Remain in the EU
Declared on 9th May
Headline: “David Cameron makes a serious case”
Why they want to Remain: The Guardian made its position clear early on, saying it would “make no apology” for insisting on staying in the EU, emphasising the need to speak of Europe as a ‘we’ rather than a ‘they’. It declared on the same day that David Cameron delivered a key speech at the British Museum, marking the beginning of his campaign, and went along with many of the principles he outlined. In contrast to his approach in recent weeks, the Prime Minster’s speech was wide-ranging, full of history and imbued with an internationalist appeal. The paper has argued it was the kind of speech that Cameron should have continued to make throughout the campaign (and Inker has said he ought to make again before the vote). He proclaimed Britain’s fate to be inescapably intertwined with that of Europe, insisted that international stability depends on cooperation with the continent, and contended that the modern world is necessarily made up of large interlocking bodies that involve compromise and hard work.
Declared on 16th June
Headline: “Divided We Fall: The Future of Britain and Europe”
Why they want to Remain: The classically liberal magazine’s official line is that: ‘A Vote to Leave the European Union would diminish both Britain and Europe’. It has argued for this from an historical and international perspective, stating that Brexit would mark “a defeat for the liberal order that has underpinned the West’s prosperity”. Britain would not easily handle the economic challenges of an exit, and the purported opportunities presented by leaving are more of a hopeful delusion than a realistic prospect. The UK would be the poorer for it, and because of its interdependence with the continent, so would Europe. The campaign to Leave has played up to ‘Little Englander’ prejudices, especially over immigration, and derided a wide range of official authorities for being representative of the global elite, more worthy of our contempt than our attention. The answer to the European Union’s democratic deficit is to fight for reform from within, no matter how arduous or futile the struggle can often seem. International power-broking is inherently more difficult than domestic politics. The EU has evolved and will continue to do so. If Britain really wanted to lead in Europe, it could.
The Financial Times
Declared on 15th June
Headline: “Britain should vote to stay in the EU”
Why they want to Remain: Unsurprisingly, the FT has issued stark warnings about the economic and financial risks of Brexit, most notably through one its star columnists, Martin Wolf, who has consistently emphasized how seriously the predictions of experts must be taken. For not doing so, he’s suggested the Leave campaign might as well be called ‘Project Lie’. It has also taken a greater interest in continental attitudes to the referendum than other publications, highlighting Germany’s worry that a British exit will not only deprive them of a heavyweight counterpart, but trigger similar demands among likeminded nordic and western states, leading to further possible departures. Another of its columnists, Philip Stephens, has argued for the overall economic success of European Union membership, pointing to Britain’s unrelenting progress since it joined as “the sick man of Europe” in 1973. He’s also lamented the anti-establishment ethos of the Leave campaign as “anti-intellectual boorishness”, and likened its scare-mongering over the prospect of Turkish membership to Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Declared on 17th June
Headline: “Remaking Europe”
Why they want to Remain: The Times’ case for remaining in the European Union is as pragmatic as it is hopeful, calling for a “new alliance of sovereign EU nations dedicated to free trade and reform, led by Britain”. Remaining in the single market, it admits, will be “a pragmatic rather than enthusiastic choice”. Though the future is uncertain, remaining is without doubt the less risky option. Yet because this doesn’t quite stir the heart, the Brexiteers have managed to appear the braver and more exciting outfit, but this doesn’t make them the best or most sensible choice. Historically, the EU has played a crucial role in preserving post-War peace and in drawing formerly eastern bloc countries towards democracy. In spite of which, some of its institutions are certainly “undemocratic, meddling, and short-sighted”, but this is not reason to give up on them in the long-run. The Times has throw down the gauntlet on the question of European reform. David Cameron should ally with other countries to shake the Union out of complacency. The EU might well collapse if it does not reform. In light of which, the Prime Minister could restore and indeed aggrandize his standing by becoming the man who triggers it. Could the mere fact of our tightly fought referendum really bring this about? Whether or not people think so could decide the vote.
Declared on 18th June
Headline: “Make the EU Referendum Victory in Europe Day and vote Remain for the sake of the future”
Why they want to Remain: On 5th July 1945, the day of Britain’s first post-war general election, the Daily Mirror reprinted Philip Zec’s famous V-E Day cartoon. It is a picture of a broken man, returning from the battlefront, bearing a flag marked ‘victory and peace in Europe’. Their slogan then read: ‘Here you are, don’t lose it again!’ The EU is the embodiment of post-war peace and should not be taken for granted. Leavers seeking to ‘get our country back’ want to return to a past that was “unkinder than the present”, and cannot be our future. The future, and our present, is one in which “international organisations are the community halls of the 21st Century global village that we must live in.” The likes of NATO and the UN are not perfect, but we’re yet to devise better methods of protecting the West and striving towards world peace. Such is the case with the EU when it comes to democracy and prosperity. One can’t “magic up” sovereignty by leaving the single market (see Inker – ‘Paradise Regained?’). Immigration control could perhaps be regained, but too many view immigrants with spite instead of gratitude. The Brexiteers’ proposed Australian-style entry system is “designed for countries with migrant populations proportionately larger than ours.” So leaving simply won’t address the problem. Economically, neither side’s forecasts can be trusted. The only certainty is that our economic future is less certain outside of the EU. We must learn from the past, but not live in it.
The Mail on Sunday
Declared on 19th June
Headline: “Vote Remain for a safer, freer, more prosperous – and, yes, and even Greater Britain”
Why they want to Remain: Possibly the only editorial to make an outright case for the virtues of supra-national government. Our governments often get things wrong, so the existence of a voice higher up the line isn’t such a bad thing. And national independence would come at a price: a period of uncertainty, most likely some tariffs, and definitely financial turmoil. But Leavers are content to make large economic sacrifices in the name of “a rose-tinted freedom”. It’s a tough, globalized world out there, and the UK will have to fight hard if it goes it alone. Not everyone will survive, so is it moral to tell the people that “you may have to suffer for my ideals”? Leavers, however, have rightly gained traction by pointing to the difficulties of reforming the EU. If Cameron’s side wins, he must fight to move it in the right direction. The question of freedom of movement will otherwise continue to gnaw away not only at the Conservative Party, but Europe as a whole. Regardless, the vote is about more than immigration, for which Leavers have no real plan, only “nebulous promises”. Finally, “the human heart yearns for simple solutions and uncomplicated choices”, but these do not exist, especially in today’s world, so “splendid isolation” is not an option. To continue experiencing the growth it has enjoyed since joining the EU, the UK must sit at its top table, not on its sidelines.
Declared on 19th June
Headline: “For an international, liberal and open Britain, we need to be part of the EU”
Why they want to Remain: Leaving the single market is a great unknown. All we know is that it will probably be bad for us, because it’s been good to us thus far. But the EU not just an economic project, it is an idealistic project, first designed to prevent wars that are now inconceivable. To this extent, it has been a great success, but that doesn’t mean that its time is up. The globalized nature of our world has brought about new and equally important challenges. These challenges are not always local, so nor can sovereignty be. The EU is not perfect, it has many problems and has experienced many failures, but on balance it has overwhelmingly been a force for good. In fact, it is “the world’s most successful example of international co-operation”. It has created the world’s largest market, and because of it many former members of the Soviet Union now belong to the family of nations. Britain has played a large part in this, and as an “economic power and force for liberal democracy”, has a responsibility to the rest of the world to remain undiminished. By leaving, it would fail this count. And Europe would be made the weaker for it. Fragile and threatened, Britain should lead it at the time when it must change in order to survive. Only then can such issues as the inequality caused by globalization be thoroughly addressed. “The case for remaining, then, must not just be framed in the language of economics, but in the wider vocabulary of the world we wish to inhabit.”
Leave the EU
Declared on 13th June
Headline: “We urge our readers to beLEAVE in Britain and vote to quit the EU on June 23”
Why they want to Leave: Staying in the EU with the ambition of reforming it is the last thing on the mind of The Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s other daily paper, which has made a polar opposite case to that of The Times by telling its readers that Europe “cannot reform…this is our last chance to remove ourselves from the undemocratic Brussels machine”. The EU has been in decline ever since the UK joined 43 years. It is incompetent at dealing with crises and as a result has made life much worse for many of its members. After all, “Greece is bankrupt…and Italy is in danger of going the same way.” Almost half of Spain’s young people are out of work. If immigration continues to spiral out of control, the future of Britons’ jobs and wages will be much the worse. If the EU’s present makeup does not ensure this, the fact that several more much poorer countries are in the process of joining guarantees it. “Schools, hospitals, roads and housing stock” will be under threat. The tabloid goes on to lambast the Remain campaign, which it states is made up of “the corporate establishment, arrogant Europhiles and foreign banks”. The tirade of warnings from international bodies can largely be ignored because all of them were wrong when they encouraged the UK to join the single currency. “Our country has a glorious history”, proclaims The Sun, “this is our chance to make Britain even greater”.
Declared on 15th June
Headline: “Out – and into the world”
Why they want to Leave: Over the course of the campaign, The Spectator has been critical of the tactics employed by Remain, most especially George Osborne’s manipulation of treasury figures. Their stance is consistent with the position they took on the referendum for continued EEC membership of 1975, and they’ve chosen to use the same internationalist headline they chose then. The magazine feels vindicated in the arguments it made back then, when it expressed worries that economic cooperation would slowly morph into political union. Today, the the European Union’s lack of accountability, combined with its bureaucratic incompetency, means that it is “making the people of our continent poorer and less free”. The sovereignty question cannot simply be overlooked, or redefined out of relevance. The UK’s elected MPs often find themselves processing more orders and paperwork from Brussels than they do from Westminster. Free movement used to be a good idea, but times change and it no longer is, and this should be recognized. The same could be said of the Euro – the evidence is all around us. The West is best protected by NATO and always has been. The reason the rest of Europe refused to grant David Cameron any real concessions, any sight of fundamental reform, is because nobody thought the UK would ever dare take matters into its own hands. “Democracy matters”, concludes The Spectator, and was too hard fought for to surrender now. Vote Leave.
The Sunday Telegraph
Declared on 19th June
Headline: “We must Vote Leave to create a Britain fit for the future”
Why they want to Leave: At the core of the case for leaving is ultimately an ambitious vision, while the urge to remain is fundamentally pessimistic. George Osborne’s bullying ‘post-Brexit budget’ is the latest evidence of this, which makes “unconscionable threats” to pensioners. In light of such tactics the population’s fear of leaving is to be expected, but what is surprising is the extent to which Project Fear has been disavowed or wholly ignored. Remain is losing the argument because their case is simply “too weak to sell”. The European Union is a hugely expensive organisation to which to belong and at all times looms around it a sense of perpetual crisis. There should be no reason the UK needs to be a member of the EU in order to trade with it. The Union’s regulatory powers show no sign of being curtailed, and the more often we’re told it has no intention of becoming a single state, the more closely it comes to resembling one. The Prime Minister’s renegotiations achieved nothing, and while he likes to hint at further reform, there is no evidence at all this would be possible. And if we made the choice to remain, there’s no reason why it should be. Once we leave, our own government can handle our worries about Europe. If we don’t like its approach, we will have the power to change it. We will remain a part of Europe, and needn’t fear conflict with it because democracies do not go to war. It is high time we took advantage of the huge opportunities all around the world, which Remain is all too happy to ignore. “The EU belongs to the past…we hope the country chooses the future”.
The Sunday Times
Declared on 19th June
Headline: “Time for Britain to strike a new deal with Europe”
Why they want to Leave: A unique call to leave for the sake of reform. Boris Johnson’s early allusions to the option of staging a “double referendum strategy” were not at all daft. Indeed, leaving could be the first step towards the ‘fundamental reform’ that David Cameron promised in his 2013 ‘Bloomberg Speech’. He was right back then to say (as he did, it takes some reminding) that Britain could prosper outside of the EU if it so chose to leave. It was not due to its membership of the European Economic Community that the UK revitalized itself in the 80s, but because of Margaret Thatcher’s reforms. One of her achievements was indeed the creation of the single market, but it is flawed and incomplete. Indeed, there are many countries that sell more into the EU than Britain does without having any trade deals with Europe at all. In fact, UK exports have grown at their lowest-ever rate during the period of the single market. The EU has further failed in its handling of the Euro crises, and its attempts to centralize security and defence have been calamitous. Further integration awaits our vote to remain. This is neither in the interests of Britain, nor Europe. A vote to leave, combined with a delayed trigger of Article 50, “is of fundamental importance because in previous crises the EU has been willing to negotiate once a member state has shown it will be pushed no further.” We must help Europe rethink its identity in global terms, just as we’ve been doing over the course of the campaign. Voting to leave is the only way of doing so.
Declared on 19th June
Headline: “Today’s Britain is strong, dynamic and influential. Let’s keep it that way. Vote Leave.”
Why they want to Leave: No matter what happens, this vote will cause “one of the most dramatic shifts of power in political history”. Voting to leave is the right thing to do for those who truly love Europe and everything it stands for. The EU, for all its flaws, has proven itself to be entirely immune to reform. If we remain, it will be able to exercise all the more coercion for not having to deal with the threat of us leaving. It would be taken as a “recommendation for project Europe and a green light for even further integration and expansion”. The reason the Leave campaign has focused so ardently on immigration is because it matters. It matters, quite simply, because it will never be under the control of the British government so long as the UK remains a member of the European Union. By adopting a points-based system, and granting greater access to citizens of commonwealth countries, Britain could become even more tolerant and multicultural than it already is. It’s unnecessary at this stage to set out a perfect plan for our departure. When one’s house is on fire, the priority is to walk out of the door before deciding what to do next. European countries will continue to want to trade with us. If they don’t, the UK can open its doors to the rest of the world. Economic predictions about a Leave vote are bound to be pessimistic because economists hate uncertainty. Whatever suffering the markets experience, it will be short-lived. Irrespective, we must vote to leave for a much higher purpose, because “a British departure from the EU, if executed correctly, could save Europe from itself”.
Latest Headline: “Why should Britain leave the EU?”
Why they want to Leave: It is not surprising that the Express has made it clear that it wishes to leave on several occasions. Britain’s identity is fundamentally more international than it is European, and leaving the 28-member bloc would allow the UK to better embrace this fact. It would become a stronger and more effective member of the other international organisations of which it is a part. Immigration is a great source of concern for most of the country, and controlling the figures that come in and out is of indispensable importance because immigration has social consequences as well as economic benefits. The institutions of the EU are not conducive to reform, meaning that their democratic deficit will continue to put broader European interests ahead of those of the British people.