Monday, 7 December 2015

How many times does it need to be said?

You'll notice I've been quiet on the blog. Or at least not as productive as usual. Certainly there is an amount of Brexit fatigue and in the wind down into the darkest days of winter it is difficult scratch up the energy. Blogging takes its toll, but the performance of the Leave campaigns of late is utterly demoralising.

As we have repeatedly argued, we have to be our own worst critics in order to strengthen our arguments. But that is an empty exercise if such criticisms fall on deaf ears.

On the one hand we have one arm of the campaign dismissing veteran campaigners as "internet nutters" and on the other, a campaign so fundamentally off the rails that more than a few have asked this evening if their Twitter account has been hacked. What can one possibly say that has not been said already?

I have something of a reputation, especially with Andy Wigmore of Leave.EU, for being a tempestuous son of a bitch. Well this is why. I've been saying for a long time that this scattergun approach without any coherent strategy behind it is a Brexit killer.

Tainting your own brand in such a way defies all logic. I happen to disagree with the "capture base strategy" they have in operation and even if I didn't, dumbing the campaign down to this extent goes beyond the degree necessary. We've scraped through the bottom of the barrel and are now tunnelling halfway to China.

We would have thought that lessons would have been learned from Ukip's abysmal campaign yet there is no end to it. Leave.EU have made three forced retractions in the space of a month. Is Arron Banks trying to bury us?

I am doing the best I can with limited resources which is hard enough as it is, but with a lead campaign smashing a lifetimes work by undermining us, I am besides myself with dismay. If I had any sense at all I would walk away.

Leave.Eu's twitter feed keep boasting of their impressive numbers, reading it as though the campaign was working. All it's doing is harvesting the "headbangers" who already want to leave. But they as ambassadors of our cause will drive people away in droves.

I share Bank's dislike of the prudish and po-faced establishment media, and it may be fun to fly in their faces, but the culture war he and Ukip is fighting is not the same thing as the EU referendum. The influence of the po-faced establishment order is very much one of fact and must be accounted for in any strategy. This is not a game.

In this I implore Andy Wigmore to take a seriously hard look at what he's doing. I don't want to be spending my time saying these things. I am not being awkward for the sake of it. I do so because it is my sincere belief that our own side is more destructive to our cause than the opposition. It needs to stop. Happy to help if that's what it takes. Some editorial judgement on the Twitter feed at the very least?

I stand by my conviction that the SW1 Tory clan running Vote Leave Ltd is a clear loser and their arrogance and presumption is unparalleled. There is no helping them. They do need to be sidelined but if Leave.EU continues to thrash around like a tethered shark then we are in serious trouble.

Leave.EU need a complete reappraisal of how it manages communications. All memes and tweets branch out for a set of core principles and everything that goes out must go through a quality control process. It needs a set of value tests, along with stress testing of how it will be received and how it will be critiqued.

For that it needs to be managed by someone with a comprehensive knowledge of Brexit implications. I would recommend a system much like a nuclear submarine with no missiles launched without two keyholders. Too much is happening unilaterally. A bit of professionalism is needed. Mr Banks would not let his insurance brand be abused in the same way, so why is it ok to do that to Brexit?

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