Thursday, 19 May 2016
The eurosceptic blob
Above is a map of Twitter interactions. Click the image for a larger view.
I am a huge sceptic of big data and I am hesitant to draw any conclusions because data is only part of any picture and not the whole of it. A similar exercise was drawn up on geographical lines looking at Tweets during Hurricane Sandy. It was later pointed out that no meaningful conclusions could be drawn as power lines had been cut and 3G signals disrupted - and that the epicentre of chatter came from the normal sources where population was densest. Caveat emptor.
This map above though demonstrates what I have suspected of all social media. There are concentrations of tribes all speaking among each other with very little cross pollination. The big green blob, ironically, is the Leave mob. Entirely self-referential, entirely self-reinforcing.
This is actually why I expect to lose. The tired old mantras of classic eurosceptics are not reach in any new ears and they are not positioned to influence anybody outside the orthodoxy. It is also why I suspect Brexit the Movie is a flop as it will be retweeted wildly but only between the blobbers. They have convinced themselves it's a masterpiece, whereas more neutral observers are calling it utter garbage. And it is. I could go to town in it but there's little point. It falls on deaf ears.
The darker green blob, circled, is The Leave Alliance bloggers. It's impressive that we have made ourselves visible with so little resource and it's interesting that we pack a bigger punch than some heavy hitters. As a tactic though, I am more pleased to see that we are a distinct entity from the mainstream Eurosceptic blob. We have our own dream and our own task. We are with the blob, but not of it. We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed. If we must choose between the blob and the open sea, we must always choose the open sea.
It seems that we have a mountain to climb if we want to leave the EU though. There isn't time to do it before polling day either. We have to convert the blob to our way of thinking - and that is only going to happen if they lose.
From the outset they have been determined to repeat the 1975 referendum, using the same arguments, making all the same mistakes, ignoring the warnings and adding a few new errors of their own. They are trapped in a timewarp of their own making and have rejected ideas that contradict their own. They have vehemently insisted that they do not need a plan or an intellectual product and have never seen the need to win the intellectual argument. They think they already have. They possess a staggering lack of self-awareness.
As much as the europhiles are unable to comprehend that their pet project is long past its sell by date, all of British politics is trapped in a stasis field. The side that settles the argument for good will be the side that wakes up first. It is going to take a concerted effort to get the blob to ditch their age old narratives and wake up to what is happening in the real world.
By the time it comes round for another vote we will have seen further developments in the international scene and we will have done some major work in raising the profile of international bodies. We will have to manufacture demand for membership of the global single market and do it in the same way the Europhiles took us into the EEC.
That is the only way we will ever leave the EU. We have to create a product as an alternative to the EU, create the demand, sell it, and show that it can be done without risk. Perhaps this time, with a well documented failure under its belt the blob will be able to comprehend why simply whingeing about the EU doesn't work. Very few people like the EU, but they're not being given a good enough reason to take a gamble.
In that regard, I am glad we are having this referendum. There needs to be a clear out of all the eurosceptic deadwood, and for us in The Leave Alliance our job starts for real on the June 24th. We must expose the people responsible for delivering this defeat. We will need our own Nuremberg trials. First up against the wall will be Farage for being the master architect of this failure. He's the one who made this an immigration argument which rules out any rational Brexit plan. Then there's Arron Banks. The cowardly liar who preferred the company of bigots.
We must also shine a torch on the grubby IEA and their weak performance and profound ignorance. They are supposed to be the ideas engine of the right. All we got from them was dismal mantras about regulation. There is much to be said about Lord Lawson the fool. Then the self-serving Matthew Elliott and the odious Dominic Cummings - the man who destroyed any hope of winning; the man who put Boris Johnson front and centre. He who knows nothing and can't be told anything. The eurosceptic aristocracy must be exposed as the frauds and sycophants they are.
After which we will have to press home with our ideas of democratic reform and harnessing globalisation. We will have to completely revamp the eurosceptic movement. We will have to change the attitudes of leavers and we will have to educate them. It will be a long and slow process because they will seek to blame anyone but themselves. But if we cannot learn the lessons from the defeat we are about to endure, then we really don't deserve to win ever.