On the EU Referendum

This page lists blogs relating to the EU referendum in reverse chronological order.

Post-23 June 2016

NB. Some of those in the series #24 may be more recent than those at the top, I’ve dumped a load of things related to the Observer’s conspiracy theories in one place for convenience…

#24N: Actions have consequences (related to all the conspiracy theory blogs #24 below)

#33: High performance government, ‘cognitive technologies’, Michael Nielsen, Bret Victor, & ‘Seeing Rooms’ (this discusses the likely failure of UK crisis response in the next big crisis)

#32: Science/productivity — a) small teams are more disruptive, b) ‘science is becoming far less efficient’

#31: Project Maven, procurement, lollapalooza results & nuclear/AGI safety

#30: Genetics, genomics, predictions & ‘the Gretzky game’ — a chance for Britain to help the world

#29 On the referendum & #4c on Expertise: On the ARPA/PARC ‘Dream Machine’, science funding, high performance, and UK national strategy

#28: Some interesting stuff on AI/ML with, hopefully, implications for post-May/Hammond decisions

#27: Banks, Russia, conspiracies and Vote Leave

#26: How to change science funding post-Brexit [updated with comment by Alan Kay]

#25: A letter to Tory MPs & donors on the Brexit shambles

#24: On the referendum #24: Global conspiracies and a Scooby Doo ending?

#23: Anniversary blog: ‘a change of perspective is worth 80 IQ points’ & ‘how to capture the heavens’, lessons from ARPA/PARC

#22: Some numbers for the Vote Leave campaign (PDF)

#21: Branching histories of the 2016 referendum and ‘the frogs before the storm’

#20: the campaign, physics and data science – Vote Leave’s ‘Voter Intention Collection System’ (VICS) now available for all

#19: Final message from Vote Leave HQ to our supporters

Pre-23 June 2016

(I stopped blogging on the referendum in autumn 2015 because so many MPs complained that what I wrote was picked up by journalists and it wasn’t worth arguing about.)

September 2015

#18: The ECJ uses the Charter of Fundamental Rights to take more power over the UK, this is just the start

#17: The state of the campaign

#16: New ICM poll shows differential turnout could be important, only a third support the failing EU project

#15: Good news, Cameron changes the question – and a new poll


#14: latest ICM poll

#13: new ICM poll shows growing support for Yes/In, Thucydides/morality/education/priorities

#12 New ICM poll shows 46-36 for staying in the EU; education, BBC, propaganda, Willie Munzenberg, 8 August


#11 New ICM poll on a second referendum idea, Boris etc, 20 July

#10 Do you want to be a hammer or an anvil? Building a team for the NO campaign, 7 July. On the nature of the organisation needed… ‘Building this organisation should have started years ago. The resources of the old anti-euro campaign should have gone into working out a roadmap for a new UK-EU treaty and building a national movement to support it. It did not happen. Resources were diverted into cul-de-sacs. It cannot be delayed further… I thought it a mistake to try to force David Cameron to hold a referendum but for those who ignored the dangers and pushed for it now to argue that ‘we must wait before we do anything’ is no good… We must focus on the interests of Britain, Europe, and the wider world – not party interests…’

#9 Cameron begins his renegotiation, the Commission sets out its timetable for new Treaty pre-2025, BJ & SJ make moves, a Greek ‘no’, 6 July

#8 Unprofessional pundit – Adam Boulton, 6 July


#7 Transparency for our Potemkin government – Memo to ministers and spads thinking about how you could help the NO campaign, 30 June

#6 Exit plans and a second referendum, 23 June

#5 Reports of an anti-EU advertising campaign; Greece, the euro, and predictions, 21 June

#4 An Exploratory Committee, the beginning of a NO campaign, my role 19 June

#3 The errors of Steve Richards, 3 June

May 2015

#2 The Lisbon Treaty compared with the Articles of Confederation & US Constitution, 30 May

#1 Gove and the Human Rights Act, 11 May 2015. Mainly on Gove and HRA but also some discussion of referendum: ‘I was campaign director of the campaign that opposed Britain joining the euro 1998-2002. After that, decisions by a few people meant that the momentum and structure built by that campaign was – in my opinion disastrously – destroyed. A decade in which people should have been figuring out the answers to questions like those sketched above was squandered. Too many people focused on clamouring for a referendum instead of figuring out the extreme complexities of the issues. This was all the more odd given how many Eurosceptics complain that even winning a referendum in Europe has just led to another referendum… Having mostly squandered a decade, ‘the silent artillery of time’ is on the side of the status quo.


My report for Business for Britain on the dynamics of the debate over the EU, and a small but telling process point on the EU, June 2014. This report explores swing voter opinion on the arguments for and against the EU. It also touches on perceptions of the parties and the leaders. It describes what I regard as a frequent error among the commentariat concerning the psychology of ‘swing voters’. This blog also has a Times op-ed on Europe attached at the bottom.

The Hollow Men Part I: the long view, June 2014. This blog considered a long view of elite British decision-making from the 1860s to now – the confusion about how to deal with Bismarck, the very similar confusion about how to deter Germany pre-1914 and pre-1939, our entry to the EEC and so on. It was not written with the referendum much in mind but it is relevant to it.

7 thoughts on “On the EU Referendum

  1. Dear Mr Cummings, whatever you are doing in not bringing together the OUT campaigns together, can you please reconcile the differences with the other group, this is so important

    If we are to achieve the goal of breaking away from EU we need one BIG VOICE, not a couple of groups that the Eurocrats can use any animosity that exists against us

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you any idea what you have done ? This is not some sort of intellectual exercise, this is real life, and you have no right to toy with people’s lives. You will bring no good to anyone, least of all your children. If you have any courage at all come and try to construct and fix what you have broken. Where are you now Dominic ?

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a joke of a comment. What Dominic helped happen is magnificent! Democracy as a concept, referendum as a tool stand on the assumption that they function in a fair manner with all players active. Vote Leave simply broadened the sample size and if not anything got the outcome to be closer to how a true democracy would have. It is just sad when people come out online, make an effort to interact by talking down activators of change. You may not want to change but the vast majority of people want to progress and the majority wanted a change.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I am not a British citizen, but I instinctively smiled when the Leavers punched global capitalism and political corruption and ineptitude in the stomach at the referendum. (I am a progressive politically and deplore what the amoral politicians and business leaders have done to us all.) I applaud you for understanding that Brexit was merely a late response to the rage and despair felt by tens of millions of people for decades, though I think the really bad governance started around 1978-1980. For the USA, it was the Carter income tax reduction for the wealthy and then followed by the Reagan revolution, and for you, Thatcher.

    I watched the movie “Brexit” about you, and although I realize much is probably dramatized and a good bit fiction, I was struck by your character’s monologue before the credits. The issues raised concisely and cogently were what I have been thinking about the disaster which technology and globalism has visited upon humanity. In another scene you responded to some stupidity with the brief remark that Brexit “exposed” the flaws in our society. It is of course the leaders who were and still are hopelessly inept (and I think probably amoral) to deal with it for the benefit of all, and we lost the idea of a “commonwealth” in human relations. Now most of us anonymous once middle class elders live in fear and await the next huge shoe which will drop upon us. The only bright lights still shining (about which the media reports) seem to be the opposition of the Italians, the Catalan independence demonstrations and the Yellow Vests. I don’t think anything can stop this train which will bring us to a world we do not want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • God I hope that nothing can stop that train. I don’t think I could live in a world where globalism isn’t the norm. Hopefully Dominic and Brexit is just a hiccup in a long, ever increasing neoliberal climb. Here’s praying for a future without nations: one humanity, communicating, traveling, and trading freely without suffocating and insular nation-states.

      Liked by 2 people

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