Wednesday, 2 September 2015
Free and fair?
As I understand it, the the wording of the referendum has changed with a view to ensuring fairness. A referendum seen to be in any way skewed will lack legitimacy and give us ground to press for a second referendum. Personally, I don't think it matters. The public know the proposition they are voting on. Nor am I especially concerned by purdah rules.
The fact is a good strategist acknowledges the obstacles and plays them to advantage. The very fact that purdah will not be invoked gives us a break in that the insistence of the establishment in attempting to influence the result could be treated with suspicion. Brits do not like being told how to vote by their betters. Moreover, a decent campaign will see it coming.
I have made the point that the BBC will skew the debate by ensuring all the panel shows and interviews will focus on Farage and whichever other immigration obsessed grunters least likely to convince. We will not hear sound and rational arguments from more moderate figures. In the BBC's defence, it would struggle to find such since Owen Paterson is probably the only public figure with the remotest grasp of the progressive case. The lack of adequate spokesmen is largely our own fault.
We will hear a lively debate but only between tightly controlled parameters. Certainly if the televised debates are between MPs and party leaders then we won't get anything close to an informed debate. The presentation will likely be tabloidesque, again using debate sets borrowed from a daytime TV quiz show. It will be treated as a frivolous biff-bam circus rather than a sober setting for an adult debate about adult issues. Whichever way it goes, it will be a lamentable show.
In this regard it may not be in our interests to have a free and fair referendum. We have the very worst ambassadors for the Brexit cause, they have a poor strategy and weak arguments. While there will undoubtedly be media bias, our lack of ability to handle it is largely our own fault. A skewed referendum may be our main hope of securing public support for a second referendum.
I argued earlier that euroscepticism needs it's clause four moment but I don't see that happening, and if The Know's newsletter today is anything to go by then I can see my pleas fell on deaf ears. Frankly, losing the referendum will be the only way to trigger a purge of the Elliots and the Farage's. Their credibility will be spent. This referendum will end up a rehearsal whereby we make all the mistakes we should have avoided by referring to Ukip's abysmal election campaign.
In any instance there will likely be a new EU treaty in the near future triggering a ratification referendum, which if the government loses, it's anybody's guess what may happen. There are multiple scenarios I cannot even guess at. That will likely be our last stand.
That said, as per the illustration above, our chances are improving. It is difficult to say if this is a sustained trend, but it doesn't matter. The final month will be the decider and it will come down to how well the No campaign responds to Cameron's "reforms". We may be in with a chance and an intelligent response may just swing it. For sure, looking at the pieces on the board as they stand today, there is scant reason to hope the response will be intelligent, but politics is full of surprises.
While I am pessimistic presently, that will not deter me from giving it everything I have and more. I am certain we cannot rely on the official campaign and Ukip will soil the bedsheets whenever they can. The media will be as ghastly as ever it is too. There is little we can do about that. If the gap is to be closed then it will fall on me and thee to do it. We will have to bypass the media and the white noise campaigns and take our arguments to the people directly by whatever means we can. Twitter isn't going to win this and nor is Mr Bank's money.