by Alan Davies, FUW managing director
For the last three months I’ve been meeting regularly with the Britain Stronger in campaign in Wales and from the outset had little faith we would win the referendum. The messaging was weak, it certainly did not inspire and it clearly lacked ambition. I made my concerns clear to the Prime Minister when he visited a member’s farm in March and also at StrongerIn campaign meetings. All to no avail. Nobody wanted to listen to what was clearly “the wrong message” and that lack of willingness to listen, in particular to the people, has generated, what some are now calling, the greatest political upheaval in Britain for decades. There are clear lessons to be learnt. Principally for me it is that it is essential to listen before trying to appeal to an electorate and to listen to what they are saying at all opportunities. A campaign that is based on institutional or, worse still, personal values rather than what is important to the target audience can only fail. And in the case of the remain camp it failed in spades! The referendum is now over, and whilst many people are making noises about the honesty of some messages and bemoaning the result, there are two things that come to my mind. First: we are where we are. And Second: E+r=o. For the first point, “we are where we are”- there is no turning the clock back despite many in the UK trying to get a retrospective change to referendum results through petitions. I suspect they are wasting their time. Now is not a time to look back and wonder “why,” it is a time to look forward and consider “what” and “how.” And that brings me to “E+r=o”, this is a favourite equation of mine that I was taught many years ago and one that I continue to use now. It stands for “Event + response = outcome.” The logic is that we cannot control the event, it has happened. But we can control our response, and if we do that then we can have control or influence on the eventual outcome. If we don’t respond, we will get somebody else’s outcome forced upon us, and that is not the way to move forward. With that in mind it is my intention that we get proactively involved in all possible channels to position the Union at the centre of any discussion and negotiations. our response needs to be positive and forward looking. We cannot worry about what has happened as we cannot change it. We must influence the outcome for that is our future. And we must listen.