Brexit-fear-848px-shadow

Project Fear could have serious consequences


Another day and another warning that Brexit could be seriously bad for the nation’s health.

Since announcing the date of the referendum, David Cameron and the Government’s official message to voters has been to vote to remain in the EU – or face the consequences.

Recent headlines include:

“UK EU exit would be global economy ‘shock’ – G20 leaders” (BBC)

“FTSE 100 chiefs warn Brexit would threaten investment in UK” (Independent)

“Brexit will make it ‘harder’ for UK to fight terrorism” (BBC)

“EU exit would turn two million Britons working within the bloc into illegal immigrants” (Independent)

“France Blackmails Britain: Stay in EU or We’ll Flood You with Migrants” (Breitbart)

“Brexit could lead to banks leaving London” (Guardian)

Mark Carney warns Brexit is biggest risk to Britain’s financial stability” (Telegraph)

“French president insists Britain WILL face Brexit ‘consequences’” (Daily Mail)

“Gibraltar ‘Under Threat’ if Britain Votes to Leave EU” (Breitbart)

“the Gruffalo wouldn’t exist without UK in EU” (Guardian)

“Northern Ireland peace process could be set back by Brexit” (Independent)

Of course, highlighting the potential risks and downsides of leaving the EU is entirely justifiable for a Government campaigning to remain in the EU. However, it’s the prophetic fervour with which David Cameron and the Government have leapt on the fear-projection bandwagon that raises eyebrows.

It suggests that the current Government is so averse to a Britain outside the EU that it wouldn’t be able to handle it, should it actually happen. As Allister Heath – writing in the Telegraph – points out, the whole episode appears to represent the Government inadvertently downplaying “its own ability and effectiveness”(Telegraph).

However, what could end up being of much greater significance is the longer-term damage that this strategy of warnings may end up causing…

How so?

Well, to inflict deep wounds on the leave campaign the Government has “not exactly discouraged” a steady stream of high profile influencers from all quarters to come forward and voice support for their Brexit warnings. The most significant of these influencers hitting the headlines are the EU and world leaders – the very people that the UK Government would need to constructively work with in the event of a vote to leave the EU. David Cameron has effectively invited foreign leaders to take a free pot shot at the UK’s chances of making a go of it outside the EU.

David Cameron has invited foreign leaders to take a free pot shot at the UK’s chances of making a go of it outside the EU.

Should the UK vote to leave the EU, those leaders who felt emboldened to speak up and issue stark warnings about access to the single market, border controls, security information sharing, British influence etc – will feel wholly justified in seeing them through and ensure they come to bear.

If they don’t, they’ll risk looking like they were either guilty of scaremongering or that their assessments were way off the mark.  Besides, as a competing nation, if you’re invited to deal a blow to the UK and simultaneously elevate your own country’s interests, why wouldn’t you?

The UK-based businesses, military leaders, economists and academics that have spoken up in support of the Government’s Brexit assessment would face a similar predicament. If the country votes to leave and the bad things they predicted don’t materialise, then they risk losing credibility and being wrong. They wouldn’t want that, so again there’s little incentive to really embrace a Brexit scenario and work too hard to deliver positive outcomes. For the ⅓ of FTSE 100 company bosses who publicly backed remaining in, Brexit could well be the perfect excuse to downsize, relocate, or introduce unpopular measures to improve efficiencies or shareholder value.

For the ⅓ of FTSE 100 company bosses who publicly backed remaining in, Brexit could well be the perfect excuse to downsize, relocate, or introduce unpopular measures to improve efficiencies or shareholder value.

By encouraging a flow of Brexit warnings David Cameron has effectively given leaders a license and a justification to be less reasonable towards the UK than perhaps they might have been if he hadn’t declared open season on the hopes and dreams of Brexiteers.

And what about the PM and his supporting Cabinet? What’s their incentive to make a decent go of it if Brexit happens? They’ll be bitter and bruised – the country just voted for the other team despite their best efforts. And now they’re responsible for navigating us through all the doomsday scenarios they predicted, and indeed were encouraging only a few weeks before.

When David Cameron chose to make good on his manifesto pledge and deliver the UK a referendum on EU membership, he had two potential outcomes could have worked out “ok” for him and the party in power. A shift in direction and some new challenges perhaps, but few would expect a Government offering a democratic choice to its people to be mercilessly crucified by the electorate – regardless of how bumpy the ride is.

…now they’re responsible for navigating us through all the doomsday scenarios they predicted, and indeed were encouraging only a few weeks before.

However, now having taken the plunge, and by choosing to campaigning so vigorously to remain in the EU (at the expense of the leave argument), his two ‘safe’ options have fast become just one safe option. Remain or bust.

Certainly this may be a risk that an outgoing PM believes is worth taking, but it’s the rest of us who will have to live with the potentially messy aftermath of this all-or-nothing strategy if the UK does vote to leave the EU.

Cameron’s worst case Brexit is a successful Brexit. The country’s worst case Brexit is a bad Brexit.  That’s not an ideal situation – is it?


Leave a Reply

7 Comments on "Project Fear could have serious consequences"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
LeeVieux
Guest
LeeVieux
4 years 10 months ago

Take back democracy!
Take back freedom!
Tell those Eurocrats we don’t need ’em!!

LADY SOVEREIGN FOREVER
Guest
LADY SOVEREIGN FOREVER
4 years 10 months ago
I know BREXIT is about BRITAIN. But it’s not entirely. It’s about all the other people in the EU who want out as well. I’m from Holland and I’m 35. For almost 12 years now, I have been job-hopping from one job agency to the next. Never had any rest. Always stressed. Always insecure or worried about my future. Even today, I honestly can’t tell you if I will have to find myself a new job in the next month. I have never been on benefits. There have been many times where I have earned less than minimum wage. The… Read more »
Caca
Guest
Caca
4 years 9 months ago

It was never going to be lke 20 years ago anyway. So you must get another job or look for a new profession because clearly enough you are on the wrong side of your skills and that is anyone in Europe faults.

john parker
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

vote out and make Britain GREAT BRITAIN once again and treat our young people properly and create jobs for them not treat them like drop outs make apprenticeships look after small firms to get them up and running get rid of all the cussy jobs within the EU ministers ect as they lie lie lie get (Our) COUNTRY BACK TO GREAT AGAIN

Caca
Guest
Caca
4 years 9 months ago

Hahaha GREAT BRITAIN so are you taking N Ireland out already?… Well, the Scottish and Wales never likes be part of it. So you must be very happy to know the Great Britain does not exist anymore. Thanks to all the ignorance like you those smarts countries will be leaving UK as we deserve be alone and be back to prehistoric times. Big Fish in a little pond.

Peter
Guest
Peter
4 years 11 months ago

And this from a PM who told us he was more than prepared lead Brexit at one time and that we would survive out side the EU.

Luke
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Indeed, although one gets the feeling he’s genuinely convinced his ‘reforms’ will make a difference. Plus, since backing remaining in, he’s only likely to have had advice and listened to briefings from those that also support remaining in – so its perhaps not surprisingly his conviction and resolve has hardened since February.

wpDiscuz