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Wicked Problems Explored

Five Wicked Problems Facing The EU Referendum

Should I stay or should I go now?  It’s a memorable lyric from the Clash’s 1982 hit song and it’s the question that Britain is “clashing” over right now.  Should Britain stay in or get out of the EU?  It’s an all or nothing.  The date has been set (23rd of June).  The campaigns are revving up.  Lines have been drawn in the sand.  Well, they’ve sort-of been drawn.  In fact, there hasn’t been a more confusing, complicated, unclear vote since, wait for it, the last time Britain went to the polls in May of 2015. From polling fiascos to uneven campaign lines, we’ve picked our five most wicked problems facing the EU referendum.

The major parties are acting really weird

Cameron is backing in, so we’d guess the Tories are “in.”  Nope.  So far, Boris Johnson – arguably the second most influential person in Britain – is backing the Leave campaign, along with six other government ministers.  Weird enough?  Jeremy Corbyn is also supporting “in.”  Yes, that’s right.  On this issue Cameron and Corbyn AGREE.  Getting weirder, right?  What a powerful image, but don’t expect to see them together any time soon.  Despite this election seemingly superseding party politics, egos will no doubt get in the way of the greater good, which is in stark contrast to the Scottish referendum, which we might look to for precedent, when the three major party leaders at the time issued a joint statement on the matter.

The campaigns are driven by ego

There’s still no merging of the “In” and “Leave” camps, despite the election being just four months away.  The egos of those heading each campaign appear to be as big as those of the party leaders.  You’d think winning would be at the top of their agenda but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Leave’s arguments are more emotional’s homepage – though far too text heavy – is entirely aimed at stoking anger and fear by using totally unqualified statements like “Our politicians say this country isn’t good enough; too small to make a difference in the world. We say they have lost confidence in our country.”  What politicians? When did they say this?  It doesn’t matter.  This narrative fits the frame of thinking of those doubting membership and people will reject frames before they demand facts.

Remain’s arguments lack inspiration

Stronger In’s Homepage touts that “Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own.”  These highly rational arguments – which Stronger In backs up with facts and figures – while true are just really boring.  Where’s the emotion?  Where’s the fire?  There’s nothing there to inspire passionate action.

Trust in polling is at an all-time low

Remember that Tory majority in 2015 that nobody predicted?  They think they figured out why it happened but steps taken to remedy the issues may not be happening fast enough.  Meanwhile, the numbers are bouncing all over the place. This will no doubt that mean that everyone – from the campaigns themselves to the voters – will believe the results remain totally unpredictable until votes are actually counting.  While this may help turnout, it certainly won’t calm any nerves the next several months.

We’re fortunate to have some political insiders – from digital strategists to campaigners – on our team, who will be keeping a close eye on how the referendum progresses. If you’d like to keep up to date on all things “wicked,” from politics to technology and everything in between, fill in your email below and we’ll promise to send you just-frequent-enough news and tips.

For more information, contact us at: [email protected]

Have a wicked problem that needs solving? Get in touch for a free assessment

Have a wicked problem that needs solving? Get in touch for a free assessment

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