HOW TO STOP BREXIT DESPAIR, GET A GRIP AND LIVE HISTORY!
With your support, as you see from the opinion polls, we didn't do too badly between 2012 and 2015 when the Stronger In campaign took over. How that went, I promise to tell you later 😊
We all knew that the key to the Brexit war was who won the battle over patriotism.
Why? Because in the Brexit battle one thing was clear. Nobody – whether they voted leave or remain – probably wanted the UK to be weaker, poorer and smaller. But 4 years on both sides still feel their choice was a vote to make Britain stronger, richer and bigger.
This paradox divides Britain still. Because no one believes the other is right.
But, in our campaigns from our founding in 2012 my central message was that Britain was a leader not a loser in Europe. Farage was full of glib flag-waving passion for a nation betrayed. Real leaders needed to step up.
We needed to fight fire with fire
What was needed was a bit of Churchillian counter-passion pitching Little Englanders against the Greatest Briton’s patriotic vision. Wrap yourself in the union jack and steal Nigel’s thunder. It was the key to winning the referendum and we were right.
The thing is we had successfully shown what British Influence meant in Europe. Our British Influence Scorecards – led by Lord Hannay, ambassador extraordinaire – set up to discover whether Britain was leading or losing in Europe – found that the UK won up to 90% of its policy goals and 95% of the Brussels votes. Britain was successful in 18 areas, did well in 20 more and was losing only in four, mainly because of angry posturing.
We had control.
Soon, we had party leaders talking of “Europe” and “British leadership” in the same breath. The former Swedish PM @carlbildt said to them "Europe is moving in a British direction," that the Brussels to-do list "could have been written in London."
But what about the public?
Well, you won’t believe our polling which I can reveal today: we had the public behind us. Here’s the killer fact. We did loads of polling. Far from being little Englanders we found that, overall, there was amazing support for an ambitious British leadership role in Europe and on the world stage. 62% of the public said that the UK should aspire to be a “great power”; only 22% wanted us to choose isolation.
But there was a big problem. In our polling we also found a public who felt that the country was a victim of a Europe in which we had no friends, no influence, outvoted always by the French and Germans. Focus groups reveal that voters thought Britain was ‘insignificant’, had ‘lost its moral backbone’ and ‘had no vision’.
So 65% believed we were losers in Europe preyed upon by Brussels and the old enemies, France and Germany. Only 1 in 10 people knew that it was the UK plus France and Germany – the big three – that called the shots (if they could be bothered) in a continent of 600 million people.
Ok. But, well, even if some countries listened to us, they sure as hell didn’t follow us, right?
So here 54% believed we were losers in Europe anyway with or without allies. Only 2 out of 10 people knew that the UK’s aims had allies and were supported.
Leaving a full 2/3 of the country believing with a passion that their beloved country was nothing but a pushover with no say:
So 62% wanted Britain to be strong yet 61% thought us too weak to be strong.
The horrible truth was that Britain was strong but its leaders wanted us to appear weak.
Europe was following Britain’s lead, evidenced by the UK 90% policy wins but no leader wanted to say so.
We were winning the policies, but losing the politics. And the people.
Want to know why? Step forward David Cameron….
It's May 2015. British Influence has been going for 3 years. We've all worked so hard to get approval for the EU from 34% to 56%. I went into No10 with the polling in my hands and…well, I’ll tell you tomorrow.