Barlow's Beef: Will Cheshire be obliterated or brought to heel?


Stick with me on this week's article. It's like antibiotics... you won't feel better until you finish the course.

Remember back in 2002 when President, oops sorry, Prime Minister Blair asked us to support his planned invasion of Iraq? Over one million people marched through London and said 'no.'

Mr Blair didn't like that so... he produced a dossier from 'irrefutable intelligence sources' claiming Iraq was awash with weapons of mass destruction aimed directly at us.

When some interfering party-pooper discovered that much of the content had been lifted from a student thesis on the internet Blair and his cronies went into overdrive.

If the British public would not be cajoled into war they must be forced into it. Mr Blair dealt his trump card insisting the Iraqi regime possessed the means to destroy any UK city within 90 minutes.

When your Prime Minister warns of impending obliteration you tend to take it seriously. He has access to intelligence denied to mere mortals. Unsurprisingly all protest ceased and we marched into Iraq only to find... nothing. No weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear war-heads, nothing, not even a peashooter.

We were duped into waging war by an ambitious PM without a single shred of hard evidence of the necessity to do so.

Blair's success in bending the will of the people by fear was not lost on the political elite.

Fast forward to 2016 and here we are again. A debate on whether the British public wish to continue within or without the European Union has been totally undermined by fear mongering (it's one of the few things you can legitimately 'mong' )

Initially we were told exit from the EU would slow down our economic recovery. A threat that was upgraded to mass unemployment when it failed to swing the polls.

Vanishing export markets was the next great terror tactic as if the billions foreign countries spent on British goods and services was no more than a favour to the EU to be withdrawn should we leave.

"Get President Obama over," came the call. "He's more credible than us and tell him to say that any deals on future trade might take a decade to negotiate by which we shall all be living off nuts and berries."

This time the British public proved not so easy to intimidate.

Enter Mr Cameron with his Blair-like 'threat of war'. When even this threadbare ploy failed to stir the pot we were warned leaving the EU would increase the risk of 'genocide'.

Have you ever heard such infantile tosh? This is not debate it's bully-boy tactics. If we vote to leave the EU what's the betting we shall be forced through another referendum as the Irish people were until they 'got it right'. I'm guessing they regret that now.

Look, I know what big-business wants, I know what the banks want and I know what Mr Cameron wants. It's time they listened to what the British people want most of whom have never had any say in the inexorable march to federalism.

The Eurocrats will definitely lose out when the gravy train stops but who will benefit?

The real truth is no one knows the effect leaving the EU will have but if political forecasts are as accurate as they were on Iraq our opinion is at least as relevant as theirs.

What I do know for certain is for the last 19 years no accountant on earth has been prepared to certify EU accounts. Any limited company in this position would have been struck off long ago. If top accountants don't trust the EU why would we entrust it with our entire future?

I also know that leaving the European Monetary System in 1992 proved a godsend in the collapse that followed in 2008.

Finally I resent the threats and intimidation designed to frighten us into submission. We will make our minds up thank you.

No one likes a bully.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Alan R Davies
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 11:18 am
Vic Barlow complains about fear mongering, but all of the examples that he cites are directed at the Remain campaign. He conveniently overlooks Boris Johnson's Hitler references. He also complains that we will be forced into another referendum if the Leave campaign prevails, a little ironic since Nigel Farage has just announced his intention to campaign for another referendum if he doesn't get the result he wants. Vic Barlow also seems to lay claim to knowing what the British people want. No doubt we will find that out when the result is declared, but in the meantime I don't want Mr Barlow telling me what I want in this sort of partisan diatribe in a publication which usually tries to maintain political balance.
Buster Wild
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 2:12 pm
If we vote to leave the EU how on earth are we going to manage all alone with no friends. Not to worry, at least this time we won't have the Luftwaffe bombing us or the doodlebugs flying over. Have more faith in our countrymen and women and ourselves to pull us through. In a few years we will have other countries from Europe that have left the EU to make friends with. Don't let the EU Rule Britannia.
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 4:05 pm
The real issue is whether we want a federalist future. This would put an end to sovereignty for once and for all. At no time in the history of the European Union has debate centred upon that, and yet it is the crux of the matter. Personally I find the scarce mongering by the Government abhorrent and a distraction tactic from the real debate which needs to be had.
Manuel Golding
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 6:17 pm
I must say I totally agree with Jackie. The referendum is clearly about one thing, the United Kingdom's ability to become, once again, a sovereign nation, able to protect its borders, to decide who will and who will not enter, to decide which laws we shall observe and not to be dictated to by EU anti-democratic demagogues.
The Remain camp can come out with all the pseudo economic forecasts and be prophets of doom but what we do know historically is that the Treasury cannot get its forecasts right for 3 to 6 months going forward, the BoE also likewise, the IMF is another one that has proven time after time that it is inept. So how can we trust this crew to get it right this time around? We cannot.
Economics is and always will be a matter of conjecture - therefore we can never trust such forecasts, if one does you can almost always find you will loose your shirt.
What we do know as a certainty is just where the UK borders are and it follows we should be willing to control those borders. That is a indisputable fact of geography.
Meanwhile back in Downing Street, David Cameron has clearly betrayed his country by his faux negotiations and compounded this by his threat of war and genocide should the UK electorate have the good sense to VOTE LEAVE.
Peter Bradley
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 12:35 am
If anyone has read modern history, banned in our schools, presumably by the EU- Herr Merkel, I suppose, then Vic Barlow speaks the truth- the only difference, a different but equally fanatical German leader and the Panzers replaced by the Euro.

Already Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal have been subjugated by the Euro, and more will follow.

Hitler was truly damaged when his invasion of Russia was stopped in Kursk; exactly as the recent problem the EU has caused in Ukraine; and now the possibility that Britain will slip out of the German dominated EU must make the un- elected thugs who run the EU have many sleepless nights, as the second biggest subscriber disappears.

Of course, the US might produce Marshall plan no 2- but I doubt it!
Julie Green
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 2:49 pm
"You're not alone, we're in it together....." . "They don't need to know...". Hmmm!
Ian Cook
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 3:35 pm
Interesting TV interview by Piers Morgan with Donald Trump last night, whilst some have him down as a fanatic or idiot, many millions of Americans like his honest straight talking tough approach, he claims his No1 priority for their country is security, then sorting out the health service and the USA economy. None of us really know him properly, but he's successfully beaten 17 candidates so far and could well be President very soon. His take on the UK leaving the EU - Get out, business is business and deals will continue to be done across the world, and not just because we are part of the EU. He also importantly said that if he was fortunate to be President, that the UK would have a very big friend in the USA both for security and business.....not what Obama said!

Piers Morgan has a knack of getting past the party front a politician puts up and Trump on screen seemed very relaxed, sincere and an honest man in his support for the UK, which for me gave some more comfort on us walking away.

If Britain takes this exit route, then I would love to see the reemergence of the a "I'm Backing Britain" campaign to source local manufacturers and suppliers of British products being purchased by British companies. I'd happily pay more knowing my money was purchasing British goods and keeping people employed in British Companies.

The local artisan food markets are a prime example of how we are all appreciating a better quality of produce that costs a little bit more, but its grown locally and with a known organic pedigree and best of all we are keeping our small businesses and farmers in business.

So whilst Mr Barlow can sometimes go a little wide of the mark in his written opinions as his headline today says...he talks about 'Cheshire being brought to heel'...I thought it would be about the police investigations at CEC not Britex....but hey-ho......there's always next week...........
George Evans
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 4:16 pm
I've been surprised that I've heard nothing from our North West MEPs yet, I had to look them up as I'd forgotten who we have working on our behalf in the European Parliament, we have 8, just in case you'd forgotten too, 3 labour, 2 conservatives and 3 UKIP representatives on various committees and doing sterling work, I'm sure.

What concerns me is that the debate is getting more heated and less clarity is forthcoming. I hear little that is helping me decide which way to vote and the quality of the information is getting worse, not better.

I had hoped that the MEPs would be wading in (it is their jobs that are at risk after all) with reasons to go one way or the other, but I've heard not a thing (except from Farage...). Has anyone?
Manuel Golding
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 6:09 pm
If anyone is in any doubt as to the importance of the Referendum vote or doesn't quite get the arguments, the facts ma'am, just the facts, watch this film, "Brexit - The Movie".
John Harries
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 8:54 pm
We all probably acknowledge that this referendum business is complex and confusing - it's the main complaint by the man in the street that 'we' are not being given the facts.
I was in the invited audience of BBC's 'Question Time' from Manchester a couple of weeks ago. I didn't get to ask a key question nor did I manage to attract David Dimbleby with a raised arm but you may recall there were a few questions concerning the EC referendum.
Now guest Michael O'Leary of Ryanair knows his stuff where air travel is concerned, he's a tough hard headed businessman. When asked on the question of remain or leave he came out strongly in favour to remain for both economic and political reasons. I wouldn't argue the economic question with him since his airline has grown and prospered because of deregulation which he directly attributes to the EC - now he's one of the richest people in Ireland and we all know/use Ryanair…..
On the other (political) hand he stated that to stay would mean 'we' could be at the table and negotiate change….and on that point I would argue and suggest he is utterly, utterly deluded!
Fast forward 10 days or so to the Eurovision Song Contest - we all (I personally refrain) watch that don't we and know how the voting works? Imagine the EC Parliament voting system operates just like ESC (and it does) - would the UK ever manage to get 27 other countries to be on our side of any arguement, let alone important, meaningful arguments - NO CHANCE - and that is backed-up by EC history/nil points, we've hardly ever been on a winning end (nor likely to be)!!
It's a fact that the original Treaty included the eventual creation of a Greater Europe - they just didn't tell us about it in the first referendum (because they knew they wouldn't be able to make that one stick). There is a high probability that the Euro will eventually become obligatory for the +30 or so final member states. The EC is already undemocratic and elitist. Currently the UK is one of the 3 highest net contributors to the EC budget = £350 000 00/week goes out, we receive in return £100 000 000/week rebate/funding with strings attached i.e. we have little or no say how our huge contribution is spent and we are told what we can do with what we receive - and the rebate portion of what we receive (compensation for what we don't get out of the Common Agricultural Policy) isn't even protected, it can be withdrawn by Brussels at any time!!
The EEC vision in the 70's was a grand one, at that time a good move for the UK (and pretty damn bad one for all our friends of the Empire/Commonwealth). The EC is now turgid and failing, blind to any suggestions of change for the better (back to the deluded Mr. O'Leary).
By leaving we are not casting this island away from mainland Europe, trade and co-operation by all means will continue, we just don't get the point of being in the Club anymore.
They will miss our £350 000 000/week for sure, the way I see it, their loss, our (re)gain.
….and I've not even mentioned trade deals, migration, security, driving on the LH side or sovereignty….
Peter Davenport
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 9:13 pm
One thing about the Eu everyone has forgotten is, that about 2002, Tony Blair and Lord Falconer, 2 barristers who are supposed to know all matters, were prepared to exit us from Habeus Corpus, as the EU has a system, by which you can be locked up for an unlimited time, until evidence is found, whereas in the UK, we have Habeas Corpus, ie no evidence found with 3 days, one is released.
With all what has been going on re the campaign, this seems to be forgotten.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 19th May 2016 at 9:24 am
As a person who can usually see good and bad in all political parties (without aligning myself to any) I have been amazed at how quickly the veneer of party solidarity has disappeared. Politicians who normally would not be seen in the same county as each other have been sharing platforms and standing together, both for the in and out campaigns. If they can work together on this issue isn't a shame that they can't do it for others? There might be a clue why in my final paragraph.

As for the ridiculous claims of what will happen should we leave, or stay in, has anyone actually claimed that the sky will fall in, yet?

Whatever happens one thing which cannot be allowed to continue is the huge payments to very rich individuals just because they own vast tracts of land. There simply cannot be any defence of this aspect of the EU. See here and all over the internet for other examples.
Keith Chapman
Friday 20th May 2016 at 9:41 pm
There is no doubt in my mind that we should stay in the EU, and continue to influence its development. Of course we can prosper if we decide to exit, but is this the wisest course of action?

The positive arguments for staying in are:

1. We have a tarif free market of 400 million people, open to British goods and services. It is very unlikely we will negotiate better terms outside the EU. The best we will do is match them, which is hardly an argument for leaving.
2. Very significant industrial inward investment has been made in the UK as a result of our EU membership. What would our car industry amount to without Nissan and Toyota? Where would our aerospace sector be without Airbus?
3. As UK citizens We have freedom to live and work in any EU country, as two million British people currently do. I myself lived and worked in Germany, and my life was enriched by the experience.
4. Our young people can travel and study in Europe without restriction.
5. We are part of a powerful political alliance which is in a position to stand up to the USA and China, and which has helped keep the peace in Europe for seventy years. NATO is important, but should we go cap in hand to the Americans for our defence?
6. The cost of EU membership is 25 pence per day for each citizen of the United Kingdom, which represents very good value for what we receive in return.
7. Even without the concessions won by David Cameron we have the right to police our own borders, as we are not part of the Schengen Agreement. We already have special status in this regard.
8. We have greatly benefited from immigration from the Eastern states - Poles, Czechs and Bulgarians have come here to work hard, have very low take up of benefits, and have supported our ageing society with their dynamism. They are generally well educated and make a positive contribution.
9. There has of course been pressure on our towns and cities as a result of inward migration, but we are a wealthy county capable of investing in housing and the necessary support services to meet the needs of a growing population. We just need to organise ourselves better in this regard.
10. We have a right of the opt out from the Euro, and we have retained our own currency, central bank and independent fiscal policy. Again we gave privileged status.
11. We have given up absolute sovereignty but swopped this for shared sovereignty, which gives us a much greater say in world affairs.
12. We are influential members of the EU and our voice is listened to. We need to stay in and help develop a less centralised Europe, with a clear focus on economic development, social cohesion and a fairer more equal society.

If we decide to come out we will of course negotiate good terms with the EU, and we can stand on our own two feet. However I can see no advantage in moving to that status, and a great deal of disruption getting to at best an equivalent position to that which we currently enjoy.
Jon Williams
Saturday 21st May 2016 at 12:12 pm
The Conservative Party in Alderley Edge are having an "Outcome Party" the day after the referendum, it looks like even they want OUT !
Vic Barlow
Saturday 21st May 2016 at 10:18 pm
Given that we have waited 41 years to have our say chances are we won't get another.
The ultimate goal is a federal Europe.
If you are in favour vote remain…if not vote leave.
That's really the issue everything else is speculation.
John Harries
Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 7:27 pm
I can recall why it was that we elected to join the EEC in 1973 when we joined France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Netherlands and made it an economic club of 7 countries - for free movement of goods, services and people and removal of unnecessary tariffs/customs.
That has changed out of all recognition during the last 45 or so years - it's now a club of 27 (going on +34) and whilst there have been many benefits for the UK in the intervening years the now so called EC is trundling inexorably towards a United States of Europe. It's become an autocratic, unaccountable, behemoth; no longer fresh and benevolent (just look at what was done to Greece if you need any examples).
I recommend anyone to read a recent article by Steve Hilton (Daily Mail 23rd May) - one time close advisor and long standing friend of Call me Dave. In 2010 Steve took a very close look at how the EC really works (err, from our point of view, doesn't….) and concludes that under existing circumstances
"Membership of the EU makes Britain literally ungovernable, in the sense that no administration elected by the people can govern the country". By stating '…can govern the country' he actually means 'are unable to govern' since they no longer have the inalienable powers to do so. It's very sobering - and if we choose to remain, it's the future - but more so!! Only about 30% of the Governments workload is directly for/on behalf of us, UK citizens. The rest is EC generated/inspired.
The EC is becoming more inefficient, wasteful (i.e. it costs £multi-millions/year just to shift the circus from Brussels to Strasbourg and back again in order to cast votes in Parliament, each and every month), globally uncompetitive and doesn't embrace change/deviation from the mantra. There is not a snowballs hope in hell that in the future the the UK will be able to negotiate fundamental change to the EC from within, it's not going to happen since when it comes to voting we're 76 vs 750 (vis-avis the European Song Contest process - the winners are crap and it's never, ever going to be a winning UK entry)!
Even if we manage to build some alliances in Brussels it just isn't a working possibility we'll invoke change.