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"Vote to leave EU would 'condemn Britain to irrelevance', say historians"

(23 Posts)
Palehorse Wed 25-May-16 10:27:51

Letter signed by more than 300 prominent historians says voters can stiffen cohesion of our continent in a dangerous world

We should listen to the historians; they take the long view wink

Winterbiscuit Wed 25-May-16 15:15:00

Were these historians asked to sign the letter by the government by any chance?

The article notes that "George Osborne, who studied history at Oxford and has taken a leading role in coordinating the remain campaign, hosted many of the signatories at a Downing Street reception on Tuesday night."

The letter in the Times from 197 business leaders appeared shortly after No.10 wrote to a large number of companies, asking them to put Brexit on their list of risks. Meanwhile, Cameron was still telling the general public that he "ruled nothing out" i.e. would still consider leaving the EU!

Winterbiscuit Wed 25-May-16 15:25:42

Just to add some dates, the similar letter in the Times from business leaders was published on 23rd February.

On 8th February, Rupert Soames wrote to the PM to follow up on a previous meeting, saying

“I am working with Peter Chadlington and Stuart Rose (the head of Britain Stronger in Europe) with a view to contacting FTSE 500 companies who have annual reports due for publication before June and persuading them that they should include Brexit in the list of key risks. All public companies are required to set out in their annual report an analysis of key risks.”

Palehorse Wed 25-May-16 15:33:48

Were these historians asked to sign the letter by the government by any chance?

does it matter? i hardly think they were made to sign with a gun to their heads. They're all seasoned and respected academics, making sensible arguments, rather than the hysteria we've seen from both sides of late.

SpringingIntoAction Wed 25-May-16 22:02:36

When I see a letter like that I think to myself - what have they to gain. What has prompted this or influenced their views?

So I usually dig a bit deeper.

I usually find that people making claims like this are net recipients of EU funds or work for organisations that expect them to be pro-EU or work / benefit from Government contracts / funding.

Shall we try it with these 300?

GraysAnalogy Wed 25-May-16 22:03:54

Of course it matters.

STIDW Thu 26-May-16 18:17:38

I usually find that people making claims like this are net recipients of EU funds or work for organisations that expect them to be pro-EU or work / benefit from Government contracts / funding.

What if they are? Just because they receive some funding from the EU doesn't mean they are biased in favour of the EU - Brexit MEPs Nigel Farage & Daniel Hannan are both EU funded.

Chalalala Thu 26-May-16 21:00:37

Were these historians asked to sign the letter by the government by any chance?

No, I've seen historians advertise this among themselves on facebook and other places, and encouraging each other to sign.

I usually find that people making claims like this are net recipients of EU funds

historians are rather unlikely to be recipients of EU funding, the major funders are the AHRC and the British Academy, both British government. There are a few big EU grants, but they're quite rare.

When I see a letter like that I think to myself - what have they to gain. What has prompted this or influenced their views?

Good question. What they have to gain is the prosperity of their employment sector, not to mention the prosperity and security of their country. What influenced their view is their knowledge of and lifelong reflection on European and British history.

That being said you'll be happy to know that there's also a (much smaller) "historians for Britain" group. Hmm I wonder what they have to gain and who's paying them...

Palehorse Thu 26-May-16 21:13:05

chalala that's lovely to hear. I'm not a historian but I work in a similar heritage occupation, I've yet to meet a colleague whose voting out.

Winterbiscuit Fri 27-May-16 09:10:54

And now the government are apparently in the process of contacting religious leaders to get them to sign a letter for a newspaper, to be published this weekend.

Remain Takes Project Fear to Church

"The Remain campaign are coordinating another letter to be published in a newspaper over the weekend, this time from religious leaders. BSE sent the text of the letter to Faiths Forum, asking them to get the signatures. Faiths Forum’s email to religious leaders openly admits disguising that it is part of the official Remain campaign. The subject line rather gives it away…

"Subject: Britain Strong In Europe Campaign

"I received this email yesterday, and have been requested to circulate to faith leaders."....

"It stops short of formally endorsing the remain campaign so as to avoid being overtly political. However, it would be seen as support from the signatories for Britain to remain in the EU, which is how we would present it."

Chalalala Fri 27-May-16 11:46:38

The Remain campaign (not the same thing as the government) is looking for the support of respected voices, what's the problem with that?

It's fair game. The Remain campaign is free to contact religious leaders and ask for their support, and they're free to say either yes or no.

(If you think they're not free to no, then I'd suggest British democracy has bigger problems than the EU, which for all its fault does uphold free speech...)

I get Leave are upset that they can't get anywhere near the amount of respected voices on their side. But the reason is not the existence of some government conspiracy to secretly coerce everyone, the reason is that religious leaders (and academics, etc) are overwhelmingly in favour of Remain, not Leave.


The Church of Scotland already has taken an official position in favour of Remain, so this is not exactly a surprise.

And so what if Church leaders feel so strongly about this that they want to publicly come out in favour of Remain? Of course the campaign is encouraging them and coordinating behind the scenes. It's fair game.

Do you really think so little of British democracy that you believe the government can coerce academics and church leaders into taking positions against their will? If academics and religious leaders want to say something, then they will. If they don't, then they won't. Freedom of speech still exists in this country.

Chalalala Fri 27-May-16 11:49:28

Sorry that was ranty and repetitive, I forgot I'd already typed a response and typed two in a row... must focus more on my MNing, less on work grin

Winterbiscuit Fri 27-May-16 12:54:15

But the reason is not the existence of some government conspiracy to secretly coerce everyone, the reason is that religious leaders (and academics, etc) are overwhelmingly in favour of Remain, not Leave.

Alternatively, if the Leave campaign had the same funding as the government, they'd be able to co-ordinate numerous letters to the media from pro-Brexit groups of people.

Of course quite a few people in corporate, leadership and establishment positions, whose organisations lobby the EU, receive EU funding or will tend to be persuaded by the government as an "authority" are backing "remain" as it benefits them the most.

I'd like to see the views of 250 ordinary actors in a letter, instead of luvvies from EU films, for example. Or ordinary farmers (who support "leave") instead of the farmers union ("stay"). People who don't happen to be "prominent" but have equally sensible arguments for why we should leave the EU, and who are in touch with the real world.

Winterbiscuit Fri 27-May-16 12:54:40

EU-funded films.

StepintotheLightleave Fri 27-May-16 13:40:13

grin

Is Poland relavant? Is Romania or Albania Relavant, right now, are we relavant at all?

I am quite happy to be less relavant thanks grin

But I am sure we do have some standing on world stage actually without EU and its that standing that gives the EU something extra.

realworlds Sat 04-Jun-16 18:20:17

Chalalala
I get Leave are upset that they can't get anywhere near the amount of respected voices on their side. But the reason is not the existence of some government conspiracy to secretly coerce everyone, the reason is that religious leaders (and academics, etc) are overwhelmingly in favour of Remain, not Leave.

where do you actually dream this poppy cock stuff up from? it amazes me that you spout on about something you have very little clear evidence on, its just your "swing" on things.

i can positively say that the leave side have far more backing than anything the remain camp can even contemplate having.

and as many have said on here alot of the remain camp are purely there as they have major eu financial benefits from the remain position , who knows ?

i can say with all honesty and being very much in touch on a daily basis with the ordinary people of my area that i can count on one hand the amount of people who wish to remain, but know hundreds who are opting out.

i really do not believe the remain camp has a hope in hell to be honest and mr cameron is fully aware of this situation hence the positioning of boris at the forefront of the opposition team to ensure the good old tory boys are kept at the fore when cameron has to make a very very quick exit.

Chalalala Sat 04-Jun-16 19:09:18

We're talking about two different things realworlds. You're talking about support on the ground from regular people, which is fine. But I'm talking about support from well-known and well-respected public figures. Which the Remain camp has a whole lot more of, no matter how you slice it.

Now you can say they're all corrupt and bought by the EU, sure. I personally think that's unlikely, especially when it comes to academics. I'm an academic myself and the vast majority are decidedly Remain, many of them passionately so. Absolutely fine if you think they're all wrong. But they're not being dishonest, from my personal experience.

realworlds Sat 04-Jun-16 22:28:25

Chalalala..i am just a humble business person who employs 15 staff...nothing academic just a plain old business woman.

i am proud of what i do and i am proud i have given employment to some wonderful people which has been very tough at some points in the last thirty years , but non the less wages have always been paid and my colleagues have been very good to me also in helping me struggle through some difficult periods.

i am in touch with regular people yes , but the regular people of this country are what feeds the the wheels of commerce in various forms, and is a very important part of this countries infrastructure. my particular field of business is within scientific instruments and i have quite a few academic friends myself , again many of whom are not with the remain camp whilst a small minority are..differences of opinion nothing more.

under eu rule things have gotton decidedly more deceitful and it has become obvious that most car manufacturers are happy to lie about the green credentials of their vehicles, that foodstuffs are so bad for us that they should be eaten once a week at the very most due to the artificial garbage allowed in them, that free-range eggs aren’t really free range at all and that beef may be horse.
i may not be the academic you are but i keep saying and saying what good has come from it all..do you actually realise how much being a part of this dinosaur has cost the uk since its inception?
i dont think you have given it much thought at all to be honest unlike we regualar people on the ground.

This is just my version of things and we only will we know what will be after the votes have taken place and the ballots are closed,
but as i said before its not looking good for the remains and i seriously believe things are going to change a great deal in the uk in the coming near future.

support on the ground i feel will be far more influential in this referendum than a few b list celebrities with empty heads and sir philip green the master of retailing with his recent episodes of the bhs saga...ill stick with a leave if you dont mind.

good luck and my best wishes

Chalalala Sat 04-Jun-16 22:31:43

agree to disagree realworlds and my best wishes to you too

fourmummy Sun 05-Jun-16 10:30:10

i really do not believe the remain camp has a hope in hell to be honest and mr cameron is fully aware of this situation

Make sure everyone takes their own black ink pen to the polling booth.

claig Sun 05-Jun-16 12:34:12

Are the majority of the historians, perchance, from Oxbridge? Are some of the Establishment luminaries (called by some, perhaps unkindly, loonninnies) in expectation of one or two MBEs for their expertise and ability to please? Pur-leese, let's not fall for the Establishment up to their usual wheeze.

'The Remain campaign (not the same thing as the government) is looking for the support of respected voices, what's the problem with that?'

I've heard that the problem with that is that they can't find any.

fourmummy Sun 05-Jun-16 17:40:37

Claig - your comment reminds me of the photo currently being retweeted where all four Kinnocks are saying "We'll be voting Remain" with wide smiles and their thumbs up. Let's not forget Cameron's (and Corbyn's?) a little something on a Board somewhere or other (is Blair still with JP Morgan?).

claig Sun 05-Jun-16 17:43:12

Good points. I forgot about Blair and JP Morgan.

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