By Stephen Bailey

The most important lesson of Brexit for the devosceptics (those who are sceptical of the benefits of devolution) is that a famous victory CAN be won against insurmountable odds and a seemingly all powerful hostile establishment if a strong enough will is there to achieve it.

These victories CAN happen. Brexit very clearly demonstrated that this was the case.

Another very important lesson Brexit teaches us is the need to act in concert in order to achieve a common goal.

For many years, Eurosceptics were a fragmented assortment of people. Most held a common goal, for the U.K. to leave the E.U., but their approach to achieving this varied widely.

At the same time, the Europhiles were much more, if not entirely, together in their approach to achieving their objective of keeping the U.K. in the E.U.

Consequently, they were much more successful in their aims than the fractured, squabbling Eurosceptics. They presented a seemingly consistent argument that staying in the E.U. was the best cause of action for the U.K. and thus the public were persuaded on what was, in reality, a false prospectus, that they were better off inside the bloc.

This tendency continued into the campaign for the 2016 referendum on leaving the E.U. Whilst not entirely homologous in their approach, the Remain camp was very substantially more together in its approach to the campaign than the Leave side.

Indeed, the vast majority of establishment figures in the Government as well as the media, the judiciary, the arts (actors etc.) and other media influencers et al were strongly and vociferously pro–Remain.

Meanwhile, the Leave side was initially noted for its squabbling, the big egos of the leaders and inability to get together and fight a common cause with an effective, coordinated approach.

Several different groups emerged, often with leaders who were publicly antagonistic to each other. What’s more, they often fought amongst themselves over petty matters, sometimes even going as far as taking each other to court to settle a dispute.

At one time, there were as many as fifty different Leave campaign groups. This projected an unsavoury image of the Leave campaign to the public, thus greatly hindering their cause. As a consequence, the Remain side seemed to be easily on course to victory in the referendum.

There is the crux of the matter for devosceptics. It is desirable to have open and vigorous debate on issues, but not to the point this hands your opponents the advantage in the overall debate as it means that your campaign is ineffective as you present a fractured, inconsistent argument to the public whilst the other side is perceived as presenting one cohesive, rational argument.

Anti–U.K. nationalism (the S.N.P. in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales and I.R.A./ Sinn Fein plus the S.D.L.P. in Northern Ireland) is supported by a minority of citizens in those parts of the U.K. Overall, the Union enjoys majority support. It currently stands at roughly 55% – 45% in favour of staying in the U.K. in Scotland, 80% – 20% for the Union in Wales and 55% – 45% in Northern Ireland for being in the U.K., according to opinion poll data.

Dissolving into squabbling factions only serves to hinder the Unionist cause and aid the nationalists.

Fighting for the Union with an effective, coordinated effort will ensure that this big advantage of being the majority opinion is utilised to the maximum degree in the service of maintaining our Union against those that seek to impose their will on the majority.

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© 2021 Stephen Bailey


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