There was an article in the Telegraph a couple of days ago that beautifully summarises what the article you are about to read is about. It was by Richard Walton and the headline stated: “Brexit wouldn’t jeopardise our fight against terrorism”. Seasoned campaigners should be able to point out the glaring fault in that sentence from a Leaver point of view. For others, I’ll spell it out: it unhelpfully (again, from a Leave viewpoint) restates a central pillar of Cameron’s pro-EU pitch, thereby simply giving it more airtime. To explain further, the campaign that is on top in any situation like this, a yes-no, one-off referendum campaign, is almost always the one whose messages are cutting through, while the one struggling gets stuck trying to rebut those claims. But in doing so, the campaign that is down usually just cements the message in the public’s consciousness that the other campaign was trying to put forward in the first place. Take one word out of Walton’s headline and this is what you end up with: “Brexit” and “jeopardise our fight against terrorism”. In summary, all this kind of headline really does is solidify the idea that Brexit may very well mean we are less safe from terrorists. Perhaps not, of course – it’s open to debate, so let’s discuss the idea that Brexit equals terrorism further.
I really don’t want to bore you all for the next four months minus a week with further comparisons between Yes to AV and the Leave campaigns – but they are increasingly hard to avoid. No to AV would throw stuff at us like, “AV will cost £250 million”. We’d reply by trying to dissect the £250 million figure, and by doing so just solidify the notion that AV may very well costs taxpayers a quarter of a billion pounds. In fact, we rebutted it so ferociously that by the time May 2011 rolled around, the great British public may have known very little about the Alternative Vote as an electoral system, but almost all of them had heard it will cost £250 million or something like that.
I realise they are in tough spot with the Prime Minister getting to state his pro-EU pitch from the highest office in the land. But if they spend the next three months and a bit simply trying to rebut everything he says, they will definitely lose.