Big guns wheeled out on either side of Brexit debate

IT may be surprising to learn that there are more than 300 British historians considered prominent enough to indulge themselves in signing a letter addressed to the greater public. 

Yet it transpires that there are, and that they are tremendously concerned about the prospect of Britain isolating itself from the EU project. 

“As historians of Britain and of Europe, we believe that Britain has had in the past, and will have in the future, an irreplaceable role to play in Europe,” they wrote.

Among the 300, as they will doubtlessly be immortalised in ballad in centuries to come, are Simon Schama, perhaps television’s most pervasive populariser of history; and Neil Ferguson, the Scotsman who sought fame in America and has a fetish for unions, having described his native nation as ‘northern Britain’ in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum.

“On 23 June, we face a choice: to cast ourselves adrift, condemning ourselves to irrelevance and Europe to division and weakness; or to reaffirm our commitment to the EU and stiffen the cohesion of our continent in a dangerous world,” the authors argued, with other signatories including Prof Sir Ian Kershaw, an esteemed expert on 20th century Germany. 

The Remain campaign is attempting to shed its image problem of being perceived to lack passion by invoking more positive reasons for staying in the union, but can’t seem to shake the trail of doom and disaster it leaves in its wake. 

Even the cumulative knowledge of hundreds of anonymous historians, who achieved their self-judged acclaim by staying at university longer than usual, does little other than reiterate the claim that a Brexit threatens European security. 

Unfortunately that argument is unlikely to hold much water with a general public who have become attuned to the government’s role in whipping up fear, whether over Iraq, Scottish independence, or hurting the feelings of big business. 

The seeds of continental implosion have already been sown, with the referendum a symptom rather than a cause, and a Brexit likely only to hasten a very necessary purging process. 

Meanwhile the ‘Brexiteers’ now boast the support of a group of former senior military officers who have joined the grandly titled Veterans for Britain campaign, which advocates a NATO-focussed approach to security. 

Major General Julian Thompson, a veteran of the Falklands war, and former SAS boss Sir Michael Rose, command the most gravity among the military dissenters from official government policy. 

“Either Great Britain will remain in the EU, dominated by people who we do not elect, who we cannot throw out and who dictate many of the laws which govern us, or we will take back control and return to what we were: an independent country in which our parliament is elected by us, and answerable to us as the lawmaker,” said Thompson, showing remarkable ignorance of the role of corporatism and globalisation in determining British laws for a man of his stature. 

Sir Michael Rose meanwhile has come out fighting after receiving an official apology from No. 10 for his mistaken inclusion in a heavily promoted list of military figures opposed to Brexit. 

“I believe that the UK’s contribution to European defence can manifestly be better made solely through Nato than by trying to spread our limited resources too thinly, in order to include European defence and security policy initiatives into the UK’s defence programme,” he said.

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    • Sean Dobson

      28 May 2016 • 00:01

      How many pieces of silver are Cameron,Osborne and the like prepared to sell the UK for.?

    • Roy Peters

      25 May 2016 • 16:45

      It would seem that there are still people who do not realize what the main aim of Brussels is. They wish to form the ‘Unites States of Europe’ under their FULL control.
      If that happens we can say goodbye to our own government, and all Laws and dictates will come from those idiots in Brussels.
      They already have a plan for all national flags to carry the gold stars of the E.U flag, and it won’t be long before they demand that all countries initiate this plan.

      There are already calls by the people for such an exit poll to be carried out in Germany, France, Sweden, Holland and several other countries, so it looks like we could see the end of the European Union.
      This will not be a bad thing, for then all countries will get back control of their own destiny and not be ruled by Brussels.
      If you believe the scaremongering by certain politicians and Government hierarchy then more fool you, for you will end up regretting it.

    • Mike in ESP

      26 May 2016 • 08:09

      The public can listen to the fear tactics that are being fired at them if they want, if you look at the issues and add things up through common sense then I “as many I know” feel we are better out. Do people really think the PM would give us a referendum on this if things where going to be as they are suggesting or anywhere near what they suggest? He would need to be either a fool or mentally unstable as well as being a clown if he expected them to be true… but even if they where true it wouldn’t make any difference to my feelings because at the end of the day, without sovereignty and democracy we have nothing and are back to square one where we where hundreds of years ago, the only way for the UK people to keep their sovereignty and democracy is to vote leave.


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