Friday, October 9, 2015

Organizations are being formed

It is a good thing I have no ambitions to be a political leader, to set up a political organization or to administer one. The first and the last of those two I am incapable of doing - it is not in my DNA - and the middle one I have tried back in the days of the Anti-Federalist League and early UKIP. It was not a success from my point of view. My biggest achievement in that field was the series of Red Lion Talks that ran with success, as people can testify, for several years in the Red Lion Pub in Whitehall. But that was not a political organization, precisely, more a series of talks given by various people to reasonably sized and varied audiences on topics to do with the EU and our membership of it. Call it education or propaganda. I am prepared to continued in that role but, of course, my being female and not an MP the offer will almost certainly be ignored.

Other people can do what I cannot and do not want to. The biggest Brexit organization so far has been launched with some fanfare on the BBC and other outlets quoted by Open Europe and also in City AM.

It is called Vote Leave, subheaded Take Control, which is not the happiest of names as it does not exactly trip off the tongue but then, frankly, its great rival, UKIP's doesn't either. Among the various reports on the birth of Vote Leave there is a sour note on Breitbart London, written by Raheem Kassan. This is not altogether surprising, given Breitbart's self-appointed role as UKIP's propagandist and Mr Kassan's past as Nigel Farage's closest adviser.

According to Mr Kassan, the new organization is entirely Conservative (which is not true), was rushed because the UKIP one was doing so well (which is possible) and has far fewer Facebook supporters than does (which is irrelevant). What matters is that is funded by arron Banks who also funds UKIP and is, therefore, linked to one party only. I have been told (see, I can do what Mr Kassan does, as well, though I do not get paid his salary) that Mr Banks is well advanced in his negotiations with the Electoral Commission but that information comes from UKIP and ought to be taken with a certain amount of salt.

At present I have no idea how well Vote Leave will do, though Matthew Elliott does have a certain track record in running referendum campaigns. Well, one to be precise, a much easier one in many ways than this one promises to be but one in which UKIP found itself on the losing side. The people of this country voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the first past the post system, something that UKIP needs to be reminded of periodically.
Vote Leave, whose supporters include Labour's Kate Hoey and UKIP's Douglas Carswell, says it wants to negotiate a new deal based on free trade and friendly co-operation.

The group is funded by people of different party affiliations, such as the City millionaire and Tory donor Peter Cruddas, Labour's biggest private backer John Mills and former UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler.

Its core message is about sovereignty, with "take control" the main slogan. It is planning to spend about £20m.
So far, so reasonable.

I have seen some of's ads on Facebook (money is already being spent there but I assume Mr Banks can afford it) and I have not liked them particularly. They are illiterate in their use of apostrophes, which would indicate a lack of proof-readers and one of them, at least, showed a certain inability to tell the difference between MPs and MEPs. Also heavy antagonism to the TTIP and equally heavy propaganda for the NHS are not indicative of a forward looking group. To be fair, Kate Hoey of Vote Leave also tells us that if we did not have to give money to the EU we could spend it on such things as the NHS. Waste is waste is waste.

Apart from that, for the time being I am inclined to Vote Leave's summary of ideas and issues as being more interested in the future.'s vision seems a little vague. Imagine is not a good enough basis for a campaign. Things might change, however. I feel reasonably sure that other  organizations will pop up before the Electoral Commission makes its decision.


  1. What is so great about TTIP?

  2. I think it only fair to mention that the Vote Leave website also contains errors that would have been spotted by a proofreader, and the copywriting is appalling. Both groupings look pretty bad and the less said about the unfortunately named In Campaign, the better. The entire referendum campaign is gearing up to be a farce.

  3. I shall write about the In campaign and some more about the existing Out campaigns in the near future. At present I tend to agree with Kilgore Trout and can only sigh. But, to be absolutely honest, I did not expect anything else.