How #Remain wins

“Momentum is with the #Leave campaign” say the headlines and no doubt many of those who value the UK’s membership of the European Union are beginning to worry a little. This may be no bad thing, as complacency is a terrible thing in politics!

So how does #Remain secure victory from here?

Well, we cannot be sure, because we really have no idea whether the polls are accurate (we can be relatively sure they are picking up trends correctly, but we cannot be sure about the baseline). But some thoughts…

Don’t panic!

At this stage, both polls the odds are, peculiarly, almost identical to where they were at this stage in Scotland two years ago – probably ever so slightly more favourable to #Leave now than #Yes then, but not by much. All other things being equal, therefore, #Remain should win from here, on around 53-54% of the vote.

Stop explaining!

In referendums, if you are explaining you are losing. The reason is that referendums are almost never about the question asked. Spending a lot of effort explaining how the European Commission works or even how it is not really £350 million/day at this stage is time wasted – anyone who really cares about that has already decided accordingly. Most people contemplating voting #Leave are doing so to have a go at politicians and to strike against the system. For as long as they believe that is a free strike, they will hardly be swayed by detailed arguments about what a European Directive actually is!

What people do not like is uncertainty or division. Yet uncertainty is the only thing a #Leave vote guarantees, and ask them for any detail and you will soon find division.

So let us hear #Leave do the explaining, not about the wild claims they make, but about their specific plans after 24 June and how precisely they propose to go about them. How can they be certain, especially when they are themselves so divided about their vision?

It’s the economy, stupid

“If the referendum is about immigration, #Leave wins” sums up a blog post right here 18 months ago. It is incredible – and alarming – how many people think that immigration is an issue where people are open to rational persuasion. In fact immigration – particularly of people who neither look nor speak like us – plays to primal, psychological instincts of “fear of other” (hence they are being unleashed by populists all over the Western World – by Trump in the United States, Hofer in Austria, Le Pen in France and others).

However, so does the economy. We are characterised, economically, by an instrinsic fear of what we stand to lose economically, rather than what we stand to gain. #Remain is at its best when that (entirely legitimate) fear of loss is playing on voters’ minds.

Get emotional!

People do not generally vote rationally, no matter how much we like to think we do. We are emotional animals – that is why we fall in love or suffer genuine trauma when our sports team loses. With voting, in particular, patriotic (even nationalist) emotion is a significant driver.

That is why this short video from Gordon Brown is excellent. It makes the patriotic, British case for leading not leaving. For people who instinctively think that to be British is to not be European, it is a respectful, appealing and compelling case that they are innately the same thing.

If there is one case #Remain leaders can make for the next 10 days, particularly in England, it is to repeat the case around British leadership and British values over and over again.

Get out the vote 

That patriotic case will not appeal to us pesky Liberal types, but we are largely already persuaded (and in fact we are quite useless at persuading, because we simply cannot begin to see the counter-case).

Nevertheless, it is important to emphasise that everyone must use their vote.

Chirping about “facts” will not achieve that. Remember, this is about emotion.

So ask, over and over again: how would you feel if you woke up on 24 June to find the UK had voted to leave the European Union?



3 thoughts on “How #Remain wins

  1. Maybe have a sense of humour too, it’s completely impossible to “stop explaining” but “over explaining” happens.

    This thread is an explanation, all be it a very strong one, it could be a tad too long.

  2. The Listener says:

    The European economic arrangements are a very strong reason for staying within the European Union, however there is a strong perception that the UK has difficulty in persuading the Commission to alter any proposed legislation. That aside would not compel me to vote to leave.

    The Prime Minister has argued and been promised some restrictions on movement insofar as European emigrants must get a job within 6 months, or be returned. However the main problems will be in the detail, which is not clear..

    When I voted to join the Union, we appeared to be joining very similar countries such as ourselves for market reasons alone. No one was briefed as to what the future arrangements might be.

    I quite understand that there would be an imperative for the EU to provide the basis of stability to former Warsaw Pact countries, however a slow albeit complicated procedure with regard to the right of movement should have been worked out and agreed for those countries with a significantly low GDP. In the early days movement within the EU would have been for sound family and social/work related reasons,and the numbers would not have been unsettling to social supports in any other if the countries.

    I quite understand that Poland, the Check Republic,Poland and Hungary,and possibly Slovakia,Slovenia and would be expected after a few years approach parity, in general terms, within a reasonable number of years. The remainder will take a significant time and absolutely free movement should be predicated on financial improvements within those countries to a standard where movement by their young citizens with drive and initiative is not an obvious choice based on hope alone.

    • “There is a strong perception that the UK has difficulty in persuading the Commission to alter any proposed legislation.”

      Julian Assange’s arguments about the UK’s involvement in the EU, would make you think the UK establishment is cancerous to it.

      “There is something I’ve experienced personally which is seeing this Government, the Cameron Government, repeatedly use the EU as political cover for its own decision-making.

      “It launders things to the EU and then claims that it can’t do anything about it.

      “For example, the EAW, the European Arrest Warrant.

      “We think here in the United Kingdom that you have a right to a fair trial that includes evidence, judges and charges, but in my case we don’t have any of that, and it’s not just me.

      “Many people in the UK have been affected by that.”

      Mr Assange said the “fundamental basis of sovereignty” means that “random officials” in Brussels should not be able to force the police in a country to arrest certain people but, he said, Mr Cameron insists the Government has no choice but to engage in a “siege” outside the Ecuadorian embassy.

      “But of course actually the EAW has been pushed by the former Labour government and this Government and Cameron passes the buck to the EU in that case,” he said.

      Mr Assange said the UK is responsible for having “pushed” some of the “worst elements coming out of the EU”.

      He said: “The UK is bad for the EU but also the EU is bad for the UK because it permits a lack of democratic accountability in this country by permitting successive governments in this country to simply say ‘oh, we are forced into doing things because of EU legislation’ when it is precisely these governments that have been behind the EU legislation in the first place.”

      Read more:

      The problem with his argument is that if British citizens (Irish citizens and observer states) do not use either Westminster nor the European Parliament to hold the United Kingdom’s international affairs to account how is it going to be kept in check?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: