Richard North, 29/02/2016  
 


As the referendum campaign moves inexorably towards its official start, the legacy media is obsessing over "Tory splits" and allied matters. To them, it's just a game. They have no commitment to the outcome.

Rather than address the issues, you even get them them writing about their own inadequacies. It's the Independent's turn this week. It notes that we have a Daily Telegraph columnist, Boris Johnson, pitted against a former ITV PR man, David Cameron. This means "the media can narrate the EU referendum in the personalised language it loves: a story of jealousy, ambition and betrayal".

"Of course", the paper admits, "it doesn't mean we will have a better debate on the detail of the relative merits of Brussels or Brexit". In fact, it means that the lacklustre, ill-informed coverage has got even worse, and is set to descend into the realms of the infantile.

Thus, if the British people are content to be lied to by politicians, as Lost Leonardo avers, they are also going to have to get used to being "patronised by a media that seeks to trivialise the real heart of the matter - who governs Britain. This is a media that doesn't know the difference between a "summit" and a European Council meeting, yet reports on Boris Johnson's every fart and eyebrow scratch with solemn earnestness".

As so often, therefore, it is left to the bloggers to do the heavy lifting – bloggers like Mr Brexit who is picking up on the way the Government is attempting to rig the vote. That, says Mr Bexit, makes for "five strikes" against Mr Cameron - his referendum fails the legitimacy test.

Back in the day, he notes, the Government's self-declared approach had been to follow the Electoral Commission's advice. That was when the Commission was calling for the referendum question to be changed. But, since that last September, the mood has changed.

Now, Mr Cameron is not only lying about his non-binding and entirely reversible "dodgy deal" with the EU. He is also fighting dirty in an effort to win "his" referendum at any cost, keeping Britain subordinate to the EU. Five strikes, says Mr Brexit, means that the referendum fails any reasonable legitimacy test.

Because of this, nothing will be considered settled when this referendum goes to a vote on 23 June. It will not have been a fair contest. As in 1975, people will walk away feeling cheated.

And while the legacy media plays its dire games, Mr Brexit isn't the only one to remark on the "dodgy deal". In a short, pithy comment, Leave the EU notes that Cameron and company are clearly so desperate to deceive the British people that they go so far as to lie to us. "Will nobody challenge this contempt?" he asks.

Similar sentiments are expressed by Rob Sanderson who observes that David Cameron seems to have turned being wrong into an art-form. He leaves it to the reader to decide whether that is the art of the propagandist or the imbecile. Whichever you choose think on this, he suggests, "if a man can be so wrong why on earth would you trust anything he says?"

By way of a change, the Brexit Door tackles a different man, Sir Paul Nurse. To say this man had a "car crash" interview, writes blog author Tony E, would be to underestimate the awfulness of Nurse's performance. From a standing start he went from baritone almost to outraged soprano in less than five minutes, as his arguments unravelled in the face of what was for once, a very well informed interviewer in Justin Webb.

He's writing, of course, about the Europhile insistence that science funding will be adversely affected by Brexit. This foolishness over science should be unravelled once and for all, writes TonyE. The arguments put forward that somehow the scientific research community will find work and life intolerable outside the EU is nonsense and must be shown for what it is.

Tackling a completely different issue, Lost Leonardo is also having a go at the Economist's tiresome anti-Brexit tirade. This magazine, which took an active role in promoting the EEC during the 1975 referendum, is staying on the dark side, warning about the economic consequences that could result from a vote to leave.

Its current line is that "Brexit would deal a heavy blow to Europe, a continent already on the ropes", which has Lost Leonardo pondering over the contradictions inherent in this stance.

On the one hand, Britain is too poor, too weak and too stupid to be an independent country and would face economic and societal ruin without EU support. Yet Britain is also such a vital member of the European Union that withdrawal would fundamentally weaken the Western alliance and destabilise the entire global economy.

These assertions are so far from reality that it is genuinely difficult to know where to begin, says out blogger, but nevertheless he gets stuck in – ripping the Economist to shreds. If their oh-so-clever writers cannot see what is staring them so plainly in the face, he concludes, rest assured that the rest of us can. Britain needs a new relationship with the EU and the only way to achieve that is to leave.

UK Unleashed takes a satirical approach to the issues, writing up an interview with a difference with the "ex-Prime Minister, David Cameron". In order to get the truth, it says, "we sat him down and gave him a good shot of sodium pentathol first".

The happy scenario is one where Mr Cameron lost the referendum, and was forced to resign. He is asked of his "dodgy deal", whether he accepted that it wouldn't have been legally binding?

Cameron breaks out in to bellowing laughter. "Of course not", he says, I was desperate though. In hindsight, I should have listened to Lynton Crosby and pushed the whole thing back until 2017. The EU, who I was answerable to at the time, had other ideas though so I had to press for the ridiculous 2016 date".

Against this sophisticated and entertaining approach, Leave the European Union is a new blog on the block, with only a few posts under its belt. But it takes a useful, straight view of the "dodgy deal". If the blog is maintained and matures, it should become a useful source of archival material.

Let's Leave the EU takes a similar line, although offering more detail. Its first and only post so far is the "Norway Option in a Nutshell", promising good things to come.

In a different league entirely is Red Cliffs of Dawlish which has carved a niche for itself with unparalleled analyses of complex subjects. The current topic is an evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy, based on the sterling work by John Ashworth, published on the Campaign for an Independent Britain website.

Semi-partisan Politics is another professional blog, with Sam Hooper at the wheel. In his latest post, he addresses the vexed question of how much democracy we would sacrifice to reduce uncertainty.

David Cameron, he writes, went to the country at the general election last year offering a Big Government, nanny state "plan for every stage of your life". He now asks us to trust that the future he has carefully planned out for us – one of sheltered irrelevance, tucked away in an anachronistic 1950s regional political union – is the best that modern Britain can hope for.

This referendum, Hooper concludes, provides the opportunity for British citizens to show that we hold our country in much higher regard than does our own prime minister – and to help consign David Cameron, together with our EU membership, to the dustbin of political history.

That leaves Pete, writing for Leave HQ to act as the sweeper, discussing the ongoing attempts by the Europhiles to engineer their own version of "project fear". In a piece entitled, "Brexit scares just don't make any sense", he evaluates what he calls an "insult to our intelligence", the propensity to say that Brexit necessarily will have the worst possible consequences over so many things.

Concludes Pete, we have absolute confidence that Britain, as a modern, liberal and progressive country can and will step up the challenges Brexit presents and our society will be all the better for it - to once again have participatory democracy and politics of substance.

Whatever the "remain" camp say, they can't have it both ways. Brexit can only have a huge and calamitous impact if we have full and total separation overnight. They rightly say that cannot and will not happen. And so do we. So on what grounds can we take them seriously?

And there you have but a small sample of what the bloggers have to offer. With a fraction of the resources, dedicated writers – most often unpaid – are able to provide a focus and a degree of insight that often eludes the legacy media.

The mix of seasoned writers and novices also provides a freshness that we're not getting from legacy commentators, most of whom seem unable to drag themselves away from biff-bam, personality politics. Their dedication warrants the small investment in time from readers, who will be well-rewarded for their efforts.






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