Tuesday, 12 January 2016
It's all about the Brexit vibe
I believe this referendum will be won or lost on the basis of the vibe coming from the Leave campaign and it s supporters. I believe that vibe is created by the shape the public debate takes and what impression that opinion formers get of it. The end choice will be Cool Britannia vs Captain Mainwaring. Who assumes which role, depends entirely on who has the better vision - and whether it is believable.
Middle-aged, grumpy men talking about the Anglosphere or the Commonwealth suggests either harking back to a bygone age, or some white English-speakers only club. If we did talk about an exciting new global vision, measured against the rhetoric of hardline Leavers, nobody will buy it.
From the Ukip Jihadists, we've seen a visceral backlash against Flexcit because it makes an interim compromise on freedom of movement. How can you then possibly say that you have a progressive global vision when you're insistent on a hard Brexit for the sake of closing the borders - regardless of the damage it does.
The damage it would do would not just be to our economy, it would also seriously damage our relations with Europe and would add untold costs to business. It would also send out the vibe that Britain is no longer and open and liberal place. That hurts our standing internationally - and closes down a great many diplomatic opportunities.
Moreover, it does little to impact immigration. We have been over this time and again, but Ukippers refuse to accept that Nigel Farage is wrong when he says that the images we see on the television are a result of EU freedom of movement.
This actually makes Nigel Farage indirectly the most influential individual in this debate - because for as long as he refuses to correct his rhetoric and show some leadership, the more likely it is that the Leave campaign will insist on a hard Brexit with all the consequences that entails. That guarantees a referendum defeat.
The vibe coming off the campaign will be tainted by vicious uncompromising kippers who would be prepared to damage our global standing for the sake of keeping out foreigners. That is wholly irreconcilable with a supposedly global outlook. The reason they want this is that they genuinely believe that the EU is going to collapse and that immigration is at an emergency level and that everything is creaking under the strain. Their picture of Britain is the one sold to them by lurid Daily Express headlines which they believe without question. Stupid, nasty, ignorant.
Looking at the EU in any detail and we see the level of integration is so deep and comprehensive that it cannot be replaced with a simple trade deal and we shall have to detach ourselves with a scalpel rather than an axe. That will take time, it will take compromise and will require great care along with considerable cooperation from our neighbours who Kippers are dead set on making an immediate enemy of.
This impression is reinforced by the likes of Daniel Hannan and Ruth Lea who still think in two dimensional terms of free trade deals without daring to wade into the far more complex field of regulatory convergence. They have little idea of how it works and what it is for. We they say Brexit means we get our seat back at the WTO (which is a wholly figurative illustration) they literally think where is a room at the WTO with an empty chair. This is the depth of their profound ignorance.
And it is through this ignorance that they feel certain enough to tell us that we can wave away forty years of political, social and economic integration at the stroke of a pen. Anybody who knows me through social media or through my earlier writing knows that this level of ignorance drives me to the edge of insanity.
Such people are vandalising twenty years of effort to get us this far - and believe that because their party was largely responsible for getting us the referendum, that they have the right to wreck it if they don't get their own way.
I of course point out that the only other people who want everything their own way immediately and without compromise, regardless of the consequences are toddlers. That is the level we are dealing with. These are the people whose ignorance will paint Brexit as a wholly impractical and impossible endeavour and from what we can deduce from their rhetoric, their vision will not be one shared by the reasonable majority - and nobody would blame them for voting to remain.
Hardcore kipperism is the creed of losers. It is wholly childish, extraordinarily ignorant and has nothing of value to offer this campaign apart from silence. If we want to win, we need a believable message, a credible plan and an exciting vision. Ukippers believe they represent the silent majority that thinks as they do. They don't. They are in the extreme minority and represent nobody but themselves. Certainly apart from a desire to leave the EU I have nothing in common with them.
If the Leave campaign shapes itself around the petulant demands of obnoxious children then it will not appeal to anybody who can swing the tide for us. It will be an object of ridicule from the get-go. If it panders to the Muslim obsessed Kipperish mob then it will be tainted by association and seen as a xenophobes proposition. We cannot afford that.
The Leave campaign should use these people as the canary down the mine. If these people are the ones squawking, then that's a good sign that the message is right. Any campaign that isn't causing outrage among Kipper jihadists is one that is not doing its job. It is one failing to lead the movement out of the cul-de-sac, and will hit the glass ceiling the same way Ukip did.
The leave campaign needs to be ditching the eurosceptic baggage, including all the garbage about budget contributions and get busy coming up with a better alternative to the EU. It needs to move out of its comfort zone and bin all the forty year old arguments that failed in 1975. It needs to reach beyond the confines of nihilistic Kipperism. If it doesn't, then we can forget about leaving the EU because it is never going to happen.