Friday, 13 May 2016
When you're a blogger you end up taking flack. What has been surprising is just how deeply obsessive and personal it gets. Replying to it doesn't help. They just use your reply as more ammunition. And you would think it would come from the remain side of the Brexit debate. It doesn't. Most of the deeply personal abuse I get comes from other Brexiteers.
As I understand it, it's because I point out the manifest failings of Vote Leave and other leave groups I am just supplying arguments for the use of Remain. By that logic it is only me who can see the inherent weaknesses in Vote Leave's message and the waffle of Boris Johnson and the Remain camp won't notice if only I keep quiet.
So I appear to be running Schroedinger's blog. On the one hand when it suits this is "a silly little blog that no-one reads" while simultaneously having the power the lose the referendum.
But it's true. This blog and other Leave Alliance blogs are quite deliberately ignored by eurosceptic lemmings. It's not that nobody knows who we are. It's just who we are. People telling it like it is. The Leave campaign is an odious effort run by odious people who prefer the comfort of their classic established narratives to new information that may cause them to rethink their approach. People who would rather lose than acknowledge they are wrong.
So I have two choices. I can go on saying what I say or I can do as they would prefer and stay quiet. But actually I take it as a good sign that classic eurosceptics want nothing to do with the Leave Alliance bloggers. They were never the intended audience. We have always been after a different audience. We have sought to expand the appeal of the leave cause by putting out a facts based case that can reassure specifically because it doesn't avoid uncomfortable truths.
The eurosceptic message that we can pull out without compromise or consequence and all will be rosy makes us look both naive and dishonest. Our approach is to hang a lantern on the those areas eurosceptics would rather ignore but explain the context and the opportunities Brexit presents elsewhere. In that regard nobody has added more fresh and original content than the Leave Alliance. That the eurosceptic blob would rather conceal it and ignore it says more about them than us.
If we lose the referendum, which I rather expect we will, we will be saying I told you so, but with remorse, not glee. Remorse that the blob thought unity behind a dishonest and fraudulent message that appeases the base was more important that expanding our reach.
Out view from the outset has been that credibility must come first because we learned the lessons of Ukip's shambolic election campaign. They went from having seats in the bag to wiping out, retaining only Carswell whom they despise.
I don't deny that I can be caustic. There just isn't time in the day to individually explain the basics to people who aggressively assert that I'm wrong. There are plenty of people who do accept the view I represent and though our audience is small, our ideas travel in spite of the petty attempts to shut us up and deny we exist. Maybe we are not getting through to the eurosceptic blob. Fine. But the people we do reach are people they never will. And if the blob cannot see the value in that then that is why they deserve to be disappointed come June.
The petty sniping and gossip that goes on in the comments of other blogs is of no interest to me. The fact is the gossip in the public domain is derived from entirely frank admissions on this blog and elsewhere because I believe in transparency and I don't see any need for secrecy. Yes I am paid to do this and other blogs. I spend much of my day commenting on other blogs and newspaper comments, I generate original material that can be recycled by other blogs, and I am seldom ever away from Twitter and Facebook. In every way I can I am expanding the web footprint of what we do with virtually no assistance from the blob.
And is this because I am Richard North's son? Yes. I am absolutely committed to my family. Aren't you? But also because there is nobody on hand who can do what I do. I have a track record in blogging. I am a reasonably competent web graphic designer, I am a database analyst and web programmer and I know the arguments inside out. I was raised on them. In terms of web publishing and social media I am an internet native and that's what makes me a useful editor for our blog network. Very little gets past me.
As to the number of bloggers, we have about twenty which is a lot fewer than we would have liked but we punch above our weight and routinely see our ideas filtering into mainstream publications and endorsed by other actors. We will be beavering away well into the night, racking our brains to come up with new content which is not as easy as it looks - and we put more thought into it than anybody in the main Leave campaign ever will.
At any time I could have walked away from this and saved myself a whole lot of grief, free from the bullying attempts and gossip from eurosceptic zealots who reject our ideas. The monthly sum I take from doing this barely covers my bills - when I could take any number of commercial contracts. But I don't. I do this because I believe in what we are doing. If people hate me for doing that then that's their problem - and if the eurosceptic blob would rather hide from the facts and ignore these blogs then fine. Their loss entirely.
It would have been nice to have made more of an impact. And god knows we have tried. We've spend a small fortune on promoted posts on social media and we've put in a staggering amount of effort between us. What makes us unique is we have the Remain camp wilfully ignoring us because they would rather not give our views air time - but then also a core of Leavers who actively oppose us and spend more time hating us than they do campaigning.
In the end I can only do what I can with the resources I have - and at the end of this, whichever way it goes nobody can say we didn't do our bit - and if it was your choice to ignore what we have produced then the consequences are entirely yours.