Home Flexcit Impact Assessments Monographs Contact Archive

Rochester: of causes and effects

2014-11-22 08:02:18

000a Out-021 EU.jpg

A weary few days and some miracle-working by North Jr and friends has got us back online (with the forum and other tweaks to follow when we can), after a series of massive DDOS attacks. So focussed and relentless were the attacks that we conclude that they were directed specifically at EUReferendum, with a view to taking us out of circulation.

Against that and the added stress of extremely arduous day jobbing, the election of a second-rate politician seemed very minor. And, in the grander scheme of things, it was indeed a minor event. In six months, it will be distant memory, as indeed will Reckless the Repatriater, who will have faded into the obscurity he justly deserves.

Of current interest, though, is the fallout, which has the Daily Mail reporting that Conservative MPs are calling for David Cameron to toughen his stance on the EU.

The newspaper is asserting that the way to "take the legs from under Farage" is for the prime minister to campaign for an "out" vote. That is an obvious line to take except that it suffers the obvious flaw. Those unwilling to believe Mr Cameron's promise for a referendum are just as likely to disbelieve any commitment to fight against EU membership.

What might deal a death blow to Farage's ambitions, however, is the double whammy of explaining to the voting public that his party has no idea of how to manage our departure from the EU (and no capability in that respect) while simultaneously demonstrating that a workable plan does exist and can be implemented quickly and easily, to the very great advantage of the UK.

This, in my view, is what is needed to transform the debate. Having long accepted the need to leave the EU for any number of reasons I no longer wish to endure the tedium of the continuous tales of woe on how badly we are treated by the Barons of Brussels.

Rather, I am in the market for some "sunlit uplands", the very thing Mr Farage and his dysfunctional acolytes have no means of bringing us. His shambolic party is set to deliver the only thing of which Ukip is capable -  its own brand of discordant negativity. It will never achieve anything but chaos and disruption.

In order to defeat Ukip, what the Conservatives need to realise is you don't fight a negative with a negative. The only thing that cancels out a negative is a positive. All Farage's party can do is tell us how bad it is inside the EU. The Conservatives need to tell us how good it is on the outside.

That, in fact, is quite difficult to do. Any fool can tell us that we need to leave very few people can come of with a credible, structured plan for making it happen. And as this is a task quite beyond the capabilities of Ukip, and neither Labour nor the Lib-Dems have any intentions of filling the void, this leaves the field wide open to the Conservatives.

This is why the next few dys and weeks are going to be increasingly interesting. Gradually, there is a realisation emerging that the need to get out of the EU is only a tiny part of the equation - the easy bit that even the febrile minds of Ukip supporters can grasp. It is how we get out that matters more. Unless a safe exit can be assured, it is never going to happen.

Once it is evident that the feat can be done, though, it is much more likely that it will then happen. Thus, the realisation that we need an exit plan may be one of the most enduring effects of this period. Knowledgeable commentators will then see the pressure to withdraw as a child of the time. Others will try to link unrelated events, and argue cause and effect.

What we are seeing, though, are effects with common causes. Some have taken the cul-de-sac towards Ukip while the more enlightened are looking for the way to the sunlit uplands. The reasons for those actions are deep-rooted and do not lie in recent events. But the outcome is not to be denied it was going to happen sooner of later. And even if later, that is better than not at all.