The pro-EU campaign have been rattling through scare stories like there’s no tomorrow (raising the possibility that they fear there may indeed be no tomorrow for their pitch), so there’s a wide choice of contenders for this week’s prize. We could have chosen the idea that air fares might rise if we vote Leave, which was instantly debunked by Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary. Or the fears raised over trade, which were ably dismissed by Lord Howard this morning.
But despite that strong competition, the winner of the Project Fear Scare Story of the Week has to be the fears drummed up about security in a letter from former military leaders. As soon as it was published, it began to crumble – Lord Bramall said he felt pressured into signing by a Downing Street “fait accompli”, General Sir Mike Jackson said he was not “happy entirely” with the thrust of the letter (though he was “content” to sign) and General Sir Michael Rose revealed that he had never agreed to sign it at all.
General Rose, understandably annoyed at the use of his name without his permission, went public to argue that “sovereignty and security are intrinsically linked and in recent years we’ve seen the EU erode our sovereignty”. In playing fast and loose with whose support they claimed, the pro-EU campaign appear to have given a boost to the Leave side. Other former senior officers are reportedly furious that they had to fight to avoid their names being automatically added.
Meanwhile, the lynchpin of our national security remains NATO, not the EU. Intelligence sharing continues to happen globally, not simply on the basis of EU membership. And the development of an EU Army causes a lot of concern for many in the defence world.