EU Referendum: the 'Outers' can win with i-Democracy
This is not so much a guest post: it has been penned by Brother Ivo, who has joined His Grace's emerging Ministry Team. This blog has been going now for nigh-on seven years, and most of you cannot imagine (let alone appreciate) the sheer effort and thousands of ash-hours that have been poured into bringing the world a daily homily just about every morning. Brother Ivo has come to His Grace's assistance, and to bring a little more Anglican scholastic thought in a latitudinarian manner. He begins by taking up yesterday's important theme:
His Grace has posed the question 'Who is to lead the “No Campaign” in the EU Referendum?' and that remains an important question for the years ahead. Politics will still need its big beasts in the time leading up to that final vote, and for now, we can only trust that a David will be found amongst us to slay the Goliath that is the EU Establishment.
We have however moved on from the days of the Wilson Referendum, and just as David triumphed over the fully-armoured giant using skill, intelligence, fleetness of foot and quick thinking, it is worth reminding ourselves just how well the under-resourced end of the spectrum has performed in making the recently unthinkable happen.
When Britons were last offered a choice in this matter, the entire debate was focused through a limited number of media outlets. There were only three television channels; two of them run by the State. A dozen Fleet Street editors of newspapers and magazines set the agenda and few of them broke ranks against the joint view of the Two-Party Establishment.
It is a scant 18 months since the Prime Minister was declaring the need for his party to 'stop banging on about Europe', and even though the Conservative Party has become more centrally controlled, the earth under the PM’s feet has moved seismically and he could no longer maintain the fiction that people did not see the need for EU reform.
'We the people' saw and understood the issue better than he and the party spin doctors gave us credit. We joined up the dots and detected the relevance of the European monolith across a raft of policy areas from Justice and Immigration to De-regulation and crony Capitalism.
The End of Politics and the birth of i-Democracy Douglas Carswell links chronic national debt to the failure of democracy, a breakdown which exists at both a national and trans-national/EU level.
“The West is in debt because Western Democracy has not been alive to the task of keeping Government small. It has failed to rein in officialdom allowing limited government to give way to Leviathan.”Yet as he identifies the threat, he draws attention to the weapons of mass destruction in our hands, the very pebbles by which Cameron’s initial disinterest was disturbed and which render the old advantages of the Big Government obsolete.
The critique of the EU developed under the radar in countless discussions, on websites, news feeds, Facebook pages, radio phone-ins, and tweets. None of these existed in 1975. Such technological changes underpinned the Arab Spring and the effects in sophisticated economies will be no less potent.
The People’s Pledge is an organisation that has brought together people from across the political and social spectrum; people as disparate as Bob Crow, Charles Moore, Jenny Jones, and Ian Dale. There were such odd alliances last time with Peter Shore, Tony Benn and Enoch Powell all working together, but the scale of the communications revolution over the next four years is not to be underestimated.
The power of grassroots communication is much greater than it was in the Wilson years: then ordinary folk might have had a typewriter; but only a few even had access to a Roneo machine.
Now we all have mobile phones with the capacity to turn us into instant worldwide journalists via email and YouTube.
Given the pace of technological change hitherto, there is no reason to believe that that is about to slow even as the debate intensifies.
Carswell envisages a future in which more is done by the choice of the individual because the current mechanisms are simply unaffordable. He predicts that 'the digital revolution will do to the grand planners of the West what the collapse of Communism did to the Soviet planners in the Soviet bloc'.
On this blog we are aware of today but we also remember yesterday. The Duke of Wellington remarked that battles are won by the led, but victories are conceived in the minds of leaders. We should not denigrate great leadership if it should come our way, but we need not assume that the power of change will look like it did in the past. We may indeed find ourselves surprised as David himself was surprised.
If no leader emerges quickly it will serve as a rallying cry.
To succeed, their coach used to tell them they must be 'Lean, Mean, Mobile, Agile, and Hostile'.