We sat up all night to watch the voting coming in for the EU Referendum on Thursday and spent yesterday in a weary bubble of disbelief. What has been obvious ever since the disastrous vote was finalised is that no-one in Government really believed that Brexit would win, and, now that they have, everyone, without fail, is in shock.
With my PR hat on, I have to say that the Brexit people came up with the best strategy; they realised that they were never going to be able to persuade the expats (surely no surprise that just about everyone in Gibraltar voted to stay!), the City of London, the business world and the generally more affluent and/or educated, and focused only on targeting those people in the poorer areas, the less educated and those that, presumably because they have had a lobotomy, follow the ghastly Nigel Farage. Their focus, therefore, being on immigration, Brussels and the NHS’s supposed lack of funding, using simple messages and what can only be described as ‘brain-washing techniques’. And, guess what? It worked.
Maybe if the Remain team had thought this through a bit better, they could have come up with a cleverer plan of attack. Given that the group mentioned above (expats, City of London, etc) were pretty much a given, perhaps they should have used simpler messages to appeal to the more likely Brexit group. For example:
• That the pound dropping against the Euro is going to make just about everything a lot more expensive… especially mobile phone tariffs, petrol, food…
• That even less investment into the UK and many companies pulling out will increase unemployment
• That flying on Easyjet and Ryanair and staying in holiday hotels will cost more pounds in return for their Euro charges than before
• That the millions of pounds being paid to the EU each week will not simply be diverted to the NHS – sadly this is not how it works – and that the NHS will be suffering even more than it is now by being even more short-staffed due to having a smaller pool of people to staff from
• That exiting the EU is not going to make a blind bit of difference to the illegal immigration that so many people are concerned about; listening to some of the people being interviewed this morning, it is clear that when they talk about ‘immigration’ they are not meaning the nice Polish people in the café down the road, but more the large amount of displaced people that are arriving into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Sadly, (and my non-British people wont believe this….or maybe they will!!!) many less educated Brits still only think that there is ‘British’ and ‘foreign’, and do not differentiate between nationalities). (And, actually, I suspect that the problems with the illegal immigrants trying to get into the UK from Calais will be much bigger when the French decide not to help with managing what is happening on their own land will refuse to help any more).
• And that the problems of disentangling the UK from the EU will take a long time and will need to be the focus of whatever government is unlucky enough to have to deal with it – with the consequence that less of their time will be spent on dealing with the very problems that the Brexit people are concerned about.
Etc, etc, etc.
I wonder how long it will be before we start to hear those ‘Brexit people’ that own up to voting to leave complaining that ‘we wouldn’t have voted to leave if we had realised that this would happen.’ Not very long I expect.
Time to start figuring out how to get an Austrian passport!