Monday, 31 August 2015
A crushing sense of inevitability
I suppose I should be grateful to Guido in establishing that I don't solely attack Ukip. Just recently I've given both barrels to all the Eurosceptics. I've been less than polite about Matthew Elliot, scathing about Better Off Out. As to the Tory efforts, that kinda goes without saying.
Following such accusations comes the assertion that we don't do anything constructive. Followers of this particularly blog will know full well that I have made no direct attacks on Ukip save to make a specific point, and have focussed on producing more detailed work over on the sister blog.
We have established the need to define the problem, the shape of the battlefield and the strategy, all of which would naturally be completely superfluous to the Kippers who think that belching out any old eurosceptic toss constitutes productivity, regardless of the source or the intellectual consistency.
Over on the main site this week, the great sin was to point out Farage's strategic blunder. You see we are not supposed not point such things out. We must either remain silent or applaud it and show unity. Being that the site is called eureferendum.com and being somewhat concerned with matters pertaining to the EU referendum and the outcome of it, we could hardly have run a piece on the subject of Wensleydale cheese (although if we looked into the regulations, we probably could), but it really it is worth pointing out that a man best known for ranting about foreigners with Aids is not really the man best placed as an ambassador for a progressive eurosceptic case. Is that really so outrageous?
It is also worth noting that the immigration issue is one that does not have early the traction that eurosceptics think, and being it silly season, the media is running it's usual space-filler scare stories. We have already seen considerable investment in Calais and with a further announcement that "the jungle" in Calais will be modernised as a reception centre. By the time we get to the referendum, the issue will be back down in the stack of priorities. We may even see it drop off the media radar long before then as the public grows tired of reading essentially the same story.
Arron Banks has hinted he is well aware of this and there are tentative signs that the tone of his campaign will shift. It's early days yet, but this blog shall not flinch from saying what needs to be said. The notion that we must show unity is absurd. Disagreement is central to the democratic process and I can't imagine anything worse than the whole movement being united behind an anti-immigration message.
"Ah, but we're not anti-immigration" they say. But that actually doesn't matter. Details seldom ever get through to the average voter. What matters is the vibe. The vibe is made up of what a party of campaign obsesses over and what the general public is likely to receive without ever hearing any of the caveats or nuances. To that end, immigration is possibly the last message you'd want to campaign on. There is a gulf between what we say and what the public hears, especially with the distorting prism of mainstream media sitting between.
We have persistently pointed this out yet the knee-jerk response of Ukip is to attack. I had to remove all of the comments from the previous post. They call it censorship but actually there is nothing that says I must play host to personal invective that doesn't address the issues or even the subject of the post. Disagreement is no sin, but kipper bile is neither productive nor useful. Those who say that all I do is attack Ukip are demonstrably liars.
These people are not at all rational, they don't know what they want, they have no tactical acumen and no understanding. They are motivated primarily by herd instinct, and hate the outsider. Anyone who thinks differently and is of an independent mind is an object of fear. They are afraid of us. Because we are off message, we are somehow a threat and because they are afraid, they hate us more than the enemy.
But to me, it no longer matters. I've heard all the bilge, I understand the mindset, I've seen every configuration of every possible attack they have and now it's just noise to me. Of the few hundred people this little blog reaches, I know it reaches the intended target, and if by some miracle some of it filters through to those who will inevitably run the No campaign, then it is not wasted effort.
That said, since the No campaign will be dominated by overbearing egotists who get paid either way, I am still of the view that there needs to be an operation working independently. The Banks's and the Elliots will soak up the money to further their own efforts, but in the end, unless they heed the advice of those who have been in this from the start, they will preach only to the converted while reinforcing perceptions of outers that already exist. Dismal curtain-twitching little-Englanders.
They will spend the money reaching the already decided, they will wheel out all the classic tropes and they will likely get them wrong. We've seen all this before with Goldsmith and his Referendum Party. Boys with toys who think their business acumen and extraordinary luck can translate into political success. It didn't work then and it won't work now.
We have learned the hard way that of you want a short lived high profile you have to pander to the basest of prejudices - but it cannot take 51% of the vote. It gave Farage a bump in the polls but ultimately, if local polls are anything to go by, he has destroyed Ukip. The very last thing we want to do is latch onto a core of a discredited movement. But there is now little more I can add now save to say, we told you so. That day will come, but we won't relish having to say it. Ho-hum.