Wednesday, 4 November 2015

EU Referendum: The People Versus Cameron

As we can clearly see above with Conservative MP Owen Paterson's answers in a BBC Newsnight interview last week he demonstrates conflicting loyalties. A loyalty naturally to the Tory party, (and his boss Cameron), which largely wishes to remain members of the EU, a loyalty to Dominic Cummings and Matthew Elliott of Vote Leave Limited who are increasingly showing no interest in leaving, and a loyalty to the campaign to leave the EU.

It's this contradiction of conflicting interests which meant Paterson was unable to put forward a convincing case for the UK leaving the EU when being interviewed; he was trying to ride two horses at once rather unsuccessfully.

This is an interesting and revealing example of the contradiction since 1973 within the Tory party where some party members who wish EU exit have traditionally placed loyalty towards an inherently europhile party above trying to demonstrate the case for an independent Britain. This has led to the enduring "policy" of the nonsense of so-called EU "reform" - a continuing pretense that it isn't the Tories' fault that the EU has somehow diverged from a so-called common market.

Meanwhile outside Westminster the EU has always made it clear it was about political union from the outset and any reform to the contrary is little more than asking for a barking cat:
In respect of the European Union, this principle [of barking cats] is as important as it is profound. As a treaty organisation, steeped in history and protocols, with its own embedded "political DNA", its behavioural pathways are fixed. There are certain things it will do, there are things it can do. And there are things which, under any circumstances, it will never do - because it cannot. 
Thus by the EU's own political DNA, to give the UK the "reforms" it allegedly wants is a complete non-starter.

So while the BBC's Evan Davis is clearly in favour of EU membership given that his questions posed to those arguing in favour of EU membership meant a much easier time that those arguing against, the lack of Tory party clarity on the issues helps the remain campaign.

A national referendum though is not a general election campaign. A referendum allows the people to have the opportunity to lead and the politicians have to do as they are told - direct democracy - a plebiscite, where the people rather than the politicians make the decisions.

There are no constituencies, no tribal loyalties with the electorate and the use of tactical voting becomes redundant. Politicians themselves have only one vote like the rest of us, and with most MPs supporting remain - aided and abetted by a pro-EU supporting media - the referendum becomes a contest between the people against the pro-EU establishment.

The dynamics are thus different to a general election, where the electorate are de facto electing a Prime Minister to run the country; in 2015 for example it was a contest between Cameron and Miliband. However a referendum is not about electing a leader, it's about the people having a say over policy.

Thus American Gerry Gunster who has been hired as Arron Banks' referendum adviser, rightly says that a leave referendum campaign should not have a leader as it is prone to the vulnerability of attacks on a target.

With this in mind it is evident that when being outnumbered or outgunned in a physical confrontation it is often a successful method to isolate and take out the vocal leader at the front. As Sun Bin, a Chinese military strategist observes:
To Catch The Bandits First Capture Their Leader

[This] means that you first have to take out the leader of your strong enemy. After that; your whole enemy will lose the fighting spirit and will flee or surrender and will defect to your side and that leads to a great victory.
And it's here the leave campaign has a potential advantage. The establishment will be represented not by the remain campaign, which is little more than a pantomime horse - a decoy - but instead by Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service, David Cameron. Incumbent of office and titles confer upon Cameron prestige; a prestige which gives him authority.

The remain campaign, therefore will have a leader whilst the leave campaign, if it plays its cards right, will not. The real enemy will not be the EU but Cameron. And as Sun Bin observes above we have to capture the leader. It becomes necessary to strip him of the prestige of office and attack him personally, perhaps making it very personal.

The essence of trust in this referendum is vital. We know from experience Cameron is not to be trusted - cast iron guarantees. We also know he never wanted a referendum because he wants to remain a EU member:
"I don’t want an ‘in or out’ referendum because I don’t think out is in Britain’s interests.”
Therefore the question ultimately comes down to whether Cameron can trusted or not. He has limited options and is betting the bank on a new EU treaty with the option of Associate Membership. But the new treaty cannot be delivered in time for the 2017 referendum, so Cameron will only be left with promises of future change not yet defined. A very weak hand.

This makes an exit plan for the leavers essential. With Flexcit we can present a better offer of a new relationship with the EU, in contrast to Cameron.

In addition having an exit plan, and one which potentially is part of winning referendum campaign, means the leave campaign will have a mandated plan on how to leave. This will ensure that there can be no stitch up should we win. A danger otherwise would be that post Article 50 the subsequent negotiations are little different to EU Associate Membership. A second referendum on the outcome of negotiations will keep the government honest.

So as per Sun Bin, Cameron is the target, take him out and we take out the remains.

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