Posts Tagged 'Flexcit'

Scottish campaign interventions show us more of what an EU Referendum will look like

The Scottish independence campaign has, in the last two weeks in particular, shown us the extent to which prestige will be amalgamated with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the effort to influence and persude voters to back the political class’ preferred outcome.

Despite the President of the United States having previously pledged to stay out of the Scottish independence debate, he could not resist chipping in with his comment that the US has a deep interest in making sure one of the closest allies the country has remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner. To what extent the US will work to ‘make sure’ the Kingdom stays united remains to be seen.

Now His Holiness Pope Francis has passed opinion, reported in the Telegraph, with regard to the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland, suggesting the case for independence in Scotland is not clear and may not be just:

Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya.

There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyse it case by case.

If His Holiness has a desire for unity, he should stick to matters ecumenical.  The Scots people were never asked to vote on union.  Their voice on union or independence has never been heard.  Yet outsiders are trying to push them in a particular direction – and not because it would be in the interest of Scots themselves.

The independence debate in Scotland is a matter for Scots, not for American Presidents, their Secretaries of State, the Vicar of Rome or the Swedish Foreign Minister. It is about a country’s people deciding, to an extent, the nature of their governance and how their country will be organised. It is a matter of democracy, such as it exists.

If the ‘yes’ campaign wins the referendum, what the Scots do with their restored national self determination is up to them.  If they choose to retain that self determination and represent themselves in the world, using their own voice and promoting their own interests, that is for them to establish.  If they regain ultimate decision making authority over their country, yet then choose to give it away again to the European Union, that too is a matter for them.  It is wrong for politicians and religious leaders from elsewhere in the world to seek to exert influence over the Scots’ decision.

This interference gives us a flavour of what we should expect if the Conservatives win the general election next year and a referendum on our membership of the EU is held in 2017.

Leaders of EU countries and the US in particular will be joined by religious figures and politically motivated industrialists from a variety of corporations and nations to spread FUD about what they believe about the implications for our economy if British independence is restored.  They will be joined by media cronies doing the bidding of their owners, who are in bed with the political class.

There will be no fair or impartial hearing for the ‘out’ side.  Only the most extreme, divisive or deluded figures will be invited to speak, so they push voters to the ‘in’ side due to their conspiratorial or frankly idiotic views, or lightweight claims that fall apart under the most cursory scrutiny and examination.

To win a referendum campaign the ‘out’ side must not rely on the normal channels, such as the media.  The message that a referendum is exclusively about who should run Britain, needs to be spread face to face directly to voters in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.  It is only then that the positive vision for a successful and independent Britain – as set out in FLEXCIT – can be heard and explained to counter the FUD which will flood the airwaves and print media to paint a false picture of economic armageddon should we free ourselves from the EU.

The ‘out’ side can win the referendum in the face of overwhelming dishonesty and misrepresentation, but it will need to unite around common strategy so the electorate receives a consistent and clear message.  Witterings from Witney has already started putting out feelers, with limited success.  The problem though is that some entities – which despite being nominally against EU membership have done nothing to develop or promote a strategy for getting out – will use the referendum campaign as a career move, with one eye firmly on individual prospects to become MPs or prominent figures in political circles.

There is still time to address this. But whether the individuals involved will set aside their own personal agendas, in order to help secure the exit from the EU they claim to want, remains to be seen.

The arguments that will decide an EU referendum

If you want to defeat your opponent it is essential that you watch him, listen to him, learn about him, understand how he thinks and how he will react. That way you can devise the approach to take to beat him when you engage.  This is the space where anti-EU heads need to be right now.

Ken Clarke is one of the leading lights of the pro-EU side.  He is connected, knowledgable and always engaging with like minded people throughout the EU. When he speaks, EU sceptics should listen carefully because it will provide a wealth of information about the battle grounds the Europhiles will pick and the tactics they will employ.

Clarke gave a timely interview on the Today programme yesterday morning that provides us with an insight into where Europhile thinking is, and the arguments we will be faced with in a referendum campaign. You can listen to the interview below:

We can see from Clarke’s comments that the Europhiles do not see the election results as a setback. For all the media hoohaa, they are making a cold assessment of the facts and contenting themselves that the factors which brought about the result are not a rejection of the EU, but a combination of other gripes.

The Europhiles are reassured that UKIP’s performance, while seemingly barnstorming, really only amounted to one third of a third of the electorate supporting them, less than 1 in 10 voters.  The performance of the Lib Dems is not considered to be a reflection of anti-EU sentiment, rather a combination of the loss of protest vote status, the loss of tactical voters who have returned to Labour and that most pro-EU voters stayed at home last Thursday.

The battleground they will fight on will not be a surprise – but it will require some tightly targeted arguments to counter and defeat the lines the Europhiles will take, namely:

  • Prosperity (the 3 million jobs meme, further opening of single market, access to other markets on better trade terms etc)
  • Political security (stability since WWII, deep and peaceful cooperation etc)
  • Role in the World (more clout as a group, more involvement in world events, increased capabilities etc)
  • Immigration (a feature for all western democracies, need businessmen, students, skilled workers and ability to fill unskilled labour gaps etc)

Counter arguments to many of these points have long been uncoordinated, piecemeal, often badly informed or erroneous – making it possible for the Europhiles to discredit, undermine confidence in and defeat the anti-EU side.  But a roadmap for leaving the EU that provides robust, effective, accurate and attractive alternatives to the Europhile vision now exists with FLexCit. Click on the link below for the latest edition:


Having such a roadmap enables the anti-EU side to reassure voters that the UK can leave the EU and rid ourselves of the political straitjacket, without suffering the economic consequences that are often used to justify remaining in the  union. Having the well informed details to hand will enable the anti-EU side to counter, discredit and undermine confidence in the scare tactics and fatuous claims that the Europhiles will make.

You may be asking yourself, do we really need to be doing this now?  Absolutely.

The local and European election results showed that the Conservatives are actually stronger than supposed and Labour somewhat weaker.  There is a lot that can and will happen between now and May 2015, but as things stand the Conservatives have a better chance of beating Labour than many had previously supposed.

If the Conservatives win, David Cameron has boxed himself into holding an in-out referendum in 2017.  Any attempt to not honour that commitment will result in a backbench assault that would finish his leadership.  Therefore, the anti-EU side needs to prepare for a make or break vote in 2017.

While there are a number of different ‘sceptic’ groups, only by agreeing common ground and working together to achieve a shared objective will we win a referendum against the full might of the political class and their media helpers. The current state of the political landscape shows we need to begin the process now.

If you want to the UK to free itself from the EU, please spread the word.

Referendum, then what? Why UKIP FC might win the odd game, but won’t be challenging at the end of the season

While Nigel Farage was the focus on media attention yesterday, he said that:

If Ukip win these elections, a referendum, an opportunity for us to get back control of our country will be one massive, massive step closer.

The problem here is that an in/out referendum is seen as the be all and end all by Farage.  There are two major holes in his objective.

  1. How, in the first instance, will the anti-EU side win such a referendum in the face of FUD, misrepresentation and plain falsehoods when the people being asked to vote is many times greater than the combined audience of the recent debates? What is the plan to turn a current majority in favour of remaining in the EU to a majority in favour of leaving, particularly as UKIP is ever more focused on Westminster politics and issues such as gay marriage and HS2?
  2. Assuming a referendum is won, then what? What is the UKIP plan for events after the UK announces it is leaving the EU as set out in Article 50? What if any understanding does UKIP have of the global trading and regulatory environment into which the UK will boldly step, and what plan does it have to offer for making the transition and new arrangements a success?

The problem in British politics at the moment is tribalism, but tribalism with little or no philosophical base.  One look across comment threads on newspaper and blog websites lays this problem bare and shows that this is now more true of UKIP than any other party – which should be a huge concern to the anti-EU side. The political process now resembles more than ever something akin to football and UKIP is the club that wants to reach the Premier League but remains stuck firmly in the Conference…

All that seems to matter to the management and the vocal, cult-like supporters is the excitement of scoring goals and winning at the final whistle to get one over the opposition.  It is all superficial.  There is no detailed consideration or discussion about what makes a team successful behind the scenes, such as a set vision, effective management, leadership techniques, having the right coaches, physios on the backroom team, match strategies, repeated reviews of the previous games, the science of nutrition and fitness, training regimes, qualified scouting networks, and looking at the future opposition time and again to prepare the right tactics for the forthcoming matches.

When it comes to UKIP the management team is with the fans in the pub chewing over things like how many more fans they brought to the game, how crap the opposition fans’ support was, how their team deserved to win but were unlucky or cheated by the officials, how their players aren’t getting the recognition they think they should get, bemoaning poor write ups in the press match reports as biased rubbish, and only looking at the next match through the prism of which pub to get the best drink in, what songs to sing and how to make their presence felt, and looking at their mid-table position claiming they are making a push for promotion and that they will soon stun everyone.

Stepping away from the football analogy, what is the point of pushing for a referendum without any plan for winning it, or any idea of how to deal with what awaits the UK after leaving the EU?  The work that UKIP should be doing using the many resources at the party’s disposal – including financial – to develop, publish and campaign on a comprehensive workable plan for leaving the EU, is instead being done by a blogger.

Without the detail and the complexity having been worked out, there can be no catchy slogans, easy to understand one liners or bitesize soundbites to present to the public.  That is why the argument that the public don’t do detail doesn’t wash.

Without assurance that there is a detailed plan in place the public will not take the leap of voting to leave the EU.   Therefore details have to be carefully worked out and a compelling case made that the UK has positive reasons to leave the EU, and will have opportunities and benefits as a result.  The soundbites alone, with no plan behind them, will quickly be exposed as politicians just blowing more hot air and referendum will be lost.  But if we leave it to the fans in the pub, the armchair pundits, UKIP will not develop what is needed.  They are only bothered about the buzz of the match and don’t have a clue about what it takes to turn their team into winners.


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