Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Worst of Both Worlds

In a classic case of what the French call "L'esprit D'Escalier"

(Staircase wit - a thought which comes to you just too late to be used, as when the perfect response to a comment occurs as you are on the staircase outside after leaving a room,)

I thought this afternoon of a better name for the series of blog posts which I began yesterday under the title

"The wrong reasons to vote leave or remain."

If there are any more articles in this series - and unless the quality of much of the debate on both sides of the EU referendum argument manages to improve, there will be lots of material for it - they will have the headline "The Worst of Both Worlds."

I had some feedback from one "Leave" supporter who felt that my previous article was very helpful to his side.

I had speculated, only half in jest, whether Nigel Farage might have been paying Dutch journalist  Joris Luyendijk to produce articles like "It's time for Europe to turn the tables on bullying Britain," with the deliberate intention of provoking British electors to vote leave. My friend said that whether it was an intentional "false flag" or not, this dreadful article would make most people who read it more likely to support Brexit even without any commentary pointing out some of the huge holes in it.

Well, the comments below the article certainly suggest he had a point. It was, in fact, the only time I have ever read the comments on a Guardian website article and agreed with 90% of them.

About a third of the comments were from Brexit supporters and were taking aim at such a perfect target that even the average Kipper could hardly fail to find a valid reason to criticise it, and all but 10% of the rest were from "remain" supporters who could nevertheless see what an awful article it was: mostly variants on "I shall probably vote 'remain' but this nasty, spiteful article made me want
to vote 'leave.'"

There you go, an attack on Britain so mind-bogglingly offensive that it made some Guardian-reading liberals find their inner patriot in response. Result!

Oh, how did I reply to my friend?

"True," I said, "But from my perspective both the Guardian article and the Leave.eu cartoon were false flags: both made me want to vote the opposite way from how they appeared to be intended."

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