as we saw in the Scottish referendum, it appears that the establishments strategy to keep us in the EU, will be almost entirely made up of doomsday scenarios should we have the audacity to vote “leave”.

I will touch on this in just a moment, but firstly lets look at the two claims made this week.

So the USA would “add” tariffs to trade with the UK in the event of Brexit. That’s the news being peddled by all the major media outlets.

There is one thing none of them mention, and that is the fact that the EU and the USA don’t currently have a free trade agreement in place anyway. That’s right, all EU countries currently pay tariffs on most goods sold to the EU, including the UK. The tariffs average around 3%.

That is mainly what the current TTIP deal being thrashed out by the USA and the EU is all about, trying to abolish those tariffs. So if we were to leave, and the USA made us pay a tariff, we wouldn’t be any worse or better off than we are in the EU from that angle. We would however be able to speak to the United States directly and influence our own trade deal, something we cant do at the moment. As the joint biggest export market for the US within the EU, I imagine we could negotiate just fine.

In addition, I don’t know about you, but I find it immensely hard to believe that the US would want to alienate its biggest ally by getting all draconian with its trade. It would be mutually harmful to each other if tariffs were introduced.

So that leaves us with the credit rating. I will just say that if the fact that the governments current national debt is at £1 trillion, and rising due to the deficit not being wiped out 10 years after the Tories taking power, then I find it impossible to believe leaving the EU will make the slightest bit of difference. If anything it should improve it, given we will immediately save the (current) £11.7 billion bill we will pay the EU in 2015.

During the Scottish referendum the establishment peddled the news that Scotland would lose out on trade and lose its credit rating. If that sounds familiar to the above, that is because it is exactly the same story.

They use it over and over because fear is an exceptionally good strategy. Whether it be the Scottish referendum, people voting Milliband in the GE, people voting UKIP in the GE, people voting Corbyn now or indeed voting “Leave” in the EU Referendum, it is effective and unfortunately it works.

We must not wobble, we must not fall for the same tricks again. We must demand they give us positive arguments to remain in the EU, and we must above all else challenge this news of fear where ever we see it, because the list of reasons for leaving are almost entirely positive, the lists for staying are nothing but fear and negativity. They struggle to give us a single positive reason to remain and that should be our greatest asset in the fight for Brexit.

You make of that what you will, but if we wake up after the referendum to find we have been fooled into voting “remain” based on a load of half truths and lies, then we truly will have had nothing to fear but fear itself.

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