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Sam Hooper @SamHooper
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I'm clearly a masochist because I spent the last hour slogging through the Tony Blair Institute's Totally Objective Report on Brexit: institute.global/news/brexit-wh…

God knows why I bothered. Remainers have clearly learned nothing when it comes to persuading wavering Leave voters.
If it was nothing else at all, the EU referendum showed us that a significant group of British citizens are capable of understanding that an action may carry short term risk and even medium-term uncertainty or even personal sacrifice, yet still be the right decision.
Many of the most prolific Remainers (at least on social media) are quite unable to look past the potential disruption to their own private lives and so don't seem to understand this, but some of their compatriots voted for reasons besides personal financial gain.
If you have genuinely convinced yourself that people voted for Brexit because they were tricked by a bus and a straw-haired buffoon into voting against their own interests then the current Remain strategy of jumping on every negative piece of economic news makes tenuous sense.
But shouting the same portents of doom at people who have heard it all before and apparently don't care (either because they don't believe it or value other considerations more highly) is not a very smart strategy when it comes to changing public opinion.
The problem with the Remainer strategy is this: at a high level they rail about Brexit in cultural terms, lamenting that we are "cutting ourselves off" from the world, stoking intolerance, being Trumplike & spurning the world's most perfect vehicle for international cooperation.
But when it comes to trying to persuade people at a granular level, Remainers come at the public armed only with their flipcharts and economic forecasts, many of them furnished by people and institutions with less than stellar track records when it comes to predicting the future.
In other words, when it comes to the nitty gritty, Remainers tend to duck the key cultural argument. Since the referendum they have preferred to keep the argument focused on the economics, for reasons we all know - few people burn with passion for the EU as a political ideal.
But Remainers lost the referendum, and one would think that if they want to overturn the result they might consider learning to argue on the same grounds occupied by Brexiteers. Yet they steadfastly refuse to do so, to their own cost.
Remainers: next time you brusquely wave off a Brexiteer's complaints about the EU, by saying "of COURSE the EU needs reform", ask yourself these questions:
- what reforms are needed?
- how might they be enacted?
- who will enact those changes?
- why didn't they happen before?
In other words, show that you have actually thought about what the EU is and have a knowledge of how it works beyond the "puppies and unicorns under a rainbow" view of the European Union that Brexiteers often suspect that you hold.
Give us the cultural & constitutional reasons for why EU membership is so goshdarned wonderful. And don't take intellectual shortcuts or condescend to us by pretending that "living, loving and working" abroad is only possible through membership of a supranational political union.
But on the cultural side we tend to hear a deafening silence from prominent Remainers and Totally Serious Organisations like the Tony Blair Institute. They think that declaring a one-sided economic case and presenting Brexit as inherently foolish will do the trick. It won't.
But all of this evasion and obfuscation itself sends a message to Brexiteers. It tells us that you don't have an answer to why the European Union is the sole, optimal means of working with other countries to face common challenges (especially as the EU fails these challenges)
Ultimately this isn't my problem - as a devout Brexiteer I am more than happy to sit back and watch Remainers fail in their mission. But I am also someone who is incredibly tired of the same old back-and-forth arguments where worn out old talking points are repeated endlessly.
Since the 100th Very Serious Report about the economic folly of Brexit didn't do the trick, what makes Remainers think the 101st is going to succeed? Either they refuse to debate on Brexiteer terms because they are incapable of comprehending them, or they are ashamed of their own
I think it's split. I think prior to the referendum most of the #FBPE crowd knew next to nothing about the EU they now champion, but were spurred to action by the cultural shock of Brexit & then went back with the confirmation bias filter switched on to find supporting arguments.
But there are some people - like Tony Blair and his Very Important Institute - who understand full well the Brexiteer argument, but refuse to engage with it because they know that economic naysaying is their only shot, and their creepy vision of a united Europe loses every time
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