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The Eurosceptics’ rise: my personal timeline

In 2007 I tangled with the UK’s Eurosceptic movement when it was nothing more than a lunatic fringe. Post-Brexit, Welcome to the New Normal.

I was Launch Director of the BlogActiv blogging platform, which went Beta in October 2007. The EU Institutions didn’t pay any attention at the time (the hordes of social media experts were still years away) but Eurosceptics did.

The real agenda, however, was the launch of the EurActiv blogger “platform” — its blogactiv site, its [European] commission-sponsored effort to corral bloggers into a central, controllable niche. Like civil society, bloggers too must be “organised”. … the race is on to control the blogosphere, yet more “stakeholders” to be enlisted to support the great European “project”.
- Happy Birthday, Blogactiv!, October 2008

Among them was EU Referendum.com (it was a .org then) founder Richard North, who three years later blogged, in the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting in England’s beautiful Cumbria (my highlights):

Fortunately for these mindless, faceless officials, we are civilised people — we do not (yet) come for them and slaughter them in their beds, even when we should. And when a creature like Bird finally snaps — if that is what happened — usually the wrong people get killed.

But, that will not always be the case. There are people who have the effrontery to call themselves “consumer services” as they steal our money. For that alone they should be slaughtered. Societies, as well as people, have their breaking points.Ours cannot be far away.

- The final straw?, June 4, 2010

On 16 June 2016, two things happened:

Nigel Farage unveiled his infamous ‘Breaking Point’ poster, deliberately tapping and inciting the inchoate rage of Richard North and his ilk:

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A git being photobombed

And British MP Jo Cox was murdered by a man screaming “Britain first”:

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First victim. Probably not the last.

One week later, of course, Nigel won his referendum.

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Pyjama People, courtesy xkcd

Back in 2007, I discovered — the hard way — what a friend called ‘Pyjama People’ .

Picture them on their PC at 3am in the morning, burning with rage, typing feverishly away.

The sort of people who call you pro-Hitler if you think it could be a good idea to give non-elites outside the Brussels Bubble the chance to write something those inside it might actually read.

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‘Aurora’ in conversation, 2007

Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine that these lunatics would take over the British asylum. But they have.

I’ll be processing my past 8 years of blogging about EU communications into a series of updated and new blog posts over the coming days, so if you got this far, please recommend this post, and if you have any views — from either camp or none at all — I’d love your comments.

PS I created a first version of this post by importing my 2008 post, then thought better of it and just included a couple of quotes in the above original content. Medium, however, persisted in setting the date to October 2008, so I copied and pasted the content into the post you’re reading now.

Piloting innovative online communications since 1995. Editor: medium.com/Knowledge4Policy. Founder: MyHub.ai. Personal Hub: https://myhub.ai/@mathewlowry/

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