A few weeks ago an activist I worked with at the General Election, Paul from Morley, said to me “Now we’ve got rid of Mr Balls I want to get Britain out of Europe. Where do I sign up?” Good question Paul! I immediately suggested he visit Better Off Out and Conservatives for Britain’s websites and sign up, but beyond that I wasn’t sure what to advise. Now that the Prime Minister has confirmed that our party will not be taking sides in the referendum it’s time I was able to advise Paul better.
To me the only thing for people uncomfortable with the direction of the EU to do is campaign to leave. The dream of a different place for Britain in the EU may be appealing, a free trade area that plays to the strengths of each member state rather than reducing them to the lowest common denominator, but it is no more than a dream. There is no appetite among the elite in Brussels or any major member state to make the EU the trading partnership that Britain wants it to be, so any deal to renegotiate our membership would at best only postpone our assimilation into a single European super state.
To argue that leaving the EU is too risky is to argue that a managed decline of Britain’s place in the world is better than striving to be the best. The Conservatives have faced down this argument before and won, ending the post war consensus, and now we must do the same both outside of and within our party. Our system of individual liberty, common law, and free enterprise, the qualities that made Britain great, are directly at odds with what the EU wants for us, we can’t remain in the EU and remain great.
There are a number of organisations like Better Off Out campaigning to leave, some like Conservatives for Britain and Business for Britain willing to support a Brexit if the deal we’re offered is not good enough. On the other side of the fence the formidable Kate Hoey is heading up Labour for Britain, and we can say with some degree of certainty that UKIP will be campaigning for out. Social media savvy campaign The Know has attracted over 130,000 Eurosceptic followers on Facebook in a very short space of time. It is clear that the campaign to get Britain out of EU has the people and the skills to succeed, it’s now a case of getting organised.
While Europhile campaign groups like ‘British Influence’ may seem desultory, we cannot rely on the In campaign on the whole being disorganised. They’re already recruiting staffers, they’re well-funded, and are favoured by establishment bodies like the BBC.
The referendum isn’t about right and left, it’s about right and wrong, and it’s time to organise for Britain. The time for Eurosceptics to organise, with a positive message, and make the case for a Brexit is now.
Chris managed Andrea Jenkyns MP; successful 2015 General Election campaign, in which she won the Morley and Outwood constituency from Labour's Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. He has served for two terms as Chairman of Yorkshire and Humber Conservative Future and has been deputy Deputy Chairman of his local Conservative Association.
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