IT is hard not to notice there will be a vote on the EU pretty soon.
Wales receives between €653 million and €747 million from the EU every year but opinion is divided across the country with UKIP on course to get its first ever Welsh Assembly seats in May.
For Eurosceptics this is the moment they have been waiting for. Before the ink was dry on the Maastricht Treaty (the document that created the EU we know and love/hate today) they have pushed for a referendum. To them, this is a chance for the UK to shrug of the shackles of unelected tyranny, save billions and keep our bananas the shape we want.
For Europhiles this is mortal threat to our very existence that must be resisted at all costs. The “Little Englanders” must not be allowed to drag us away from the continent into a splendid isolation. If we leave we will lose trade, influence and a seat at the table.
For both sides, just shouting as loud as possible will not be enough. To win they need to think clever. So what do the Brexit and Bremain camps need to do to win? Below is a step by step guide on how to win the referendum.
Frame the debate in history
Framing this vote in a historical context is going to be absolutely essential to both the camps.
- Britain Stronger in Europe, the group leading the In campaign has to play on Europe’s history. Both world wars were started in Europe and the continent has been one of the most fought-over parts of the world for three millennia.
- The EU has made European wars impossible for lots of complicated reasons including shared coal and steel production (the key materials for war). However it can be simplified down to Europe being so interconnected that the costs of going to war now far outweigh the benefits.
- The In campaign needs to highlight this intangible benefit and point out that the EU has stopped the cycle of war in Europe.
- Key phrase: “It is naive to think that because we have had 6o years of peace we have broken a pattern of 3,000 years of war.”
- The leave campaign needs to play on Britain’s historical position of a global player and point to Britain’s history as a world leader in industry, sport and the arts.
- If Vote Leave can evoke a sense of national pride and confidence it will go a long way to removing one of the In campaigns trump cards. Fear that we can’t do it alone.
- Key phrase: “We have invented all the most popular sports in the world. We were the first country to industrialise. We created The Beatles, Bowie and Queen.”
Paint a positive picture of the future.
There is a reason the SNP nearly got an independent Scotland when before the referendum no one gave them a chance. They ran a positive campaign. Both sides can’t just deride the opposition. They have to sell their vision.
- Forget about just focusing on all the jobs we could lose. Instead paint a picture of Britain, to quote Tony Blair, ‘in the heart of Europe’ (for God’s sake though don’t use Blair).
- Sell people a Europe with Britain at its core. A Britain that builds alliances with the more economically liberal members like the Scandinavian countries.
- Key phrase: “We will no longer import directives from Europe but export our ideals and values.”
- This can be a really strong card for the Out side. It is easier to argue for something new as it isn’t saddled with the issues and baggage that comes with the status quo.
- They should point out the UK speaks the international language of business, has a global commonwealth, is militarily superior to all EU countries (except France) and has thriving arts industry.
- Key phrase: “Free from the EU we can take up our natural position as a global player. We have a permanent seat on the UN security council and a unique global reach.”
Play on globalisation
The world is getting smaller. Chinese steel production has the power to cause redundancies in Port Talbot. This globalisation presents a golden opportunity for both sides to further their cause.
- Britain Stronger in Europe needs to get across the idea that the world is more interconnected. It needs to repeat the line that negotiating as part of a block of 28 will yield far more favourable deals than one country alone.
- Key phrase: “China is double the population of Europe and the USA combined. Only united can our voices be heard.”
- If the Out campaign wants to win it needs to use globalisation to say we should not be tied to one continent with stagnate growth. We need to look at developing countries for trade opportunities like India who we already have close links to.
- Key phrase: “Why would we focus on the EU when most of it is in recession? Let’s focus on the growing parts of the world.”