"As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine, neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted" From a George Monbiot column in The Guardian.Ask yourself this: when a government releases information about plans or policy changes, buried beneath some major news story dominating the headlines and reducing other news to minor status - is that any different than a conspiracy theory turned inside out?
We are currently living in an era of fear and because fear is all around is we allow things we would normally question without hesitation to ensure that fear doesn't get us, personally. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse arrived ages ago given the amount of Famine, Pestilence, War and Death (disguised as Poverty) we get subjected to on a weekly basis. Since 2001, it's like the news has to be like a Die Hard film or people will switch off. Sometimes life almost seems to be orchestrated and not by some omnipotent god, but probably some multi-billionaire with media interests and a cold dead heart.
Sometimes the world seems a little like a massive soap opera and at other times like the lunatics have been running the asylum, for a while. The concept of the 'conspiracy theory' has always been more attractive when the world is more crisis prone and, of course, in the 21st century even having a conspiracy theory is either madness or, if you have any evidence, not really a conspiracy theory at all. Some conspiracy theories are quite benign and highly plausible, others are as desperate as a 1996 post-match Kevin Keegan interview; most depend on a chain of information, a string of people and an unfathomable amount of probability that, if it's true then, someone will at some point talk. The biggest problem with a conspiracy theory is the longer it exists without a whistleblower or someone to throw something to give it credence, the more likely it's not going to have anything more than a grain of truth - if that. Wishful thinking mixed with the need for plausible (even if implausible) answers.
However, how about something that on the surface seems unlikely, doesn't have a big chain of potentially loose-lipped co-conspirators, but could ultimately reap the goal that is desired. Confused? Good.
I want you, if you can be bothered or even remember, to cast your mind back to when David Cameron was 'negotiating' the deal with the EU that he was going to use as the main reason for us staying in the EU, when he calls the much-heralded referendum. The man looked destroyed and beaten; like a leader who had lost. He hasn't looked even remotely in control of things since then and while he comes across business-as-usual in PMQs, he's uncertain and a bit dithering when confronted with unscripted questions and situations. He's also been the target of some interesting attacks, which have led to even more interesting public solidarity scenes within the Tory party which, behind closed doors, appears to be tearing itself apart.
Then look at George Osborne and how his star has descended like it was actually a housebrick. Look how he has gone from Dave's logical successor to being almost toxic. Now Theresa May is under scrutiny and even if Nick Clegg's allegations come to nothing; that's another one of Team Cameron who is seeing leadership chances dwindle.
How better to ruin the Remain vote than show those in favour of it on the ropes? But that's just a wee bit too obvious and quite see-through. It could, however, be made to look like this because there has to be a post mortem. I've said for years that Tories play the long game and in this instance maybe a strong faction within the party is playing that game, one that looks beyond the increasingly unpopular leader team?
The reason I mentioned Cameron's late night negotiations is because he went into that meeting asking for not a lot and he was given next to nothing. One of the leading nations in the EU and he couldn't change it how his party wanted it - which was essentially to opt out of anything we didn't agree 100% with - and that meant things were going to go badly wrong for him. You see (and this is the only part of this theory I'm in two minds about), I think Dave's election win was a bit unexpected for the party. I think, as did many others, it was going to be a hung parliament and they would be the party to form another coalition. It would also trigger a leadership contest and it would give the party the opportunity to either big up Boris or find go the other way and find someone less charismatic, but more pragmatic for the coalition to come. Contrary to some popular conspiracy theories, the voters occasionally surprise people. There are some who believe the Tories weren't really prepared for power in 1992, despite having been in for 13 previous years. John Major was not seen as a valiant and fearless leader and almost from the beginning of that government's reign it was plagued by scandals that Thatcher's team would have shrugged off. Parallels have been drawn.
Dave is elected and makes his own plans to go leaving his own legacy in the shape of Osborne or May, but this isn't fast enough for the party or even what it really wants. Things are not going as planned and something has to be done. Except, the only wrinkle in this is an unexpected opportunity and that is the EU referendum. The Tory Party - not necessarily all their MPs and members, but the Party is probably anti-EU. It throws up too many obstacles to prevent them from having the country they believe we should have and while many are pro-EU, the old school have a very narrow view of it, possibly skewered by a sense of empire or entitlement - we are British after all. What if the current government don't care what way you vote? Vote in and nothing changes, vote out and they benefit even more.
The Tories aren't exactly setting the world on fire with their pro-Europe campaigning. It seems to be down to MPs of other persuasions, celebrities and business to make the case. Dave is doing his bit, but he's being constantly distracted and implicated to the point where Jeremy Corbyn is more trusted on Europe and Corbyn is a bit of a sceptic. But what if Dave has no real reason to fight? What if he knew back in January that his days were numbered? The MPs can talk him up and give him public backing, but it all seems a little false when the next minute the Out campaign are criticising their own party/government because of some Euro tragedy. It all seems to be stage managed to give subtly different appearances to whoever interprets it and all slightly negative.
The Out call the In campaign 'Project Fear' when in actual reality it is 'Project Fact'. The Out campaign seem to be basing their campaign on the fact that people will still trade with us wherever we are and that they'd be cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Um... France? They'll be the first in the queue to renegotiate and they'll be setting the price high or go away. Not one single Out campaigner has said categorically that prices won't rise. Ask your neighbour this - if you're £20 a week worse off for leaving the EU and there's just as many foreigners here, will voting out be worth it?
I can't reiterate this point enough (because it seems to be neglected in the coverage) - we have no guarantees whatsoever we're even going to be able to renegotiate the same terms we currently have, so to expect us to get stuff cheaper is ludicrous. Plus, consider this - we give Europe two fingers, how desperate are they going to be to deal with us at all? How confident are you that nothing will change, things will get cheaper and everyone will be happy again? Do you really believe Michael Gove when he says that £50billion of the money we won't be paying the EU will go to the NHS? Or will it go to the private companies who have taken over parts of the NHS?
The way the Tories are dividing up the country and selling off what's left; it won't matter if we're in or out for them. They will still clean up; so it could be they're doing what they hoped to do last May, but now with added incentives. That's a conspiracy theory that could have some weight.