Friday, 20 November 2015

The Leave campaign race to the bottom

I have a Cummings plan
We are being even handed today by dismantling both of the Leave campaigns. On the one hand we have the talentless Wigmore efforts, aiding and abetting David Cameron, and on the other we have a more subtle betrayal of the cause with quite wilful sabotage of the campaign by Dominic Cummings.

Wigmore's excuse is that we must "keep it simple". I have no problem with keeping it simple. But traversing from the simple into the realms of the moronic is simply not required, or indeed helpful.

There is no problem with simple messages per se. Simple is good. Efficient, well engineered points in a marketplace of ideas where attention spans are short are a key part of the campaign. But a good message is engineered according to a strategy.

Establishing memes, written and pictorial, on the internet is part of a process of building narratives in order to brief campaigners and opinion formers. Such cannot afford to be sloppy and they must work inside the parameters of a predefined agenda. They must be breadcrumbs setting a trail to a particular conclusion. Outside of a strategy they are largely destructive noise. This is something Leave.EU is incapable of recognising. Leave.EU is just one long whinge about the EU. Exactly what Cameron wants it to be.

Then on the other hand, Cummings has the right idea. Or at least he knows how to play the game if not actually what the winning strategy is. His tweets are building blocks, knowing that his disciples will obligingly repeat his mantras. He is seeking to drain the pond of waters any single market solution can swim by attacking the single market and the regulations therein. This is so to launch his WTO option, requiring some as yet undefined free trade agreement with all the uncertainty and risk that implies. 

As we noted with Campbell Bannerman earlier in the week, unless you are aware of the regulatory dimensions, there are gaping flaws readily exploited that collapse the entire plan. When exposed to that degree, the only mitigation is to make suppositions and hope for the best. Rather than de-risking the Brexit proposition he has introduced a massive amount of risk.

The Remain campaign then, if they are worth their salt, will ask"out of the single market and into what?". At this point, anyone hoping to leave the EU had better hope that Cummings's real talents lie in creative writing, because there is little in reality that supports his Brexit strategy.

If this is what our side goes into the battle with, then we should be prepared to lose the argument hands down. It may be that the "Stronger In" head of communications is as dimwitted as Andy Wigmore, which may do us a small favour, but as we point out, David Cameron is the real opposition in this - and he has seen us coming. It's turning out to be the exact car crash we said it would be.

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