The two main parties are starting to organise for the referendum with “Yes” and “No” campaign groups being formed in both parties. A “No” cross-party alliance has been formed.
At the moment there is no sign of a cross party alliance emerging for the “Yes” campaign despite newspaper reports, but given the state of flux both main parties are in that is perhaps not surprising.
The issue is, as it was in the early 70s, not about party but about where you think the UK’s future is.
Thus far the anti/eurosceptic groups have been much more effective in engaging with the public and making noise, even if they are much weaker when put under pressure on facts and figures.
But that is changing and it is changing from the grassroots upwards.
The advantage of a grassroots “Yes” campaign is that the commitment and the enthusiasm for it is coming from people who are already motivated to keep the UK in the EU , the disadvantage is that they have further to go before they reach a critical mass where newspapers, politicians, pundits take notice of them and they can gain the attention and the publicity they deserve.
The “Yes” campaign needs thousands of people, not just liking Facebook pages, Tweeting or even joining Facebook groups but thousands of people organising local groups, writing articles, talking to people, challenging the anti-EU arguments in their day to day lives.
If the “big” players on the pro-EU side are wise they will realise that supporting the grassroots campaign, helping them to get the message across is the surest way of getting a big turn out for the referendum and a decisive “Yes” result.
Whatever happens when the big players do finally get themselves organised they must not attempt to hijack the grassroots campaign and turn it into a business led, negative sounding campaign which might win the “yes” vote in the referendum, but without building on the popular support for the EU . Their help support and advice will be more than welcome, but the grassroots campaign belongs to the people