Monday, 28 December 2015

Mind your language - EU or Europe?

"After several months of campaigning, you'd think that the respective camps would have their patter off to a tee. One appears to be struggling with the basics".

The language used around the referendum debate changes over time as people gradually educate themselves on the subject matter. The endemic looseness of dialogue due to lack of critical thinking from legacy media outlets has contributed to this considerably.

However, the language is now clear. The suggested wording from the Electoral Commission highlights exactly what this campaign is all about:

"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

Laughable as it sounds to have to say it, this referendum is all about our relationship with the European Union. It has absolutely nothing to do with 'Europe'. One is a political institution with federalist ambitions, comprising of 28 member states - and the other is a continental landmass encompassing 50 nations. I trust that everybody knows which is which.

Suffice to say, the EU and Europe are so vastly far apart that they conjure significantly different emotional responses in people.

For me, Europe invokes thoughts of fantastic holidays; a vast array of subtly differing cultures; some of the best eating and drinking experiences I've ever had; lengthy conversations about the beauty of Kim Wilde with continental relatives - and learning to swim in Austrian lakes (nobody told me about the giant catfish or it wouldn't have happened).

With the EU we get different responses. How does it work; How do failed politicians like Kinnock and Mandelson end up with top flight jobs in the Commission; Why does it need so many presidents - and who votes for them; How do people so removed from me have so much influence over my day to day life?

So it's interesting to see the 'Stronger In' campaign consistently using the term 'Europe' in their messaging rather than 'The EU'. At first you wonder whether they've got a disengaged Grad in, churning out memes and being relaxed with the wording. But actually, when you look at them, the whole foundation of this organisation is built around conflation of the two terms. Their slogan is 'Britain Stronger in Europe' and not 'Britain Stronger in the EU'. Meme after meme - info-graphic after info-graphic, it's Europe, Europe, Europe.

They've been told repeatedly that they're misleading people, yet they ignore the fact and continue with their deliberate befuddlement of the electorate. Their aim - to associate a vote to leave as the abandonment of the continent of Europe rather than the rejection of a repugnant and wholly undemocratic institution. This subtle trick, which they can get away with from their unregulated position, is constantly repeated as a classic act of misdirection.

What do you do with this sort of dishonesty? Sunlight being the best disinfectant, I thought I'd highlight it in a video. And it's worth mentioning, each tweet is unique (none used more than once) and there were so many examples that I simply didn't have time to fit them all in.

I'm not expecting the leopard to change its spots but we can always let the electorate know of their little tricks.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent video and should be widely shared.
    I do so agree about them using Europe the whole time. I am quite sure it is deliberate, and must somehow be stopped.