You may have seen this brief segment from BBC Daily Politics, where Chuka Umunna sought to challenge Daniel Hannan over what he claimed was “Vote Leave Misinformation”. It’s difficult to know where to start. I have been trying to work out how to categorise Umunna’s multiple logical fallacies. There is a certain amount of ignoratio elenchi and plenty of argumentum ad ignorantium for starters. Recall, though, that Chuka Umunna is a man who was Shadow Business Secretary and also (briefly) aspired to lead his Party. Yet he behaves in this clip (scroll down) like a second rate sixth-form debater. Only Jo Coburn’s skill and Hannan’s good manners saved the day.
I don’t need to spell out the gross deficiencies in Umunna’s (cough) ‘arguments’ because they speak for themselves:
So, Daniel Hannan is ‘making it up as he goes along’? Well, I wonder what Mr Umunna makes of an article which appeared in that well-known pro-Brexit online newspaper Der Spiegel?
Here are a few extracts — Read the full text at Spiegel Online
Muzzling Brussels: Why EU Leaders Aren’t Debating Brexit
Driven By Fear
The image put forward by the EU these days is not a strong one. On the contrary, fear appears to have the upper hand. Juncker’s Commission, with its 30,000 civil servants, has nearly ground to a halt, with June 23 marked in red on staff calendars. All initiatives are anxiously examined to determine whether they might provide ammunition for Brexit supporters. Juncker even personally asked each of his 27 commissioners to use “common sense” during any visits to Britain.
One of the victims of this caution has been chief EU diplomat Federica Mogherini, who has spent recent months crafting the EU Global Strategy — the first comprehensive foreign policy guidelines for the union since 2003. The original intention had been to present the paper in the coming days, but it has now been delayed.
Foreign and security policy still remain the domain of EU member states, and hardly any other union member is as insistent about its sovereignty as Britain. Furthermore, Mogherini’s draft text includes ideas aimed at exploring stronger joint European defense efforts — a potentially dangerous approach given that British tabloids passionately disparage any suggestion of a European army. Mogherini has now been forced to push her presentation back to June 24.
Fears of a Brexit are also paralyzing the Brussels bureaucracy. New environmentally friendly design requirements for hair dryers, toasters and smartphones are long overdue, but those kinds of regulations are easy prey for populists in Britain already upset by EU rules on such things like the electricity consumption of lightbulbs or vacuum cleaners. The plan now is for eco-design directives to first be updated after the referendum. Even routine measures announced long ago, like a planned European Commission recommendation for CO2 emissions for road transport have been delayed. The Commission’s proposals on controversial issues like legal migration to Europe are also largely completed, but it remains unclear whether they will be passed and presented as planned on June 7. “That is a political decision,” sources say.
Silence in Berlin
But British Prime Minister Cameron hasn’t leave anything to chance: He also wants to avoid any unpleasant surprises from EU member states prior to the referendum — in the form of overly ambitious proposals made in Brussels, for example. It’s a request the Brits made directly to the Chancellery in Berlin, in addition to an appeal from Cameron that Chancellor Angela Merkel stay out of the referendum debate. Even comments intended to provide support are not helpful, the Chancellery was informed.
Merkel, say sources close to her, has made it clear internally that she wants to respect that wish. Berlin plans to stay completely out of the Brexit debate in the coming weeks.
It seems likely that not everyone in the Chancellery is pleased with the reason the British invoked in making their request. Merkel’s reputation in Great Britain has plummeted dramatically since the refugee crisis, one British diplomat said. Her market value in Britain at the moment is about at the level of a European commissioner. “It’s better not to have her on your side,” the source said.