A maxim old, a maxim new: “Know your enemy.”
It’s a phrase one could largely presume to be common sense, and yet seemingly we as people tend to lack it in a great many settings. Take for example, the European Union. A favoured attack of Eurorealists or Eurosceptics is to focus on “unelected Eurocrats” – and yet has this argument really resonated with many? I would say not. It’s added flavouring to other contentions with the EU, but not the cream of the argument itself. The gain from such a broad brushed attack seems marginal at best, and an outright loss at worst.
It’s a loss, not because it’s wrong, but because it makes us easily caricatured by our enemies, of whom there are many now and will be more in the future. Such an obtuse angle of attack leaves us to be caricatured as the carbon copied English hooligan with the St George’s Cross tattooed onto one of his calves. While such caricatures are almost inevitable, given the prevailing view in the media, it does not mean we should make their job easy for them (a nod to the attack on Justin Barrett in the Times, “You’re next far-right tells elderly”).
Rather than attacking the EU for forcing a second vote on Lisbon, attack them for the Courts being politically mandated and reneging on their own rulings. Rather than attacking the unelected Eurocrats, attack the nonsense of needing to speak 3 languages to a very strong degree for even the most basic job in the EU. Attack the Directorate Generals for being awash in corruption, the MEPs for being feeble, the bureaucrats for gorging themselves at the taxpayer’s expense. If we want to be seen as the BNP in a Gaelic drag, choose the obtuse angle of attack. If we want to be seen as the FPOe and the vanguard of a Gaelic Ireland, take real criticisms and turn them to strengthen our argument.
In short, we have to know our enemy and define him for the public, before he defines us.
Ar dheis ar aghaidh.
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