Keep It Simple – One Message Wins

 

Can Very Clever People Campaign?

In many campaigns I have worked on, I have  found very clever people try and campaign. Sometimes, they run the campaigns or have a veto on what can be done or not done.  These  very clever people often want a campaign that asks for many things. Often, they ask for many things that only that very clever people can understand.

Too Many Voices

Having too many different messages sounds like a bad musical. You end up not understanding a thing, and even with the best will in the world, land up leaving early, no the less clearer about what the show was about, and often annoyed that you wasted your time and money going.

Keep It Simple

Deep Simplicity is another root to go down. It is my preference. It makes it easier to track what you are doing and whether you succeed. I know many clever people will find ideas like delivering on what you said you’d do as simplistic. Maybe sticking to one thing, doing it well before moving on to the next thing is simplistic, but it usually ensures you get a great deal one.  J.D.Rockfeller tried it. It worked for him.

 

Save The Fish

A good example of clear communication is the  European Parliament’s Green Group video on CFP reform. It is not flashy. It is very simple. Decent men and women – in this case Green MEPs – put the case for a new CFP – saving the fish.

They don’t talk about complex issues. They keep it clear, simple and emotional. They stick on message and don’t really divert from the core idea behind reform, ‘save the fish’..

youtu.be/XqAI3A_Vrpw

Whose Allowed in the War Room

A strange thing is that these very clever people are not necessarily very good campaigners. They are great advisers. They are not great at communicating with politicians or the media. The expert loves  complexity and jargon, and these are things that the expert love and politicians and media hate. If you want to win, leave the very clever people kept out of the war room.

 

Europe – Time to Get Back To Basics

A Dirty Secret

Europe’s has a dirty secret. Politicians, governments and the Commission don’t like to talk about it.

Greece – The Consequences of Lying to Yourself

Europe has a poor – some would say appalling – track record of implementing the laws it passes.  There are well known examples. Greece and other countries blatlany cooked their national books to secure admission to the Euro. The Commission and other Governments knew about this. Political prudence stood in the way of economic reality and let them join the Euro. The consequences have been horrific for Europe, and perhaps fatal for the Euro.

Could Have Been Stopped

The tragedy is that the law breaking can be stopped. How?

Time for the Commission to Get Back to Basics?

The European Commission could do their job. As Guardian of the Treaty they could enforce the law. It takes a while, costs a lot with legal fees and bad will from governments and companies, but it is an easy to use provision that seems to have gone out fashion under this Commission.

Her Majesty’s Government – Act Rather Than Talk?

Member States could go to Court and sue other Member States for breaching and all too often ignoring the law. The UK used to be very active and successful in doing this. The UK have a track record of believing and practicing the rule of law, something which is less ingrained in other countries, but its a good idea to export and force on people.

Franco-Belgium Anger – A Fair Price to Pay 

What would happen if the UK did this again? Well, Belgium may get angry if we started inspecting their fishing vessels operating in UK waters. I am sure the Flemish PM may even write a letter of complaint.  But, the UK could bear that tough diplomatic incident; and Belgium  fishing vessels would be inspected. All in all, a good thing for everybody.

Things could get tough if we started suing France. Around election time French fishermen may blockade the ferry ports. The French police will be more reluctant than usual to stop this. The government won’t do something rational like remove the vessels license and hence bankrupt them by barring fishermen from fishing – they have to return to port. We could sue France for the tens of millions of lost income for hard working men and women in and outside the EU. We’d go to the ECJ and win. We used to do it a lot, and win a lot. The French government did not like the UK imposing the novel and surely anglo saxon ideas of the rule of law, but the court actions worked.

Stop Making Stupid Laws

The Commission could stop MEPs and Ministers making laws that won’t be implemented. The Commission could withdraw proposals that have been made impossible to implement. The COmmission could start by making sure that nothing coming their doors is unlikely to be implemented in practice.

If You Believe In Europe – Time To The Right Thing

These ideas may sound seditious. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think Parliament should get the basics right. First, they need to know where taxpayers money is going and fully account for it. Second, when they have managed that task – something which in Brussels it is arguable that they have not – they should move on to legislating and checking that the legislation is working and being implemented.

Back to Basics

Implementation is not exciting. It is a lot of hard work. But, politicians should be concerned that what they are doing is working. They can’t be interested in empty gestures for the public. Europe is too important. It is time for the Commission to take up the challenge of protecting Europe.