In the latest example of Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘Project’ Fear’ tactic of scaring the British public into voting to reject Brexit in the European Union (EU) referendum, it has been revealed that Chancellor George Osborne is pushing for the Group of 20 leading economies (the G20) to warn the UK about the dangers of leaving the EU.
The finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 meeting in Shanghai today represent about 85 per cent of the global economy. In a move that risks being seen as a further attempt at scaremongering, Mr. Osborne (pictured) seeks to include their public endorsement for Britain staying in the EU in the official G20 communiqué, reports The Financial Times.
Having persuaded the head of the International Monetary Fund to predict Brexit “is bound to be a negative on all fronts”, success for Mr. Osborne in securing the backing of the G20 is said to be an important outcome of the meeting.
Talking about whether he thought such a statement will be included, a G20 official speaking on condition of anonymity said: “I predict it will because the UK will want it to.”
The effort is another example of the frenzy of activity with which the government followed the announcement of the vote, despite the fact there is still four months to go until the 23 June referendum.
Already Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, Britain’s most senior civil servant, has been accused of hampering eurosceptic government ministers with new guidance banning them from accessing official documents or receiving briefings ahead of the referendum.
The civil service also worked with approved big business leaders to put together a letter intending to illustrate their support for the EU, albeit one which garnered rather less support than hoped. In addition some former military leaders did the same to push the idea the EU represents peace and security, but managed to include one former General who did not agreed with it.
The Bank of England has been charged by the government with giving what is supposed to be an independent economic view of the merits of EU membership, despite insistence from Brexit campaigners that the UK, representing the world’s fifth largest economy, could thrive following independence from the EU.
The government’s quick start to the Remain campaign represents a stark contrast to the rather slower response it gave to the Scottish independence referendum, although the ‘Project Fear’ tactics deployed there appear to be a model for their activities.