21 Jun 2016

Cameron’s message: don’t harm your children and grandchildren

David Cameron has just spoken to the nation on the case for staying in the EU. He focused his remarks on people his own age and older. He told them not to do something that could harm their children and grandchildren and something that could not be undone.

He said that the issue “above all” is the economy, in the knowledge that for many voters “immigration” tops it. He wants his issue on their minds as they vote, not Leave’s issue. He emphasised “risk,” a word he will repeat with every breath between now and Thursday.

David Cameron is not allowed to use government buildings or officials’ support in the “purdah” period which was slapped on him by Tory MPs who thought he would use the government machine to try to monster them with announcements in authoritative settings.


He decided to get round that today by speaking in the street outside No. 10. His team argues it’s a public highway so not technically government property (oh, and they’ve peeled off the government crest which normally sits on the front of the lectern). I have been checking whether that means Boris Johnson can stroll up there later today and do his own press conference at the same lectern but I’m guided that is unlikely.

There had been a plan to have all the living former prime ministers lined up with David Cameron for a powerful photo op but logistics, it is said, were the problem. Tony Blair is today at a family funeral, so I wonder if this was when it was meant to happen and that’s why it didn’t. Instead David Cameron spoke of their support for his cause and gestured a couple of times at the building they’d all served in.

Without a line-up of ex-PMs, David Cameron had to make do with the heavily caveated and massively qualified support of Jeremy Corbyn. In a question and answer session after his speech in Manchester, Mr Corbyn spoke of how he was ready for an early election if, say, a Brexit vote triggered a desire to get round the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

The suspension of campaigning from Thursday afternoon onwards forced both campaigns to jettison planned interventions. Vote Leave was on a roll putting immigration at the forefront of its campaign. It wanted to maintain the barrage and fire up its supporters who are still dominated, as one senior campaign strategist put it to me, by “older, less educated and poor” people. The Remain campaign had plans to use these days to wrestle the agenda back on to “risk and the economy”.

Instead we had three to four days dominated by coverage that put elected politicians in a better light than usual as heartfelt tributes to Jo Cox filled the airwaves. And we saw the Ukip “Breaking Point” poster moving to the top of bulletins. Both campaigns lost planned moments. Something else, someone else, filled the time and thoughts of the nation.

Nicola Sturgeon has spoken out on how she thinks that will impact voters, pulling them away from Leave. But she, as she said in her Guardian interview, and just like the rest of us, can’t know if it impacts on the actual result.

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7 reader comments

  1. Alan says:

    Save the children?, such desperation. We had all better vote to remain as Mr Cameron is clearly not up to the job if we leave. Irrespective of how one votes, the lack of confidence in running an EU free country puts into question the current political leadership, leadership that is, when defined via a larger organisation, such as the EU.

  2. Merv Johnson says:

    Why we should LEAVE

    Stronger in, Apparently NOT !Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011 with EU grant.
    Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with EU grant.
    Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds.
    Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia with EU grant.
    British Army’s new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with EU grant, rather than Wales.
    Dyson gone to Malaysia, with an EU loan.
    Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was METAL BOX), gone to Poland with EU grant, once employed 1,200.
    M&S manufacturing gone to far east with EU loan.
    Hornby models gone. In fact all toys and models now gone from UK along with the patents all with with EU grants.
    Gillette gone to eastern Europe with EU grant.
    Texas Instruments Greenock gone to Germany with EU grant.
    Indesit at Bodelwyddan Wales gone with EU grant.
    Sekisui Alveo said production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
    Hoover Merthyr factory moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.
    ICI integration into Holland’s AkzoNobel with EU bank loan and within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs
    Boots sold to Italians Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.

    JDS Uniphase run by two Dutch men, bought up companies in the UK with £20 million in EU ‘regeneration’ grants, created a pollution nightmare and just closed it all down leaving 1,200 out of work and an environmental clean-up paid for by the UK tax-payer. They also raided the pension fund and drained it dry.
    UK airports are owned by a Spanish company.
    Scottish Power is owned by a Spanish company.
    Most London buses are run by Spanish and German companies.

    The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online.
    Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Not any more, it’s Bombardier in Derby and due to their losses in the aviation market, that could see the end of the British railways manufacturing altogether even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby going which they diverted to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.
    39% of British invention patents have been passed to foreign companies, many of them in the EU
    The Mini cars that Cameron stood in front of as an example of British engineering, are built by BMW mostly in Holland and Austria. His campaign bus was made in Germany even though we have Plaxton, Optare, Bluebird, Dennis etc., in the UK. The bicycle for the Greens was made in the far east, not by Raleigh UK but then they are probably going to move to the Netherlands too as they have said recently.

    Anyone who thinks the EU is good for British industry or any other business simply hasn’t paid attention to what has been systematically asset-stripped from the UK. Name me one major technology company still running in the UK, I used to contract out to many, then the work just dried up as they were sold off to companies from France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, etc., and now we don’t even teach electronic technology for technicians any more, due to EU regulations.

    I haven’t detailed our non-existent fishing industry the EU paid to destroy, nor the farmers being paid NOT to produce food they could sell for more than they get paid to do nothing, don’t even go there.
    I haven’t mentioned what it costs us to be asset-stripped like this, nor have I mentioned immigration, nor the risk to our security if control of our armed forces is passed to Brussels or Germany.

    Find something that’s gone the other way, I’ve looked and I just can’t. If you think the EU is a good idea,
    1/ You haven’t read the party manifesto of The European Peoples’ Party.
    2/ You haven’t had to deal with EU petty bureaucracy tearing your business down.
    3/ You don’t think it matters.

    1. Kevin ward says:

      A very long list of companies that would in your view now be thriving if it wasn’t for the EU? British manufacturing industry was in decline way before we joined the EEC following the break up of our ‘ glorious’ empire and British governments ever since the 1950’s have failed to act in the interests of British owned investments – Thatcher in particular ran it into the ground – these companies you mentioned moved because it was not viable to remain in UK or were rescued by Eu and would have folded if they stayed here.

  3. B Ledger says:

    By staying in the UK you are condemning your children/grandchildren to a life of dictatorship.by the commission.
    Why has no mention been made that the Commission are considering fining those countries who do not accept their ration of refugees?

  4. John Larkin says:

    The EU will sign up to TTIP, which will allow ones children and grandchildren the pleasures of growth hormoned carcinogenic meat and a plateful of genetically modified food, as Europe becomes the 51st state of the USA. How are prolific self harmers really going to afford their private medical insurance premiums?

  5. PAUL HARKIN says:

    So for all the bluster the empty promises the set media bias as this was the most important statement of the whole campaign you chose not to mention it in your debate.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, has told reporters in Brussels “out is out”.

    He said David Cameron had secured the “maximum” Brussels could give, adding there will be no further renegotiations.

    He said: “British voters have to know there will be no kind of any negotiation. We have concluded a deal with the prime minister.

    “He got the maximum he could receive, and we gave the maximum we could give, so there will be no kind of renegotiation.”

  6. alistair lazenby says:


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