Well, Cameron’s EU renegotiation “demands” have been revealed and they are as pathetic and limp-wristed as we expected them to be. It will come as no surprise to any Daily Globe readers that the Daily Globe is now officially behind the “Leave” campaign and if one is looking for great articles on the problems with Cameron’s demands, I recommend the following: this article by Stephen Parkinson in the Telegraph, the Daily Mail‘s Leader from yesterday, Daniel Hannan MEP‘s article in the Spectator and of course Tom O’Brien‘s recent article here in the Daily Globe. Obviously, any exercise in “negotiation” will be a sham and any “concessions” he gets from the EU will be the equivalent of a modern day Munich Agreement. And to be frank, nobody, neither right nor left supports Cameron’s EU position.
However, before we Eurosceptics start marching down to Downing Street with torches screaming “traitor” there are a couple things to keep in mind. The first is that there would be no European Union referendum were it not for David Cameron. That’s right, the people would not have this glorious opportunity for Great Britain to go global if it weren’t for David Cameron and his Conservative Party winning a majority. So just “chill” on the anti-Cameron rhetoric– the majority of the Conservative party probably led by Boris Johnson or Theresa May are going to oppose him anyway. Remember, Cameron is a small “c” Conservative. He is naturally suspicious of change, but he has been a good Prime Minister and has led a government that has pushed through a lot of good change because of visionary ministers, especially in the welfare, employment and education departments. However, on this, like other issues, Cameron’s “bread and butter” is big business who, on average, are more pro-EU than not. So Cameron is more in favor than he is against. Don’t take it personally, just beat him and the CBI types in the arguments.
Secondly, Cameron’s timid demands boost the Eurosceptic cause. Imagine if Cameron had won a big concession on free movement of peoples or won an ability to make free trade deals. Then many, including possibly myself, would be tempted to back or consider staying In. But if all he is demanding is reshuffling the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, then that is wonderful because the choice is already made for us and the choice is Leave. And who knows, if the EU in their arrogance rejects even his feeble demands (such as tightening welfare to four years), Cameron might get tired of shelving demands and simply back Leave. With the demands so pathetic, it is going to be very difficult for In to make their arguments with a straight face or get people to believe them.
However, and most importantly, it is crucial that the Leave campaign stays positive, global in outlook, fun, clear speaking and yet sophisticated. Let’s talk about free trade, less regulations for small businesses, and less taxes at home! It is 100% crucial that “Leavers” do not act like psychotic cyber Scottish “Natz” or jingoistic caricatures of Nigel Farage on his eighth pint at the pub. I think this because British culture is naturally supportive of Leave. Thus, coming from the fun “cultural” angle here are two examples I thought of for framing the debate to friends, based in pop culture.
Ever seen the movie Mean Girls? It’s from a decade or so ago and it stars, among others, the infamous Lindsay Lohan. In the movie there is a famous scene where the ring leader of the Mean Girls, Regina George gets tired of Gretchen Weiners’ attempts to popularise the phrase “fetch.” Eventually, Regina puts a stop to the phrase by informing Gretchen that “fetch” was “not going to happen.” Now, what relevance does this scene have to the current EU referendum? To put it simply, the Europhiles are always trying to replace British identity, with making British people see themselves as Europeans first. To put it simply, it is not going to happen. Unlike all other European nations in the EU, in the United Kingdom only 15% of people consider themselves Europeans, as opposed to 64% who consider themselves only British (and the other 19% either English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish). The EU referendum is the perfect opportunity to tell the Euro-zealots that replacing Britishness with some kind of super-state Europeanism is not going to happen.
Second analogy from Mean Girls that could work is remembering that the “Mean Girl” crew is very similar to the European Union itself. The Regina Georges of the world crave to crush individuality through its own sense of what is perfect, fashionable and attractive, and demand conformity, just like the EU that craves individual nations conform to the United Europe Superstate vision. In contrast, Great Britain can be compared to the Lindsay Lohan character in the movie: smart, beautiful but also odd and quirky. Great Britain shouldn’t give up its quirkiness, like Lindsay Lohan character did for a while, to be like a fake perception of “Europeaness”, but should rather be comfortable and confident in her own skin, just like Lohan was at the end of the movie.
Now, if you are part of the 50% or so of the population that is not Mean Girls fans don’t worry, the analogy for what is great about Britain and bad about the EU can be found in the most recent James Bond movie: Spectre. Whether the directors of Spectre intended it to be or not, I see Spectre as a perfect movie for Eurosceptics. First of all, the cars were all British, the villains Europeans and there were plenty of Union Jacks and not a EU flag to be found. But that is not the Eurosceptic message to be gleaned from the movie.
The first Eurosceptic point I took from the movie was that the villains move towards an international rulemaking security accord and away from national security by sovereign states. I thought it was interesting and not likely coincidental, that the agreement to be forced to share security was to be between nine nations- the number of EEC nations when Great Britain joined in 1973. Spectre is good at showing the need for national sovereignty to protect Britain’s interests first.
The second Eurosceptic point is the importance of democracy. There is a scene towards the end where the bad guy in British security services lectured the MI6 on how stupid democracy is and he ends up being outsmarted by the MI6 agent. I saw this character as comparable to an unaccountable EU bureaucrat (think Jean-Claude Juncker): smug, know-it-all, unpatriotic and undemocratic, but ultimately incompetent and stupid. What does “C” stand for? Careless.
Lastly, the third Eurospectic point is the same as my first Daily Globe article’s – the globe needs Great Britain. The film shows James Bond and MI6 saving the globe from a sinister internationally minded organisation. In the movie, the British government attempts to eliminate the “00” programme in favour of a new internationally minded security service but in the end it is shown how vital they are. Great Britain must stay globally focused, and subservience to an organisation like the EU cramps the UK’s ability to greatly help the world.
Yes, I know James Bond and Mean Girls aren’t the most intellectual arguments ever made for independence from the EU, but to me they fit with the theme of using every avenue possible to cheerfully spread the “Leave” message. Between now and the referendum myself and thousands of other patriotic commentators will be making every economic, social and political argument to persuade the United Kingdom to Leave, just as we’ve done a thousands of times before. But let’s not lose site of winning the argument with every segment of the population- even if that includes comparing the UK to James Bond and Lindsay Lohan.