Regular readers will know this blog stopped some time ago. After the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party I found myself increasingly at odds with many friends at the consequences of this result. I agreed that it was unhelpful to be knocking the leadership in the run up to the local elections and certainly in the run up to the European referendum where all of our efforts should be put into getting out the ‘Remain vote’. I am still convinced of my original views on the electoral consequences of the Corbyn victory – but more of that as we reflect over the summer on his first year.
The task at hand though is quite simple. Britain is stronger inside the European Union and we need to win the referendum on the 23rd June by a decisive margin and then to encourage our government to commit fully to be engaged from the inside of the Union – not shouting loudly from the outside about how rubbish they are.
I have been deeply unimpressed by the tone and level of campaigns so far and I am sure most of you have been too. But I have been struck by many people who I know are politically interested have been genuinely uncertain about how to vote on the 23rd of June. I am asked fairly regularly now about any ideas about which way they should vote. I am pretty clear and always have been. I am an internationalist. We are part of Europe and the Union so we should get stuck in and make it work. Quitting is a sign of a weak Britain as far as I am concerned and showing the worst of our insular little Englander mentality. So for me this is much about emotion and heart as it is about any list of ‘Facts’. I believe the facts stack up on the side of remain too but for me it is much more. Whilst the public demands ‘facts’ to help them make up their minds I have to warn you that there will be no killer fact or report that ‘proves’ one way or the other how you you should vote. The claims and counter clams can be tested for some accuracy – as has happened this week when the £350m a week lie from the BREXIT campaign has been shot down. But even facts and reports will be interpreted from your heart felt standpoint. For me shared sovereignty in a globalised world is self evident. If you are a BREXITER there will be some notion of national sovereignty I just don’t recognise.
As you know I am a big fan of the book “Don’t think of an Elephant” by Georg Lakoff. Put simply it recognises that we all think in ‘Frames’ Ie.in a broad worldview and are rarely voting on the merits of a series of arguments and facts. That’s why the campaigns will trade on emotions and our stir our views on our frames. It is worth a read.
So don’t expect the campaigns to change much over the next few week. There will be no magic killer facts lurking around that nobody has yet deployed to convince you of their merits of the case. It’s simply not going to happen. And that is why this first post is short on arguments and facts supporting my belief that we are best inside the European Union. It’s part of my ‘worldview’ and the broad frames in which I make these decisions.
As I post this across social media I know there will be strong reactions – and I understand why. The BREXIT frame is very emotional and creates a passionate zeal amongst many people. To be honest I don’t need your feedback. I’ve heard the cranky arguments for 30 years. Nothing is going to convince me your worldview is very attractive (indeed a shudder at the thought of a UKIP world). Equally those of you who share my worldview a are not going to change their minds. So over the closing few days of this campaign I am genuinely interested in the real Don’t knows. If you have questions, fears or doubts let me know and I will try to give an honest and open perspective in response and reasons why I would recommend a vote for REMAIN