Michael Gove
Democracy

True to himself and his principles, Michael Gove comes out for Brexit

 

This statement on the EU Referendum by Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Justice, is unarguable. It is reproduced here in its entirety, without further comment, as it speaks eloquently for itself and the calibre of the man.

For weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.

I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed.

And that is the future of the UK in the European Union.

It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad.

But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.

But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives. Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out. We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country. I believe that needs to change. And I believe that both the lessons of our past and the shape of the future make the case for change compelling.

The ability to choose who governs us, and the freedom to change laws we do not like, were secured for us in the past by radicals and liberals who took power from unaccountable elites and placed it in the hands of the people. As a result of their efforts we developed, and exported to nations like the US, India, Canada and Australia a system of democratic self-government which has brought prosperity and peace to millions.

Our democracy stood the test of time. We showed the world what a free people could achieve if they were allowed to govern themselves.

In Britain we established trial by jury in the modern world, we set up the first free parliament, we ensured no-one could be arbitrarily detained at the behest of the Government, we forced our rulers to recognise they ruled by consent not by right, we led the world in abolishing slavery, we established free education for all, national insurance, the National Health Service and a national broadcaster respected across the world.

By way of contrast, the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders.

Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. Razor wire once more criss-crosses the continent, historic tensions between nations such as Greece and Germany have resurfaced in ugly ways and the EU is proving incapable of dealing with the current crises in Libya and Syria. The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe” and Scandinavian nations which once prided themselves on their openness are now turning in on themselves. All of these factors, combined with popular anger at the lack of political accountability, has encouraged extremism, to the extent that far-right parties are stronger across the continent than at any time since the 1930s.

The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and like other institutions which seemed modern then, from tower blocks to telexes, it is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It is an analogue union in a digital age.

The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area. EU rules dictate everything from the maximum size of containers in which olive oil may be sold (five litres) to the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometres).

Individually these rules may be comical. Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress. Rules like the EU clinical trials directive have slowed down the creation of new drugs to cure terrible diseases and ECJ judgements on data protection issues hobble the growth of internet companies. As a minister I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer.

It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter.

But by leaving the EU we can take control. Indeed we can show the rest of Europe the way to flourish. Instead of grumbling and complaining about the things we can’t change and growing resentful and bitter, we can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down. We can show leadership. Like the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back, we can become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve.

We can take back the billions we give to the EU, the money which is squandered on grand parliamentary buildings and bureaucratic follies, and invest it in science and technology, schools and apprenticeships. We can get rid of the regulations which big business uses to crush competition and instead support new start-up businesses and creative talent. We can forge trade deals and partnerships with nations across the globe, helping developing countries to grow and benefiting from faster and better access to new markets.

We are the world’s fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces of any nation, more Nobel Prizes than any European country and more world-leading universities than any European country. Our economy is more dynamic than the Eurozone, we have the most attractive capital city on the globe, the greatest “soft power” and global influence of any state and a leadership role in NATO and the UN. Are we really too small, too weak and too powerless to make a success of self-rule? On the contrary, the reason the EU’s bureaucrats oppose us leaving is they fear that our success outside will only underline the scale of their failure.

This chance may never come again in our lifetimes, which is why I will be true to my principles and take the opportunity this referendum provides to leave an EU mired in the past and embrace a better future.

  • Aran’Gar

    This is good news!

  • Inspector General

    Greetings chaps. The Inspector General is back online…

    Now listen. There will come a time when the Germanic influence of the continent will be such that dissent from the new European order will not be permitted. You know what that means, don’t you – we will be in the blasted setup for ever. We can never leave, Hotel California style.

    Get out, and get out now while we can still get out. There are enough pro EU parliamentarians as it is to see to that. Pro EU means sacrificing the UK in it’s entirety, to become vassal states to Germanic controlled Brussels. That doesn’t seem to trouble the politicians concerned. They are not to be trusted – they will happily ban any future attempt to leave. That is what they are about. But providence has now given us a chance for we ourselves to speak. So speak for OUT!

    God Save the Queen!

    • Anton

      Indeed we do not need to be part of Großdeutschland!

      • Inspector General

        “Gott strafe England”

    • The Explorer

      Good to see you back, Inspector. We were getting concerned by your absence.

      • Inspector General

        The forces of malevolent buggery were responsible, Explorer. One is minded to bring his annoyance to Scotland Yard as sending computer viruses is very definitely against the law.

        • The Explorer

          Lienus said a few threads back that he was holding you prisoner, but I doubt that he was the actual source of your trouble..

          • Inspector General

            Perhaps the most tragic of all the varied unfortunates ever seen on Cranmer. Still, let us hope he takes comfort in the knowledge that the peace of the grave is his ultimate reward after a lifetime of confused distress…

          • Little Black Censored

            Linus a “varied unfortunate” – brilliant!

        • James60498 .

          Welcome back.

          I rather suspect that “against the law” is becoming more and more dependent on who does it.

          I fear that you may find that Scotland Yard decide that it was a reasonable response to your “provocation”. They will probably end up with a slap on the wrist and who knows what law and excuse would be used to deal with you.

          • Inspector General

            Can’t blame the police. All decent types in this man’s opinion, yet they are only as effective as the judiciary will allow. Ever since this country signed up to the ECHR, the judges have been increasingly bold in THEIR desire as to what justice is. It is quite clear that once we have dispensed with the EU, Satan’s court must be next…

    • IanCad

      How very good it is to see you back Inspector.
      Will you be making up for lost time?

      • Inspector General

        “England expects that every man will do his duty”

  • Anton

    Well said, Mr Gove.

  • David

    He’s written an excellent, lucid, logical and well reasoned speech.
    Well said Mr Gove.
    The good ship Brexit builds up its head of steam…..
    Freedom is within sight…..
    Full steam ahead….

  • sarky

    Personally I can’t stand Gove, but I totally agree with what he has said.

    • chiefofsinners

      I couldn’t stand Gove either, until today. This referendum will make strange bedfellows: Cameron and Corbyn, Galloway and Gove.

      • Anton

        He was courageous at Education.

        • chiefofsinners

          Courageous enough to spout complete nonsense with absolute confidence. Until the election loomed.

          • Anton

            The election was nearly a year after Cameron sacked him for Education. What nonsense there?

          • chiefofsinners

            10 months. Google the words ‘Gove’ and ‘toxic’.

          • Anton

            The leftie teachers’ unions and his unfortunate manner did for him. I again request an example of nonsense.

          • chiefofsinners

            Nonsense? His desire to dictate the texts studied at GCSE, his belief in a knowledge rather than a skills based curriculum, his hopelessly idealistic belief that academisation would sort out attainment in schools serving deprived catchments. His vilification of striking teachers when he had himself gone on strike in the distant past when he had a real job.

          • Anton

            He was the only Education Secretary willing to take on an educational establishment that had, since the 1960s, brought this country from 100% literacy to one of the most disgraceful statistics for reading and basic mathematics in Europe, thanks to leftist fads. To do this vital task he had no alternative, in the face of a united front by vested interests, than to micromanage. Cameron bottled out of letting him finish the job.

          • chiefofsinners

            There was never 100% literacy. You deceive yourself. Adult literacy rates in the UK have changed little since the 1960s: most people without a learning difficulty could read then, most can read now. This despite the doom-mongers’ ranting about television and computer games and the inter web and so-on.

          • Anton

            Seen that link of Rhoda’s above? Or how much more effective at imparting basic literacy phonics is, dropped by the 1960s trendies and reinstituted only recently? As for maths, I’ve seen for myself how silly and inferior ways of teaching the basics, and how questions that are badly phrased (maths is all about abstraction) have led to children knowing less maths when they come to university. As for classroom discipline today and then…

          • chiefofsinners

            Basic literacy levels have not altered since the 1960s. You claim that phonics is better. If it was, literacy levels would have dropped since the 1960s.
            60% of the words in the English language are not phonetically plausible. Simple ones like ‘the’. How often when reading do you stop and phonically decode a word? Only when you reach a Polish surname. Because you recognise whole words by sight, which is the greatest skill necessary for reading.
            Classroom discipline is not something Gove attempted to do anything about. Bring back the cane if you like. You’ll be in prison before you can blink.

          • Anton

            Phonics was, in a little greater depth, the major component of the pre-1960s literacy package that got thrown out by the same trendies who wrecked mathematics teaching (as I can attest from how much less maths even the brightest students knew on arrival at university) and who advocated mixed-ability classes for a generation. They fought Gove tooth and nail to prevent the unexpurgated external examination results of schools from being published and threby prevent parents whose taxes paid their salaries from knowing how the schools they sent their children to were doing. Disgraceful. Both of my parents taught on the Arts side in various schools and were firsthand witnesses to what went wrong.

            The only sanction that unruly pupils fear is physical chastisement. Too bad it has been made illegal. It was a major basis of Mosaic Law; do you think God was wrong too?

          • chiefofsinners

            Not sure how far back you are delving here, but phonics has always been used in primary schools as one tool for teaching reading, primarily through the ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme which has been widely used since 1992. Gove was not responsible for the introduction of the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics in all schools; this was brought in under Labour education secretary Ruth Kelly in 2006.

            Mosaic law was appropriate at the time. Are you seeking to remove pork and shellfish from school menus? Although actually lobster isn’t a big component of the average infant school dinner, they tell me.

          • Anton

            Yes, you are correct that even Labour – not Gove – put phonics back, after the 1960s madmen had ditched it. But the educational establishment still needed thoroughgoing reform. Cameron, as I said, bottled out of letting him finish the job.

            Some of the components of Mosaic Law are not applicable to a gentile nation, and some are outdated even in the church (animal sacrifice). But can you give me any reason why those components that apply to interpersonal relationships (“moral” laws) should not be advocated, given that human nature has not changed?

          • chiefofsinners

            Some of the principles of moral laws can be viewed differently in the light of modern day practicalities, e.g. Prison is an option today that Moses didn’t have. Others are mitigated by grace, I believe. For instance stoning for adultery:’let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ is relevant in the light of Jesus’ teaching “but I say to you anyone who looks on a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart” – Matt 5:28

          • Anton

            Grace is manifest within the church, not any nation; the church is called out of all nations. Prison is a disaster: jails are academies of crime that penalise inmates’ dependants while providing shelter and food to prisoners at the expense of others who have to work for it. It is not only because the Israelites were on the move that God didn’t institute a prison system at Sinai; he was perfectly capable of saying that prisons were the right way to go once the Promised Land had been taken, but he didn’t.

          • chiefofsinners

            The church should show grace. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

          • Anton

            Yes of course, but what laws (and punishments for violation) should Christians advocate in lands where they may influence the law (eg, democracies)? Because human nature hasn’t changed, shouldn’t we advocate, for the laws governing interpersonal relations (“moral” laws), the corresponding Mosaic laws? There can be no better precedent than divine precedent.

          • chiefofsinners

            Certainly what is right and wrong has not changed. The questions are : what should be enforced by law? And : how can the penalties be gracious but still effective?
            I just don’t think teachers beating children fits either question.

          • Anton

            Yes, those are the questions. What is wrong with my answer: for the laws governing interpersonal relations (“moral” laws), there can be no better precedent than divine precedent, ie the corresponding Mosaic laws?

            As for the classroom, effective sanctions have to be something that pupils fear. If adults are meant to fear the Lord, and God does not think corporal punishment wrong in principle, what is wrong with children fearing the cane? The alternative is that one brat wrecks a lesson for 25 others.

          • chiefofsinners

            Where does the mosaic law advocate physical chastisement for children? (Not the proverbs of Solomon please, but the law of Moses). And where does it give this authority to adults other than the child’s parent?
            Physical punishment is not the best way to address classroom misbehaviour. Not only was it ineffective for many children, but it was also a sadist’s charter.

          • Anton

            I didn’t say that Mosaic Law advocated physical chastisement for children. I said it shows that God does not think corporal punishment wrong in principle. Nowhere does he say that children must never be smacked, and arguably some parts of inspired scripture advocate this as a sanction in some circumstances.

            There needs to be a range of sanctions for classroom misbehaviour, but the ultimate one should be physical because, as I have said, it is the only one that children fear. Fallen personalities need both carrot and stick. Jesus’ preaching about heaven and hell makes that clear.

            I also asked what is wrong with the following reasoning: for the laws of a nation governing interpersonal relations (“moral” laws), there can be no better precedent than divine precedent, ie the corresponding Mosaic laws?

          • chiefofsinners

            I’m not saying corporal punishment is wrong in all circumstances, just that it is undesirable and unnecessary in the classroom.
            Physical sanctions for classroom misbehaviour can take a number of forms. They do not have to involve violence. Removing the child from the classroom or school is the most effective from the point of view of the other children and the teacher. As for dealing with the individual, what most children like least is to be talked step by step through their wrong actions, motives and decisions.
            You ask what is wrong with the Mosaic law as precedent. What is wrong is that in Christ a gospel of grace is revealed. So the definition of right and wrong remains, but sin is punished differently. This is seen throughout the New Testament, perhaps most famously in Matthew 5:38.

          • Anton

            But the gospel is heeded only in the church. What laws governing morality should Christians advocate for their nations (which aren’t Christian – the church is called out from these)?

            And what if a child refuses to do what the teacher says, including refusing to leave the classroom?

          • chiefofsinners

            Christians should advocate the gospel. To those who reject the Kingdom of Heaven we should still advocate its principles.

            Teachers have the right to use reasonable force to remove a disruptive child.

          • Anton

            That’s all I was hoping to hear about school discipline and I’m glad we agree about that.

            You bet we should advocate the gospel to the unsaved. But a group discussion convened to discuss what laws we want in our nation is not a preaching platform, and I crave your answer to whether we should advocate, for laws governing interpersonal morality, the Mosaic ones; and if not, why not, given that human nature is identical then and now?

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, the Mosaic laws reveal much of the mind of God and His morality does not change. However we must apply them with care.
            For instance, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness’ is pretty clear, but should we stone anyone who lies? Imprisoning perjurers seems about right to me. It is God will eventually judge every lie.
            Similarly Jesus said that ‘Moses gave you divorce because of the hardness of your hearts’ but made it clear that this was not the will of God.
            The position is very nuanced. Ultimately we must remember that for all mankind ‘the letter kills but the Spirit gives life’.

          • Anton

            False Witness I take to be in relation to the application of Mosaic Law, not other types of lying. Of course I agree with your last sentence but my main concern in this exchange has been what laws should we lobby for in our nations.

          • chiefofsinners

            I think there is much room for disagreement and debate among Christians over what laws we should lobby for. Currently laws are being changed which move us away from previously established bible-based concepts of right and wrong. I think we should concentrate our energies on resisting those changes. We might realistically hope to get gender abortion clearly outlawed in practice as well as in theory. We might get the time limit raised and save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. These are the places to put our efforts, while continuing to advocate fully godly laws.

          • Anton

            Yes; there are some Mosaic Laws and penalties governing interpersonal morality that it is not realistic to lobby for in our society. God said that even Mosaic Law was a compromise (Mark 10:5), and presumably the Israelites would have rejected the laws if God had legislated as he had wished, for they were not imposed unilaterally but accepted by acclamation. I agree with your priorities.

          • Old Nick

            You cannot exercise skills unless you have knowledge to exercise them on.

          • chiefofsinners

            Knowledge is freely available, skills need to be developed.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Information is freely available. Knowledge is not. Information is useless unless you are capable of understanding it and understanding requires knowledge. Knowledge also helps us to develop the skills that make it easier to develop more knowledge.

          • chiefofsinners

            Nothing has been more harmful to children’s learning that the idea that the job of education is to impart a fixed body of knowledge, most of it fixed somewhere in the nineteenth century. When did you last use the ability to divide fractions? When was that knowledge about the formation of Oxbow lakes absolutely essential to your everyday life?
            Some knowledge is necessary. An awful lot is not. Children need the skills to find, make sense of and apply knowledge.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Nothing has been more harmful to children’s learning than the facile assumptions made by some educationalists. People should be curious about their surroundings including landscapes and why some rivers are straight and some meander. That is in itself sufficient justification for teaching about oxbow lakes.

            I spent my whole career in an occupation that involved looking things up and teaching university students how to find information so I doubt if their is much that you could teach me about “the skills to find, make sense of and apply knowledge.” Nevertheless I have found that when learning new subjects the more I have learnt the easier it becomes to apply my skills in finding additional information.

            No matter what skills you have in finding information you would not be able to make much sense of a paper on quantum mechanics without a considerable knowledge of mathematics. You would not even be able to make sense of a story written by a seven year old child if it were written in Mandarin and you had no knowledge of that language.

          • chiefofsinners

            Curiosity indeed. Crucial. Something children are born with, but something that has been knocked out of generations by teachers imparting dry, dusty, irrelevant knowledge.
            “The mind does not require filling like a bottle but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth.”- Plutarch
            Or, as rephrased later: a child is not a vase to be filled but a fire to be lit.

          • Anton

            You have a fine avatar to grumble about 19th century knowledge being outdated…

          • chiefofsinners

            Says the man with no avatar.

          • Anton

            What do you expect when I’m only one ‘t’ from being Anon?

          • Old Nick

            I think you will find that education is actually quite expensive – and getting more so.

          • chiefofsinners

            Google makes a fool of the most knowledgeable, but not of the skilful.

          • Old Nick

            Only a fool would rely on Google to discover knowledge, and Google is wholly incapable of creating it.

          • Rhoda
  • The Explorer

    Emma Thompson says she feels European. What does she think we’d do if we left the EU: pull up anchor and moor ourselves further away from France? Britain has been interacting with the European mainland since Julius Caesar, if not before. Being European and being in the EU are not the same thing, despite the pretence that they are.

  • Uncle Brian

    If the Leave vote wins, will Dave resign and recommend to Her Majesty that she invite Gove to form a new government?

    • bluedog

      Of course not. If the proletariat demand Brexit, Cameron will congratulate himself for giving them the opportunity. He will then claim that as the instigator of the vote he has a popular mandate to implement Brexit, subject to a QMV of the EU.

      • IanCad

        Nail on the head!

        • Anton

          Can’t agree this time; I think Cameron would have no stomach to implement something he doesn’t believe in.

          • bluedog

            Huh??

          • Anton

            Brexit, I mean. He clearly doesn’t believe in that.

          • IanCad

            A man without a stomach will do anything to stay in charge.

          • Anton

            No point in playing “O yes he will – O no he won’t”; let time decide.

  • The Explorer

    The thing I love (or used to love) about Europe is its diversity: a diversity that historically has never impeded the flow of ideas from one country to another. The EU seems to favour something homogenised. It dreams of the disappearance of the individual nation states. First, the Euro state. Next, the world.

    If we want that old diversity to survive, let us hope for UK departure, followed by the political disintegration of the whole sorry EU edifice and reversion to some sort of trading bloc: which is what most people thought they were voting for when they became entrapped in the first place.

    • Martin

      TE

      Indeed, we were lied to by the proponents of Europe then and they are preparing to lie to us now, waving the “we can’t exist outside” flag for all it’s worth. At least they can no longer say “it’s just a trading bloc” now.

      • Anton

        Instead they are threatening a block on trade! Call their bluff…

        • Martin

          Anton

          Indeed.

    • David

      My thoughts exactly.

  • James60498 .

    I am delighted that he has made this decision.

    But why does it have to “pain” him to disagree with Cameron?

    He is an adult. He is not closely related.
    He is allowed to disagree. It should not “pain” him.

    • chiefofsinners

      It is evidence of the extent to which arms have been twisted in government. All the young Eurosceptic ministers have fallen into line, mindful of their careers. Even senior long-standing Eurosceptics like Theresa May and Sajid Javed have been bullied into silence. They will endure a painful four months, defending the indefensible. Cameron is complacent, having won two referenda in his first term of office. When he loses this one he will be fatally wounded and most of the cabinet will see their hopes fall with him. Boris will be PM before the next election.

      • Anton

        When Cameron loses I think he will not so much be fatally wounded as have no appetite to take the next steps, and will resign. I’m less convinced that Boris will replace him in that scenario, though. A lot can happen in four months.

        • bluedog

          As Cameron has announced his departure one needs to anticipate his next career. Without question one can predict a life of post-prandial pomposity courtesy of Tony Blair. The timing and the manner of Cameron’s departure therefore assume great importance. Cameron will not be permitted to do anything that may damage his brand and thus reduce his potential fee. The interests of the British state could well come a distant second in this calculus.

          • Little Black Censored

            How can whatever grandeur awaits Cameron be “courtesy of Tony Blair”?

          • bluedog

            Tony Blair has the client list and knows what fee to charge.

      • sarky

        Boris? Nooooooooooooo. I’d go for a beer with him, but PM???

        • chiefofsinners

          I feel your pain, but Boris will be calculating furiously. If he comes out for the ‘leave’ campaign he will have a clear plan.

    • CliveM

      Friends of longstanding. He is an honourable man.

      • James60498 .

        That may be the case.

        But then that rather proves his boss who put him in that position to be less honourable. There should have been no pressure either way.

        But then that’s no surprise, is it?

        • CliveM

          It not sure what you mean, Gove doesn’t appear to resent or disagree with the idea of collective respons Until the referendum was called.

          • James60498 .

            If he feels guilt/ pain at having to disagree with Cameron now then clearly Cameron has been putting pressure on him.

            If someone said to me that I am quite at liberty to make my own mind up about something, it’s a free choice, no pressure, then I wouldn’t feel any guilt/pain at coming to the opposite conclusion. Certainly if I thought that they meant that they really didn’t mind.

          • CliveM

            Hmm I don’t see that that follows. If he had been put under unfair pressure I think there would have been a hint of resentment in his article.

  • Lienus

    Now zat your prime minister ‘as agreed to allow France to run your pathetic little country again, I ‘ave released a prisoner as a gesture of good weel. You can ‘ave your Inspecteur Genereal back. All will be well so long as the charter of fundamental rights continues to guarantee that I can make up all your rules, especially zee funny ones about zee size of your saucisson, and also charge you ten billion Euros a year for ze privilege.
    But beware. If your referendum looks to be tourning adroit, I will keednap your Archbishop and do unspeakable things with my baguette and my suspiciously shaped pepper mill.

    • Inspector General

      You ghoul!

    • Allosexuels admirateur

      Yoo are a wikid pisson, Yoo tell me you luv only moi then marier Findarato behin moi back. Then yoo proomisse the baguette wood onle be shared with moi.

      Vous avez pas d’honneur?

      • The Explorer

        I stand to be corrected, but I don’t think either of these is Linus. I think these two are linked to the same source and are some one taking the mick out of Linus. In which case, long may it last!

        • Anton

          Vive Lienus!

        • CliveM

          Did you ever believe it was Linus?

          • The Explorer

            Not personally, but some contributors to the Blog think it is. They think Linus has changed his tactics, and is running Findarato, Lienus and now the t’other chap simultaneously. Myself, I don’t see it.

          • CliveM

            If he was that capable at laughing at himself he would still be Linus.

          • The Explorer

            Whoever’s behind them, Lienus and AA make me laugh. For that, I thank them.

          • CliveM

            Yes I agree. It maybe that Linus has had some inadvertent good!

          • Findaráto

            I only post here under one name, so whoever is using the other pseudonyms, it isn’t me.

            I wonder who it could be. Hmmm, let’s think, shall we? Someone who has form in the area of running multiple pseudonyms. Someone with an enormous axe to grind and a blind hatred of anyone who disagrees with him. Someone who distinguishes himself by his manipulative, dishonourable and unscrupulous behaviour. I think we can all put a name to the offender, so there’s no need for me to do so.

            But by all means, let him continue. If the powers that be on this blog are willing to tolerate the flagrant double (or triple) posting, I don’t mind watching him make a complete ass of himself. Limp humour, an execrable grasp of schoolboy French and playground bully-boy tactics reveal him for what he is, and the spectacle is amusing enough in a cringe-making kind of way. Christians who let anger make a complete mockery of the faith they profess confirm my belief that what they really worship is themselves.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you for clarifying. As I said, I didn’t think it was you.

            PS: Not sure about limp humour. The focus seems to be on exactly the opposite.

          • Lienus

            Hmm, someone who has form in the area of multiple pseudonyms. Who would do a thing like that?

          • Jack so loves guessing games. Could you possibly offer one or two more clues?

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Ooo as a big chooper to grind?

          • Ivan M

            I am one of those. It seems likely that I am wrong. They have run a sophisticated operation To each his own.

          • Still think they are the same. The reason – in contrast to the long rants that anyone who disagrees with or criticises his point of view is subjected to, he has chosen to ignore Lienus – which seems very much out of character.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, I can see your reasoning; and I agree that Linus’ response is out of character. An alternative explanation might be that Linus is a bit taken aback by Lienus, (who is coming at him from an unusual angle) and not sure how to respond. Time may reveal the truth; although with a name like Lienus involved, perhaps not.

          • “An alternative explanation might be that Linus is a bit taken aback … and not sure how to respond.”

            Fair point. But, ignorance or lack of information has never stopped him in the past. He never could restrain himself with anyone who annoyed him.

            I suspect he is enjoying it all.

          • The Explorer

            Undoubtedly. I’m sure he’s loving the attention. Still, there’s genuine humour mixed up in it all, and if others are enjoying it as well, that’s the important thing. Provided it remains a side-line and doesn’t become a distraction.

          • Anton

            Lienus has a sense of humour. Whereas…

          • He tried on a few roles – including a Japanese one. Didn’t fool anyone. Then he comes back as two new characters – note the timing – to confuse: a clownish one and the typical humourless (and easy to pinpoint) one. This time, everyone falls for it. He’s enjoying himself tremendously and brings along a third…

            I have to admire his persistence. He is here, I suspect, because he desperately needs God and doesn’t want to admit it – even to himself. I can only pray that he has an encounter soon.

  • Now all that remains is for Mr Gove to change groups and join the exciting Grassroots Out movement instead. I’ve been glued to the live streams of their rallies, the speakers are interesting, informative, lively and varied. David Davis from 1:43:00 is a particularly good one here:

    http://livestream.com/accounts/16851580/events/4841082

    • Anton

      Would that Davis had beaten Cameron for the Tory leadership…

      • CliveM

        Nah, he has shown himself to be full of principle but lacking in judgement.

      • Yes well it wasn’t to be, don’t look back on what might have been, look forward to what could be.

  • IanCad

    Why didn’t he come out with this earlier??
    Finger in the wind?

    • CliveM

      I’m not sure that’s entirely fair.

      • IanCad

        Darn right it’s fair. Where’s he been all these years?
        Davis has been one of the consistent few. we need to give him the credit he deserves.

        • CliveM

          I don’t trust Davis’s judgement. His resigning of his seat for the reason he did, suggests to me he’s not reliable.

          I also think Grove has behaved honourably, I think he has got the balance between loyalty and principles right.

          • IanCad

            How long did it take him to get those principles right?
            He’s been around for a while and restoring our national freedom of action has never seemed to register very highly on his list of priorities.

          • CliveM

            This is the first opportunity to have a vote. This is the first chance to go contrary to the PM on the issue. What we don’t know is what he would have done if their hadn’t been a free vote.

          • Dreadnaught

            Nowhere has anyone from either side put any meat on the bones of the matters.

          • CliveM

            No so far it’s all personality. The only personality that matters is that of the EU. We need a proper discussion.

          • IanCad

            We should never had to have a vote. The issue of our independence is not something that I am happy with the majority deciding.

          • CliveM

            Well if we left it to the politicians there would be no hope.

          • IanCad

            Yes Clive, but the politicians can occasionally rise to their duties.
            If this horrible referendum says stay we will be bound to the beast for a generation.
            Some things are far to serious to be left to the voters.

          • CliveM

            “But the politicians can occasionally rise to their duties.”

            I see no evidence of that at the moment!

    • sarky

      If you had kept up you would know that mp’s were unable to nail their colours to the mast until after the cabinet meeting following the negotiations.

      • IanCad

        I know that Sarky – he was being a good MP. Compliant and a thorough going party man. You know! The type who gets into the history books.

  • Dreadnaught

    I very much like the tone of Gove’s statement but I also get the feeling of the despair of realising any real reformation of the EU, is what underpins it. I don’t know what troubles me more, the unkown unknowns of staying in, or the unknown unknowns of opting out.
    The global dynamics today are incomparable to those that influenced our desire to join The Six members of the Common Market. We would be crazy to assume we could turn the clock back and look forward to resuming the old trading alliances of post Empire Britain.
    We not only have lost our home grown manufacturing base but also the ability to teach the teachers of education, innovation and production we once used to claim as national traits of past commercial success.
    Even our military force is a shadow of what it once was; it’s nothing more than a prop for hubristic politicians to refer to when ‘our brave boys’ come home in body-bags; providing them an opportunity to grab the grief as they bluster and bolster their patriotic image at PMQs. They don’t really give a shit, otherwise they would be meeting the transport planes on the tarmac and properly looking after all the rest when they demob.
    If we leave the EU, Scotland will leave the UK and break up whats left of a disunited kingdom. Soon enough there could well be a voting age majority in Northern Ireland to demand a referendum to rejoin the Irish Republic – then what?
    Frothing and Farting about over child support and in-work benefits, was never a good enough reason for changing the EU. We have been focusing on the minutia instead of the really big issues facing us in continuing or discontinuing our relationship with the other rag-bag 27 nations.

    Gove points derogatorily to the progress of the ‘far-right’ organisations and at the same time talks about the views and interests ‘of the people’ – they are the bloody people! In my opinion I feel I have more in common with them as patriots than the socialist Brussels bully boys. Why is it the politicians never call out the more dangerous left-wing groups that will rush to accommodate Putin whenever he comes knocking at the distant, far European Union ‘borders’.

    I am not going to vote on this referendum – I won’t have to suffer the responsibility of the consequences for the future of this country and I should not be party to influencing the lives of others when I’m not around.

    • steroflex

      Dreadnought?
      More like Dreadeverything!

      • Dreadnaught

        Not at all – just plain angry at the characterless, shallow performance of debate exhibited by UK politicians on a matter that will affect the lives of the next generations of the British public. Realism too complex for you even to reply to unless by a ‘headline’ jibe – just the kind of voter they like. I may just vote now to cancel out yours.

        • You want to spend a few hours listening to all the Grassroots Out speakers – they’ve got politicians, councillors, business owners, trade unionists and other people – , so far Kettering, Manchester and London are all on livestream. If that doesn’t give you hope to vote OUT nothing will.

          • Dreadnaught

            I would like to know which countries have aligned themselves up as trading partners or which option the major banks are for just for starters. My heart says out; my mind is not so convinced, there is just not enough information or national planning strategies on the tables to even start to consider the best option either way.
            I we cant even get control of our own benefit rules what the hell is on offer? Even so, the matter is too piffling even to have wasted this much time on considering the magnitude of crises in front of us now.

        • Mike Stallard

          Have a bit of faith in your fellow countrymen!
          We don’t need that extra level of bureaucrats and politicians between ourselves and the rest of the world.
          Quite apart from which they are deliberately heading towards integration, the Eurozone, confrontation with Russia, suicidal immigration and rapidly increasing poverty.
          We really can do a lot better if we are as free as, say, Canada or Australia.

          • IanCad

            “Have a bit of faith in your fellow countrymen!”
            Maybe faith in a strong, articulate and principled leader; but from the majority of the sports and drama addicted masses? The dull, docile, incurious average voter? – I’m afraid not.

    • Ivan M

      You are conflicted because of Putin? That’s a new one.

  • Inspector General

    Just announced…

    Boris wants out!

    • sarky

      Boris has come out?

      • Inspector General

        That’s several million votes he’s taking with him. Very popular in one’s beloved ‘Mouse and Wheel’ is that man. Seems to speak for the ordinary man, don’t you know…

        • CliveM

          Does he? I think he will put off in equal measure.

          • Inspector General

            Like it or not, he is a politician of the rank of General. He cannot be ignored, and he will take the other ranks with him…

          • CliveM

            Oh I agree he has a following, I just think he is a ‘marmite ‘ politician.

            Still the out campaign now has a couple of politicians of stature.

          • Little Black Censored

            Nothing wrong with a marmite politician if most people like marmite.

          • CliveM

            But do they?

      • The Explorer

        You’re in luck.

    • Uncle Brian

      What about Scotland? Who are the heavyweights on the Leave side in Scotland, if any?

      • Dreadnaught

        While the SNP is the only kid on the block, it will see the opportunity to mark its stay in credentials, go for independence if UK leaves, apply for entry as an independent state and dig out a bigger begging bowl. Like the EU, they don’t even have a second chamber for dissent.

        • Uncle Brian

          Agreed. If an overall majority in the UK votes Leave but the Scottish vote goes the other way, that would very likely mean England out, Scotland in.

      • Inspector General

        We already know the majority of Scots believe their future lies with the United Kingdom and England. Let them have another referendum when the UK is out of the EU. That will prove for all time that the voters reject the National Socialists vision of a quasi Marxist state north of the border…

      • Little Black Censored

        There are no heavyweights on any side in Scotland.

        • chiefofsinners

          Alec Salmond looks like he’s no stranger to the fried Mars Bar.

      • big

        Mel Gibson.

    • big

      out of what ? his head?

  • Inspector General

    When Cameron came back with his so called reforms, which as we now know is business as usual after a time, was the disgusting practice of throwing good fish back to the sea dead ended?

    The EU is evil. Evil in the way it goes about its business. And we know the other corruptions that go on that has seen to it that the accounts have not been signed off for a decade and a half.

    Time for a new start well away from the thing. Time to leave the Germanic plan for European hegemony to the Germans. Let THEM pay for it. We can’t go wrong there. We have a nuclear deterrent should they try to punish us for our rejection of them…

    • Findaráto

      So if England leaves the EU (because Scotland won’t), then what happens to all the foreigners living here?

      Perhaps we can have another referendum to decide their fate. If it’s decided to annul their naturalization and kick them out, I wonder how a certain Irishman will feel about that. Deported back to his Dublin council estate, he’d find himself living in the EU once more. Only this time there’d be no way out…

      • Inspector General

        No problem. The Europeans found their way here, and one is sure they can find their way back home. The benefits party will be over. They’ll be nothing for them here…

        • Findaráto

          Back off to the Emerald Isle then, are you? There’ll be nothing left in England for you. Certainly no retirement benefits. Or NHS benefits. If you weren’t born in England, why should England pay you anything? Who cares if you paid taxes – consider it the rent you had to pay for the privilege of living here.

          So will you be heading back to Dublin? The EU will probably fork out some kind of old age pension for you. Enough to keep you in potatoes, Guiness and an Internet connection for the rest of your days. Leave England to the English. They don’t want it cluttered up with all those foreigners any more. And that means you!

          • Inspector General

            My dear fellow, the Inspector was born in England. He would have preferred the Emerald Isle, but he was hardly in a position to decide where he was dropped out….

            England is full up. Too many scallies here on the make. One looks forward to the time when they can be usefully employed making something of the country they belong to. Not here. Perhaps you would like to travel over and help them….

          • Findaráto

            Ah, second generation eh? Profiting from parents who moved here when Ireland was still part of the UK. It’s probably not possible to pass a law deporting you, although there are Farage supporters who’d no doubt like to give it a try.

          • Inspector General

            Shook hands with Farage when he was in Gloucester this year. Notably, he did not go on a rant about ‘bog people’ during…

          • The Explorer

            Pensions and the NHS were around before the EU.

        • Allosexuels admirateur

          Yoo are so magistral. Ef onlee we ad met before je got empetree wit Findy and Lienus.

          • Inspector General

            Are you a bender, sir? One has come across the type before. Quite batty, as they say…

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Je am a woomon caught in a mon’s boody.

          • Inspector General

            Oh dear. Still, never mind. One is enlightened on your predicament and understands that Sunday is the traditional day for the bottom to recover…

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Je am a goode gurl and savin me suis four ze corekt mon.

          • Inspector General

            Ah, bless. Your optimism is so warming. To think that only a few decades ago, you would have been chained to the floor in some asylum for the insane. Progress, what!

          • The Explorer

            Lienus is rich, and owns multiple properties. He can set you up in one of them (plus lapin) as his mistress, and have Findy as his husband in another. He can commute between the two of you, and you’ll just have to get used to sharing him. Unless, of course, you can persuade him of the joys of polyamory and you all live together in the same household. Does Findy like rabbits? Other than to eat, I mean?

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Je cood not bore to liev wit Findy. Eees affreux.

          • The Explorer

            I can believe it. Separate residences it is, then. Don’t let him near the lapin.

      • Lienus

        And what will become of our love? Separated by the cruel waters of La Manche. And what of our children when they are born? Growing up without a non-gender specific parental figure?

        • The Explorer

          Findarato can join you in France. There’s a lot of space there.

          • CliveM

            After all he has plenty of property there.

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Non. Yoo keep Findarato and lit Lienus reetun ome to moi and zee lapin.

          • Lienus

            You must stop flaunting our love like this: the love that cannot spell it’s name. You are putting ze mistral up me. If Findy finds out, what will ‘appen? I ‘ad enough trouble explaining Tutenakai to ‘im. I ‘ad to make up some crap about spelling pissoire wrong and deleting myself out of embarrassment.

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Buut mon coeur is breekin and yoo no ee is no good.

      • The Explorer

        It’s a good point. I imagine those already here would be allowed to stay, but there would be restrictions on future arrivals. (And a cutting back on benefits.)

        The Irish have been immigrating to the UK long before the EU. (!0% of the population with Irish ancestry?) That, I imagine, would continue. Comparisons with, say, the Bulgarians and Romanians presumably do not apply.

        • Findaráto

          But what happens when all the Bulgarians and Romanians have gone and the cavemen who voted to kick them out still aren’t having their doors beaten down by desperate employers competing to offer them six figure salaried jobs? Who will they turn on then?

          If I were Irish (please imaginary God, no!) then I’d be quaking in my brogues right now. First they came for the Bulgarians and Romanians. Then the French and the Italians were deported. And whose turn would it then be? To be sure, to be sure…

          • Inspector General

            Has it occurred to you that the best place for Bulgarians and Romanians is Bulgaria and Romania? It’s all a question of belonging, so it is…

          • Dreadnaught

            What about the Brits living and working in the 27?

          • Inspector General

            Valued assets so the countries will tell you. As opposed to the nefarious chancers they’ve sent us…

          • The Explorer

            Same old Linus, attacking points I never made.

            As I said, those here already would presumably be able to stay. It’s those not yet here bout whom there would be a restriction. And the Irish, given their close historical links with Britain, would continue to immigrate as they have done for centuries.

          • Findaráto

            As with all supporters of radical change, when confronted with specific questions about what would happen if your changes are voted through, words like “presumably” and “probably” come to the fore. The reality is that you just haven’t considered any of the repercussions of this leap you so blithely want to make in the dark.

          • Inspector General

            And what would you call what has happened to the UK during the ill years of EU membership other than ‘radical change’….

          • big

            ……..But the Tories supported it all,…go on say they didn’t,….go on i am waiting!

          • Inspector General

            As an ex conservative voter, one cannot deny you have a point…

          • big

            GOTCHA ! Ha,Haaaa HA,HA.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t choke over it. Your demise in such circumstances would trouble the Inspector for a good five minutes…

          • big

            GOTCHA…….ha….ha…..ha

          • The Explorer

            Better than unfulfilled certainties.

      • William Lewis

        So, because we want our elected government to take control of our borders that means we also want to deport all EU residents? Ooh those evil British democrats, what will they get up to next? Probably start demanding that they make all their own laws, or some such diabolical conceit.

        • Findaráto

          The whole point of this referendum is to stem migration. If the out camp wins, there will be significant pressure to expel many foreigners already living in England. Will the English step up and do the jobs they currently do? Will they ‘eck as like! Ask any English employer what he thinks of his fellow countryman’s work ethic. Why do you think they all prefer to employ Europeans?

          And what happens to the hundreds of thousands of British people living in Europe? If they’re no longer European citizens, they’ll lose the right to live and/or work in Europe and may well have to leave. Are you prepared for a wave of returning expats? Many of them will be elderly and incapable of affording accommodation in an overpriced British market. What you save in benefits payments to foreign nationals, you’ll lose in supporting impoverished returning expats.

          Add to this the cost to the British financial sector. The City doesn’t want the UK to leave because it knows that the first thing the EU will do is to impose capital controls preventing investment in Britain. The City needs European capital to maintain its position as the world’s leading financial centre. Losing it would be disastrous.

          As the debate progresses, expect this rather than immigration to become the deciding issue. If the banks decide we have to stay in Europe, then stay in Europe we will. And they’ve already decided. As mayor of London, you’d think Boris would have figured this one out. Maybe he has and is just jockeying for the support of all the disappointed out campaigners so he can position himself as a credible unifier when Cameron decides to stand down.

          • Inspector General

            Plenty of English out there to do ALL the jobs that need doing. You see, we just have to drastically reduce the benefits on offer to those who are fit and active who believe they can opt of work. Anyway, the aforementioned tend to indulge in criminal ways with their massive amounts of spare time – don’t you think?

          • The Explorer

            Back in the days when Nice was safe, and long before the EU, there was a British expat community there. In ‘Brideshead Revisited’, Lord Marchmain has a house in Venice. How were such things allowed?

            The Chinese and the Russians have bought property in London. How come? China’s not in the EU. Nor is Russia.

          • Findaráto

            If you can’t figure it out for yourself, the difference is money. In the past the only British people who lived abroad were those who had pots of money, rather like the Chinese and Russians who live in Britain today.

            These days the average Brit living in Europe is not rich. He has to work to make a living. Or he’s retired and needs access to the health services of the country he lives in. If he loses those rights when he loses his European citizenship, he’ll have to go back to the UK.

          • The Explorer

            If he’s retired, he’ll probably be on a British pension. And what about health insurance? Isn’t that what an American, say, does, working in France?

          • big

            What are you talking about? Lord Marchmain was a fictional person!

          • The Explorer

            Fiction can be used to represent social reality. He’s illustrative.

          • big

            Have you visited Nice recently?

          • The Explorer

            Not for a while. Don’t really care for it. But a feeling that the social climate had changed/would change further led rich Brits to decamp to Sandbanks.

          • Aran’Gar

            He was based on an historical person.

          • Anton

            Love the “an”!

          • Anton

            On whom, please?

          • Aran’Gar

            The Earl of Beauchamp. He was a Liberal cabinet minister who spent a great deal of time exiled in Italy after a homosexual sex scandal.
            That is my interpretation of Brideshead Revisited at any rate. But nevertheless the historical Earl moved to the Continent and remained there so the Explorer’s point is apt.

          • Anton

            Thank you. Wikipedia on Brideshead says who Sebastian, Anthony Blanche and Rex Mottram were based on, but not Lord Marchmain. I presume that’s in some biography of Evelyn Waugh?

          • Aran’Gar

            So far as I am aware the theory is widely believed but I ran across it in an article in the Daily Telegraph. It is mentioned in the opening paragraph of the 7th Earl of Beachamp’s Wikipedia article for whatever that is worth.
            PS: Actually I believe it is ‘a’ homosexual. ‘An’ should generally only be used prior to vowel sounds. The reason it is ‘an historical’ is because for a long period of time the ‘h’ in historical was silent and so the usage remains acceptable, especially in written communication.

          • Anton

            This is a chicken/egg issue because the H is not silent in the phrase “It’s historical”. But I have certainly heard an historian (and not from the north) ask somebody else “Are you an ‘istorian too?”

            I hadn’t realised that Beauchamp was the man of whom the King said, “I thought men like that shot themselves.” Thank you.

          • Pubcrawler

            The H used to be silent (as it still is words like honest), but was gradually (re)introduced during the 20th century in most varieties of English. Like all sound changes, the process is gradual and some instances may never change. So ‘an historic’, like ‘an hotel’ is something of a fossil; some consider it an affectation.

            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/a-historic-event-or-an-historic-event

          • William Lewis

            “The whole point of this referendum is to stem migration.”

            No it isn’t.

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Oooo yees it is.

          • William Lewis

            Oooo la la, Non. C’est pas vrai.

          • Little Black Censored

            Oh, oh! We’ll all be murdered in out beds.

      • Aran’Gar

        Scotland won’t have a choice, what is Sturgeon going to do, pull a UDI?

        Wouldn’t go well. Not with the Crimea conflict still simmering.

        If Sturgeon wants Putin’s backing she could perhaps attain it, but even that is unlikely.

        • Findaráto

          Nicola Sturgeon has an indisputable democratic mandate and can do pretty much whatever she likes.

          If Britain chooses to leave the EU, she probably won’t even have to call for a new referendum on the issue of Scottish independence. Given that Scotland will vote heavily in favour of remaining in the EU, the most likely outcome will be for the Scots parliament to constitute itself as a Convention and dissolve the Union unilaterally.

          So yes, UDI is a real possibility. Do you think Cameron will send troops into Scotland tô

          • Aran’Gar

            She doesn’t have a democratic mandate to secede. Look at any other country, just because a referendum doesn’t go the way they want doesn’t mean that a provincial government has any legal authority to secede. They don’t.
            And who would recognize Scotland? Not the EU, not anyone this side of Russia, because they not only wouldn’t want to anger Britain but also simply cannot afford to establish such a precedent either in their own countries, or also critically in other countries given the current issues with UDI in the Ukraine.
            But even Russia would probably not recognize a Scottish UDI, because Putin can’t afford to worsen relations with the West in an attempt to hurt Britain. Wouldn’t be worth it unless Sturgeon was willing to make Scotland a de facto Russian protectorate.

          • Findaráto

            This nonsense about Putin being behind Scottish independence is paranoia that belongs to another era.

            Sturgeon wants independence because she’s a patriotic Scot who believes her country would be better off going it alone rather than being tied to the rest of the United Kingdom. I happen to disagree with her, just as I disagree with those who want Britain to leave the EU. We’re stronger and safer together. But the reality is that if Britain does quit the EU, Scotland will quit the UK.

            Sturgeon has the most convincing mandate of any Western politician. Whether she chooses a unilateral declaration of independence or decides to call another referendum on independence, independence there will be. Scotland is committed to Europe and the SNP knows that putting EU membership in jeopardy is what will swing public opinion behind independence.

            My feeling is that Sturgeon won’t have to bother with a referendum because Scottish public opinion will be so heavily in favour of remaining in the EU that unilateral action won’t even be seriously questioned.

            As for the EU, they’ll happily accept Scotland, which will simply take over the chair left vacant by Britain with little or no opposition. An independent Scotland with Britain in the EU would have needed to start accession talks like any new country that wants to join has to. New seats would have had to be created for it in all European organisations, which would have necessitated major treaty changes and could have taken years. But with Britain out of the EU, Scotland will be able to slot into the gap left by Britain with only minor amendments to the way Europe is run.

            And as for the Spanish objecting to an independent Scotland because of their own secession worries, you can be sure that the opportunity to give the English one in the eye over Gibraltar will outweigh any fears they have about accepting Scotland. Currently they have to support Britain as an EU partner. But take Britain out of the EU and those obligations disappear.

            All Spaniards, be they Castilian, Catalan or Basque, want Britain out of Gibraltar. So you can be sure they’ll unite in welcoming Scotland into the EU. Who knows, they may even work out a deal with the Scots to take the Scottish share of Gibraltar’s sovereignty as the price of their cooperation. After all, Gibraltar is a British possession, having been ceded by Spain in 1713, a full six years after the Act of Union. Scotland therefore has a part claim to its sovereignty, and while that part may be small (how small is anyone’s guess), abandoning it to the Spanish would certainly weaken England’s ability to retain control there.

            I have a feeling though that Gibraltar will be the least of a post-Brexit England’s worries. Seen what’s happening the pound lately? There’s a sh!+storm of economic volatility and uncertainty heading England’s way if we decide to go it alone. I think voters will be waking up to this over the next few days and weeks and will make the right decision on June 23. They’ll decide to stay in the EU by a wide and convincing margin. Money talks, especially to the English.

          • Aran’Gar

            Did I say he was behind Scottish independence? No I rather think I suggested that even he would be very unlikely to recognize a Scottish UDI.
            On second thought I suppose Argentina may recognize Scotland.
            So at least one country could recognize Scottish independence. No one in the EU will though. Not a great way to start out.

          • Little Black Censored

            Delusional!

          • CliveM

            “If Britain chooses to leave the EU, she probably won’t even have to call for a new referendum on the issue of Scottish independence.”

            Of course she would. There is no democratic mandate to secede. They had a mandate to hold a referendum, which was held and lost. How would she run a country if she had declared an illegal UDI? Where would Scotland generate income to pay the bills, how would it collect it? Where on the international money markets would they be able to borrow money. The idea that Scotland could secede is simply silly. The difficulties of doing that when any of your exports would have to go through the country you are attempting to secede from would be plain stupid. How would you defend yourself, what companies would invest in such an environment? How many would simply leave? Which banks would re-locate their headquarters?How would you get access to international airspace? How would you defend the oil?

            Really the list of problems associated with this is so lengthy, it would simply not be worth considering. A referendum was held because the SNP knew they had to avoid the above. Simply seceding has never been an option.

          • Findaráto

            The first concern of Scottish banks is to remain in the Single Market. They won’t relocate to an isolated England. They probably would have if Scotland had gained its independence last time, but only because an English base would have meant continuing access to Europe.

            If Britain votes to leave the EU, Scotland will have to weigh the advantages of EU membership against what it gains from being a part of the UK. As Scottish public opinion is massively pro-European, and the sense of grievance at being bossed around by the English as a very junior partner in the Union boils constantly under the surface, a skilled politician like Nicola Sturgeon will find exactly the leverage she needs to get what she wants. She’s already preparing the ground. She controls the Scottish Assembly and can therefore set the terms of the debate within Scotland.

            Watch what she does over the next few weeks. If my prediction of a heavy defeat for the out campaign is wrong and support for their cause starts to grow, expect increasingly strident independence talk from Holyrood. Expect Sterling to drop through the floor. And when that happens, expect Scotland to leave the UK. I don’t think Sturgeon will need to go through the rigmarole of another referendum, but if she feels she has to for form’s sake, there’s no doubt she’ll win.

            Thankfully none of this is likely to happen because Britain will stay in the EU. The out campaign’s attempt to impose its minority will on the whole nation will fail because it just doesn’t have enough support. Certainly those who do support it make a lot of noise. But the numbers just aren’t there, as they weren’t there during the last Scottish independence debate when nationalists were seen as jeopardising Scotland’s place in Europe. That’s the key issue for Scotland. Whoever keeps them in Europe will get their vote.

            So Britain stays in Europe or the UK fractures. Most of the British can see this and will vote accordingly on 23 June. The out campaign doesn’t have a snowball’s chance. Deep down they know it, but bravado will keep them fighting until the very end. At which time their defeat will be humiliating, and all the more welcome for that.

          • CliveM

            If you read what I said, you will notice my comments were limited to the idea that the Scottish Parliament could simply secede without either another referendum or further electoral mandate ie a campaign at the next Scottish Parliament elections based on such a proposal. If it did attempt to secede without proper due process (as you suggested it could) the Scottish Parliament doesn’t have the legal authority to do so, then what I highlighted comes into play.

          • Findaráto

            Parliament didn’t have the legal right to depose James II (or VII, if you prefer) in 1688. But guess what? It did anyway. It declared itself a Convention with sovereign powers and acted on them.

            It’s happened once, it can happen again. If following an out vote, Sturgeon believes there’s enough public support to declare independence, which there may well be if the Scots feel that England is dictating their fate to them once again, then you tell me, what’s to stop the Scottish Assembly following the 1688 precedent and declaring itself a constituent and sovereign parliament? Because it’s “illegal”?

            Look at history and learn the lessons it teaches. Legality is defined by parliament, and those who camp on outmoded positions soon find themselves overtaken by reality.

          • CliveM

            Wow 1688! One of the big differences is that Parliament then didn’t have a legal route to achieve its aims. Sturgeon, if her electorate allows it, does. The costs of doing it illegally mean it’s not rational or realistic option. What would happen if Scotland’s own judiciary declared it illegal? Whose ‘writ ‘ would be imposed, Westminsters or Hollyroods? Who would impose it? A divided Pokice force? A divided judiciary? A divided arms forces? Besides if Sturgeon was so confident about the outcome of a referendum, why not call it? Your defending a scenario that will not arise because it would be in no ones interest to do so, least of all the Scottish Parliaments

            Frankly it’s typical of this whole Brexit argument, hysterical claim and counter claim, each side trying to outdo each other in hyperbole!

          • Findaráto

            We won’t see a Scottish UDI because the UK will vote to remain in the EU.

          • CliveM

            There will not be UDI whatever the vote.

          • Findaráto

            We’ll see.

  • Great news about Boris at last! But surely he’s not too toffee nosed to speak at a Grassroots Out rally? The people will decide this referendum not just the politicians most of which have become so aloof and out of touch with real people. I didn’t have Boris down as one of those. He’s got to put country and people before party which is what Grassroots Out is all about.

    • chiefofsinners

      This is the strength of having different ‘Leave’ campaigns. It saves political reputations. Farage can take the hardcore set, Boris can lead the softly-softly ‘we admire Cameron’s achievements’ bunch.

      • This attitude of ” I’m not going to share a platform with him or her” is what is hard to understand in a fight that is bigger than national politics and personalities. I’m no George Galloway fan either but every NO voice counts. And Yes, Cameron has had some achievements although I very much doubt there will be any actual treaty change done at anytime.

        The Electoral Commission can only choose one group so it would be great if all the OUT groups united under one name

      • Anton

        Yes, the axiom that there has to be a unified Out movement needs challenging. The movement seeks to get us out of the EU, not to become a political party seeking government.

  • big

    It’s just one massive sell out! dont believe Gove

    • Inspector General

      You need to expand…

      • chiefofsinners

        Try a deep fried Mars Bar. It worked for Alec Salmond.

      • big

        No Gove and his supporters need to expand,or explain.

        • Inspector General

          Bleat all you like, Big Boy – we’re heading for out…

          • big

            ..No you’re heading for out but still in,or even worse, out of the fire?….. but thats for you to find out! and you will find out!

          • Inspector General

            What does ‘heding’ mean? If you are illiterate, then do say so. Ah, ‘illiterate’ is an unfortunate word in this situation. How about ‘thick’ then, you might be able to understand that….

          • big

            i did try and edit..?.. but to thiiiiiiicckkknhhy

          • Inspector General

            Good show! Wouldn’t want you to come across as a dafty now, would we…

          • big

            …..and you …….

          • Inspector General

            Perhaps ‘nor you’ would have been better….

          • big

            …loose again , you are fick

          • big

            the abyss.

      • big

        Inspector ,is the universe expanding?

  • big

    vote Gove …….sell out

  • big

    …….Gove ” i was asked to stand for parliament by David Cameron” …..like i said don’t trust ‘im

  • big

    ……”we can forge trade deals and partnerships……… Blah,Blah,Blah, ….yeah of course we can! Dream on……Dream……..on.

    • dannybhoy

      So we can. We existed and prospered for centuries on our own, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t forge new relationships with other trading nations today. Europe is not going to stop wanting us to buy their goods and services just because we are no longer members of the EU. We are one of the net contributors as it is..
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/11221427/EU-budget-what-you-need-to-know.html

      • big

        ….yeah,yeah,but that was when we made things…now we’re a nation of burger flippers,or in Goves case house flipper’s.

        • dannybhoy

          But us ‘burger flippers’ are one of the few net contributors to the EU’s coffers. Check out Poland.
          Oh, you were too busy frothing to read the link…

          • big

            where do you suggest i look for polish people ?in Poland or here doing all those low wage jobs.

  • Ian G

    Q: What is John Bull’s instinctive reaction to a European Superstate?
    A: He Brexit.

  • dannybhoy

    I like Michael Grove. I think he could be a future Prime Minister.

    • big

      God help us!

      • dannybhoy

        He will if we accept that terms and conditions apply….

  • len

    A very good presentation of the facts about the EU and why we should leave this bureaucratic monster by Michael Gove.