The following New Year’s horror story from the future attempts to provide some conjectural “hindsight” well before the event as a pre-emptive warning, which may be helpful today.
It is late 2017, and time traveler, Dr. Who, is watching the initial tumultuous celebrations of Mr. Cameron’s triumph die down. Slowly the truth is sinking in as the emboldened EU hierarchy now boasts openly about their next steps in the former United Kingdom’s integration into their bureaucratic Super-state. Our Prime Minister leading the Remain (in the European Union) Campaign has won a decisive referendum victory, using techniques trialed in the General Election (2015) and Scottish Referendum. On his side were the political and ruling Establishment, the apparatus of government, the media, the EU’s PR machine, the BBC, big business and various opinion-setting celebs. Together they were able to deploy a combination of: big spending; fear-mongering; repetitious “on-message” soundbites; and the subduing of political dissent through threats and bribes. But this is not the full story; the “Out” Campaign made Mr. Cameron’s task much easier than it should have been.
The Out Campaign was full of ordinary non-political people who were “too nice to win”. They did not realise how ruthless and underhand (“dirty” ) the other, politically astute, side could be. The deceit, the propaganda (especially that aimed at the younger generation), the vilification, the denials of the truth and cover-ups, the threats and the fictitious fears came as a surprise, but should not have been. After all anyone betraying his or her country to domination, exploitation and taxation by a foreign power and cultural destruction is not going to play by some sort Queensberry Rules. They also didn’t quite realise that this was a fight to the death for their country’s identity, sovereignty, democracy and dignity, not an exercise in leaving a gentleman’s club of nations.
Counterstrategies to the “dirty play” of the Establishment, including by the media, were not developed and, therefore, not deployed. The Remain Campaign and the media effectively shut down meaningful discussion of major issues not following their agenda. Ignored were: the political issues; the loss of sovereignty; open borders and uncontrolled mass migration; emasculation of democracy; replacement of rule of just law with political law; the rising tide of regulation undermining personal liberty and free enterprise prosperity; the increasing EU taxation and waste; the expanding opportunities outside the EU; and the changing needs of the future. Instead there was increasing diversionary sneering and ridicule directed at the supposedly chaotic and deeply divided Out Campaign, which was not recognised as such by the public. Fast rebuttals by the Out Campaign of deception, using comprehensive facts, did not occur. The Fifth Columnists or pseudo Outers helped to repeatedly undermine the Out Campaign, kept everyone guessing until at the eleventh hour, then changed sides and urged all Outers to do the same.
Then there were the “Out egotists” who thought they could win the Referendum singlehandedly and made the most basic mistakes. They failed to work as a team, and support the common effort at national or local levels. They caused publicity seeking distractions that were exploited by the Remain Campaign. When in front of an audience or giving interviews they could go off on tangents or “hobby horses” rather than present an array of strong reasons for leaving the failing EU.
An insular centralising “Out” leadership (just like the EU and Mr. Cameron’s government) was unable to devolve power, make full use of the potential resources and inventiveness available or to value individual contributions. The Out Campaign did not illustrate what people can achieve as individuals when not hamstrung by EU-like bureaucracy. The top down management wanted to be seen to be in control and direct everyone rather than play a supporting and co-ordinating role to maximise the enthusiasm and resourcefulness available. Square pegs were fitted into round holes, if they were fitted at all. Internal communications were slow and one way (downwards), if they existed at all. Seen to be doing something became more important than thinking and planning first, or rapidly improving professionalism throughout.
Referendum fatigue and tedium with the “same old politics” and endless commentary in the media set in early amongst the Public as the extended campaign and EU “negotiations” dragged on. Meanwhile real knowledge of the important issues remained at low levels amongst many. Independence from the EU and the exciting opportunities it offered in the modern world failed to be presented and go on to capture the popular imagination of the electorate.
The Outers thought they could run a visibly “me too” Anne Oakley-style campaign, (“anything you can do, I can do better”, with much more limited resources and access to the generally hostile media). Mostly it didn’t work, and resources were wasted, instead of being concentrated where they could achieve most bang for the buck. And rather than be innovative, adaptive and build upon success, they just copied.
The Out Campaign failed to develop its clear modern USP (unique selling proposition), to show how different and in tune with the liberating, democratic, egalitarian, Internet and global international future it is, in contrast to the failing, obsolete, hierarchical, control-freak EU. Without the modern, optimistic change-and-progress USP, the Out Campaign could not align its objectives, modus operandi, and symbolism with the emerging future world, leaving it open to being portrayed as living in ‘Little England’.
Yet the future is the world of value-adding collaborations between empowered individuals who work together to bring participative democracy, social justice, better and more efficient government, innovation and per-capita wealth-creating prosperity into an increasingly competitive world. The EU cannot deliver results in the modern world, just costly failure. A free United Kingdom, can and inspire the rest of the world.
Dr. Who snatched up his report and analysis, and raced to the Tardis, saying:
“Back to the start of 2016 quickly. The Out Campaign must read this before it is too late and the United Kingdom is destroyed.”