At the South Holland Centre on Monday evening, there was an event advertised as a panel of academics and experts answering questions from the audience about the EU and June referendum.
The hall was about half full and the panel did try hard to seem impartial.
Unfortunately, a simple Google search revealed that six of the seven people taking questions had all published previous material in support of our nation remaining in the EU – and this was evident in their answers.
The single panel member who did not share their opinion tried hard to make his point heard, but obviously had a rather hard time doing so against such opposition.
There is nothing wrong with the remain side presenting its case, but it should do so openly.
Pretending or even allowing people to believe it is providing a source of independent information is plainly wrong. A straw poll at the end of the event indicated that just one person had changed their mind after attending, so it did little to alter things.
It was, however, a disingenuous way to try to drum up support for remaining in the EU.
What it actually highlights is the depths the pro-EU campaigners will sink to in order to win.
Two additional points about the evening are worth mentioning.
One member of the public, overheard as the audience left, claimed that leave supporters in the audience were xenophobic – a highly insulting remark.
In no way is a desire to control our own borders or to express concern about public services xenophobic.
Nearly all nations outside the EU – and these days some within it – do so.
A question was asked about the position of European residents here if we leave, with most unable to vote and I understand they may be concerned.
In order to reassure them, no part of the official leave campaign would support the removal of existing, settled and legal EU migrants, with the exception of serious criminals.
That would be contrary to natural justice and something I would fight tooth and nail for in the highly unlikely event that it was ever proposed.
If we leave, new immigration will be controlled by a point-based system, which would be adjusted in accordance with specific skills or labour shortages and tempered with consideration of family connections.
This is the policy of my party and I believe members of the Conservative Party and other mainstream “leavers” agree with this position.