Brexit? You’d better get used to that prospect. We smugly grasp at opinion polls that don’t go with the flow but we are losing fast through our failure to do the most important thing of all in politics. Read on.
The 1975 referendum on staying in the Common Market was won by the ‘Inners’ by a very comfortable majority with their extremely catchy song ‘We’ve Got To Get In To Get On.’ Interestingly their success was based upon a clear default position epitomised by the words ‘Got’ and ‘Get’ in that song title which conflated with the fact that we were already in for three years but with little change. The Inners were thus portrayed in everyone’s minds as progressive with a story to tell while the Outers were by default left as negative sticks-in-the-mud with little to offer except scare stories and rubbishing the claims of the Inners.
Today’s referendum campaign is now a full blown reflection of this as personalities are edging out issues and who wants that? David Cameron, one of the greatest political operators ever, with his affable personality knows how to manage the public into self-delusion.
Operation Fear is not so much about spreading lies or false fears but about keeping Brexit off-track. When Brexit get enraged all their focus and energy turns to denouncing and denying but above all sapping our political energy. Denying, denouncing and snarling are not pretty sights for the punter.
On immigration, rather than suppressing facts, there is a regular flow of stories about how it is out of control. Why? Simply to stampede us into denouncing what is happening and show how it proves us right. Fine but we already have all those on board who are moved by immigration and David Cameron knows that we will waste even more political energy pursuing the converted because we cannot resist a big “there he goes again”. They play the economy card well with their lies, and our responses may be good. Nonetheless nobody knows for sure what will happen financially and once again our political time and energy is used up in number-crunching and googling over figures that are above most people who are undecided.
However the point of all this is that it shifts the focus away from the real issues, including who runs the country. Does the EU really do our law-making? Why have we not published a comprehensive list of laws imposed or vetoed by the EU and put them on billboards? Image a newpaper spread or billboard of that and how people will stop to read it and interact. Soundbites are fine but only up to a point.
The Remain camp has successfully run us in the direction it dictates as the reactives when, unlike 1975, WE are the ones seeking change with THEM being the negative stick-in-the-muds and it works because of our big mistake is our failing to do or be what politicians should. That is fatal as two recent examples prove.
Labour’s total defeat in the last general election and the Scottish elections resulted in increasingly critical voices raised internally about their negativity pointing out that slagging off the filthy rich, tax evasion and Starbucks etc is meaningless when it becomes bigger than relating to and about the worst off who need something positive. Some say that Labour succumbed to erosion by UKIP but for those who do not grasp the impact negativity has on the electorate, the lesson is best learned from Zac Goldsmith’s disastrous car-crash of a London Mayoral campaign.
Given the personal nature of the mayoralty of a major city one would expect a candidate to be enthusing and bubbling over irrepressibly with his ideas, especially an idealist maverick like Goldsmith. Instead it was all about slagging off Sadiq Khan and so much so that it distracted and detracted and the electorate voted accordingly. In the Hurricane of Sadiq-bashing Londoners soon lost sight of Goldsmith and what he planned to do or how he would manage London, and this left Sadiq free to promote his own ideas while Goldsmith ranted on.
David Cameron, unable to promote the Remain cause with truth, has displayed his total grasp of the political game by knowing that Brexit has failed in the most important and essential task: To promote boldly what we will do as our programme of action to get us out of the EU if we win. He knows he need not do the same for Remain because if they win it is business as usual. We want change so it’s down to us.
It is no good our stating what we THINK will happen politically and administratively if we win because that is like admitting that we will have no responsibility after Brexit and we have not a clue. This is a catastrophic political failing. If we cannot come up with a planned next move upon winning then we have no point. It is not about our post-Brexit withdrawal being a matter for THEM. It is a shambles. With time ticking away now we need to smash our heads together and answer the very important question of what WE will do physically to ensure a Brexit victory is not just symbolic. We should be the smiling sunny future and they the stick-in-the-muds with their heads in the sand like the Politbureau and therefore the ones with a pro-active story to tell.
With our diversity of political affiliations we have to work cross-party, while the similarly diverse Remain camp just go back to their political holes if they win. Realistically George, Kate and Nigel will be very much ineffective because of the Conservative majority. For that reason it is vital that this responsibility is taken up by the Conservative Brexiteers as they have the last word on how a withdrawal will be engineered. Essentially the public need to be presented with a withdrawal plan and believe we will not let up in making it happen and for that to be the case those at the forefront must be our colleagues in the party of government with our full support.
There is no other way to guarantee victory because we are all politicos and people need to be told what WE will deliver and essentially how. If not they will choose David Cameron’s presentable personable management style over those who just talk the talk but not the walk. This is not about our private politics. Our private politics is about what we believe in. This is about our public politics and others believing in us to deliver.
If we do not offer a delivery service they won’t buy our goods. It is that simple.