One of the few things that the “leave” campaign has done relatively well is ridicule the idea that Britain’s EU exit will lead to the apocalypse. Months ago, the @DailyFUD Twitter account produced a series of graphics that were heavily retweeted by one Daniel Hannan, depicting dragons raining down fiery death from the sky, the awakening of the kraken and other such absurdities.
The sort of hysterical ninnydom promoted by the Remainers is a massive turn off for most people, yet Brexit scares still receive enormously disproportionate levels of attention in the legacy media. This has much to do with the bovine way in which legacy journalists, for all of their Woodward and Bernstein-styled moral posturing are slavish conformists with scant interest in pursuing the truth, for fear that it may lead to politically incorrect conclusions.
In fact, that is who political correctness is intended to control. If certain thoughts are unthinkable, they very quickly become unsayable, and while the occasional prole might be squished under foot to set an example for the others, it is the intellectuals—those who work with ideas—that the system strives to keep in check.
The American writer and cynic, H. L. Mencken, famously said: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”.
To that end, Brexit scares follow a familiar pattern. Just today, The New York Times published a puff piece promoting political campaigner, James Hansen’s latest contribution to the global warming debate, under the guise of “science”. The story is interesting in a Brexit context owing to the extremity of the claims and its appeal to authority. The NYT sees fit to quote Dr Michael Mann of all people saying that Hansen’s predictions are well outside the perceived “consensus”, which, if you know anything about the topic in hand, is truly Alice Through The Looking glass style stuff.
Whether the topic is a climate scare or a Brexit scare, the method of presentation favoured by the legacy media is almost invariably the same: make an outrageous claim about the negative consequences that will follow a particular policy choice and then quote a prestigious source in lieu of reason or evidence.
The message is always the same too: you, dear reader, have no more moral authority nor political autonomy than a naive child in need of adult supervision; remain within the confines of the perceived moral majority, whatever it may be, and you’ll be safe.
The scope, or lack thereof, of the Brexit debate, as conducted by the legacy media, tells us that journalists will accept the craven conformity of following the example of their betters; anybody presenting the view that free people should take responsibility unto themselves and that evidence and reason are appropriate tools for shaping political opinion and thereby political action are excluded. The fact that the only press coverage that The Leave Alliance launch received was in the column of one Christopher Booker, who is a long-time collaborator and personal friend of Dr Richard North, the principal author of the Flexcit plan, tells you most of what you need to know about the intellectual integrity of those who work for legacy media outlets.
Moreover, Flexcit and The Leave Alliance, have been snubbed by the big “leaver” groups, which have not even given us a courtesy mention. I welcome you to draw your own conclusions from that.
As to the veracity of the work of mere “bloggers”, the news that Flexcit has become required reading among civil servants in Whitehall will surprise nobody who has been paying serious attention to this debate for any length of time, or who has read Flexcit for themselves. What Dr Richard North and others have produced is a serious policy document that takes Brexit as its aim and then works backwards from there to define the series of steps that will need to be taken to make that policy outcome a reality. The pragmatism and practicality of the approach is precisely why the other “leaver” groups are ignoring Flexcit even as the (broadly pro-EU) civil service is reading it. The professionalism of the “bureaucrats” stands is stark contrast to the amateurness of Vote Leave, Leave.EU and GO.
Which brings us back to somewhere like where we came in. Remaining in the EU means entrusting the future of this country to people who resemble the big “leave” groups in almost every respect; those who would presume to protect us from hobgoblins rather than engaging in reasoned, evidence-based argument. However, the fact that dedicated individuals within The Leave Alliance are having a bigger influence than any of them on the government position post leave vote is a strong indication of what is possible.
Brexit is not only about taking responsibility unto yourself and saying, “no”, to all of these people, it is about giving yourself and future generations the opportunity to say, “no”, again in the future.