Thursday, 17 March 2016

A personal observation


People on the internet tell me I should write more things like this as they find it inspiring and informative. It very much links in with this piece in that Britain could and should have its own independent trade and aid policy. We can do some pretty amazing things if we set our minds to it.

I find them quite edifying pieces to write because they enhance my own understanding of the world and it is the only part of this campaign I do not find a crashing bore and utterly futile.

Just to demonstrate the point Kenya’s Port of Mombasa has just completed phase 1 of its Mombasa Port Development Project (MPDP), increasing the congested east African port’s capacity by 550,000 teu. The $217m project to build the Kipevu container terminal took four years to complete. It includes three berths that add 900m in quay length to the existing 840m, with an alongside depth of 15 m and a 35ha container yard. Two ship-to-shore cranes and four rubber-tired gantry cranes operate at the site. Fantastic achievement. Funded entirely by... Japan. They who have no seat at the EU table.

If you've read those two articles I link to then you know exactly what I would normally say about this. The short version is that we do not need the EU. At all.

I could write the sort of piece my readers want me to write - and I probably will - but not today. Today I am tired and running on maintenance mode. But I have also had people tell me today and yestder that I should mind my P's and Q's and instead of criticising Vote Leave stick to writing more fodder for the eurosceptic squirrels to obligingly retweet as though harvesting nuts for the winter - without any real editorial discrimination in the messages they put out.

What I am saying in these "well crafted" posts is entirely at odds with the mithering whinges of Vote Leave who, for reasons that escape me, is still pushing the nonsense about saving £350m a week. Given the population doesn't give a tinker's damn about a £90bn deficit year on year - how is it they think keeping some of what we pay into the EU budget makes even a microscopic impact on voting intentions and indeed public finances?

Moreover, how can you possibly make a case for global engagement when you have no intention of honouring international agreements (the inference of their exit "strategy") and the very idea of foreign aid is offensive to them. If they are going to argue the toss over £350m a week (an entirely bogus figure) how then can we expand the debate beyond parochial non-concerns?

Listening to this radio analysis, it is quite clear that Vote Leave is utterly failing to capture the public mood - nor is electrifying the debate as a good campaing sh0uld. Through their carelessness and fallibility they have made it the Boris and Dave Show.

That is not to say than my endless and inexplicable droning about container ships and port regulation is in any way going to speak to the man on the 8:15 from Paddington to Swindon - as field tests have shown - but really what the campaign should be doing is putting out credible messages and inspiring idea that can energise activists and win the intellectual argument.

Having Boris say we can scrap road haulage regulations and instead really on good old fashioned British common sense is so utterly, contemptible stupid. Moreover, as was mentioned in our launch meeting yesterday, Transport For London - whom Boris is the boss of, is the biggest user of bailiffs in the country. This is not a popular man with the ordinary Brit. Nor can we say that of Gove who is hated by more than half of the teaching profession. Having a campaign with Galloway, Farage, Gove and Johnson could not be more repellent if it tried.

Howsoever, I credit the public with a lot more intelligence than our media does and I trust they will look beyond the personalities and examine the issues. There is an appetite for informed debate - people do not want bullshit propaganda, they don't want dodgy figures and nobody believes the data put out by either side except for the campaigners who use them. Getting into slanging matches over facts and figures turns everybody off and nobody cares who wins.

What matter is that people are given an honest, forthright analysis, believable reassurance, a credible Brexit plan and a vision that makes it worth the bother. And while The Leave Alliance can and will do exactly that - and will do so for as long as it takes - it is something of an insult for Leave campaigners to demand our silence - and that we do not make a noise about the breathtaking ineptitude of Cummings and Co.

What they are saying is that if we stay quiet, nobody will notice that Vote Leave is a depressing shambles. What are these people smoking? The people have noticed, the media has noticed, the opposition has noticed and yet they tell me I alone could lose the referendum for us by noticing it too.

My view is that without an urgent reboot, relegating the idiot Johnson to the benches, they will lead us to a devastating defeat and so it is very necessary that we say so. If we then lose the referendum, their wilful deafness is no fault of mine. I will not be held hostage to a catch 22 situation when I have no faith that the current campaign can win. It is as plain as the noise on my face that this is a shambolic, useless organisation with a dismal message. It is actually only marginally less dreadful than if Ukip were fronting the campaign.

Some have said that we should focus our efforts on promoting Flexcit, which of course we have done, and will continue to do so - and we will continue to shape the debate - but I feel it entirely necessary in order to enhance our own credibility to distance ourselves from Vote Leave and everything it does.

Since the date of the referendum was announced, I have found no cause to retweet any politicians, nor have I seen any value in retweeting official campaign material. It will not change any minds and such activity is not productive. Only sincere, carefully crafted messages from real people can cut through the noise. In this, the main obstacle for all Leave campaigners is the retarding influence of Vote Leave.

They have been given every possible opportunity to include others, and every possible intellectual resource they could want. They still bury their heads in the sand. Meanwhile, we have it on reasonably good authority that Flexcit is required reading in Whitehall and the opposition is making better use of it than Vote Leave. Not at all surprising if true. This referendum was always going to be won or lost on the basis of a plan and reassuring the public. Flexcit is our Manhattan Project. Sadly Dominic Cummings wants to fight with spears and arrows.

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