New year. Same old UK-EU comms. Two tweets from today:
A new year brings new opportunities to debunk EU myths. Here is: things euroscpetics don't want you to know #1! pic.twitter.com/WtGnQx26pe
— Richard Corbett (@RichardGCorbett) January 6, 2015
.@damiangreenmp argues that pro-Europeans must 'dispel the myth, fostered by the Better Off Out brigade, that we are a tiny group.'
— British Influence (@britinfluence) January 6, 2015
Why, oh why, do British pro-EU folks keep on doing this? If you fight a battle using the frames and the words of your opponents, you lose. George Lakoff called his practical guide to political framing “Don’t Think of an Elephant” for a reason – because you think of an elephant when you read that.
When I read Richard Corbett being defensive about the EU budget, or Damian Green being defensive about the number of pro-EU Tories, it is not helpful. Make your case, on its own terms. Do not make your case while emphasising the argument of your opponents.
If you need practical tips how do it, then either try Lakoff’s book, or the Skeptical Science Debunking Handbook (PDF). “The often-seen technique of headlining your debunking with the myth in big, bold letters is the last thing you want to do,” the handbook says. Very true.