Monday 10 November 2014

The cracks are now showing

As indeed I said would happen, the pro-EU media would start asking questions about the Ukipist's lack of realistic policy regarding Brexit. I wasn't expecting them to catch on so soon, but it was an inevitability.

Of course Rafael Behr is behind the curve, mouthing the usual lines about "fax democracy", which we have put to bed a number of times, but the general thrust of his piece highlights the tough time Ukipists are going to have selling their absolutist vision without detail. As we have demonstrated, Flexcit is a means to sidestep any such uphill battles and reframe the debate. These are next phase debating matters that will come to the forefront when the immigration row has run out of steam. Ukip is unprepared for this.

David Cameron today echos the points we have made that there are a number of domestic measures we must take in order to get a grip on immigration. "the flipside of the coin on immigration is a welfare system that rewards work and an education system that turns out people with the skills necessary to do the jobs that we are creating in our country today. No immigration policy will succeed unless it's accompanied by that welfare and that education reform as well."

We could not agree more, and we are gradually getting through with this message. Meanwhile, Ukip is hung up on an unrealistic immigration policy, augmented by whatever Mr Farage dreams up on the spot. It looks very much to us like the debate is overtaking Ukip and it will have to backtrack in order to regain credibility. Ukip campaigners are now having to repeatedly clarify that they are not anti-immigration, which is a consequence of the damage done by the euro-election posters. With nothing more than string bag talking points in place of policy, they will not have an easy time convincing anybody they are serious.

It is our view that that we can only win a referendum by reclaiming the middle ground and presenting Brexit as an ambitious but realistic proposition - engaging in measured and reasonable debates rather than the hackneyed schtick and guesswork we've seen from Ukipists for more than a decade now. Presently the conduct of Ukipists makes it embarrassing to be a eurosceptic.

We should be keen to remind people that there is a moderate and principled reason for leaving the EU, and we need to recognise we cannot win the debate without a detailed alternative that puts fears to rest. If we're going to let Ukipists make the running in the Brexit debate then we might as well give up now.

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