Imagine the campaign. The polls – as they currently are – hint at a knife-edge vote. Business leaders, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, some Conservatives and the European Union itself, along with heads of state and prime ministers, will warn Britain that it would be worse off out. The in campaign will be run by a consensual, passionate businessperson or statesman. They will offer guarantees of reform and their campaign will be showered with money – some of it from the EU – and use slick advertising.
The out team will be very different, with no leader who commands popular support. Before you can even make the case for Britain becoming a mid-Atlantic economic hub, freed from the shackles of Brussels diktats, the Eurosceptics will be all over the place. No clear leader, and angry looking grey men who have been arguing the toss on Europe for years, will fail to impress. Yes, Nigel Farage is clearly the most charismatic Eurosceptic in years, but does anyone really imagine Farage being the Alex Salmond of the out campaign? Would he be persuasive enough to seduce a nation?
It couldn’t be a Conservative MP because Ukip wouldn’t buy in; nor, for that matter, would the Eurosceptic left – remember, the late Bob Crow was an “outer” too. The campaign could only be won if a credible and different type of head could be found. I have no doubt that the argument can be won, but perceptions are crucial, and credibility more so when shaping our future.
When the SNP won their election in 2011, the Scottish referendum campaign had been long in the planning. It was clear that Salmond and his deputy had the credibility to lead a very strong, and uniting, positive campaign.
Both the Scottish and the 2011 AV campaign need to be scrutinised carefully by Eurosceptics. May 2017 is not very far away and the bulk of the Europe-out campaign could not be more split. Those who want to leave the EU need to think carefully about how a campaign is crafted, how it may be led and by whom. And for businesses, Scotland was almost a rehearsal of how they could use their sway in shaping public opinion.
Article by Michael Fabricant
I don't agree with his support for 'Brexit,' but he's right; the Out campaign would have a struggle.
Of course, once the British people vote to stay in the EU, UKIP will be doomed to political irrelevance.