Both sides of the EU referendum campaign are behaving as though it were a general election. They are campaigning hard, fighting tooth and nail and using every political trick to try to win. But this isn't a general election, and if, as the polls suggest, there is a vote to leave the European Union, it is the government that will have to implement the people's mandate. The government is not the remain campaign, it is a separate entity, and while David Cameron happens to be the leader of the remain campaign, he is also our Prime Minister and he has a duty to the people of Britain to tell them how he will deal with a leave vote.
British Voters Have a Right to Know the Government's Plans
Photo: Number10.gov via Wikimedia Commons
Put aside the question of how you are going to vote for a moment. Whether you are pro or anti the EU, don't you want to know how the government plans to deal with a leave vote? The remain campaign has tried to terrify the British people with the prospect of economic Armageddon, but the truth is that civil servants in Whitehall have a plan for an orderly exit from the European Union, which is rumoured to be based on The EEA Option. You can find out more about it here and here.
If you knew that there was no risk to the economy, if you were freed from that fear, how would you cast your vote? I believe a great many British people long to be shot of an undemocratic political union they never agreed to be part of. I believe that were it not for the economic fears instilled by the remain campaign, leave would win the referendum by a landslide. In fact, a vote to leave is the only way to draw a line under the European question once and for all.
If we vote to remain, UKIP will be resurgent because none of the issues that have led to its rise will have been addressed. It will continue its upward trajectory and eat into the vote of both Labour and the Conservatives at the next general election. If nothing else, this referendum has revealed people's profound anger at being forced into political union, and it would be folly to ignore it. A remain vote will drive people into the arms of UKIP and Nigel Farage.
Voting to remain will feed UKIP and the European Union, and ensure that the European question drags on for years, continuing to divide Britain, while the issues at the heart of the division, questions of sovereignty, democracy, border control, stress on public services, and a discriminatory immigration policy go unaddressed.
It is not Vote Leave's place to be putting forward policy on how to deal with Britain's exit from the EU. It is a campaign group, not an alternative government. It is David Cameron, the current leader of the government, who must provide voters with assurances that he knows how to handle what appears to be an increasingly likely outcome. It should be obvious to all why this means he has a deep and unpleasant conflict of interest. He cannot discharge his duties as head of a responsible government without revealing that the hyperbolic fears that have underpinned the remain campaign's economic argument are utter nonsense.
If the government does not have a plan to deal with the leave vote, then it has been grossly irresponsible, but anyone with an understanding of how government works will know that it most certainly does have a plan. Indeed, many people close to government are already aware of that plan, and know that it is refusing to talk about that plan because it would become clear to the British people that the economic fears that have formed the basis of the remain campaign are utterly false. As I've noted above, most informed observers know that the government's plan is based on The EEA Option, which will provide a gradual, orderly disengagement with the EU.
I think the British public needs to be reminded that the remain campaign is not the government. We need to put pressure on the government to reveal its plans for dealing with a leave vote. I know that it will be very difficult for David Cameron to take off his remain campaign hat, but he must remember that he is the Prime Minister and that he has a duty to the nation that is above any personal views he might have on the referendum. By concealing the existence of the government's plan, he is attempting to prey on voters' fears and is conducting himself in a way that makes it difficult to view this as a free and fair election. Voters must have all the relevant information they need to make a decision.
This issue is one of the many reasons why some people said the Prime Minister should not have been allowed to lead the remain campaign, because it has put him in a position where his duties to the British people directly conflict with his role as the figurehead of a political campaign group.
If you agree with me that the British people deserve to know what the government's plans are in the event of a leave vote, please tweet David Cameron with the hashtag #EEA. I'm not suggesting that The EEA Option is the solution, but it is rumoured to currently form the basis of the plan that the civil service will implement in the event of a leave vote. It also happens to be a short, easily identifiable hashtag that will signal to David Cameron that we, the people, want answers, and that, above all else, he must discharge his duties as the head of a responsible government.
I'll get the ball rolling here: