Cameron fears Farage

Cameron rejects live TV debate

The Telegraph headlines “Cameron rejects TV debates on Europe”.  After initially appearing only to rule out a head-to-head TV debate against a Conservative colleague (read “Boris”), it now appears that he will do no live TV debate at all.  Probably a wise move, as the weakness of his position would be all too apparent.  But reportedly he has agreed to a half-way house – an ITV programme on June 7th on which he and Nigel Farage will appear and be interviewed separately – a half-hour each.

Meantime the Express reports Nigel Farage’s “anger” at the BBC’s suggestion that he be excluded from Brexit TV debates.

Boris attacks “demented” Cameron…while Osborne admits that the Treasury is doing contingency planning

Boris Johnson has launched his Brexit Battle Bus (photographed at the door, proudly holding aloft a Cornish pasty, for some reason) and has attacked the Prime Minister in robust terms, calling him “demented” for his extraordinary and improbable warnings about the risks of independence. This is the lead front-page story in today’s Metro.  Gordon Brown claims that it “would not be British” to leave the EU (glad I don’t have to spin that one).  He says he wants a Britain that is outward-looking, internationalist and engaged with the world.  We in the Leave campaign agree – and that is exactly why we want to leave the EU.  Not to be “isolated and marginalised”, but to re-join the rest of the world, where the growth is, and to be free to set up trade deals with those countries which the EU has ignored.

And at last George Osborne concedes that the Treasury has started to do significant work on contingency planning for Brexit.  It was wholly irresponsible to leave it so late in the day.

Will Cameron’s Referendum Gambit back-fire?

The Telegraph’s Europe Editor Peter Foster offers a thoughtful piece suggesting that Cameron’s referendum gambit, originally intended as a tactic to disarm UKIP and his own back-bench eurosceptics, risks back-firing.  The Remain Camp are right to say that there is considerable uncertainty with Brexit, but they seem to have forgotten that staying in a dysfunctional EU is equally fraught with uncertainty.   The risk for the Remain camp, says Foster, is that the voters feel angered rather than cowed by the Prime Minister’s carefully conceived electoral conceit, and express their ire at being offered a non-choice by rejecting it.

Britain to be “forced” to accept EU refugee quota

The Telegraph reports a new plan by Juncker to force member-states to accept migrants on a quota basis, on a move which will spark fury across the Chancelleries of Europe.  One Commission official likened it to “A declaration of War”.  Britain has declared it will not accept such a quota.  But if we vote to Remain, that will be seen by Brussels as a green light for this kind of activity.

Russian Oligarch funds Remain Campaign

Sky News reports that amongst the list of donors to the Remain camp is Len Blavatnik, a Russian-born businessman and owner of Warner Music Group, who is reportedly “Britain’s Richest Man”. That’s strange.  The Remain Camp keep harping on about Brexit weakening Europe and playing into the hands of the Kremlin (although in reality the EU is playing into the hands of the Kremlin by talking about a European Army, and side-lining NATO).  So why would a Russian Oligarch want to support Remain?

But hang on a minute.  Did I say Russian?  The Sky report says “USSR born”.  Turns out he’s Ukrainian.  So Russian-Ukrainian or Ukrainian-Ukrainian?  Could it be that he sees supporting Remain as an anti-Putin gesture?  Complicated.

Nigeria, Afghanistan corrupt, Dave?  So what about the EU?

Yesterday I mentioned Cameron’s diplomatic gaffe when he told Her Majesty the Queen (and the Archbishop of Canterbury) that Nigeria and Afghanistan were “fantastically corrupt”.  And now Nigeria is demanding the return of assets held in the UK.  But to compound the PM’s embarrassment, the redoubtable Philip Davies MP at PMQs asked the PM where he would rank the EU on his corruption register.  Given that it’s 21 years since the EU accounts got a clean bill of health, Mr. Davies, as usual, has a good point.

EU/Turkey Migrant deal “hangs by a thread”

There seems to be no solution to the stand-off between the EU and Turkey over the migrant swap deal, which so far has scarcely got under way.  While the EU insists on liberalising measures, Turkey flatly refuses to comply.  Erdogan is a tough negotiator, and he knows that the EU really needs the deal (although it’s wholly inadequate to solve the problem).  Meantime in Germany….

Erdogan Burgers are a hit in Germany

Recently I reported on the German comedian who produced an indecent and insulting song about Turkish President Erdogan, and is now threatened with prosecution under an obscure German law which criminalises insulting foreign heads of state. But the story continues.  The BBC reports that an enterprising Burger Bar owner in Cologne is selling “Erdogan Burgers” like … well, like hot cakes. And the distinguishing feature of an Erdogan-Burger?  Why the addition of a thick slice of goat’s cheese.  The reference to goat will not be lost on those who have been following the Erdogan scandal.

Express on kettles

The Daily Express front page headline is “Now EU want to ban our kettles!”, picking up the story I reported yesterday.

Migrant babies drive Scottish population

The Scottish Daily Mail reports that births to foreign mothers have quadrupled in a decade, pushing Scotland’s population to a new high.

“Bomb plotters target Britain”


Again I featured this story yesterday, but the Daily Mail’smain headline today is “Bomb plotter’s tour of Britain”.  An Afghan terrorist suspect used fake IDs to visit sensitive sites in the UK.

Polls still neck and neck

Guido offers a poll of six polls, and the result is 50/50.  He adds that “Nothing seems to be working” (for the Remain campaign).  They’ve thrown everything at it, from Barack Obama to the Third World War, but (in Guido’s engaging phraseology) “The Great British Public seem to be saying ‘Sod ’em all'”.  Indeed.  If we go into June 23rd on 50/50, we’ll win on differential turn-out.

The commentators

Forgive this rather self-indulgent addition, but I really enjoyed two comments yesterday.  The splendid Allison Pearson asks if David Cameron is “going through the change”, speaks of his “irrational and paranoid behaviour”, and suggests he might do something more normal for his time of life.  Buy a Harley-Davidson, consider a gender reassignment, or ask that nice Tim Farron if he can join the Lib-Dems.  Meantime in a more serious tone, Jeremy Warner says that if other EU member-states follow Brexit with their own referenda, that could lead to the death of the €uro in its current form. “It may be, as the Brexiteers claim, that ultimately it could also prove a positive and galvanising reform of a discredited institution”.  As I love to say, we shall save ourselves by our exertions, and Europe by our example.
No contest … Vote Leave chiefs say Nigel Farage is not even the leader of the official Out campaign and is no match for David Cameron in a debate AP / Getty Images

23:11, 11 May 2016
comments 16

A ROW over EU Referendum TV debates is heading for the courts after ITV last night enraged Leave campaigners by announcing a duel between David Cameron and Nigel Farage.

The broadcaster revealed the two would appear in an hour long show on June 7 – with the UKIP chief taking questions from a studio audience for the first 30 minutes, followed by the PM in the second half.

Vote Leave – the official Out campaign – immediately threatened to sue and accused ITV of a “stitching us up” in a desperate attempt to book the PM.

Mr Farage has been bitterly opposed to the campaign over the past year and tried to lead his own Brexit movement.

No.10 has only offered Mr Cameron to TV channels on the condition he doesn’t have to ‘debate’ a Tory such as Boris Johnson.

They believe the PM can wipe the floor with the UKIP chief, who threatened to block immigrants with AIDS from entering Britain in a General Election TV showdown last year.
Farage has tried to lead his own Brexit movement in the past year Rex Features

A Vote Leave source told the Sun: “What ITV has done is a disgrace and we believe illegal.

“As the designated campaign for Leave, it is up to us to decide who David Cameron faces in any TV programme, not them.

“We are prepared to sue ITV to stop this, and we will see them in court.”

Vote Leave officials are desperate to put either BoJo or Justice Secretary Michael Gove up against the PM – believing they could win over key voters just days before the June 23rd vote.

But in tense talks with broadcasters over the past month, No.10 has insisted Mr Cameron will not take part in a “blue on blue” contest – sparking accusations he is running scared of confrontation.

Farage’s fury as BBC bosses ‘try to freeze him out’ of televised Brexit debate

NIGEL Farage was at war with the BBC tonight over an alleged attempt to freeze him out of a crunch EU referendum television debate.

Nigel FarageGETTY

Farage was at war with the BBC over an alleged attempt to freeze him out of a Brexit debate

Ukip sources say the broadcaster has decided not to include anyone from the anti-Brussels party in a live clash to be shown on BBC1 two days before the historic national vote on the country’s European future.Corporation bosses have decided that a senior Tory, almost certainly Boris Johnson or Michael Gove, will line up with another politician, probably a Labour figure, to make the case for the UK quitting the EU on the show, Ukip insiders claim.A BBC spokeswoman tonight insisted that no final decision had been made, however.Ukip today launched a formal complaint about the party’s alleged exclusion from the event.
Thousands of voters are expected to be in the audience for the televised clash at Wembley Arena on June 21.Producers are expecting the debate to have a “bear pit” atmosphere with the poll just two days later.Mr Farage said: “For the BBC’s main EU referendum debate not to include UKIP would be a ludicrous decision.”As the only national pro-Brexit party and having won the European Elections and secured four million votes at the General Election, it would be outrageous for millions of UKIP voters to go unrepresented in the BBC’s biggest referendum debate.”

EU and UK flagsGETTY

A BBC spokeswoman insisted that no final decision had been made

For the BBC’s main EU referendum debate not to include UKIP would be a ludicrous decision

Mr Faragen

Senior officials from Ukip recently met BBC executives.Ukip insiders say they were told at the meeting that the party would not be represented and that a “final decision” had already been taken.Ukip chairman wrote to the two executives today to formally complain.His letter said: “It is widely accepted that without Ukip there would be no referendum at all.
“As the only nationwide political party that advocates leaving the European Union, which won the national European election in 2014 and secured close to four million votes at the general election last year, and which has its own separate and substantial campaigning allowance from the Electoral Commission, we believe that UKIP has an unassailable claim to be included on the main panel in this important debate.”The planned format will include teams of three speakers from each side of the referendum divide address the audience and take questions.It is expected that two speakers on each side will be polticians while the third will be from a non-political background such as a celebrity or senior business leader.Mr Crowther’s letter added: “For the politicians not to include Nigel Farage, the political figure most associated with the campaign to leave the EU, leaves millions unrepresented in what is undoubtedly the BBC’s biggest Referendum event.”Ukip say the BBC have offered Mr Farage two other broadcast slots in the run up to the referendum instead, including an interview and an appearance in a “youth” debate to be staged in Glasgow and hosted by the BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire.

Nigel FarageGETTY

Ukip sources say the broadcaster has decided not to include anyone from the anti-Brussels party


Thousands of voters are expected to be in the audience for the televised clash at Wembley Arena

Mr Crowther’s letter concluded: “We believe these to be far smaller in stature than the final Wembley debate and in no way comparable with it.”I seriously urge you to reconsider your decision.”Ukip and Nigel Farage must be included on the main panel of your Wembley debate, to make it in any way represent the reality of the Referendum debate in the country.”I look forward to hearing from you.”The row comes after a two rival groups vied to become the official “leave” campaign. Ukip had backed a group called Grassroots Go but the Electoral Commission declared that the rival Vote Leave organisation – backed by Euro-sceptic ministers – was the official campaign.A BBC spokeswoman said: “Those conversations are still ongoing and we haven’t confirmed any names yet. We’re still working those bits and pieces out.”


One Response to “Cameron fears Farage”

  1. ian says:

    The establishment will decide on best tactics to work in it’s favour. It depends whether they want to look like they want to stay in but want out, thus appeasing the Yanks, or they want to stay in. If the latter is the case, then stay in they will, regardless of any vote. They will win it. The BBC is state broadcasting at it’s very worst and doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

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