Can anyone talk about the benefits and drawbacks of #Brexit without invoking the spectre of Project Fear?

Look at this, from the BBC:

Leaving the European Union would threaten jobs and put the UK’s economy at risk, leaders of some of Britain’s biggest companies have said.

It could be argued that this is true – but that is mainly because they were promoting the benefits of staying in.

The signatories wrote: “Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs. Britain will be strong, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU.”

But the BBC (in this example) has concentrated on the negative:

Bosses – including those of BT, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone – signed a letter published in the Times, saying an EU exit would deter investment in the UK.

Leave campaigners point out two-thirds of FTSE 100 firms, including Tesco and Sainsbury, did not back the letter.

This is despite the fact that

chairmen or chief executives of 36 FTSE 100 companies signed the letter, organised by Stronger in Europe and Downing Street, backing the campaign to stay in the EU, including Burberry, BAE Systems and EasyJet.

The FTSE bosses were among a total of 198 signatories from the business world, including the chief executives of Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

On top of all this, we have other claims which seem to have no direct foundation at all:

Richard Tice, co-founder of Leave.EU, said Downing Street had admitted using taxpayers’ money and “applying pressure” on FTSE chairmen and chief executives to sign the letter.

So, who’s running Project Fear, in this case?

Project Fear is a name applied to any campaign that seeks to persuade people to support it by accenting the negative (and possibly fictitious) aspects of supporting its opponents.

The trouble is, in the EU referendum, either side could accuse the other of running Project Fear, simply by stating their own case.

The ‘In’ supporters who signed the letter stated their belief that the UK would be better-off as an EU member.

But ‘Out’ campaigners have leapt on it, claiming that it alleges the country will be worse-off if we leave. It’s a logical conclusion – but not really what was being said.

Suppose I were to say my part of Wales has benefited from more than a thousand jobs through EU funding. ‘Out’ campaigners could then say I was scaremongering that Powys could lose the investment that created those jobs if we leave – not what I would have been saying, but it would stick in people’s minds because we tend to remember the negative over the positive.

Without corroboration of his claim, Mr Tice’s comments seem a more direct application of Project Fear, even though he is alleging it of the other side.

And so the debate descends into gibberish.

Why can’t we have a civilised discussion, with assertions supported by factual evidence and none of this childish name-calling?

Source: EU exit would risk jobs, says group of business bosses – BBC News

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15 thoughts on “Can anyone talk about the benefits and drawbacks of #Brexit without invoking the spectre of Project Fear?

  1. Anthony Lewis

    There are two things I would like to have more information on. 1. The impact of the TTIP. 2. and what bearing will our staying and, or leaving the EU have on the TTIP being thrust upon us.
    I read somewhere that the negotiators of the TTIP have said that if Britain leaves the EU then then they would not be interested in us. Only if we remained within the EU. Now that to me is of massive importance, and I am not aware of it having been covered in the media. Can you enlighten me more on this. Because on this issue alone I would vote to leave and I am surprised that Corbyn has not mentioned it

    Anthony Lewis

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The trouble is, TTIP is being negotiated in secret, therefore there’s a lot of speculation about what it contains.
      I’ve written many, many articles on what we know about TTIP, including its impact, so just type “TTIP” into the search box and see what comes up.
      As for the impact of leaving the EU – I don’t know. If the rest of Europe accepts it, then we could be priced out of all the markets, even though the people producing the cheap goods would be exploited and the products shoddy.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        It was, but that’s no guarantee that it would go if we left.
        Many other countries have a form of VAT!

      2. wildswimmerpete

        VAT was introduced in 1973 by the (Conservative) Heath administration. Although VAT was (and still is) known as the Tory Tax it was imposed by the then EEC as a condition of joining,

  2. dwrcymru

    Re: “Why can’t we have a civilised discussion, with assertions supported by factual evidence and none of this childish name-calling?”

    It’s because they are not capable of any kind of civilised discussion and they hate factual evidence that goes against what they believe, and as they behave like spoilt children all they know is name calling because they can’t hold an educated discussion.

  3. perryk5256

    Take a look at what the USA thinks about TTP, their working people are not happy, they can see their jobs moving to Pacific Rim countries, there is no chance of TTP being adopted, it is only being promoted by the largest USA manufacturing companies. I seem to remember that only one country has signed up so far. TTIP is following the same patten, the German judiciary have said they won’t accept its terms. So far it seems the Corporation of the City of London are for it and have persuaded the government that it is in “their “ interest to adopt it. Regardless of its effect on working people. USA big business is looking for a large amount of middle class customers to replace their own fast disappearing middle class, Europe seems to be the target – no one seems to have noticed that all but the rich are targeted by this government and our middle class is fast disappearing.

  4. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

    I think that the willingness, nay GLEE, of politicians to accept TTIP, over which US working folk have every reason to be unhappy, because it will benefit the largest companies… which can offer the best deals on Directorships.


  5. perryk5256

    Purchase Tax was charged on everything, except food, books, newspapers, gas, electricity, children’s cloths and shoes. There were all sorts of rates. From about 50% down to 5%. That is why we are the only country in the EU not to have VAT on food, books etc. Our government of the day felt there would be an uprising if they tried to put VAT on things that were free of Purchase Tax.
    Its unlikely that they will do away with VAT, as during the “recent” recession they were miffed to see that France faired better than us….. they had more income from VAT, where we were more reliant on income tax, which took a hit, due to low wages and large numbers of unemployed.

  6. Kenneth Billis

    On the BBC News channel today it was being reported that the opinion of the leaders of the G20 countries was that the UK leaving the EU would have a serious negative effect on the world economy. Following this it was stated that Osborne said this would mean more “cuts” would be needed in the UK which would be introduced in the Autumn budget.

    A little later on BBC1 Osborne’s comments had been dropped from the news. Is this another example of news management on this issue?

    P.S. I think what I have said above is correct. I hadn’t been paying attention to it all until Osborne’s input seemed to have been dropped.

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