LeaveHQ, 17/11/2015  

The problem with politics is that taking a political line on something means that somebody somewhere is going to vehemently disagree with you. And on a subject as intensely political as the EU, even on our own side there is going to be serious disagreement. That makes it all the harder for LeaveHQ to please everybody.

It was never the intent of this website to be a bland receptacle of eurosceptic arguments, and even if it were, we would still be pushing a particular line, thus we cannot always refrain from commenting on the activities of other players - especially not when it runs counter to our own message.

According to the FT, "Small business owners who want Britain to leave the EU cite red tape, immigration and foreign competition as their main reasons for favouring “Brexit”, a survey has shown. Three thousand entrepreneurs have signed up to support Leave.eu, a group pressing for the UK to quit the EU in the forthcoming referendum on membership."

This is an example of asking questions to produce the answers you want then then using your influence to plant it in the media. We take the view that seeking such answers to prime the debate in the media is a tactical error.

In the first instance immigration is going to be less of a factor as we run up to the referendum. Much has been invested by the EU to slow the flow of refugees and they will spend a great deal more to ensure it stays off our screens in the run up to the vote. They have a way of pushing it down the agenda.

Moreover, immigration is the wrong battlefield to fight on. We comprehensibly lose the argument when we fight on those grounds. Ukip's election defeat should be the warning from history. We also note that a hard line on freedom of movement removes two of the main Brexit option and will box us into an exit strategy we cannot win with.

Secondly, it is our own view that reducing regulation and opting for regulatory divergence is a weak argument. At some point soon, the Remain forces will get their act together and start picking our case apart. If our case rests on implausible and impractical assertions it will not go unnoticed.

The modern argument about regulation is our influence in the making of it and our right of reservation, opt out and our veto. We have seen a progressive takeover in this regard, with the EU muscling in and taking our seat on global regulatory bodies and co-opting our vote - which means we get less of a say in how they are made - and have a tougher time initiating updates and amendments. That is primarily why we must leave the EU.

The modern way to deregulate is to improve regulation and standardise it. If we want better regulation then we need to be free of EU influence and engaging at the top tables. We won't be hacking away the red tape and we won't be having a bonfire of regulation. Modern developed economies do not function well without regulation. The "regulation is bad" routine is an argument we will lose.

It has been remarked that we are over intellectualising on this matter and that the public won't examine the case in this much detail. That's true, but critics most certainly will. Those opinion formers watching will report to the public just how comprehensively our ideas have been dismantled and there is no coming back from that.

People don't have time to research their opinions and thus take their cues from media and social media from those opinion-givers they trust. Opinions trickle down through from the top and are battered around in the crucible of public debate. If prestigious organisations wade in and point out the obvious irregularities of such an approach then there are no heavy hitters who can defend the case. We can't because we see no value in it.

Moreover, the notion that we will start to hack away at regulation automatically implies that we would leave the single market. As much as this is politically improbable, the regulations are not made by the EU and are made at the global level. To depart from such regulatory codes would be disengaging from the global single market. That makes life harder for importers and exporters. As an idea, it just doesn't fly.

Leaving the single market is most likely economic suicide, especially if we did it in a rush. More to the point, it is not the single market we wish to leave. It is the political integration of the EU that we want to pull away from so that we can have our own voice in shaping the global single market.

The arguments put forth by the main campaigns that we are anti-immigration and anti-regulation is precisely the kind of old fashioned "little-Englander" message that is anti-ethical to LeaveHQ thus we do not support and cannot endorse it. We would urge Leave.EU to think again.

The intellectual argument is not one we have the luxury of losing and we must avoid being perceived as little-Englanders. We cannot convincingly say we want to "go global" when the specifics of our collective message suggest otherwise.

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