Published on 6 Apr 2016

Government warning: Brexit can damage your health

It looks a little like a government health warning: Brexiting can Seriously Damage Your Health.

The Government’s leaflet heading to all households in the UK (England first, then the rest of the UK straight after elections to Holyrood, Stormont and the Welsh Assembly) is a pretty dour production.

They’re trying to make it stand out from the rest of the post so it doesn’t get dismissed as “campaign” material (which, of course, it is) and doesn’t go straight to the bin.It’s one of four such communications that will make their way to your doorstep in the coming weeks.

The officially designated “in” and “out” campaigns will get a leaflet delivered free, as they did in the 1975 referendum.

euref govt

This time the Electoral Commission gets a free drop of its own as well, telling you what the referendum is about and no doubt trying to boost registration and turnout.

The Electoral Commission document may even have a one page summary of the “In” and “Out” cases in case you couldn’t manage the seven short pages of text in today’s government offering.

The Government emphasises that it is simply following the precedent of the Wilson government in the 1975 referendum.

The document sent out then actually made much on the front page (and beyond) of the renegotiation which the Government had secured. The document was headed “Britain’s New Deal in Europe.”

David Cameron’s once much trumpeted renegotiation is relegated to a lower key mention in the 2016 equivalent. The inside page text does refer to the UK securing “special status in a reformed EU” but then lists a whole load of “special” UK conditions which include the handiwork of John Major and David Blunkett.

The 1975 leaflet had a picture of Harold Wilson on the inside cover page above a message from the PM (referring to “long hard negotiations”) and his signature. This time round, Number 10 has clearly decided that a Cameron face and signature would diminish the unique aura and authority of a government document.

EU pamphlet 1975

That doesn’t mean David Cameron isn’t central to the “Remain” campaign plans.

Strategists there talk of him still being “pivotal” and “absolutely critical” to the battle to win over floating centre/centre right voters.

In recent weeks, the Labour Party, which is officially committed to Remain, has been attacking David Cameron on Panama, the steel industry, the Budget, the IDS resignation and disability benefits. It will be interesting to see if the last weeks running up to the referendum on 23 June see any kind of pull back on that.

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4 reader comments

  1. Alan says:

    Unlike many other regimes, at least the British system attempts to make people feel as though their choice will make a difference. Although the taxpayer foots the bill, such ironies are inconsequential.

  2. Philip says:

    Having taken a decision to remain in the EU, the Government is entitled to explain to people why. I can’t help feeling that the Brexiteers response (which is totally out of proportion) reflects more a concern that a lot of the misleading information that they put out and the risks which they gloss over or call “scaremongering” will be put in front of the electorate – not least those whose view of the world is entirely skewed by reading the Express, Mail or Sun. Personally I trust the government to give me relatively accurate picture of the reasons why remaining in are better than those for leaving than I do from Rupert Murdoch, etc.

  3. Abdel says:

    There is no harm in explaining the facts. However the In facts given to us hold no weight. the same so called facts can be interpreted otherwise by the out camp. I am 100% for the out because my mind tells this: My great grand who died fighting Evil Nazis as part of the French liberation Army did so for one main reason and that was to gain independence and to think for ourselves. If he knew that one unlected man in the EU could rule us instead of our Monarch he would have submitted to the the Nazis. Afterall not all people suffered under the Nazis only the brave and dignified one did which were the majority. the minority wants us to think like Evil Hitler, be better under The Arians and stronger under Hitler. the facts are the EU is Doomed. Long live the Queen

  4. Merv Johnson says:

    ‘Brexit’: Brussels to The See of Rome..

    The UK is on the verge of deciding its fate, to remain or leave the hindrance of Brussels.
    Almost 500 hundred years ago King Henry VIII set in motion, through parliament, 1527-34, that England would renounce the jurisdiction of Rome and breakaway from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.
    As Pope Clement VII, vehemently rejected King Henry’s request for an annullment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.
    The kingdom were obliged to pay an annual levy, tax, to the Church of Rome.
    During such time and throughout Henry’s court there were many mutterings and rumours that by severing Englands constraints from Rome, the country would suffer not just religiously but more so economically.
    Amid several that held sway within Henry’s court, there was much apprehension and disquiet swirling around with the thought that England would experience immense economical hardship as a result of terminating ties with Rome.
    However, this was not the case. After the Act of Supremacy, 1534, was passed England now found themselves outside the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. And even though civil wars followed economically England prospered greatly, especially when Henry’s
    daughter Elizabeth came to the throne.
    A decision to allow England to rule itself, albeit initially religiously, but found that economically it prospered.
    No difference today, 500 hundred years on. As they believed then perhaps we should take a leaf out of King Henry’s book and go our separate way, but in this case purely for the economical reasons..

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