A quick look around the Flexcit blogs over the last few days reveals a combination of sombre moods and a sense of anger. All of it directed at the failure of the leave campaign to create a viable strategy and to ignore the presence of a credible plan to leave the EU in favour of winging it with utter drivel The credible Flexcit plan would have pretty much shot down the remain campaign before all its wheels left the runway. The result is the view that the leave campaign could well be staring defeat in the face.
Who knows? Maybe it is still winnable, now that certain mainstream media circles are latching on to the fact that there has been a safe plan in circulation for a while. In an industry that is often an echo chamber of itself, might it be possible that Flexcit has a breakthrough with other media folks picking up on it?
As I say. Maybe but who knows?
Those blogs have got me thinking and they do raise a good point about the need to think about the aftermath.
For one reason I think it does need thinking about in case of a loss for those of us who wish to leave. Personally I anticipate that in the event of a loss that there will be an effort to drive the stake home by advancing the idea that Euroscepticism because it is simply a failed idea, one with no redeeming features whatsoever. An idea utterly devoid of any practical use to Britain, its people and the world. Just to be clear, this is not what I think of Euroscepticism, but simply that this is the narrative they will try to establish.
They will promote a version of “the science is settled”. The reason is simple. Those who have argued for remain will attempt to neutralise any future efforts to raise the debate by cutting it off at the knees with a simplistic idea that can be trotted out by pub bores and everyday public who like their opinions fed to them in bite sized chunks and who don’t wish to examine such facts. Done correctly they’ll even have brexiters walking away thinking Euroscepticism is a duff idea.
That needs countering and it needs countering from day one. The truth of what happened here needs putting into the wider debate to prevent any remain campaign win from peddling myth as truth which has been their MO throughout.
My only concern with this is to what end will we be able to advance this narrative. I hope it will be, to get in place widespread public awareness of a safe plan to exit the EU if there is another referendum. My fear, however is that we may never get another chance at this. Even if the narrative I mention gains ground, I fear that the powers that be will try to avoid another referendum. One thing I have observed about the remain arguments in this referendum is the price that needs to be paid to advance it- so weak is it in reality. Its leaders are paying a heavy price in terms of credibility and the work they have had to put in place to subvert supposedly impartial institutions to advance a false partisan message. To advance the message, its leaders are taking heavy hits. I can envisage future professional politicians will look at this deduce that the path of least resistance is to simply avoid any future referendum.
This begins to bring me to my main point about why planning for a response and a narrative post any referendum loss needs to be ready for June 24th. The story of what really happened needs to be told. It needs to be told because the electorate needs to stand back and look at what happened here. As well as being played for fools by much of the remain argument, something happened with the leave campaign too. They took you and I out of the equation. Both of them fed us drivel dressed up as facts. They gave us gruel and told us we were eating caviar. In terms of the leave campaign though,the so called big hitters decided they were the only players that mattered and the only voices that should be heard. They took our referendum away from us and we simply let them. They decided that in all ways they were the only thing that mattered.
Many of us have heard the phrase ascribed to Pericles in the image at the top of this post. To many it is simply an abstract notion. For those who haven’t yet grasped its importance, I would urge them to look back and ask if the handling of this campaign wasn’t living proof that you haven’t just lived in a perfect example of that phrase.
If we step back a little further we will see what that got us besides marginalised. We will see that it’s not Euroscepticism that is defunct, but the political elite who decide they are in charge of it. They turn up each time and run it like a clown show. That’s why it’s failing each and every time. That has to change in order for a future effort to stand any chance of success.
The other thing to understand is that it fails because the politicians steal it for themselves when in reality it does not belong to them. It belongs to the people. A referendum is a question for the people to make a decision on for the politicians to abide by. Ultimately they know this and that’s why they have to come and steal it from us, fairly safe in the knowledge that we will hand it over. That too has to change.
To do that, each and every one of us has to use the legal and democratic means (that politicians try to dodge) to take back the power that is rightfully ours in order to restore the balance between a democratic population and its public servants. At the moment it us us being pushed around the board by the bubble dwellers when the dynamic should in fact be reversed. To do that though we must cease to be passive and begin to take an interest in politics and democracy in a way we simply couldn’t be bothered with. This referendum is a lesson of what happens when you cannot be bothered to live up to the obligations of democratic freedom.
We have to take our legitimate power back into our hands
Without the work that needs to be done, we will for the reasons I mentioned earlier, never get another opportunity at a referendum. I am convinced of it. If they will not give us that right, we have to take that power back.