Wednesday 9 April 2014

That Brexit Prize

100k: Their money to waste

It is fair to say that very few people outside of the politics bubble have ever heard of the Institute of Economic Affairs. It is a one time influential "think-tank".  It is also fair to say that even fewer people have heard of the Brexit Prize. This was a writing competition to come up with a blueprint for leaving the EU.

Unlike most brand name think-tanks, the IEA is not short of a few bob. You would expect, therefore, such an entity would be quite skilled in promoting such a prestigious event, having its own full-time communications officers.  But apart from a cursory mention in The Guardian, Telegraph and City AM (a tory-boy bubble fanzine), as a publicity campaign - it has fallen flat.

Their hashtag ranking on Twitter is practically non-existent, their Facebook page is a ghost town, and even the UK's premier eurosceptic party has made no mention of it on their website.  They could have accomplished much the same media impact if Lord Lawson had farted and issued a press release about it.  I would be handing my communications officers their P45's by now.

But that is just as well.  The prize was awarded to a thirty-year-old, junior civil servant, who is also a fantasy fiction writer.  His submission is in keeping with that same hobby.  At half the length of more considered works, recommending leaving the single market (practically overnight), it would surely be devoured with glee by Europhiles - had they been made aware of it's existence. It is fortunate then for the IEA that their PR campaign was so lacklustre as it saves them from the embarrassment that will inevitably come with it. Thus, for now, they hang on to their fading influence.

What should have been a political event in itself was essentially a a cocktail party for think-tank wallahs and obsequious hacks, all of whom belong to a disconnected, self-congratulatory inbred circle that is barely aware of life outside the M25.  They have had so many people telling them for so long that they are wonderful, they have bought their own prestige and now consider themselves too important to sully themselves with details. They are aloof, arrogant and complacent.

They may once have had a hotline to Number Ten in the Thatcher years - but no longer it seems. As with our print media, they are a legacy institution from a bygone age. They view the internet as just something the plebs and little people use, and consequently these dinosaurs are fading into obscurity. But if they want to squander a hundred grand on a drinks party, it is their money to waste. Meanwhile, we have plans of our own.

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