Lies, Damn Lies and Leave.EU Leaflets

brexit muffinsAs the Brexit campaign heats up, many of us are receiving leaflets urging us to vote either “in” or “out”. Whilst it is to be expected that each camp will attempt to frame the argument in a way that favours its cause, the Leave.EU leaflet makes claims that are clearly misleading. UCL academics Randoph Bruno, Filipa Fiquiera and Jan Kubik set the record straight.

Leave.EU Leaflet: “In 1975 we voted for a Free Trade Area known then as the Common Market”

The first sentence and already we have been misled. The European Economic Community (also known as the Common Market) which the UK joined back in 1973, was not a simple Free Trade Area and this was made clear to voters at the time of the 1975 referendum. The official UK government pamphlet, which was sent to all British homes prior to to the referendum, stated prominently the following:

The aims of the Common Market are: to bring together the peoples of Europe; to raise living standards and improve working conditions; to promote growth and boost world trade; to help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world; to help maintain peace and freedom.

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Fighting the EU referendum online: strategies, frames and successes

European Leaders Gather In Brussels For EU Crunch Summit. Pool/Getty Images. All rights reserved.Simon Usherwood, Senior Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe, and Katharine Wright, Research Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe, argue that social media campaigning will be crucial to the outcome of the Brexit referendum. New research shows us what in and out groups are saying online. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy.

As in all aspects of modern politics and indeed all aspects of the modern world, online activity is a crucial aspect of referendum campaigns. The possibilities of un-mediated messaging directly to voters and of creating interactive and participatory communities combine to offer a powerful incentive to move into online spaces for all political actors. In a referendum – a contest with a binary outcome – the potential to engage and mobilise supporters for a referendum vote is even stronger, so it comes as no surprise that the British referendum on the EU is being hotly contested online. Continue reading

Six paradoxes of the Brexit debate

Screenshot 2016-03-04 14.14.02The ‘Brexit’ debate has taken off in the UK in the ten days since David Cameron got his new deal at February’s European Council summit, with daily media coverage and social media from both sides swinging into gear. How the debate, and the polls, will evolve over the coming four months is unclear but, Kirsty Hughes explains, so far various paradoxes are emerging.

1. Mainly an intra-government debate

To all appearances, media coverage to date suggests that the Brexit debate is essentially only a debate between two different camps in the Conservative government: a debate between mild eurosceptics in the British cabinet, including the Prime Minister, against a half dozen strong eurosceptics also in the cabinet. Continue reading