Nearly 12,000 people came to read my Fluffy Diary in May – that's a HUGE spike in readership, and it's all driven by ONE post.
This one: Day 5588: EUROPE – JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM
People are DESPERATE for the FACTS in this referendum. And if you give it to them straight, sometimes you can win them over.
At the Cheadle Lib Dems’ street stall on Saturday, I talked to a student who was going to vote leave "because the EU isn't worth it".
I gave him the facts, simple maths convinced him, and he said he'd be voting in.
From the independent IFS:
The EU costs us £8 billion a year.
But it's worth 5% extra on our GDP.
5% of £2 trillion is £100 billion.
That's worth £40 billion to the Treasury.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, that's worth £60 billion to the pockets of all of US, something the Quitters never seem to factor in when they talk out "our" meaning the government's money.
Think of all the people employed with that money who have jobs because of the trade and investment through our membership of the EU.
Remaining IN gives those people – US! – more opportunities to work.
Because the Leave campaign keep talking only about the numbers cost to ‘Westminster’ – ignoring all the money coming to actual people that government had nothing to do with.
The FACTS in the Europe referendum are stacking up on the REMAIN side.
More and more independent bodies – like the IFS, the CBI, the OECD, and the IMF – weigh in with more and more evidence.
The Quitters’ increasingly desperate cries of "conspiracy" and "self-interest" merely highlight that only their own very few pet experts will speak up in defence of… well, whatever it is they think post-exit Britain will look like today.
The Leave Campaign say all these people are wrong. All of them. They say the Treasury always gets its predictions wrong… they missed the target on the deficit… they didn't see the crash of 2008 coming… Who on the Leave side got these things right? They simply don't have a counter case to put. Even the Treasury's results are BETTER than the people who haven't even written their name on the exam paper.
More and more of our friends and neighbours – like America's President Obama, Canada's Premier Justin Trudeau… and he’s not even the first Trudeau to plead with the UK that we stay in what was the EEC… Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi – appeal more and more to us to stay In Together.
The Leave Campaign SAY that countries around the world would be just waiting to do trade deals with us, gagging for us to leave and spend years negotiating whole new agreements with them after we rip up all the ones we’ve already got … but when we ASK those countries… they all say STAY IN.
The Quitters are wrong. But when the FACTS say they're wrong, the Leave Campaign deny the FACTS.
So now they say everyone on Earth from the President of the USA on is part of an EU conspiracy and the USA, Canada, Australia, India and all the others really want. The peoples of the USA, Canada, Australia, India don’t get a say, and the people they actually elect should shut up – only the Quitters can say what they really want. It’s Boris who’s the real President of the USA!
And when they don't like the future, they MAKE UP new ones to scare you.
Look out! They'll double the budget! They'll make us bail out the Euro! Seventy-seven million Turks are coming to take your jobs AND lounge about on benefits!
Even though NONE of this is true and if any of it were to be suggested we can veto it.
The FACTS about the EU Budget – Britain, playing our part, by agreeing with our allies from other countries, got the EU budget CUT (and it HAS been signed off by the auditors)!
The FACTS about the Eurozone – the Prime Monster's renegotiation might not seem like much, but the important bit was getting the EU to respect and protect those countries that had NOT joined up to the single currency, and to keep them OUT of any bailout!
The FACTS about Turkey – of course we WANT Turkey to join the EU… but when they are good and ready! When they've got human rights, and pulled out of Cyprus, and given women equal treatment, and when their economy can take it. And once they've GOT those things… then they are so much less likely to want to or need to become migrants. It will be a LONG time before they get there, if they even decide that's where they want to get.
The Cheadle Street stall on Saturday was gently reassuring for the Remain campaign. Sure, we had our share of vociferous Quitters (three, as it happens – including the one who said that Manchester's temporary Mayor having been appointed without election (yet) was proof that the EU was a "tyranny"…); and there were a few people who would see the In Together balloons and a look of nauseated disgust would cross their faces before they shuffled angrily away; but by the end of the day more than a dozen – quietly, and not wanting to attract the attentions of the Quitters – had come up to us to say that they would be voting "IN".
Not afraid. Not confused. Just quietly hopeful for a future faced together. FACT.