If you agree on a desired outcome, then why not agree also on how to achieve that?
This should be the question facing those involved in the EU referendum campaigns. But it seems those campaigning for the UK to leave the EU have already fallen victim to Freud’s ‘narcissism of minor differences’.
Whatever your view on whether we should remain (stay in) or leave (get out), the approach of the Euro-sceptics must appear unusual.
After all, they have a very simple message: Britain is better off outside the European Union. It’s a proposition that the vast majority of people will be able to agree or disagree with on gut instinct with no need to look at the details.
But while the remain campaign has coalesced around a single identity, Stronger In, the two main campaigns in favour of Brexit are apparently irrevocably split.
Much of the resulting national media coverage on the EU referendum campaign has therefore focused on the dust-up between the heads of the two Brexit proponents, Leave.EU and Vote Leave.
UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell says Leave.EU is focusing on identity and immigration, when an optimistic and internationalist campaign is needed.
Mr Carswell, of course, is a member of the Vote Leave board and opposes a merger with the other group, which was founded by none other than UKIP donor Arron Banks.
All the bickering between the two groups led respected, veteran Labour MP Kate Hoey to quit Vote Leave, while she remains co-chair of Labour Leave, a group that is affiliated to the organisation she left. Confused? It gets more complex still. Ms Hoey is now backing a third group: Grassroots Out, (perhaps a nod to the gardeners of middle England?), a cross-party effort which recently hit the headlines when Tory MP Peter Bone offered the Prime Minister a branded tie in the House of Commons. Is that really all it takes to hit the headlines?
With all the arguments, activity and general strife, the Eurosceptics must be exhausted already and we don’t yet know the date of the referendum.
But what does this mean for the serious business of the referendum campaign? So far, it’s meant that one united pro-EU voice is focusing on communicating its core message: Britain is stronger inside the European Union. On the other side, the anti-EU camp seems concerned mainly with how the campaign should be run or who should lead it. These are unnecessary distractions when the prize they long for is likely to be up for grabs at the ballot box in just four short months.
Will they ever unite under a common banner? Will their internal woes cease in time for the referendum campaign?
Nobody can be sure, but amongst all this tumult, there was a ray of hope this week for those wishing for a united out campaign:
“Glad to see @georgegalloway putting forward superb left-wing case for leaving the EU. We must all work together to Leave EU, #bbcsp”, tweeted the popular mouthpiece and UKIP leader (I believe he still is), Eurosceptic Nigel Farage.
If those two can find common ground, surely anything is possible...