Tuesday 14 June 2016

Whatever the result of the EU referendum, trouble lies ahead

'Won't someone think of the children?' Photo A Carling
Way before the referendum was announced, I said that Out won't win, but In could lose it. This is what is happening.
I also said that a way to win would be to look at the SNP's Independence campaign and follow that as an example, by building up grass roots groups, holding lots of public meetings everywhere etc. Remain decided to repeat the 'Better Together' campaign strategy, concentrating on ramping up the fear and concentrating on the economy. And nothing else. Only those sworn to be on message were allowed on board, people with different ideas were cast away.
The result has been to confuse and alienate those likely to support them. I know several waverers, all are reasonable people, none conform to the stereotype of the frothing at the mouth hyper-Ukipper.
In the last few days, several of them have said the same thing: They don't believe the claims by either side and ,crucially that they have been waiting to hear the positive case for EU membership and, not hearing it are wondering if there is one. Out of these, those voting to stay in the EU will be doing do *despite* the remain campaign, not because of it.
According to Remain, the EU is so scary we can't leave, because they would come after us, humiliate and punish us for wanting to leave. If a woman came to you, as has happened to me, and said they were thinking about leaving their partner but were terrified about what he might do if they did walk out, would you advise her to stay, grin and bear it or to get out and as quickly as they could? Exactly.
The Remain strategy has horrible echoes of this for me, advocating that we remain in an abusive relationship, rather being part of something positive and good.
David Cameron is not believed by the voters, in or out and his claim the Remain campaign was “hugely optimistic and positive” is the cry of a man adrift from reality.
Like the Better Together campaign, Gordon Brown has to come to the rescue it's too early to say if it will make a difference.
However, there are some grave problems for the future. By using fear it has failed to build any support for the idea of Europe and, if the vote is narrow, the Out team will be as dead as the SNP following their referendum and the positive case for membership will still have to be made. One can only hope that this will not be put in the same hands as the Remain camp was. In fact, many hope the entire Team Remain are never heard of again.
If Out win, well, we shall see just how many of the threatened horsemen of the apocalypse turn up, but also how the promises of the Out are achieved, such as the extra £350m a week on the NHS, immigration cut to a fraction etc. Many of the Out claims seemed to be those of a government in waiting not those of a temporary, single issue campaign, unable to set policy, write legislation - a point that eluded Remain, but an indication of the fantasy world all campaigners seemed to inhabit.
Expect turbulence as the lacklustre Corbyn and the hapless Cameron are either ditched or mortally wounded, in place only to await the pre-election kill.
The referendum campaigns have meant that not one of the problems facing Britain have been lessened and larger, graver ones have been conjured up by this squalid campaign.
It's not quite over yet, but no side deserves to win and the nation will definitely be the loser in this. All of us. We deserved better, neither side was capable of giving us the standard of debate we deserve. I fear for the future.

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