There are a couple of spats going on at the moment that people are using to justify the idea that the anti-EU camp is splitting.
There is the inevitable competition between the two main No/Out/Leave campaign groups and a rift between UKIP and their sole Westminster MP.
Worryingly there are some who refer to these spats as evidence that the Leave campaign is becoming divided and therefore getting weaker.
Even if that is true, why is that relevant? Why should we allow some passing disagreements in the opposing camp distract us from other issues that are having a far more significant effect on the Leave/Remain sentiment and votes.
The EU is coming under attack from both the left and the right of the political spectrum.
All the old arguments are still there, overbearing and excessive bureacracy, freedom of movement policy allowing a flood of refugees into the country, the threat to our domestic sovereignty from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.
But there are new factors which are causing other people to question and in some cases reject the EU.
The apparent lack of a social solidarity was something that first stirred more people to question the EU during the Greece bailout discussions, the idea that ordinnary Greek people were the authors of their own misfortune and they would just have to deal with what ever financial and social difficulties they had brought on themselves.
This has come to a head again with the current refugee crisis. The lack of social solidarity is not only evidenced by the lack of cohesion between the EU nations in the way they are dealing with the refugees, but also in the way that Qualified Majority Voting was used to imposing arbitrary and rather meaningless quotas on countries that said we can’t/won’t do that.
Once again there is a single, everybody must do the same, solution regardless of individual nations needs, pressures and abilities.
The quotas don’t solve anything, they fuel the anti-EU sentiment and imposing them makes achieving a consensus on the substantive measures needed even more difficult. Short term feel good result for some people, shorter term relief for some of the refugees.
The EU leaders, or most of them, say we have a solution to the current situation but even before they have finished patting themselves on the back Donald Tusk is saying “Hold on guys, it is not as simple as we thought and it’s going to get much worse”.
Kick the ball down the road and catch up with it later. Does this approach sound familiar?
It is the same “put it off, we’ll deal with it tomorrow” approach that we saw in the negotiations with Greece and THAT particular ball is going to have to be dealt with or kicked further down the road very shortly.
The refugees are in a desperate situation and the world needs to address that immediate need. But we need two solutions, one that deals with the immediate, here and now crisis and another that stops EU stumbling from one crisis to another.
The EU needs to develop a way forward that takes into account the different needs & capabilities of all the member states not just the overriding imperatives of a few of them
That is why the UK should not only be in the EU but it should be taking a lead in an EU more suited to the needs of all its member nations.
So does it matter whether the anti-camp is divided? It is of interest, we need to know what they are doing/saying BUT we need to be paying more attention to what the EU is doing and how that affects us.
Above all we need a pro-EU campaign alliance which engages with the people directly and will mount a positive, realistic campaign for the UK to remain in the EU and play a leading role in making the EU suited to the world we live in.