Why #RemaIN may be failing the “pink tuna” test

The current batch of opinion polls make worrying reading for those of us backing the remain camp in the forthcoming EU referendum. It’s not lost yet of course – far from it – and I remain convinced of the good sense of my fellow citizens. However, some of the remain tactics do seem to be somewhat less than optimal. I feel that a bit of “pink tuna” may help.

One feature of the campaign that is obviously gratifying to the remain campaign, but has perhaps been a little overplayed, is the welcome endorsement of our continuing EU membership by vast numbers of European and world leaders. However, on reflection, I don’t think that these endorsements are necessarily working in favour of a positive vote to remain in, as they seem to me to fail the pink tuna test.

Let me explain. When my youngest daughter was very much younger, she refused to eat salmon. Nothing we or our family did would convince her that salmon was delicious. But she did like tuna. One of us (almost certainly not me) came up with the idea of re-branding salmon as pink tuna and suggesting that she wouldn’t like it. It worked like a charm and woe-betide anyone who came between her and her pink tuna.

Perhaps if all of these European and world leaders had instead told us that they wanted us to leave, it might have had a positive impact on the remain campaign, by convincing undecided voters that the only reason anyone would want us to leave is that they wanted to keep all of the good stuff that the EU brings to themselves – the pink tuna. Of course, such a ploy would have had no impact on those of us wanting to remain (as we know that salmon and pink tuna are one and the same, and is delicious). But for the tuna eating waverers, it may just have helped them to take a few mouthfuls and discover what the convinced know already.

Undecided voters – pink tuna is delicious, so I really don’t want you to have any of mine.

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Reader Comments

  1. Huw Jones

    The trouble is that the campaign (on both sides) seems to be being run on a “pink tuna” basis. People blame the EU for lack of good jobs, short careers, housing shortages, migration, poor services etc. and we are rolling out smug over-comfortable (often foreign) experts to tell them that they are wrong.

    What voters want to know is how the EU can help solve their problems. The best indication of that, that we have had so far, is the wealth of financial forecasts. But most people know that financial forecasts are only useful when the factors not in the forecast come to dominate the economic picture, and the difference between forecast and reality , forces the creation of a new plan. Forecasts of the costs and benefits of Brexit are no better than using seaweed for a weather forecast.

    Voters want to be reminded of the reasons we joined the EEC/EU, of the debt in the post war years, of the fear of war, the unreliable utilities, the lack of educational opportunity etc etc. They also need to know of the differential financial success of EFTA (free trade only) and the EEC. They need to know how the EU helped us overcome the post war problems, partly by imposing standards (to which we agreed) and partly by increasing our prosperity.

    ON the cost of Brexit, people need to know about all the other trading communities in the world. NAFTA, MERCOSUR, AEC, ASEAN, and the Cairns Group include most of the countries that we might want to trade with. “Free” countries, not in yet in such groups are usually very small, very remote, or unstable. Some, such as North Korea do not want to trade with anyone.

    Most of these “foreign EUs”, like NAFTA, ASEAN etc are very like the EU, in that they impose import tariffs, and are aiming at open internal borders, common currency, common standards, and some are even thinking of political union. To trade with any of these enormous trading blocks we would have to accept many of the same rules as the EU would impose. In the worst of the post Brexit scenarios, we might have to join (for example) NAFTA, and use the Dollar instead of Sterling, accept American gun law, use Spanish and French as official languages, and accept migrants from Mexico and Canada. Plenty to think about there!

    The fact that the people living in countries that have joined these trading groups apparently support the same ambitions as the EU, seems to indicate that what the EU is doing is right, even if imperfect. We need to tell UK voters this, and that it is easier to improve the EU, than the more distant alternatives

    But an EU debate that does not give voters all the information, is simply patronising. Its like Cameron’s famous EU negotiation in which – from his early speeches, we might have expected to include fundamental reforms of the EU including much needed changes to the democratic structure of the EU, and its accounting system. But what we got was a little tinkering with details that happened to be topical at the moment. Without the reforms we were lead to hope for his achievements will be of transient value, and his failure to achieve anything important undermines his support for remaining in. And puts all our futures at risk

Your thoughts?