After some of the old EEC referendum leaflets were wheeled out over the weekend, Guido has had a look at the Wilson government’s 1975 flyers. Contained within are a series of attack lines uncannily echoed by Remainers today. In many cases verbatim.
1975: Under the heading “If we say ‘No'”, voters were warned that “Inevitably, there would be a period of uncertainty.”
2016: ‘Leading economists’ told the FT in January that “Inevitably there will be a period of heightened uncertainty”. Cameron says there will be a “period of great uncertainty”, Philip Hammond has spoken of “a period of uncertainty”, while a report from the Warwick University says, almost word for word, that Brexit will “inevitably lead to a period of great uncertainty”.
1975: The Wilson pamphlet claimed that in leaving “We would just be outsiders looking in.”
2016: Remain-backing FTSE firms said last week, again almost word for word, that “we will be an outsider looking in”.
1975: The pamphlet warned: “Foreign firms might hesitate to continue investment in Britain.”
2016: A classic scaremongering line still used today, for example: “one in three firms would leave UK after Brexit”.
These stale pro-EU arguments haven’t changed in 40 years…