Winning the Peace

A week and a half has gone by since the people of the UK voted by a margin of over a million in a referendum to leave the EU. Even though it seems longer as so much has gone on since; the Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigning, a campaign to replace him having seen the former favourite, Boris Johnson pull out after fellow Leave campaigner, Michael Gove stood citing Boris’ unsuitability, and frankly incomprehensible chaos surrounding Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, losing half of his shadow ministers after he sacked his shadow Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn and finding that more than three quarters of his MPs voted for a motion of no confidence in his leadership.

Now, the real focus is on who will or should replace Cameron as Prime Minister and how they will effect the changes that should flow from the Referendum result. Cameron resigned because, having campaigned for the UK to Remain in the EU, he did not believe he was the right person to negotiate the terms for the UK’s exit. While I think he could have done so, perhaps by appointing prominent Ministers who had campaigned for exit (such as Gove, fellow leadership contender Andrea Leadsom and Boris) to run the negotiations while he and the rest of his ministerial team continued to deliver the domestic programme of government they were elected for barely a year previously, the decision to hand over in the Autumn to a successor makes sense.

The question is, what should the next PM do and who should it be? Many from the Leave campaign insist that the next PM can only be someone who campaigned to leave the EU. In particular, this is to disqualify the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who was a quiet part of the Remain campaign and who has a commanding enough lead on the first round of MPs’ votes to make it near certain that she will be one of the two MPs put to a vote of the entire Party membership.

However, I think this is based on a misunderstanding of where we actually are today and what the Referendum result means. Many on the Leave side have taken the result literally as one of Leave meaning Leave, with the detail being relatively unimportant. That perhaps explains why there was no single unifying answer to the question posed during the campaign of “what would Leave look like?” (an alternative view on this is that Gove and perhaps even Johnson believed that Cameron would be responsible for what came next so they didn’t need to plan for it – oops). From this perspective, the only thing the UK wants is to be out of the EU so all that is needed is a PM who will pull the trigger on the process by notifying the EU under Article 50 TFEU (though what the process actually entails is somewhat controversial and there’s a respectable school of thought that the longer that passes after 24 June 2016 the less likely it is ever to happen). That would then mean that after no more than 2 years, whether a deal has been struck or no, the UK would no longer be a member of the EU. Job Done.

This approach is based upon seeing the campaign to leave as a war which will not be won until the UK is out of the EU. I believe this is a mistake and one which ironically goes against the accompanying reminder that its adherents have that “the people have spoken” by voting 52% to 48% in favour of leaving. It does so by relegating that decision in the Referendum to being the winning of a battle in the war rather than, as I think makes more sense, to see it as the winning of the war itself. The people have  decided, and the opposing general has conceded defeat.

It is therefore better to consider what comes now as the peace process following the war. For any peace process to be successful it needs to take into account the views of everybody, both victor and vanquished. Otherwise it ends in a Treaty of Versailles situation where there remains a tension which could ultimately lead to arms being borne again (hopefully in the present scenario, only metaphorical ones!).

That is why it is not essential that the next PM be someone who was on the Leave side during the “war” of the Referendum but should instead be whoever, whether on the Leave or Remain side, can secure the best and most lasting solution for the most people. Going too far in the direction of one or other extreme – appeasing just the 52% who voted to Leave or doing what the large minority of 48% who voted to Remain won’t do this.

Thankfully, the reality, as I see it, is that while the Referendum had a clear binary split because there were only two options available, people’s views about what they actually wanted covered a much broader spectrum. There will have been very few people who voted to Remain who thought that the UK’s relationship with the EU or indeed the nature of the EU itself were perfect, whether on the basis of what they are now, the relatively limited package of reforms negotiated by David Cameron ahead of the Referendum or some other measure (such as Corbyn’s “campaign” to remain in a social EU which does not exist and is almost entirely inconsistent with the one which does).

Similarly, while there is a sizable proportion of Leave voters who simply do not care to have anything at all to do with the EU and would like to tear up everything the EU ever touched in the UK, I’m not sure they even form a majority of the 52% who voted to Leave. Instead, significant proportions of them would favour retaining the UK’s position of access to the EU’s single market, whether as members of EFTA, the EEA or some other means. Some of those would not be averse even to retaining the free movement of persons which are currently guaranteed by EU membership, provided that it was something which was chosen by the UK government and capable of being changed in the future were there to be a government elected with that aim.

This spectrum of opinion can be seen running from Cameron (who obtained a degree of renegotiation) through May (who had been among the leading critics of the related but separate impact of the ECHR, albeit that one of the first things to go in her leadership bid was a pledge to exit the ECHR) to Leadsom (who only a few years ago argued that leaving the Single Market would be economically disastrous)  and Gove (who argued during the campaign that the best approach would be to have trade with the EU regulated only by WTO rules). Apologies to Stephen Crabb, the other contender for the leadership, who unfortunately seems to have been forgotten in all this by everyone, including me. Fewer apologies to Liam Fox who I don’t think should be running at all because of the circumstances of his resignation as Defence Secretary (we can’t have someone who didn’t see there was anything wrong with having his mate hanging around the Ministry of Defence without any formal role or security clearance as PM). [Since writing these words about Crabb and Fox and going off to give my son his tea (he’s northern), bath and bedtime story, the first round of MP votes has led to Fox being eliminated, Crabb ending his bid and lending his support to May and Leadsom and Gove remaining to fight over who would come second and compete for the votes of Conservative Members – told you events were flying thick and fast!]

The question is now which of these candidates to replace Cameron can best come up with a solution which balances out the requirements of enough of those who voted either way in the Referendum to be acceptable to the highest proportion of the public. And can they also demonstrate that they have the skill , diplomacy (so anyone appointing Farage to any role is immediately debarred in my view) and persuasiveness to ensure that their solution can be accepted by the EU and implemented by Parliament, whether by maintaining complete discipline among Conservative MPs with a small majority or by seeking a new, larger mandate following a General Election.

My hunch is that Theresa May will win on all of these grounds. Both Leadsom and Gove’s pitches on the EU issue have been at the more extreme/pure end of the spectrum, Leadsom having gained the probably unhelpful endorsement of many connected with UKIP (who won’t have a vote) and Gove taking his typically idealistic/intellectual stance which makes compromise more difficult. Each would therefore find it more difficult to stay true to their stated position while being palatable to enough of those who favoured milder forms of exit or would have preferred not to leave. Gove also has the handicap of being (somewhat unfairly, in my opinion) a totem of unpopularity outside the Tory Party for his largely successful battle against the education policy establishment as Education Secretary as well as having generated a degree of resentment within the Party for his ruthless destruction of Boris Johnson’s bid for the leadership. May on the other hand is clearly tough enough (described today approvingly by Ken Clarke in an off air moment captured by Sky News as “a difficult woman”) to be able to do the job without being obviously too much for either Remain or Leave.

The other consideration that comes in here is that the whole process must be done while continuing with the everyday work of government and working towards being capable of winning the next General Election. There’s no point for any Conservative to choose a quick, painful and unpopular Brexit which would ultimately lead to the worst of all worlds consequence of electoral defeat to an opposition which had suddenly been given a whole load of new powers to reverse what the governments of the past nearly 40 years have done. At the moment the threat of serious electoral challenge seems dim given the civil war seemingly about to take off within Labour, but I’d prefer not to rely on that (and as Cameron put it in PM’s Questions last week, it’s not in the interests of the country even if it is in the interests of the Conservatives – for heaven’s sake, man, go!). What about UKIP? Well, I think that Nigel Farage has by resigning its leadership agreed with me that the war is won and should only be re-entered in the event of “betrayal” by the government. Under new leadership it can decide whether it would like to pivot to make a concerted push to build on its gains of support from disaffected Labour voters in the North and Midlands who’d never consider voting Conservative.

Most people are almost certainly very close to being sick and tired of the whole topic so it would have to be a very clear and egregious betrayal to make it worth restarting hostilities. Reasoned practical delays probably won’t get the blood of activists pumping while the stated government intention is to exit (eg to pass legislation, to formulate a detailed plan for what we’d like post-EU Britain to be like, to focus on any short term economic shocks, to put Brexit on hold if the EU starts a more general Treaty change process, perhaps even to wait for the outcome of next year’s elections in France & Germany to make the negotiating environment more stable over the 2 year process, etc…).

Glastonbury 2016

26 Bands, 25 Hours without sleep – my Glastonbury in a nutshell

Before I forget in the excitement of everything after the EU Referendum, some thoughts on this year’s Glastonbury Festival, which I’d hoped would be a nice distraction after a seemingly interminable and often depressing campaign. Unfortunately, that’s not how it turned out and instead, the Referendum hung over the festival like a miasma. First thing on Friday morning all you could hear were groups of dazed people sitting outside their tents debating what exactly had happened and I’ve never been to a more political Glastonbury. And I didn’t even get a chance to heckle Jeremy Corbyn as he somehow decided that even he couldn’t justify talking to a few hundred people in a tent in the middle of nowhere the day after the result. Anyway…

Michael Eavis (pictured doing a regal inspection of the site) has said that this year’s festival was the muddiest ever. I haven’t been to all of them, but the mud was much more of an issue than any other year I’ve been. This is probably because unlike other “wet” Glastonburys there had been a lot of rain over the preceding couple of weeks so that the whole site was already pretty saturated even before the car parks were opened. Thankfully the group I drove down didn’t get particularly delayed going in, but another of our party took 17 hours to arrive from Manchester.

Thursday

Thursday at Glastonbury is mainly for wandering around to get your bearings as they always seem to move things around a little bit and to spend the evening drinking beer at the Avalon Inn. Because more and more people each year aim to turn up as soon as the gates open, there are a few bands on, including “secret” unannounced sets in the Williams Green tent. Unfortunately, this year’s secret acts were not inspiring (why would anyone want to see the comeback of Travis?) and nobody really believed that they’d include the rumoured Radiohead set (why would they bother playing a secret gig when headlining the Pyramid is only ever a phonecall away?). So the only act I saw was…

The Smyths- a nearly note-perfect Smiths tribute. Except the singer was trying too hard to sing the songs as Morrissey and wasn’t very good at sounding like Morrissey. Which is a shame because, as Johnny Marr demonstrates in his solo gigs, the songs are good enough to be enjoyed without the distraction of Morrissey’s idiosyncracies.

Friday

Friday morning had the air of a wake, with these obituary posters for Britain in the EU all around.

So, it was high time to lift the mood by letting the festival begin properly. In the rain.

James- were first on the Other Stage (I’ve just about got used to not calling it the NME Stage, helped by the fact that the NME is now completely dire, rather than just patchily so). Their start was delayed by 50 minutes as the area in front of the stage was waterlogged and needed to be covered in wood chippings. Which was bad enough as it meant that the usual meticulous planning of which bands to see through the day was also disrupted, but was made worse by being forced to listen to the entire Athlete album over the PA. We were also treated to our first artist comment on the Referendum, concluding with “fuck em” followed by a spirited rendition of the optimistic Tomorrow.

Blossoms- weren’t really on my list of bands to see but followed James on the Other Stage and my companions, who mainly live in Stockport wanted to stay to watch this local band. Also, there wasn’t really much else on that would have inspired, even if a day and a half on site made me reluctant to trudge quite as far as I have in previous years (a steady 9 miles or so each day rather than the 20 I’ve done on days with better line ups). Blossoms are a sunny synth rock group and very young. So young that it took a little while to realise that their prettily androgynous singer was just too young to shave (and other band members had only rudimentary facial hair, mainly, I think, to show that they were able to grow some at all). And the sun came out

Gringo Ska- ska ozric tentacles. It’s the flute. Probably wouldn’t have got the “tick” (3 songs or 20 minutes) had it not been such a trudge through the Glade on the way to the Cabaret Tent in anticipation of rain (which came in bucket loads once we were safely sat down inside).

DJ Ivan Brackenbury (comedy) – hospital radio act, literally. Jokes with apt songs- 5 organ transplant from crashed netball coach= mambo no 5. An unrepeatable play on the words Country Tracks. Puerile but cumulatively funny just by the sheer weight and pace of weak jokes.

Jeremy Hardy – I’m not a big fan of Jeremy Hardy. I think the News Quiz is substantially funnier when he’s not on it. However, in the context of heavy rain and the likely fertile comedy potential for a professional curmudgeon of the Referendum he was worth seeing. And, although my northern chums did find his implicit “blame thick northerners” approach unfunny, I thought he was pretty good because he was actually angry rather than just a bit tired of it all. I liked his suggestion of going to the Green Fields and telling the hippies they’ve got their work cut out dispelling negative energy. And his full Trump as Cartman worked a lot better than the hint at it he’d done a couple of weeks previously on the News Quiz.

Shappi Khorsandi- OK, fluffed a few gags. Had an unusual explanation for why there are so few women comedians – that it is because women are used to people being supportive if things don’t turn out how they want whereas men are brought up to expect no sympathy, get mocked for it and to try again in front of the people who mocked them.

Lumineers- sun and sunshine. First proper good band of the day.

ZZ Top- beards and hits. “Let’s stay here all night long and make some barbecue “. They looked like they were having fun. Enough to be able to discern a smile through the trademark beards (apart from the drummer whose surname is Beard but doesn’t wear one).

Explosions in the Sky- introduced themselves by saying they’ve been going 16 years and had been told they should play Glasto and here they are. 4 guitars. Feedback. Mogwai from Texas. Liked them from 15 seconds in. Very tight. I’ve just listened to their latest album and it’s a bit more like Storm in Heaven era Verve (without the fag packet lyrics) but quite heavy live. They were on at the John Peel tent which had been relocated about 100 yards up a slope from its previous position and the tent is now much better (last year much of the floor was awash with water) as well as having a decent area to sit outside and a convenient bar.

Savages- a bit like Siouxsie and the Banshees but not as good. Better on record as less waily and more intelligible. Didn’t make the £5 deposit for the much touted steel pint glasses from the Bimble Inn (which initially seemed to have bargain prices with pints a pound cheaper than elsewhere on site) any more bearable. Particularly as there was only only Water Aid kiosk which would give refunds for the “deposit” and that was located back up the top of the Park Stage which I couldn’t be bothered to slog up.

Underworld- meh. Some dance acts (notably Orbital or Hot Chip who were surprisingly good in the same slot at West Holts last year) are excellent live. Others are single-paced and dreary unless you’re in the middle of the main crowd doing what passes for dancing when your wellies are glued into the mud and perhaps chemically enhanced. Underworld are the latter.

Blackberry Smoke- country rock as an unobjectionable backdrop to a pint at the Avalon Inn. One of this year’s welcome innovations is that the tented Avalon, John Peel and Acoustic stages have had most of their sides left open so that you can hear the music and see the performers from outside the tents.

Saturday

Squeeze- meh. Coincidentally got the “tick” while crossing Pyramid field.

Hardwicke Circus- 60s straight rock. Again, not intentionally watched but happened to be on in the Acoustic tent while we sampled the Real Ale bar and its particularly welcome seating (the toilets in this field are also usually the least unpleasant in the whole festival).

Ozric tentacles- did what they do much as they’ve done it for 30 years. Psychedelic space synth rock. Never trust anyone who can identify individual tracks by their titles. Although you’d probably work that out by the way their pupils are hazy and pointing in different directions and the smell of patchouli.

Jagwa Ma- the Australian regular fries but more upbeat because they’re Aussies. Then went a bit orbital which makes them great. First time all festival that the crowd really got going. Although that is perhaps more a function of my choice of acts!

Madness- couldn’t hear well from edge of Pyramid field but they played the hits. Cover of Bowie’s Kooks after band’s children and grandchildren had come on stage. It was a nice cover of a good song from a great album, but I’m not sure many in the crowd knew it so it only got polite applause.

Ralph mctell- got the tick but have no recollection as was wolfing down Mac and Cheese at the time. I don’t think he played “Streets of London”.

Paul Carrack- like a really good wedding band. Fronted by George Galloway.

Tame Impala- meh

Adele- brilliant, potty mouthed, made a little girl’s day by having her up on stage, hits hits hits (so many that she’d done all the ones I knew 45 minutes in and so didn’t feel bad about heading off on the long walk up to hear Philip Glass’s Heroes Symphony at the Park in tribute to David Bowie (I didn’t have my steel pint glasses with me for a refund)).

New Order- walked past on the way to The Park. Bernard Sumner doesn’t have the best voice in the world but seemed this time to be singing in a Vic Reeves club style.

Glass Heroes Symphony- This was excellent. I don’t think many in the audience had heard Philip Glass’s piece which was inspired by Bowie’s Heroes album (I have it on CD having bought it when seeing the premiere of his Low Symphony some years back) and if you hadn’t  you’d need to be very familiar with the more obscure instrumental tracks on that album to appreciate the link. Unfortunately we were stood next to the biggest twat in the world who spent the first three movements loudly complaining that it was shit, that the musicians shouldn’t have sheet music because they should “know the words” and that being a conductor was a complete waste of time because the musicians could just play. I’m not normally one for a confrontation but had to quietly tell him that he didn’t have to stay if he didn’t like it, or could at least keep his opinions down a little. Unfortunately, that rather escalated to “Fuck off or shut the fuck up”. I left it at the point I could see him and his guffawing acolytes slowly formulating the idea of whether to kick my head in. Thankfully they didn’t and instead got bored and left after discussing whether they should set fire to my hat for entertainment (but luckily decided it was too much bother).

– I’m pretty sure Flock of Seagulls weren’t meant to be in the line up

Sunday

Caravan Palace- French electro swing. Doop. Impressive to get people on a muddy field at noon doing a dancercise class.

Bear’s Den- they’re quite hairy but ok over lunch

Mitch Benn- “after 20 years of not quite being funny enough for the Comedy Stage now I’m not quite good enough a musician for the Avalon. Hope you like my new direction”. Was both funny and musical. Highlight was probably his description of how the Beatles recorded Tomorrow Never Knows using improvised technology (like tearing apart a Hammond organ to feed the vocal mic through its revolving speaker) and then proceeded to recreate it by recording the whole thing on his iPhone and playing it live.

ELO- really needed blue skies but got rain. It didn’t make any difference, still sounded as fresh as it did 40 years ago. And Jeff Lynne looks still just like I remember him on Top of the Pops back in the 70s!

Anoushka Shankar- a welcome sitar chill out then she rocked out. The continuing rain and forecast that it wouldn’t let up until the early hours meant we decided to go and pack up so we could leave after the headliners rather than wait until morning. Particularly as one of our friends had just texted to say that it had taken 8 hours to get out of the car park that morning.

PJ Harvey – was wearing a funereal midnight blue dress. Mainly played songs from the current album and the Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake. These are serious and weighty songs about serious issues, played with serious expressions. Yet somehow in this live setting they were uplifting and even danceable. Also played a couple of oldies in Bring you my love and  50ft Queenie. PJ read out Donne’s “no man an island” as the most eloquent comment on the Referendum from the stage all weekend. And even exited the stage barely able to suppress a smile. One of the highlights of the festival for me, followed  up by another.

LCD Soundsystem – brilliant, even if the set was shortened by 15 minutes (I think in order to ensure that the Other Stage had cleared by the time Coldplay finished on the Pyramid Stage) and didn’t play North American Scum (which wouldn’t have fitted the tone of the set anyway). James Murphy had the look and intensity of a Baptist Preacher. A great end to what was not, in all honesty, a vintage Glastonbury.

All that remained was to leave for the long walk back to the car, an hour or so waiting for the traffic to move and then 250 miles on the road back to Leeds and the welcome of a hot shower and a clean bed.

Brexit & Immigration

Immigration, concern about immigration, control over immigration, seems for many to be one of the very biggest issues in the EU Referendum. As a second generation immigrant, I have something of a personal interest in the way that immigration is dealt with, although that doesn’t mean that I or indeed immigrants of any generation in the UK must automatically support “uncontrolled” immigration or have no “concerns” about immigration. Historically indeed it has tended to be the last wave of immigrants to any country who have been most concerned about the impact of future waves of immigration (there’s an interesting room in the Ellis Island museum of immigration in New York exploring this phenomenon).

As Sartre put it, hell is other people, so it is not surprising that anything involving increasing the number of other people around will inspire concern for most people. Most people are somewhat resistant to change even if that change is intended to be or turns out to be for the better. At a time when we’ve been told for many years that “there is not enough” of many of the things we need and value, it is quite reasonable for people to take the view that “if there is already not enough to go round, how can it be any good to spread what there is more thinly across more people?”. So ignoring either of those reasonable sentiments to steer the debate away from immigration entirely, or to claim that there is no good reason to discuss it at all, will immediately lead to the conclusion that people are not being taken seriously. These are concerns which can and do legitimately arise even in respect of migration within this country by people from this country: the joke in the 90s posters for the Manchester nightclub “South” (“Students, why don’t you F*** off down South this weekend?”) or the embarrassment felt by some at the reaction to their regional accents when they first move to London illustrate this.

However, while agreeing that it is not per se racist to have concern over immigration, I do sometimes feel that focusing on it allows for a relatively polite screen against uglier underlying sentiments.  In this blog I’ll try to explore what I think are the broad arguments about immigration and also whether in fact a vote to leave the EU will address those arguments. At a high level, the answer to the latter is that of course it could, but as in my previous blog, I take the view that the better approach in deciding on how to vote in the referendum involves at least sketching out a plausible and appealing vision for how it would be dealt with in fact. What I won’t do is drill deeply into numbers and statistics. This is because it is too easy to get bogged down in claim and counterclaim about precise numbers and models for predicting movements of people and because I think that most people’s reactions to immigration are not based on data but on personal experience and perception. Which is not wrong when we have to remember that this is a debate about real people and their lives rather than lifeless numbers. That doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore numbers entirely, just that I hope that the discussion won’t stand or fall on where a decimal point can be placed in a table. The main discussion is focused on migration other than for the purposes of asylum, which while related, ought to be distinct and so I’ll deal with that in a separate section.

What are the concerns about immigration, or some of them?

My impression is that there are four main aspects to immigration which motivate people to think that this is a significant issue in the context of the UK’s membership of the EU. I’m not putting them down in any consciously intended order of merit or significance or otherwise. Each of them will interrelate with the others to some extent.

  1. The impact on public services and quality of life.
  2. The impact on employment and wages.
  3. The fact that as a nation it should be up to us and nobody else who may come to the UK to live and work.
  4. The impact on local and national culture of people who may not share it or might even be in many ways opposed to it.

The first two aspects can broadly be described as economic ones. How important they are in referendum voting decisions will depend more on how they are perceived by individuals than on the aggregated economic data. If someone has noticed a worsening of access to the health service when they themselves have tried to get an appointment with a GP, have found themselves ever further away from being able to get the home they want or a place for their child in a local school while seeing immigrants appear to get ahead of them in those things it will be unpersuasive to throw data about waiting lists shortening etc at them. Similarly, if in fact someone has seen their ability to get a job or to get a pay rise reduced, they won’t be convinced by any number of statistics about employment rates and wage inflation.

The third one is a sovereignty argument – if this is of paramount importance, even if in fact there has been no adverse impact from immigration as it has been or even if it can be clearly demonstrated to have been positive, it won’t matter, because the principle remains the same. It is difficult to argue against as a point of principle if you place sovereignty above all else. Many of the most committed supporters of Leave start and finish here, but I think most of those who will decide on practical grounds would see it as the icing on the cake if Brexit delivered more visible change on whichever of the other three aspects they found most personally impactful, rather than the whole cake itself.

The fourth is a more nebulous one to define but still very real as a perception. There have been many discussions about what Britishness, Englishness, Scotsness, Welshness, Northern Irishness actually mean without any clear and uncontroversial conclusion. That is sometimes, mistakenly used to conclude that there is no such thing or worse, that those are mere petty nationalisms principally for “little Englanders”. I think it is more that the fourth aspect of the debate is a general feeling of discomfort about rapid change across the spectrum of life combined with a belief that even if we can’t quite put our finger on what it specifically comprises of, our local environment as it was some time up until the recent past was pretty good in terms of how we got on and related to our neighbours and communities. It doesn’t need nostalgia to the extreme of the Daily Express’s world view (although this is perhaps its epitome). It is for me a negative nationalism to an extent because it is at best merely sceptical about the possibility that change and incomers could assimilate into society let alone be positive. I don’t think it is specific to the issue of EU immigration but immigration more generally. It is a position which if strongly held would not be persuaded at all even by there being big economic benefits to immigration on any basis, in or outside the EU. One manifestation of it was seen in the erstwhile BNP and its open opposition to foreigners, but it is more prevalent in a quieter “very nice, but we’re happy as we are, thank you”, spoken to by Nigel Farage and UKIP.

So where does this leave the EU Referendum debate?

In my next couple of blogs I’ll look into these four aspects. My impression is that all four of these sets of arguments have two angles, a technical one and an emotional one. The Remain campaign started trying to focus on the technical one by bombarding us with data and opinions of the global great and good. The Leave campaign has been very successful in understanding the power of the emotional one. Remain’s response has often been to play on the strong emotion of fear that runs in these emotional angles – fear of change, fear of impotence, fear of failure. But that is a negative line and so not an attractive one. However, Leave hasn’t been very successful in rebutting “Project Fear” with a coherent and  unifying “Project Hope”. Had it been able to do so, I think we would already be very clearly heading for Brexit.