Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum?


by Sunny Hundal    
8:45 am - November 26th 2012

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It looks like someone has whispered into Boris Johnson’s ear that it’s time to start acting serious instead of just playing to the base.

He told Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics show yesterday:

Whether you have In/Out referendum now, you know, in the run-up to 2015, I can’t, I have to say I can’t quite see why it would be necessary. What is happening, though, John, is that… the thing that worries me, and I’m going to be making a speech about this pretty soon, the thing that worries me is basically the European Union is changing from what it was initially constituted to be: it is becoming the eurozone de facto, and the eurozone is not something we participate in, and I think it’s becoming a little unfair on us that we are endlessly belaboured and criticised for being the back marker, when actually this project is not one that we think is well-founded or well-thought through.

It is proving to be extremely painful and difficult, and so I think, if the and when the eurozone goes forward into a fiscal, banking union, into a full-scale political union, then I think it is inevitable, given the changes that will entail to the EU constitution, that you will have to consult with the British people about what kind of arrangements they want, and in those circumstances, yes, you should jolly well have a referendum.

This is pretty much the same position as the Labour party. All those people who condemned Ed Miliband then for avoiding a referendum will now have to eat their words (yes, you, Harry Phibbs).

So why has Boris u-turned so abruptly? The Spectator and ConservativeHome are understandably disappointed.

Tim Montgomerie then tweeted

This doesn’t surprise me whatsoever.

I wrote only last week that if Labour want Britain to stay within the EU – their only hope is to get the business community strongly on side and get them to spend a ton of money lobbying everyone that leaving the EU would hurt the economy and cost jobs.

Labour cannot afford to lose an EU referendum or the debate on the issue: it would hurt the party and country for decades. Therefore they need more businesses to lobby Tories now and get them to pull back from the brink.

The Boris u-turn is a good start but only the start of this long battle. I favour a referendum, but want businesses to be fully engaged in battle to point out its impact.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


One hard-and-fast rule when examining Borisite runes is ‘if you think he’s on your side he’s conned you’. This goes for dim libertorians like Thicky Phibbs as much as anyone who thinks this conversion on the road to Delhi matters a damn. Anyway, he’ll say the complete opposite in his Telegraph column next week and the base will lap it up as usual.

The intervening week may provide an amusing interregnum for tweaking the tails of the usual suspects but no more. Boris is just not a trustworthy man, as the business fraternity will find out.

Labour cannot afford to lose an EU referendum

Huh? There will be Labour people on both sides in any referendum.

if Labour want Britain to stay within the EU – their only hope is to get the business community strongly on side and get them to spend a ton of money lobbying everyone that leaving the EU would hurt the economy and cost jobs

Exactly the message pushed out to try and bounce us into the Euro. Wrong then, wrong now.

Boris and all tories are just puppets to their corporate masters. We will leave the EU when our corporate masters say we will leave.

Boris Johnson is a sexually louche and pro-drugs American citizen. He is an Ottoman aristocrat of very recent extraction, who has publicly recited the Shahada in Arabic. He believes that Christianity overthrew a superior civilisation (slavery, pederasty, the games), and he sees the means to putting things right as being a European Union of which the most populous member-state would be Turkey.

As the voice of big business Eurofederalism and unrestricted immigration, no less than as the voice of big business social liberalism and as the proponent of decidedly eccentric theological and historical opinions, Johnson is a kind of British Mitt Romney. But as with Romney, desperate members of his beleaguered party will go to any lengths whatever in order to try and convince themselves that he is some sort of conservative, despite mountains of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

Johnson’s was his party’s sole victory at this year’s local elections, in these Islands’ only city where hardly any primary school children speak English at home, and in no small measure due to organised communal voting by a heavily concentrated ethnic minority with closer ties to a foreign and fairly hostile state than, manifestly, to the overwhelming bulk of their own nominal compatriots.

But even the members of that ethnic minority voted Labour for the Greater London Assembly on the same day, just as the inhabitants of Chipping Norton were voting Labour, and just as Labour was taking 60 per cent and more of the votes cast in Southern villages that it had not contested in 30 years, if ever. Yes, including under Tony Blair.

And, like David Cameron and George Osborne, Johnson is a member of an organisation which exists specifically in order to commit criminal damage and other offences, even including assault, just so that its members can prove their ability to pick up the bill. Imagine if a group of youths the same age, but who got up at six o’clock in the morning to pay for universities, were to organise themselves into a club, complete with a membership list, officers, some sort of uniform, the works, all for the express purpose of smashing up pubs. They would rightly be prosecuted as a criminal conspiracy, and they could reasonably expect to be imprisoned.

Mayor of London? President of the Third World Banana Republic of London, more like it. Under no circumstances must he ever become the Prime Minister of what would therefore become the Third World Banana Republic of Britain. Nor will he.

This is another Sunny-special no-news story: Boris takes nuanced line on EU membership, like Cameron, like Millipede…*snore*

“This is another Sunny-special no-news story”

Not so. This is a coming and unavoidable crunch issue. By a poll in Britain, reported in Monday’s Independent, 54pc want Britain to leave the EU – providing Britain could keep its close trading relationship with the bloc – while 36pc disagree and want to stay in the EU. But in or out, the EU isn’t going away and the EU will be defining the trading rules of the Single European Market whether Britain is there at the negotiating table or not.

European politicians and business people do read newspapers and worry about the continuing uncertainty over Britain’s EU membership and the financial implications of Britain’s withdrawal.

Also in the news, Italy’s prime minister has publicly urged David Cameron to call a decisive referendum on “the fundamental question” of whether Britain should remain in the EU:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1e522faa-37f9-11e2-b8d3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2DNFhyWlz

Johnson only speaks for his friends in the city,

his opinions mean nothing to the average person in this country on account of him being a cretin.

To be honest I found this post a little confusing, as Boris is quoted saying he opposes an in-out referendum and you present this as a u-turn, but you don’t present any evidence that he ever did support an in-out referendum so it doesn’t appear to be a u-turn or change of stance at all.

He says he supports a vote on whether to accept a new EU constitution if and when one is introduced, which has always been Tory policy.

Miliband has made it clear he will not hold an in-out referendum either so I’m not sure why you imagine Labour must launch a massive campaign “if Labour want Britain to stay within the EU” – all they have to do is simply stick to their current policy of not calling a referendum on leaving the EU.

Labour has the same policy as the Tories on this issue, which is to hold a referendum on whether to accept major changes in the EU if they are proposed. This will certainly poses challenges for any government if the referendum is lost, but it’s nothing to do with whether or not Labour “want Britain to stay within the EU”.

I have no idea why you think anyone needs to GET the business community strongly on side British membership of the EU as they are already firmly on side.

Boris Johnson is a sexually louche and pro-drugs American citizen. He is an Ottoman aristocrat of very recent extraction, who has publicly recited the Shahada in Arabic.

These, of course, are the things which make Boris likeable, except in the eyes of puritans and bigots.

As the voice of big business Eurofederalism and unrestricted immigration, no less than as the voice of big business social liberalism and as the proponent of decidedly eccentric theological and historical opinions

You’re almost making me want to vote for him!

and in no small measure due to organised communal voting by a heavily concentrated ethnic minority with closer ties to a foreign and fairly hostile state than, manifestly, to the overwhelming bulk of their own nominal compatriots.

No, Jews no longer represent a significant voting bloc in London. And they’re the only concentrated ethnic minority tied to a single foreign state, so I have no idea what you’re talking about.

(the leading foreign country of birth for Londoners is India, followed by Poland, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ireland. I believe we have cordial relationships with all these countries. You perhaps mean the #8 country, Pakistan?)

Frankly, I seriously doubt that Sunny has much of an insight (?clue) into the fundamental economic issues troubling the EU or to Britain’s membership of the EU or he wouldn’t have chopped off most of the thread with all the links.

As the Party’s slogan in Oceania went: Ignorance is Strength


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Matt Emulsion

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Qv9ph4Gu via @libcon

  2. Sunny Hundal

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  3. Max

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  4. Adam Bienkov

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  5. Adam Bienkov

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  6. Luke

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  7. Luke

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  8. Jane McCallion

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/eesKDtOL via @libcon

  9. Jane McCallion

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/eesKDtOL via @libcon

  10. Scott

    Interesting article http://t.co/NuMDTAnM

  11. Scott

    Interesting article http://t.co/NuMDTAnM

  12. Scott

    @Nigel_Farage http://t.co/NuMDTAnM – Take a peek.

  13. Scott

    @Nigel_Farage http://t.co/NuMDTAnM – Take a peek.

  14. Martin Shovel

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/cuyN02Kr

  15. Martin Shovel

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/cuyN02Kr

  16. Jason Brickley

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? http://t.co/HWZwvJCU

  17. Jason Brickley

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? http://t.co/HWZwvJCU

  18. PhilipHammond

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  19. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? http://t.co/Zvl4h92X

  20. Captain Swing

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  21. Alex Braithwaite

    Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/d7oB2n3r via @libcon

  22. Sunny Hundal

    My blog > Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  23. Atma Singh Kang

    My blog > Did businesses lobby Boris to change his stance on the EU referendum? Very likely http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  24. Sunny Hundal

    Hey @harryph – we haven't heard from you on how awful Boris is for trying to deny Britons a say on EU now. Why not? http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  25. Tim Easton

    Hey @harryph – we haven't heard from you on how awful Boris is for trying to deny Britons a say on EU now. Why not? http://t.co/UOPcQ2Ih

  26. Gareth Winchester

    Can someone translate this comment on @sunny_hundal's post out of "Complete rambling fuckwit" into English? http://t.co/8hpgNIIP





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