Wednesday, 4 November 2015

It doesn't matter if it's right - as long as it's first

We've found out a thing or two since my last post.

Firstly, the CBI have been exposed, yet again, to be the Pro EU sock puppets that they really are. The Telegraph discuss Lord Maude being petitioned by the CBI in a concerted effort to campaign for Britain to remain in the EU. This quote from the Telegraph is quite relevant:

"The minutes – marked ‘confidential’– show that the CBI was ‘stepping up’ its plans to campaign for the UK to stay in the EU and that its former President Sir Mike Rake urged his successor Paul Drechsler to ‘use [the] CBI's influence to keep us in’. "

The full article can be read HERE

But the CBI are also under scrutiny for defining misleading polls that potentially skew the perception of the love of the EU by British business. Claims that 8 out of 10 cats businesses want us to stay in the EU appear to look rather anaemic when you find out that the CBI have hand picked the companies polled (by YouGov) - with only 20% of them having 50 or less employees, when 99% of businesses in Britain are staffed to that level. This is brought up by the Vote Leave campaign - see HERE

Details of the spat also reported in The Mail HERE

Yet when the likes of The BBC want to roll out 'the face of business' to discuss the EU situation, time and time again they pick the CBI as if it's a politically neutral body. Well, it's obvious to anyone with an ear to the ground that they're anything but. I'm angry with the CBI - but I'm also angry at the BBC for being so predictable on the matter.

On another note - a lot was made of comments from US Trade Representative Michael Froman at the end of October (see previous post). The 'Remain' campaign were quick to capitalise, as if it undermined claims that Britain could ever hope to have a free trade agreement with the US.

Lo and behold, it surfaces that both he and his wife worked for the EU. From Guido:

"Froman worked as part of the European Commission’s Forward Studies Unit, a department tasked with monitoring and evaluating European integration. ..... Not only did Froman work for Brussels, his wife Nancy Goodman did as well. She took on a post at the Directorate General For Competition, which is also part of the European Commission"

You couldn't make it up.

The full Guido post can be found HERE

The campaign to Leave the EU is going to be full of this activity. I suspect that the true relationship of said people and organisations to the EU were always expected to be exposed at some point - yet getting in there first and setting the agenda appears to be more important to the Pro EU lobby than being right. After all, the BBC will never follow through on the Froman quote and throw it in to a new, more appropriate context. Most people will have read THIS and then accepted it at face value.

This is why, in my humble opinion, Leave campaigns need to push back against this kind of activity with their own searching questions, setting the tempo and the agenda. As the FUD flies in, they need to parry and riposte - moving attention back in the other direction. As of now, I've yet to see this level of capability from either Vote Leave or Take the reaction to the Prime Minister's attack on the Norway option - they made a right hash of the matter, giving both Cameron and Osborne exactly the response they needed.

See the following article on to fully understand the danger their response has put the Leave campaign in: