Otto the psychic octopus was wrong!


So Otto the psychic octopus got it wrong and democracy won the day, the high turnout attesting to that. And what a day. Besides the British people making an historic political decision to leave the European Union, they have opened the way to a better and more democratic future for the country.

And on that note, too tired to write more after a night spent mostly watching events unfold on Twitter and on this page, I’d like to end by thanking Richard and all the Brexiteers who have striven to bring this happy day about, and with an entry that jumped out at me from said page at three minutes after midnight!  Well spotted, Richard!

iceland-www eureferendum com 2016-06-24 08-01-07


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Referendum Day: Vote for Democracy


fish - britannia

All too quickly Referendum Day is upon us, and the people of our country are poised to make a decision, arguably one of the most important decisions of our times.

The undue haste with which Mr Cameron, no doubt under orders from the Brussels elite, and no doubt done willingly and deliberately, called the referendum has resulted in a referendum campaign verging on the dismal from both the ‘official’ remain and leave campaigns. Yet all this time there has been almost silence on a painstakingly and extraordinarily well researched exit plan that, had it really seen the full light of day, may well have seen the leave campaign in a strong position today. I am of course referring to FLEXCIT / The Market Solution by Dr Richard North, Robert Oulds and with the input of the readership of among many others. One reason this blog has been quite quiet is that I’ve been spending a great deal of time on Twitter pushing and linking to FLEXCIT while debating it with and trying to persuade the ‘remain but don’t know why’ and ‘undecided’ voters of the virtues and achievability of this approach, which has actually gone down very well with many. They are now aware that a good exit plan exists, but some are confused that it hasn’t been put forward by the big leave groups. Failing to get behind this plan or a variation may well turn out to be an important factor in the leave campaign losing this referendum. That is my main concern, and the loss will be self-inflicted, but now is not the time for recrimination.

This is the time for voting and talking at polling stations and then counting votes. It is a day for voting to remain in or leave the EU, and thus it is a day for voting for democracy. This is no less than the last chance for the British people to correct an historical mistake  and put ourselves on the road to a brighter future. Will the majority of the people grasp this chance of a lifetime? At the time of writing, there is no saying, though I must confess to having a niggling feeling that damn octopus has got it right again.

There is always a first time though.


out and into the world




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The Home Straight



How to vote by post

After a month of what can at best be described as an excruciating, outlandish and gross campaign on both sides, bar for the increasingly effective effect of the TLA on the leave campaign through some recent positive mainstram media presence alongside the onoing social media coverage, we are now into the final furlong and less than three weeks away from the day the people will decide the future of the country at the ballot box; not only a historic one that will determine the future of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s relationship with the European Union, but one where Democracy itself will be at the heart of the matter and must be seen to prevail.

The past month for me has been one of getting used to the wonderful world of Twitter, and at the same time putting over the case for the EFTA / EEA route as well as pointing people in the direction of The Market Solution / Flexcit. Along with being an interesting (and somewhat confusing) personal discovery as a platform, I’m of the view that my learning how and who to tweet to has been of some help and has been worth it  as part of my participation in this campaign. For encouraging me to have a go with it, I have Peter North to thank for that, so I’d like to begin this post with an article from him.

Why you should care about Brexit by Peter North. One of Pete’s recent and best posts that I’ve been pushing on social media. Knowing Pete likes his music, I can’t resist posting this one

The Brexit Countdown

Confused? Don’t Be : Concensus now! Contrition Much Later  by Red Cliffs of Dawlish. Another insightful and and absorbing piece by this ever perceptive blogger about the risk of the leave campaign losing the referendum unless there is some kind of consensus, however vague, on the need for an exit plan, and one is on offer, namely FLEXCIT. Cummings and Elliot have rightly been taking a lot of stick over their management of the Vote Leave Ltd campaign, and of course all the big guns have jumped aboard. Couple that with entries for a Euro football lottery at the very time of the referendum and the rest, and you could be forgiven for thinking that this is very much a business outfit, more interested in personal gain and prestige than in getting Britain out of the EU.  Whatever the case, so far dire. Reading their Application to register as a designated lead campaigner –  referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union  does however reveal one chink of light. Pages 27 / 28 make reference to Dr Richard North, Robert Oulds, the CIB and The Bruges Group. In the event of the leave campaign slipping behind in the lead up to the poles, can they pull Flexcit out of the hat? Which raises the question of why they have not already done so!

Evolution Not Revolution  by Adam Smith Institute. Clear and to the point article on the benefits of the EFTA / EEA option as the best way forward.


EU Referendum: Who speaks for you?  by Moraymint. Forthright views on the question of democracy and Brexit from a blogger in the far north of Scotland.

Abolishing free movement won’t fulfill the fantasy of “controlled” borders  by The Sceptic Isle. Great read by Ben Kelly. The question of migration is one of the central features of this referendum, but that ultimately people are more likely to vote to leave or to remain on economic factors as they see them. Ben examines the issue of the Freedom of Movement that has so divided the debate, probably on both sides.

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The Betrayal of Britain’s Fishing

Restore Britain's Fish

The Campaign for an Independent Britain has just published a booklet “The Betrayal of Britain’s Fishing to the European Union” by John Ashworth who, as an ex fisherman and fishing net designer, has extensive knowledge and experience of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and its disastrous effects not only on the British fishing fleet but on the marine environment affected. A copy of the booklet can be downloaded directly from this CIB page or from this direct link to the booklet itself.

This blog is deeply indebted to Mr Ashworth for his untiring effort, dedication and diligence over the years in the fishing industry that has led to the production of this excellent booklet, and urges readers to disseminate copies far and wide via whatever means at their disposal: printed copy, social media, msm, etc., as it is essential that as many members as possible of the British public and beyond are aware of the history of the CFP and its adverse effect on the traditional fishing communities and marine environment of the UK .

Only by voting to leave the EU can we reverse the situation and return our traditional fishing grounds and marine environment to a healthy and properly  managed state.

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Brexit: recently from around the world

After a break from blogging to attend to pressing professional and personal matters, The Referist is back on line with another look at some recent articles appearing in the international press.

From Canada’s The Globe and Mail comes two opinion pieces. The first, by Doug Saunders, entitled How David Cameron fumbled the Brexit ball picks up on a BBC 5 interview with Arthur and Tina, two retired Britons living in Torrevieja on the Spanish Costa Blanca. They will voting ‘out’. Asked why, Tina points to immigration, saying there is too much and someone has to say no. The author then gives his view on the lead up to the decision by Mr Cameron to hold a referendum in the first place before going on to make the point that for a referendum to be valid, it needs to ask a basic existential question that every voter understands and produces a clear result. He suggests that Britain’s relationship with ‘Europe’ isn’t like that, given that: “Every aspect of the country’s life is so tied up with its EU connections, in such complex and inextricable ways, that any yes-or-no question is bound to become entangled in noise and distraction. The European Union is part of the country’s economic and political plumbing.”
The author, to his credit, recognizes that the EU is indeed part of the UK Government. He concludes by an overview of how, in his view, Cameron, Corbyn, Johnson and many others in the political establishment have tried to grab the limelight, all with weak cases.
We look forward to hearing what Doug has to say once he is aware of The Market Solution pamphlet  and the full version of Flexcit.

The second Globe and Mail piece is by Lysiane Gagnon, Britain’s Cameron tackles Brexit fight with his hands half-tied. In what is clearly a remain oriented opinion, her first paragraph ends with “In the colourful political lexicon of Britain, you’ll have the Innies (also called Remainiacs) against the Outies (or the Brexiteers)”. She then looks at the collective letter from Britain’s biggest corporations, noting that Sainsbury’s and Tesco cautiously abstained, in her view because the Innies are elitist and privileged while the two companies mentioned are close to the people, by whom we presume she means the Outies. The Boris and Dave Show of course gets a mention, as does “xenophobic” UKIP.
Her conclusion, before giving us this little gem: “Britain is not really an active partner in the EU; it’s neither in the euro zone nor part of Schengen (the treaty that erased the frontiers). And it never warmed to the generous and visionary concept underlying the EU’s creation – hardly surprising, in a fiercely isolationist country where people still talk of “the continent” as if they didn’t belong to it.”
“Still, the retreat of the second-richest member country (after Germany) and the second military power (after France) would deal a quasi-death blow to a union that has already started to unravel under the terrible pressures of the migrant crisis.”

From Canada we move on to France, where we find an unexpected Brexit supporter. In a video clip “Michel Rocard favorable au Brexit“, broadcast on TF1, one of France’s main television channels, as part of his guest appearance in a debate on Indés Radios-LCI-Metronews, we have M. Michel Rocard, a former French prime minister, in typical gruff and uncompromising Gallic fashion giving his view on ‘England and Europe’, as he terms them. He begins by explaining that a look back at history reveals ‘Europe’ is insulted by the “English” government and press on an almost daily basis. “Isn’t that enough?” “Haven’t you understood?” he asks. To his mind, we can’t stand the decision systems of “Europe”. He then states that it’s true to say Mr Cameron wants to remain, as “England” earns money by benefiting from the economic crisis in the rest of “Europe”. That aside, he points out that 60%, if not more, of the “English” people want to leave and if they feel that way, it’s because they are uneasy and say no to everything. Since joining in 1972, one after the other has absolutely prohibited any progress for “Europe” and resisted integration, whether in social, fiscal, economic, bureaucratic, diplomatic or military terms. He ends by reiterating that he hopes his audience has understood.
The remainder of the French press has been obsessing about the Queen and what she did or didn’t say.

Various articles from Ireland convey the concerns of the Irish about Brexit. The Irish Times has an article by Denis Staunton “London Letter: Irish disenfranchised at home but may vote on Brexit” giving an interesting perspective on the fact that Irish people living in GB have the right to vote in The UK’s referendum, while they don’t have the right to vote in Irish referendums and general elections. This in the author’s view makes Ireland the envy of her continental European counterparts
In Sinn Fein appears an article by Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson MEP on her address to farmers on BREXIT. The article discusses the absence of information about relationships with the rest of the world post-Brexit. In her speech to the farmers she is to say: “In any case, the north MUST have its own say, specifically on whether the 6 counties remains part of Europe or not.”

CEPS (the Centre for European Policy Studies), a leading ​think tank and ​forum for debate on EU affairs, has published a 225-page pdf document “BRITAIN’S FUTURE IN EUROPE: The known plan A to remain or the unknown plan B to leave” A quick glance at this hefty document provides nothing that hasn’t already been amply covered over the years by, but we note that there is no mention anywhere of FLEXCIT or The Market Solution, which puts paid to their claim of “the unknown plan B to leave”.

Bruegel, in a piece Brexit and the EU-UK deal: consequences for the EU, gives its views on the pros and cons of the outcome of the referendum and concludes “Regardless of the result of Brexit referendum, the EU will not be the same as before. Either it will be seriously weakened by Brexit, or with the UK still on board it will be less internally coherent.  The integration process, even if justified on the grounds of increased returns to scale or delivering pan-European public goods, will face serious obstacles.”

Bringing us up to date, a scan of today’s international press brings up an article in the NIKKEI Asian Review, courtesy of Bruegel, Andre Sapir and Guntram Wolff: Would Brexit give back sovereignty to UK? which looks at “taking back sovereignty”, EFTA and the EEA.

Several newspapers look at today’s announcement by Moody’s. India’s IIFL is one such, with the headline “Moody’s: Uncertainty is biggest near-term risk from a Brexit for companies in the UK

The Irish Times reports: “Ireland likely to be Brexit’s silent victim” based on new research by Oxford Economics, a consultancy linked to the Oxford University business school.

Finally, brought to our attention courtesy of @efta4uk on Twitter, comes an excellent article from Norway’s Nei til EU: “Britain, Do not listen to the Scaremongering!” The Referist greatly appreciates the support of our Norwegian friends and the insight given from a non-EU European country.

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Launch of The Leave Alliance


On the eve of the long-awaited launch of The Leave Alliance, this blog would like to wish the group every success in its endeavours, and doffs its cap not only to the sheer amount of hard work and intellectual rigour over the years that has gone into its coming into being, but also the fact that it has a coherent and achievable strategy and plan for leaving the EU that none of the other leave groups can even hope to rival. The Referist blog will thus be standing behind it fully and will continue to support and assist it in any way we can.

Why back The Leave Alliance rather than the other leave groups? First, it isn’t tied to any political party; it is an alliance of independent groups drawn together by one aim, namely to leave the EU, who share similar views on how this can be achieved. It is made up of The Bruges Group, the EU Referendum Blog, The Campaign for Independent Britain, The Harrogate Agenda, the Futurus think tank, the Bloggers Army and last but not least Restore Britain’s Fish, none of whom are career politicians. Secondly, it is not in competition with the other Leave groups and has no intention of attempting to gain lead status in the referedum campaign. This leaves it open to offering assistance to campaigners requiring information on the extensive research carried out by the group. Finally, worthy of note is that we do not receive public money, the work is by and large voluntary and is funded by the generosity of and donations from the general public.

To conclude this post, we quote a passage in today’s blog by entitled EU Referendum: countdown to launch

Nevertheless, there are those who argue that there are large groups of people (and especially blue collar workers) who are entirely unmoved by high-flown issues such as sovereignty and questions of “who governs Britain”. Such groups, it is said, will only vote to leave if we can offer them the prospect of immediate financial gain.

To do so, though, would be to sell the lie. We are making promises we can’t keep. Furthermore, it exposes us – as we are seeing – to “he says, she says” exchanges with the “remains”, where the arguments are getting bogged down in ever-more arcane detail, and even more strident disputes, as each side seeks to establish their positions.

Much lies ahead between now and the 23rd of June, but his blog will be doing its utmost to bring factual and informed information to its readers. The British people deserve no less.

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Brexit: today’s world press reports

This is the second in our series of how Brexit is being reported in the world’s press.

Our first port of call is Jamaica, where David Jessop, a consultant to the Caribbean Council,  has written an article in today’s The Gleaner entitled Brexit And UK Overseas Territories – An Opportunity For New Thinking.  Mr Jessop reports that in the event of a Leave vote, this may inadvertently affect the status that the UK’s territories in the Caribbean have with Europe (by which he means the EU), and that Anguila, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Calcos Islands along with other other overseas territories have jointly commissioned a study on the subject. The study will review not only the issues that would arise should a Leave vote prevail, but also give consideration to alternative options for the overseas territories with the UK and the EU, regardless of the outcome of the vote.  The article mainly focuses on ambiguities in the status of their relationship with ‘Europe’ and describes how overseas territories are linked to the EU through the member state to which they belong as well as their membership of the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (OCTA) and the EU’s 2013 Overseas Association Council Decision   that the overseas territories are not part of the EU. This well-written article goes into the technical and legal details, and concludes by stating that Brexit is an unknown quantity that would have a direct impact on Britain’s overseas territories in the Caribbean and hence requires immediate consideration.

The New Times, Rwanda’s leading English daily, carries an opinion piece Brexit: What’s in it for Africa? written by Gitura Mwaura, which looks at how the EU’s CAP subsidises EU farmers to the detriment of competition as well as the tariff barriers that make it difficult for an African farmer to compete in European markets. Due to this a Ugandan based in London, Sam Akaki and his organisation the Democratic Institution for Poverty Reduction in Africa are urging African-Britons to vote for Britain to leave the EU. Mr Mwaura argues the pros and cons  The author concludes by saying that:

The EU offers a template of possible triumphs, hazards and potential pitfalls, of which there are many to learn from.

In today’s edition of India’s  The Asian Age, there is an opinion piece by columnist  Farrukh Dhondy, The Brexit Circus,  which begins by looking back at John Major, who, the author suggests, was one of the recent British PMs to be caught up in Britain’s obsession of to be or not to be a member of the EU. In this enjoyable article, Mr Dhondy recounts the conflicts within the Conservative Party that ended up with Major calling the opponents of the decision to sign the Maastricht Treaty  “bastards”.  The author then turns to today’s British Parliament where Mr Cameron, like John Major, finds himself presiding  over  a Tory Party and government implacably divided over ‘Europe’. He tells his readers that the Tory election manifesto promised the British electorate an in/out referendum and that the (non-binding, although he doesn’t seem to be aware of that yet) negotiations are over, the referendum is set for June and Mr Cameron advocates staying in. As might be expected, enter Boris Johnston and Michael Gove, the latter being described as an honest Joe trusted by the population. As for Boris, Mr Dhondy concludes:

It is no secret that Mr Johnson wants to succeed Mr Cameron as Prime Minister and he is taking a gamble. If the Brexit-wallahs win, he will certainly be seen as the natural successor. If not he has acquired the status of “bastard” and may have to accept the fate of Edmund in King Lear.

In the Gulf Times pops up a syndicated article penned by Noelle Lenoir, a former French minister of European affairs who is president of the European Institute at the Hautes Études de Commerce in Paris and founder and president of Cercle des Européens, entitled It’s essential to defeat the Brexit conspiracy. From an author from such a background, we get the all the usual fearmongering arguments supporting a remain vote, which you can read for yourselves; it concludes:

Today, far from championing Europe’s right to live, the UK is putting it at risk. And, in doing so, it is putting its own economy in greater danger than any time since the end of World War II.
As the continent faces the most difficult challenges it has seen in more than a generation, neither Europe nor the UK can afford such a self-defeating distraction.

From the same newspaper appears another syndicated article by Ted Smyth, a communications and public affairs strategist based in New York, and a former Irish diplomat Brexit debate opening up sectarian divisions. Mr Smythe informs us that:

For more than 40 years the EU has provided the benign and neutral political framework that has helped foster and preserve the peace between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland. But now it is English nationalists – an increasingly strident faction of Cameron’s Conservative Party and the vociferous right-wing UK Independence Party – who threaten to undo that progress.

He concludes that the debate on Brexit is leading people across “Europe” to ask the question: “What does Europe mean for them?” citing that the Czech government has hinted it would also consider leaving if Britain did. In his final sentence he returns to Northern Ireland by saying that one thing is sure:

Those with any interest in peace in Northern Ireland will be hoping that the British stick with Europe.

Other articles from today’s world press mentioning Brexit include:

The Business Week: Radical shake-up of the euro zone, Brexit, and big moves for insurance from The Irish Times.

Obama to visit UK to argue against Brexit from

And finally, Sinn Féin to call for vote on a united Ireland if the UK backs Brexit courtesy of

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More on Cameron’s Deal

From The Brexit Door on Thursday comes irrefutable proof that David Cameron’s “EU Renegotiation”  is “Not Binding” on the EU Institutions.

The previous day, The House of Commons Library published a Briefing Paper: EU Referendum: analysis of the UK’s new EU Settlement, a pdf copy of which is in the Downloads page.

The Brexit Blog’s post speaks for itself, emphasizing that in telling The House of Commons and the people of this country that the deal is legally binding, the Prime Minister is Lying, and that regardless of the outcome of the referendum and whatever party you support, we should all pledge:

A pledge

The independent blogosphere debunked the deal the day after it was signed, and now even the newspapers are saying so, begging the question that if they would lie about something of such importance, what else are they lying about? Indeed, the issue boils down to democracy itself. When power lies so far from the people that those with it are no longer directly elected and accountable to us, there is no democracy, whereas the opposite should be the case. Were democracy working properly, this lie should be grounds for forcing The Prime Minister from office, but as things go he expects this lie to win him a referendum!

The article goes on to point out that removing power from Brussels and restoring it to Westminster is merely the beginning of the process, as to restore democracy in this country, her people must re engage with the political process. For this to happen, we must ensure that responsibility can be attributed to directly elected politicians.

Brexit Door concludes his excellent article by stating that on Referendum day, we must show the politicians to whom the power belongs, namely the people, suggesting that when you vote put your X in the box marked:


We here at The Referist fully concur.

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Brexit: as seen from around the world

As the other Brexit blogs and sites have been doing an admirable job of exposing the latest developments in the Brexit debate, from Juncker, Cameron and Hollande’s shameful and insensitive exploitation of war graves to the fearmongering letters being sent to employees of private companies and members of the Civil Service, to mention just two, there seems little point in this blog regurgitating these points. We simply applaud them all for their hard work and perspicacity, and are in agreement with their analyses and observations.

As part of this blog’s effort to add to the debate, we think it may be useful to link to recent press articles from different countries to get a feel for how they view the UK referendum issue. As our internet searching techniques develop we hope to extend this to the international blogosphere. It is our intention to make this a regular feature of this blog. The majority of the links will be in English, though some will be in French, as the authors have a good working knowledge of the language. For other languages, we invite readers with other foreign language skills to post links in the comments section along with their analysis or to submit a guest post.

Our tour for today begins in the Netherlands where an interesting article in today’s Dutch informs us that despite our constant moaning about the EU, the Dutch will lose a much-needed ally as we are a counterbalance to France and Germany. We wonder if Peter van Ham would take some comfort in our presence in EFTA/EEA.

On to Malta, where the Times of Malta points out that Maltese citizens living in the UK are eligible to vote due to their being Commonwealth citizens. The article tells of mixed feelings among the Maltese citizens involved and points out the significance of the effect of the almost one million Commonwealth  citizens currently living in the UK. The same newspaper, in its comments section, inists on the need for balance on Brexit

In an article entitled ‘How Brexit can affect your UK Immigration Status’ in today’s The South African , the emphasis is on the rising number of calls to The Breytenbachs Immigration Consultant offices from EU nationals and South Africans living and working in the UK on EU passports. The article gives an explanation of the legal situation in an attempt to give peace of mind to those concerned.

From Sweden, The Local SE reports that Sweden’s nationalist party supports EU Brexit. Jimmie Åkesson, on Sunday night’s ‘Agenda’ programme on SVT, said he backed the Brexit campaign and that if the UK votes to leave the EU he would like Sweden to follow suit. As one might expect, other Swedish politicians are grouping to show their support for the UK remaining a member of the EU.

In the, the Business Irish section reports that Goodbody Stockbrokers has warned that  Ireland would be a net loser should a leave vote prevail.

The New American, in an error strewn article by John F. McManus, claims that Brexit puts the EU on trial. He does conclude however that a Leave vote would put a spanner in the works for congressional passage of the TTIP.

Finally, from France, l’Express reports in French that France and Germany are seeking to scare the British people and are rushing to help ‘Call me Dodgy Dave’. No real surprises there then.




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Britain’s “Special Status”

Following on from our earlier posts on ‘Cameron’s Deal’, Andrew Duff has published an eleven-page paper entitled Britain’s special status in Europe: A comprehensive assessment of the UK-EU deal and its consequences in the Policy Network. A downloaded copy can be found on our Downloads page.

Now, Andrew Duff is by no means a eurosceptic, but is nevertheless a very perceptive commentator on how the European Union operates as well as Britain’s involvement in it.

For an analysis of the document, Dr Richard North has posted a blog on “EU Referendum: a Duff deal” which we recommend you read.

The final paragraph of Richard’s post lays it on the line, and it’s up to us to make sure that, in the words of the great Who song, “We won’t get fooled again”!

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