Almost everything about the EU debate so far has been a fraud. The ‘Remain’ campaign has lied to the public about what David Cameron achieved in his ‘renegotiation’. They have lied about the consequences of leaving the EU, in the hope of terrifying us into staying. And now they are rushing us towards a referendum because the later they leave it the less likely it is that they will get the answer they want. An innocent might rub their eyes in disbelief that a Conservative Prime Minister with the connivance of nearly the entire political class could be trying to bounce us into such a decision.
But there it is. And now that the political class has arranged the stitch-up I suppose the rest of us will simply have to try – in the time we have – to un-stich it.
The ‘Remain’ campaign is certainly off to a predictable start. Setting the tone for the coming months, the Prime Minister this morning said that voting to leave the EU would be a ‘leap in the dark.’
‘Those who want to leave Europe cannot tell you if British businesses would be able to access Europe's free trade single market, or if working people's jobs are safe, or how much prices would rise. All they're offering is a risk at a time of uncertainty - a leap in the dark.’
None of which is true. Among the things that ‘Leave’ is offering is a return to Parliamentary sovereignty, a more accountable democracy, control of our own borders, freedom to strike trade deals around the world and the right to live by our own laws rather than those forced upon us by unaccountable bureaucrats in other countries.
By contrast, all that David Cameron is offering us is an unreformed relationship inside a political union which he and his colleagues have spent most of their lives railing against.
And neither can David Cameron tell us whether people’s jobs will be safe even if we do what he says and remain in the EU. Anymore than the Prime Ministers of Greece, Italy or Portugal were able to tell their people whether their jobs would be safe inside the EU. Which they weren’t. Likewise, David Cameron cannot tell us whether prices will rise or fall if we vote to remain in June. And despite his claims that the EU is good for our security he cannot tell us how we will be ‘safer’ in the EU, when our membership of NATO and the Five-eyes intelligence-sharing network, rather than the EU, are our most valuable security assets. Besides, how safe, exactly, has the EU made Germany, Sweden or France? Porous external borders, woeful checking processes and absent internal borders were the policy and plan of the EU. They have also proved to be a continent’s nightmare.
In fact there are far more ‘unknowns’ hanging over David Cameron’s case than there are over those who want to leave. For instance David Cameron cannot tell us why any future British Prime Minister would have any influence whatsoever in Brussels once we have voted to remain in. And that means that from June onwards (if the PM and his fear-machine have his way) we will be dogged by far more unknowns than the ‘leave’ campaign ever could be. All with the great bonus that any attempt to answer them will be out of our hands.
If we are in control of our own future then we can make the best possible decisions for ourselves. But if this political class manages to push us into a ‘remain’ vote then they cannot tell us what those decisions will be or who will make them. All that we know is that the British people will have no further say in what happens.
For instance David Cameron does not know how many millions of illegal migrants the EU is planning to bring in this year to repeat the great social experiment of last year. Nor does he know how many illegal migrants the European Commission will order us to take in once we have voted to remain part of the entity. All he does know – but will not tell us – is that after voting to ‘remain’ this country will be in an infinitely weaker position, with no remaining way to cut ourselves off from the financial and social disasters which the EU has caused across the continent in recent years. David Cameron is inviting us to vote his way one last time in order to hand over all the other decisions to people we do not know and who we cannot get rid of.
I don’t think I have ever seen such a unanimous political stitch-up, and deeply dislike the failure that this political class is trying to spring upon us dressed up in the guise of success. I don't like the lies they have told to get here nor the fibs they are now telling us about our future. That, among many other reasons, is why I am very much looking forward to voting - and campaigning – for us to leave. Perhaps the EU was the future once. But not for a long time. And not any more.
SPECTATOR EVENT: EU REFERENDUM - THE BATTLE AHEAD
Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman will be discussing the EU Referendum campaign campaign with pollster Ben Page from Ipsos Mori on Monday 21 March. Tickets, for subscribers only, are on sale now. To subscribe from £1 a week, click here.