Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook – UK Referendum on Europe: stay in EU or sink in North Sea?

If you are starting to believe that the United States has gone completely bonkers, then you’ve been watching the US Republican primaries campaign dominated by looney tunes like Donald Trump, the billionaire New York real estate developer and casino owner, and Canadian-born Senator Ted Kruz from Texas.
But don’t be obsessed by what’s happening in the US. Take a look at recent events in the “Mother Country” where the ruling Conservative Party is split over continued membership of the European Union (EU).
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a Yes/No referendum this year but he is nervously holding back on specifying a date.
Obviously the UK debate has been teddibly (sic) civilised SO FAR but it will soon become hilariously raucous as Cameron pleads for concessions and exceptions from the European Commission and the European Parliament. Then the Old Etonian ad salesman has to convince his own parliamentary Tory Party and the country at large.
In all the latest surveys, Cameron’s Tories are swinging against the UK staying in Europe with two-thirds of his MPs supporting Brexit (British exit). According to a Guardian survey 210 Tory MPs of the 330 in the House of Commons now believe Britain would be better off by leaving the 28-member EU. This decrepit crowd still believes in “Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves. Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.” Perversely, the former slave traders are about to get a history lesson.
An all-party anti-European group has now been formed to receive millions of pounds in taxpayer funds to campaign for a “No” vote. It comprises the GO movement, Grassroots Out, Leave.Eu and the madly xenophobic UK Independence Party (UKIP). The leading Labour MP in this bizarre set-up is the eccentric south London MP Ms Kate Hoey, the Ulster-born former member of Tariq Ali’s International Marxist Group who is a vocal critic of the ban on handguns and a flaring foxhunting supporter.
Opinion polls are all over the place: some consistently show around 52% in favour of staying in the EU while other polls conclude quite the reverse. What can be said is that voters are split down the middle with the “No” vote picking up ground and that voters in Scotland are overwhelmingly pro-European.
Indeed, if the “little Englanders” succeed in taking the UK out of the EU, Scottish nationalists will demand a second referendum on Scotland’s independence and accelerate their departure from the corrupt, NAT0-driven and monarchy-supported Union.
Anti-marketeers are busily setting up unofficial committees in Australia to encourage expat Brits to vote for the UK to leave the EU. If the malingering UK, shorn of empire and relevance, leaves the EU it will swiftly find its new level as a third rate tax haven economy with an obsolescent bicycle-riding monarchy.
The post-war “dream” of a united, peaceful Europe is unravelling before our eyes.

Shorten in Wonderland

In less than five months, Prime Minister Turnbull’s fledgling government has lost a brace of ministers through sackings and resignations. As a result, Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s spin doctors are over the moon describing the Coalition’s ministerial changes as a “meltdown” and demonstrating Turnbull’s administration is in “chaos” and “disarray”.
The Canberra Press Gallery has picked up these themes and recycled them. But quite the contrary has happened.
Turnbull has consolidated himself with deft changes to promote “wets”, “dries” and “moists”. He has elevated more women into the Cabinet and outer ministry and chosen a team reflecting all States where the federal Coalition badly needs voter support, i.e. Queensland and South Australia.
Rather then blindly following the make-believe inventions of Labor’s spin doctors, the Press Gallery should consult the history books.
Ministerial bloodletting and dumping “dead wood”, as in the case of Ian McFarlane, Kevin Andrews, Philip Ruddock and Bronwyn Bishop, has been a traditional and episodic practice for decades. To muffle the screams and howls of anguish, it’s fondly called “renewal” or “generation change”.
Just prior to the 1972 Federal Election which brought Gough Whitlam’s Labor Party to office, veteran Sydney MP Fred Daly told Parliament:
“In less than four years Australia has had three prime ministers [Harold Holt, John Gorton and Billy McMahon], four Ministers for Defence, five Ministers for Foreign Affairs and three Treasurers.
“Since March we have had three Ministers for Foreign Affairs, two Ministers for Labour and National Service, two Ministers for Immigration, two Ministers for the Navy, two Ministers for Housing, two Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs and two Ministers for Supply.
“This makes 31 changes at more than one a week. If that is not a razzle-dazzle and a musical chairs proposition then I am a Dutchman.
“This all happened without an election. It is no longer true to say in the Liberal Party that it is easier to get into Cabinet than to get out of it. Members and Ministers are giddy and uncertain.”

Remember Billy McMahon?

Today’s ALP spin doctors are making the most of Turnbull’s “musical chairs” Cabinet (why not?). However, they would do well to remember that it wasn’t Coalition government chaos that brought Whitlam to office in 1972, but years of hard-slogging policy development.
Whitlam was denied office in 1969 when Labor picked up a swag of seats, but claimed a much-deserved victory three years later.
In recent months, Shorten has lost his three biggest electoral assets – Tony Abbott, a rise in GST and Australia’s cowardly and cruel treatment of refugees because Shorten’s right and fake “left” supporters steamrollered last year’s ALP national conference into supporting Tony Abbott’s and Scott Morrison’s policies on “turn back the boats” and “offshore detention”.
But let’s not forget that the other thing going for Labor in 1972 was Billy McMahon, nominated recently by Channel Nine’s political editor Laurie Oakes as the worst prime minister in the country’s history.
During the 1972 campaign McMahon made an utter goat of himself by telling voters: “We will honour all our promises on the problems that we have made.”
And on another occasion he appealed to voters saying: “I ask you to study our record and vote Labor.” They followed his advice in droves.
Unfortunately for Shorten, Turnbull isn’t Billy McMahon or Tony Abbott. But he shows no signs whatsoever of being another policy reformer like Gough either.

Apartheid Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is without inhibition when he talks publicly about the Zionist entity becoming an apartheid state.
While American, European and Asian leaders are still mouthing diplomatic support for a “twin-state” solution between Israelis and Palestinians, Netanyahu is on another page.
Earlier this week he told an audience of Zionist settlers: “In our neighbourhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts. At the end of the day, as I see it, there will a fence like this one surrounding Israel in its entirety. We will surround the entire state of Israel with a fence, a barrier.”
The “wild beasts”, by the way, are Palestinians, the indigenous people of the region. Netanyahu’s language is identical to the racist notions of “separate development” put forward by the architects of apartheid in South Africa more than half a century ago.
Because their post-holocaust moral authority is spent, Israeli Zionists are brazenly revealing themselves in their true colours. Their clarity of purpose deserves an equally clear moral response.


  1. Alex, you’re a bit mathematically generous to Malcolm Turnbull.
    In 5 months he’s lost 2.5 braces from ministerial ranks.
    His trousers can not stay up.

  2. I concur with your anaylses of the “cowardly and cruel treatment of refugees” . That would have made a great line – ALP is opposed to the cowardly and cruel treatment of refugees but this is out thanks to ALP conferrence.

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