Boiling it down on the doorstep

I’m sometimes challenged to state how I would communicate my outlook on the EU to the ordinary voter on the door step. At different times this challenge has demanded things to be boiled down into a slogan or sentence; into a tweet; into a paragraph and sometimes a bit more.

I slightly object to the notion that my outlook is (a) wildly different and (b) can’t be sold to the average voter. That aside, it’s a fair challenge given that I don’t get animated about limiting immigration, think the cost argument is overblown (and the way it’s made is just wrong), and that there won’t be a bonfire of regulations. I’ve therefore been quite critical of the main Leave campaigns, although they clearly get things right as well.

So here goes. The exact wording of each statement is important and as I’m typing this sentence I don’t actually know how this is going to go. But anyway…

  1. Leave the EU and rejoin the world.
  2. We want a market called Europe, not a country called Europe.
  3. The choice is: Vote Remain and get 40 more years of the same. Or Vote Leave and we enter exit talks that might actually give us something.
  4. The EU isn’t working, as the euro and migrant crisis show. It is a 1950’s answer to a 21st century internet-connected world.
  5. The Leave campaign is the real reform campaign; the future-looking campaign; the globalisers attuned to the times.
  6. Voting Leave is the ONLY chance to take back control of immigration. There is ZERO chance if you vote Remain.
  7. Germany’s leader Angela Merkel said in 2012: “We must gradually cede powers to Europe and give Europe control.” No we should not.
  8. A European Commissioner has said “We need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government.” No we should not.
  9. The truth is: We want cooperation, they want merger. How much longer do we dance around this basic fact? It’s time to change direction.
  10. David Cameron’s renegotiation deal with the EU amounts to nothing. If we can’t reform the EU with the threat of exit, we never will. And if we now vote to Remain, we can never again argue credibly for any reform in Europe.
  11. The Remain campaign are asking you to vote Remain even though they openly admit the EU is awful and even though they don’t agree with its goal of “a country called Europe”. What kind of campaign is that?
  12. The EU has infected our politics and taken the big decisions away from us. British politics has been hollowed out. No wonder it is held in contempt. And no wonder they hold us in contempt through lies and spin. Voting to leave will start to put this right. A vote to remain is a vote of confidence in the whole rotten political system.
  13. If the EU is good for prosperity and jobs, why do so many EU economies have long-term low growth and high unemployment? And how do British steel workers feel about that, considering EU state aid rules prevented the UK from choosing nationalisation?
  14. If we leave, we will still be able to holiday in Europe, emigrate to Europe, buy property in Europe, study in Europe, cooperate with Europe. The British do all of these things with America without needing to be a part of it.

There, that wasn’t too hard. I’m sure it could be finessed with more time. And of course it could be a lot longer, covering all sorts of different angles. But I don’t think that was the point of the challenge.