Monday, 23 April 2018

We don't need no stinkin' (Br)exit strategy!

From last week, but still pertinent, here's Tim Harford on how a chaotic, incoherent non-strategy can be a feature, not a bug - at least for a while:
The Brexiters seemed hamstrung by the fact that they ran two mutually suspicious campaigns — Leave.EU and Vote Leave. “It wasn’t one of my adverts,” said Nigel Farage about Vote Leave’s bus, while Boris Johnson said Mr Farage’s inflammatory poster about refugees was “not my campaign” and “not my politics”. This left the Leave campaign, as Sun Tzu advised, “without ascertainable shape”, so voters picked which ever message resonated, while the Remain campaign did not know where to look. Dominic Cummings, of Vote Leave, later said a united Leave campaign would have been easily defeated.
This got me thinking about the parallels with the almost equally protean strategy that got the 2003 Iraq War on:
We know how the 2003 decision worked out. The 2016 decision still has a way to run, but it's already brought us to the absurd paradox of being at the mercy of people who've spent decades developing their monomaniacal obsession with exiting the European Union, but never agreed a coherent exit strategy.

The poetic justice would be highly satisfying, if only the rest of us didn't have to survive "the shear where uncaring reality meets uncompromising ideology."