Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Setting the stage for the Cameron deception

The Guardian reports that the European Union’s most senior court has ruled that it is lawful for countries such as Britain to impose a voting ban on prisoners convicted of serious crimes. The "unexpected" ruling by the European court of justice upholds a ban on a French convicted murderer who was serving a sentence of more than five years from taking part in the European elections.

The European judges ruled that the ban on him voting did represent a breach of the EU charter of fundamental rights but that it was proportionate “in so far as it takes into account the nature and gravity of the criminal offence committed and the duration of the penalty”.

That has most definitely shot Ukip's favourite fox. Further to this we see moves toward an accord with Turkey to take more of a role in stemming the flow of refugees from Syria. It is far from any kind of solution but it is likely that by the time the referendum is upon us it will resolve the more visible symptoms of the crisis and the summer of outrage we saw this year will be long forgotten by a bored and fickle electorate.

One by one the petty complaints will be nixed by the EU in conjunction with our own government - doing those basic housekeeping things that should have been done some time ago.  While The Telegraph is playing silly games by misreporting a statement by the Advocate Generals opinion that Britain can discriminate against EU migrants with regard to in work benefit, there is a likelihood we will see a concession on this peripheral matter. 

All of this is part of an elaborate set up to convince the voting public that Cameron has indeed successfully negotiated with the EU and got a better deal for Britain. Against a backdrop of a "looser relationship" as part of the new EU treaty, putting us into second tier membership, Mr Cameron will have little difficulty pulling the wool over our eyes with the assistance of a woefully inept media with no ability to analyse what is in front of them.

Thus the referendum hinges on public confidence in the Prime Minister and whether he is deemed trustworthy. With immigration off the radar and many of the classic Ukip foxes shot, the carpet will have been pulled from under a cack-handed Leave campaign that will still be bleating about the Commonwealth or something equally asinine. It becomes a choice between the quiet confidence of an apparently victorious prime minister and a rabble of incoherent ranters with an alternative built on a foundation of intellectual sand represented by a handful of tedious and largely repellent spokesmen. 

We will see countless mandarins saying that "eurosceptics need to present their vision of what Brexit would look like", with a concerted effort by both sides of the campaign to exclude and influences not native to their gilded circle. Distortion by omission being their most reliable tool.

The risk for Leavers is that we will be too caught up in the comfort zone of bickering over trade figures to notice that we're being outmanoeuvred, having many of our key arguments eroded and nullified, leaving us standing naked with neither a vision or a coherent strategy.

Our task is to sell our alternative but also discredit the Prime Minister. In so doing we must be mindful of not sounding like rabid shouty leftists or kippers, because even by 2017, Cameron will still be more popular than any of the other leaders. That will not be easy. A failure to capture the right tone will most certainly lose us the contest. 

Of course, Tories will be mealy mouthed in attacking the PM and some have suggested that this tactic puts the campaign firmly in the hands of the Ukipists. It's true, it does. But actually, what option is there when Tories cannot be trusted not to turn on a sixpence and support the Cameron deception?

Again this underscores the need for the so called "people's army" to be supplemented by special forces who will have no loyalty to the official campaign, Ukip or the Tories. Over the last few months I have engaged many europhiles who gear their arguments to the message of Ukip and nothing knocks them off guard and out of their comfort zone like entirely original arguments grounded in fact. In that respect our thesis that we can have a global single market among a community of equals is far more appealing than subjugation to the Euro. 

As much as we have the better vision that is more in touch with the reality of global trade, it gives us the upper handing painting the europhiles as the ones stuck in the past, fixated with little Europe. More than that, Flexcit is our ace in the hole in that it gives us a credible way out of the EU with multiple fallback positions. If we work inside that message, holding to our message and hunt in packs on the internet, we can shape the debate and show leadership by way of having original material that cuts through the white noise. This is why we need innovative and creative bloggers to take our message and sell it to their own consistencies. 

Effective campaigners will need to be willing to defy the message of the lead Leave campaign, willing to disassociate with their preferred party and be ready to ditch the traditional eurosceptic arguments. Not least because few will stand up by the time the entire weight of the EU has been thrown at cutting them down. In that regard it is important not to lower expectations of Cameron. Superficially they will do just enough round the edges to throw him a bone. If we say he'll come back with nothing and then end up with a raft of seemingly comprehensive measures then we are out on our own and looking foolish. 

The game is very much afoot, and Cameron's PR team are no slouches. They have some of the finest minds in the business. They have seen eurosceptics and know exactly how to make us play to our weaknesses. It's inevitable that the lead campaign will give them what they want so that leaves just me, you and whoever else you recruit to take care of business. Campaigning and bickering with europhiles at this point serves very little purpose, even though we all enjoy it and it's in our comfort zone. Right now we need to be preparing for the endgame, defining what it looks like and recruiting good people who can see the game at play. If that is you, make yourself known!

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