What does Switzerland think about Brexit? I visit a Swiss wrestling festival to find out
Posted by James Delingpole on Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Let’s examine its argument in more detail, starting with the headline. I’ve put the New York Times’s words in bold; my comments appear below.
Britain Asks if Tone of ‘Brexit’ Campaign Made Violence Inevitable
New York Times Journalist States that Tone of ‘Brexit’ Campaign Made Violence Inevitable, taking lead from left-leaning Remain activists and commentators whose biased opinions he cherry-picks to support his threadbare thesis.
On the specific subject of ‘Tone’ see also: ‘Tone’ – the Liberal-Left’s codeword for ‘I hate free speech’
Whence grew this ‘growing sense’? The only people actually promulgating this line are left-leaning, pro-Remain activists who’ve seen a Rahm-Emanuel-style opportunity in the crisis of a mother-of-two’s senseless, brutal murder. Most normal people would much prefer it if Britain’s democratic future were debated on more relevant issues.
The increasingly ugly anti-immigrant tone to the campaign
This is not a fact but a left-wing propaganda trope. Sure there have been odd lapses of taste, notably the somewhat crass Breaking Point poster. But for most of this referendum campaign the nastiness has been confined to the Remain side – whose Project Fear has been characterised by mendacity, ad hominems, snobbery and bullying. Leave, on the other hand, have sought to keep their tone as upbeat and positive as possible; as have UKIP and Nigel Farage. This is because they have been alive to the possibility that their respectable position on controlled immigration will inevitably be misrepresented by the left as xenophobia and racism. So what Erlanger is doing here isn’t journalism but propaganda: stating as fact something he might wish to be so but for which he can demonstrate little evidence other than hearsay from parti-pris commenters.
Coupled with the violence of English fans at the European soccer championships…
The high-water mark of English football violence was thirty years ago. Either Erlanger doesn’t know this – in which case why he is commenting on UK affairs? – or he is being deliberately misleading.
…has left many here feeling that the boundaries of acceptable behavior are breaking down.
“Many”? See above and below.
“What we are just seeing generally is a very disturbing shift in British politics,” said Simon Tilford, the deputy director of the Center for European Reform, which favors British membership. “It is quite upsetting to me what is happening.”
“As a pro-EU activist I will say anything to smear the other side.”
With next Thursday’s vote on the referendum only days away, campaigning was suspended as a gesture of mourning and respect for the victim, Jo Cox, 41, a rising star in the opposition Labour Party who, not coincidentally, was a strong backer of Britain’s remaining inside the bloc.
That “not coincidentally” is flat-out in contempt of court. You are ascribing motives to the killer which have yet to be established in a court of law. Also, you are trying to pin the murder on the entire Brexit cause. Low – really low.
While it is still too early to say how the attack will change the dynamics of the campaign, it has unquestionably shifted the focus from the growing momentum of those in favor of leaving to the anti-immigrant tactics they have employed as the vote has drawn closer.
No. The Leave campaign is not “anti-immigrant”: it has simply argued for controlled migration, which is something else entirely.
The suspect arrested in the killing, Thomas Mair, 52, has a history of mental illness.
Wow. An actual sentence stating the truth. But let’s wait for the inevitable “but”, shall we?
But he was also reported to have been in contact with far-right groups in the United States and Britain, and to have said, “Britain first!” several times as he attacked Ms. Cox. Britain First, a far-right nationalist group, denied any links with Mr. Mair, but a United States civil rights group said he had been associated with an American neo-Nazi organization called the National Alliance.
As Peter Hitchens notes in this must-read Mail piece, “disturbed people do sometimes embrace the wilder political and religious creeds. But it is their mental illness, not these barely understood ‘opinions’, that makes them capable of the dreadful act of killing – an act which separates them from the rest of humanity.” Around 30 million people – half Britain’s population – want to vote Leave. The idea, as Erlanger and others are hinting, that they might have anything remotely in common with this mentally ill man or his warped political associations is disgusting.
Read the rest at Breitbart.
The man who kept Switzerland at arm’s length from the EU reckons we would get a much better deal.
Before we vote Brexit I thought I’d pop over to Switzerland — courtesy of Die Weltwoche, the nearest local equivalent to The Spectator — to see how life will be once we escape the EU. Can confirm: it’s going to be great. We’ll be richer, freer and the views are fantastic: lakes and mountains so stupidly gorgeous that each time you look at them you think: ‘This is ridiculous. Nowhere could possibly be this ludicrously pretty.’ Then you go under a tunnel to the next valley where it’s just as lovely. It’s like gorging on a giant bar of hazelnut Lindt.
And — in their understated Swiss way — they love us British. Partly it’s because we created their tourist industry, first by sending over the Shelleys, Byron and various Romantic painters to discover ‘the sublime’ and create Gothic horror, then by inventing winter sports and — thanks to Thomas Cook — devising the Swiss-based package tour.
Partly it’s because we have so much in common. Robert Conquest once said that there are only two European democracies — Switzerland and Britain. Which may be why we both feel so unsuited to membership of the anti-democratic EU. This, certainly, is the view of elder statesman Christoph Blocher, the Swiss former MP largely credited with having kept Switzerland out of the EU. When we met at the Swiss federal parliament in the (almost unfeasibly pleasant) capital Berne he enumerated our similarities.
‘One, England has always had a very big sense of sovereignty — “we are Britain and we are doing this”. Two, freedom is very important to England. You have an older tradition than countries like Germany which didn’t exist before 1871 and has only been a democracy since 1945. And three, you are an island and Switzerland is an island too. We are an island without a sea.’
Free-market, anti-immigration, anti-EU, Blocher has dragged Switzerland’s famously dull political system inexorably right. Few Swiss would admit how much they admire him in public — in the rural heartlands where his SVP has its power base, maybe, but definitely not in the liberal-left cities — like Nigel Farage, he is very much a Marmite figure.
‘There are only two groups — those who hate me and those who think I’m a hero. It doesn’t bother me. When you have a clear position it must be so,’ says Blocher, 75, a self-made billionaire whose personal hero is Winston Churchill. Though he lives in style in a lakeside mansion, his manner is warm and down-to-earth.
Read the rest at the Spectator.
Harsh words have been exchanged; collisions only narrowly averted; one fishing boat has drenched Geldof’s with a hose.
Gosh: I wonder which group is more likely to enlist the sympathy of ordinary people still unsure which way to vote.
Will it be
a) the former – comprising boatloads of fishermen whose livelihoods have been all but eradicated by Britain’s EU membership?
b) the latter – a gin palace commandeered by a multi-millionaire pillar of the global elite (who isn’t even a British subject and therefore not entitled to vote in this referendum) and packed to the gills with pro-EU reporters and members of the wankerati, blaring out noise from its extravagant sound system and pouring scorn on the smelly fisher proles nearby?
My personal guess is that it won’t be b).
In fact, if the Brexiteers do win this referendum, I suspect it will have less to do with anything they have said or done themselves than it has with the extraordinary arrogance of the Remainers.
Read the rest at Breitbart.
I’m reluctant to talk about it because I don’t want to jinx it. As I was saying to Toby Young on our podcast the other day, it feels as deliciously unlikely as going to a bar and accidentally picking up a supermodel. There she is laughing at your jokes, playing footsie with you under the table and you’re thinking: “Bloody hell! This is unreal! In just a few hours from now I could be romping naked with this vision of outrageous loveliness.” But you also know that if the Fates catch you being too cocky they’ll punish you for your hubris and do something awful, like revealing that the person you’ve actually pulled is Bruce Jenner.
Problem is, as a professional journalist, it is rather my duty to report the facts as I see them. And the facts as I see them seem to be pointing tantalisingly towards rampant sex with that supermodel. Possibly not just with one but with several, every day for the rest of our lives.
Yes, it’s still improbable – at least so far as the bookies are concerned. But whenever I nurture any doubts, all I have to do is open a newspaper or turn on the TV and see for myself just how incredibly badly the Remain campaign is screwing this one up and how well the Leave team are winning over the hearts and minds of the undecided.
What strikes me most is the difference in mood and tone: Remain sound shrill, petulant, pessimistic; Leave come across as amiable, reasonable, optimistic. And which of those sides would any open-minded person prefer to be on?
Consider last night’s referendum debate on ITV.
It pitched – for the Remain camp – SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon; Labour Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle; Tory Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd against – for Leave – Labour MP Gisela Stuart; Tory MP (and Rudd’s junior minister in her Climate Change department) Andrea Leadsom; and a token blond male former Mayor of London called Boris Johnson.
The Leave team were plausible, dignified, positive, level-headed. Stuart – a German speaking with soft persuasiveness for British values and sovereignty: yay! – may well be the most effective weapon in Leave’s armoury; Leadsom marked herself with her eloquence and passion as a potential future Tory prime minister; Johnson reined in his flamboyance, played it straight and gallantly left the ladies to steal the limelight.
Read the rest at Breitbart.
This is, literally, an infantile argument. Babies live in the present and want everything now. Grown ups understand the importance of deferred gratification – that is you need to accept a certain amount of present pain (be it the tedium of learning your times tables or practising your golf swing) in order to enjoy future gain.
It also dishonestly assumes that the status quo is always preferable to the instability caused by change. If this were so, no one would ever divorce their nightmare of a wife/husband or move to a bigger, more comfortable house. Nor would Britain have quit the European Exchange Mechanism (an action which led to a decade’s economic growth) or gone to war with Adolf Hitler.
And it’s woefully short-termist. We’re not voting on what’s going to happen to the sterling or the FTSE or even the jobs market in the next few months or years. We’re deciding on what’s best for the long term wellbeing of Britain and her people.
2. “The pound will fall“.
It may. (Benefitting UK exporters whose products will become, relatively, better value) Then it may rise. Or not. This is one of the advantages of having a floating exchange rate: the price of sterling is a reflection of how Britain’s economic prospects are seen vis a vis the rest of the world, rising and falling in accordance with economic cycles, acting as a corrective mechanism that brings stability. Unlike the poor sods in the Eurozone who have to put up with a one-size-fits-all-currency run in the interests of Germany.
3. “It grants us a place at the top table“
Yes, a table that we’d be sitting at anyway owing to the fact that we’re the world’s fifth largest economy with the world’s fourth highest military budget, which once owned, ran or traded with more than half the atlas, which invented most of the world’s sports, wrote most of its best literature and which speaks the universal language (because we invented that too).
4. “Membership of a club.”
Whose exorbitant (£18 billion a year) annual membership fee entitles us to what, exactly? Overpriced food and drink kept high by protectionism and tariffs? Check. A non-exclusive admissions policy which means that each year we have to accept more and more riff raff who won’t even observe the club’s most basic codes (no raping in the billiard room, etc)? Check. An ever-increasing body of pettifogging rules and regulations which make it harder to do business or indeed anything else we want without some finger-wagging busybody telling us “No you can’t use your usual weedkiller on the garden anymore. Nor can you buy alphonso mangoes. Nor will we allow you a kettle that comes to the boil quickly. Das ist Verboten!”? Check. Crap facilities increasingly under strain because of all the new club members? Check.
5. “We’re not quitters“. (David Cameron)
If only the British Expeditionary Force had stayed behind in Dunkirk in 1940 to be annihilated: that would have taught Herr Hitler a lesson he would never have forgotten. And what about all those idiot smokers thinking it might be a good idea to give up their healthy habit? Or the gamblers who’ve just made a fortune on the roulette table and are now wondering whether to reinvest it on number 13? Quitters: what do they know about anything, eh?
Read the rest at Breitbart.
If there are two better reasons for voting Leave in the referendum, I’m hard pushed to think of them.
Morgan was on breakfast TV this morning deploying his favoured rapid-fire bluster-bully interview technique on pro-Brexit MP Dominic Raab. Raab was trying to make the factually correct point that under EU law Britain is not allowed to deport criminals (not rapists, not murderers…) back to EU member states. Morgan wouldn’t let him get a word in. It’s an effective way of closing down arguments you don’t like because it throws your interviewee off the points he wants to make and needles him into looking shifty, evasive and angry. It’s also very unfair. But of course, anyone complaining that it’s unfair is left looking whiney and needy, like they don’t understand that politics is a rough game, like they’re not up to the job.
Read the rest at Breitbart.
After last night’s stellar performance on Sky News by the Gover, it’s pretty obvious why. Gove would have Cameron’s testicles on toast for starters, his viscera for the main, and his eyeballs for pudding – all while consuming his opponent with such perfect charm and good manners that not even the Prime Minister himself would realise till the digestion stage just how comprehensively he’d been eaten.
No politician kills with kindness more viciously than Gove.
He did it again last night under intense grilling from Sky News interrogator Faisal Islam.
Islam’s assault was brutal and relentless – far more cavalier, disrespectful and insulting than his treatment of David Cameron the night before – but Gove emerged the undoubted victor by consistently maintaining grace under pressure. He more or less owned his cheerily impertinent interrogator, he won over an initially sceptical audience, and most importantly he sent out a clear signal to the Remain camp: “Don’t count your chickens. We Brexiteers have right and truth on our side. And we’re going to win this one, just you see.”
Don’t take my word for it. Watch for yourself:
Read the rest at Breitbart.
It’s even better, almost, than the Queen emerging as a closet Brexit fan.
If Donald Trump had said something like that (as of course he does all the time) half the world would have dismissed him as a malevolent, heartless, rabble-rousing troll.
But it’s much harder to do that with the Dalai Lama. The thing he’s famous for more than anything is really, really caring about stuff – the world’s poor and oppressed especially.
If you were to ask Benedict Cumberbatch or Juliet Stevenson or Kate Moss’s nearly-father-in-law Richard Curtis or any of the other numerous members of the Wankerati who want to welcome more refugees into Europe what they thought of the Dalai Lama I can guarantee they’d have nothing but kind words to say.
In fact, it’s quite hard to find anyone who doesn’t like him:
The Dalai Lama, however, was recently named the most popular world leader, with over three-quarters of adults (78%) on average having a good opinion of him.
So when an all round caring nice guy [I went to his 80th birthday party at Glastonbury last year. Can confirm: he’s great. We sang Happy Birthday to him. Patti Smith gave him a cake. And he blessed us all] like the Dalai Lama says that Europe has a refugee problem it’s probably a sign that he has thought through the issue carefully and that he’s right, rather than a sign that he’s a secret Nazi.
Sure, as he makes clear, he cares about refugees:
Read the rest at Breitbart.
“A UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create, and is a further serious risk to growth,” G7 leaders said, in the only reference to the vote in a 32-page declaration.
This joint threat by the leaders of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) is but the latest in a series of dire warnings of the terrible things that might transpire were Britain to leave the European Union. They include: fewer students; more cancer; the death of science; starving pensioners; a year-long recession; tumbling house prices; higher food prices; more terrorism; the loss of half a million jobs; more crime; and the outbreak of World War III.
Perhaps the best comment on these made-up forecasts comes from Prime Minister David Cameron’s friend and former guru Steve Hilton.
Former No 10 adviser Steve Hilton’s shocking revelation came as he blasted his old boss’s “hysterical and obviously phony economic scare stories to frighten people half to death”.
The close pal of the PM said he knew the government’s referendum numbers were fabricated “because I used to do that stuff”.
And the public knows this too. What the polls are showing is that the leading politician in the Brexit campaign, Boris Johnson, is trusted to tell the truth about the EU by more than twice as many people as trust the Prime Minister on this subject. Furthermore, people say they trust the Leave camp more than they do Remain.
Read the rest at Breitart.