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as if the billions foreign countries spent on British goods and services was no more than a favour to the EU to be withdrawn should we leave.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 10:17 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.
Jon Williams
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 11:43 am
Too good men Boris Johnson & Nigel Farage, the sooner we are out of the E U the better
Dominic Brown
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 12:06 pm
Whilst I'm not going to defend everything the In campaign has said and done I think it's unreasonable for this article to be putting sole blame for the tone of the debate on them. Look back to February and Iain Duncan Smith was out of the traps scaremongering, saying that staying in the EU will make the UK more vulnerable to Paris style terrorist attacks.

Pretending that one campaign or the other has the morale highground is misguided.
Elizabeth Mooney
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 4:05 pm
It takes a leap of faith to create a brave new world (and not Aldous Huxley's dystopian vision). And I will take that leap of faith on the 23rd by voting Leave. The one person who has swayed my decision in this is David Owen a former Labour stalwart and very into the whole EEC of the 70's and 80's . He has had a complete volte face and is firmly of the belief that the UK would be better out of the EU. He managed to say this on Radio 4 recently without any hyperbole or scaremongering. The EEC has morphed into the EUSSR and there is not enough accountability......
Ivan Brocklehurst
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 5:40 pm
While I haven't yet actually made my mind up, I must say that the idea of a federal Europe, run by faceless , unelected, beurocrats, does scare me. It's worth reiterating that the last person who advocated this was Adolf Hitler. I don't see anything scaremongering about stating this fact.
Vic Barlow
Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 8:55 pm
The 19 years of uncertified accounts does it for me.

No Limited Company would have got away with that for five years.They'd be struck off.

I'd have to be mad to invest my life savings in a company with such an abdominal record so why would I invest my children's future to it?
John Moylan
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 7:09 am
The upcoming Referendum on the EU is about one key issue; namely, who do you want to govern our country, MPs who we elect and can get rid of if they fail to do our bidding, or unelected foreigners who are following an agenda that we've had no say in and have no control over? Everything else is peripheral to that question. If the vote is to Remain then we have signed away once and for all our independence and sovereignty to a foreign power. If the vote is to Leave then we regain control of our country and the renewed opportunity to develop our country into one that suits our needs and not those of the anti-democratic elite that runs the EU. I hope the majority of us choose the path of freedom and reject the chains in which the EU would bind us. I have no doubt that if we vote to Remain, the EU will change the rules to ensure we never again have the choice of voting to Leave.
Alan R Davies
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 7:45 am
Vic Barlow should check his facts. The independent European Court of Auditors has signed off the EU accounts every year since 2007, while pointing out that EU countries, once they receive the EU funds, misuse about 4.4% of the total budget. The UK is not exempt from that allegation of misuse of funds, and is not entirely squeaky clean with regard to misuse of UK governmental funds. None of that is any ground for complacency of course.
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 3:03 pm
So what would happen to a limited company whose auditors stated that 4.4% of its total revenue was continually 'misused'?
How would investors react to that information.
Elizabeth Mooney
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 3:55 pm
Profligate and unaccountable and a fair degree of nepotism unfortunately. (Think of the Kinnock family for one or the Michel family in Belgium). This is how the EU and its oligarchs are perceived by many , and not just here in the UK. There is a burgeoning Out group in Germany (and I am not referring to the far right Pegida movement) . In France too there is a vociferous and powerful group of "Outers" sponsored by the "Partie Communiste Francaise".The EU has become a different beast from the European Coal and Steel alliance of the 50's and the very worthy Common Market of the 60's and 70's, it is time for the people to have their say...
Alan R Davies
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 5:05 pm
Vic Barlow, 4.4% of budget being misused is clearly not acceptable. However, the UK government's estimate of misuse of its own budget was about 4%. That's not acceptable either, but don't expect any significant increase in government efficiency and accountability just from exiting the EU. My point about your inaccurate and misleading representation of "facts" still stands. These are complex issues, and your partisan contribution does not help the debate.
Duncan Herald
Wednesday 25th May 2016 at 10:11 pm
Take a step back and ask: Is the E.U. about to implode? If so perchance we are better outside?

Another 5 countries about to join?
How many more poorer countries can be financially aided by the 'better offs' ?

If one accepts that neither side can be at all certain as to what will happen next, perhaps it is best to go with one's gut feeling?
Alan Brough
Thursday 26th May 2016 at 7:31 am
As with most other "statistics" being trotted out in this debate, I would take the 4.4% with a liberal pinch of salt mines.

Have they factored-in the profligate waste associated with the monthly move from Brussels to Strasbourg necessitated by the juvenile inability of France and Belgium to agree on where "home" is?

And when "Remain" claims that EC migrants are net contributors to our economy, have they factored-in the cost of welfare caused by job displacement, or the cost to low wage earners in UK of Eastern European migrants arriving happy to work for less than our minimum wage and in doing so, pegging back UK living wage?

As far as trade is concerned, most of the "Remain" arguments appear to be based on an assumption that EC will impose prohibitive terms on UK and that we will do the same to them, thus closing down markets. I don't see any reason to believe that this would be in anyone's, interest, least of all the EC who are a huge net exporter into UK and who desperately need our massive consumption of their manufactured and food products.

My gut feeling is that layers of political bureaucracy are costly in the extreme and if we have the opportunity to divest ourselves of a thick layer we'd be foolish not to.
Elizabeth Mooney
Thursday 26th May 2016 at 8:13 am
Yes, well said Alan! The threatening remarks coming from EU bigwigs lately are almost bullying in tone, and this makes me recoil even more. One can be passionately pro-Europe but anti EU .Tainting the entire Leave camp with the "bigot" label is a tired old tactic designed to shut down those debating in support of Brexit. Even Kate Hoey a very distinguished and hardworking London Labour MP has had this particular form of "mud" slung at her because she wishes to leave the EU. I admire her stance as she is a true conviction politician. We have had to listen to Peter Sutherland ranting on the radio this week against the perils of Brexit ( again with a threatening and menacing undertone) an odious man who likes to talk the "humanitarian" talk but looks down on the "little" people as he cashes in his millions from his paymasters the vile Goldman Sachs banksters of Wall Street .