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communicating Brexit effectively

Can anyone communicate Brexit effectively?

So are we all clear on Brexit now?

I would be a lot clearer if our politicians could communicate effectively.

If they would stop talking in negatives.

We call them Pink Elephants.

Which are unnecessary negatives that paint the opposite picture of your vision.

The prize for the worst recent example goes to David Davis, the Brexit Secretary.

He suggested critics of Brexit believe the UK will be driven down.

“With Britain plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction”.

“These fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing, not history, not intention, nor interest.”

So what are you thinking?

I see Mel Gibson as Mad Max in the 1979 film classic – in a world in ruins.

Every man for himself.

Society destroyed.

And I believe Mr Davies was looking to reassure us.

Three problems with this way of communicating

There are three big problems with the way the Brexit Secretary is communicating:

  1. He’s using negative images (Pink Elephants) and painting entirely the wrong image
  2. He’s referencing a film made before almost half the population of the UK was born
  3. He’s using language that baffles rather than explains

Why communicating like this is ineffective

So why do we call them Pink Elephants?

Take this test:

Don’t think of a Pink Elephant.

Are you seeing a Pink Elephant?


That’s why we urge clients to stop painting pictures of the opposite vision they want to portray.

Instead, we ask them to paint clear, positive pictures.

Secondly, referring to a 39-year-old Australian film makes him sound out of touch.

communicating effectively mad max reference Glasgow.

Mr Davies was 30 when the film was released.

But over 30 million people living today in the UK had yet to be born.

So the reference lacks relevance.

Thirdly, I had to Google ‘dystopian’ to be clear on its meaning.

“a community that is undesirable or frightening”.

How many people are willing to Google what a politician is saying to understand it?

Few, I expect.

Instead, we have to talk in pictures that everyone would understand.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the fray with his own take on Brexit:

“The European Union is not the root of all our problems and leaving it will not solve all our problems“.

“Likewise the EU is not the source of all enlightenment and leaving it does not inevitably spell doom”.

So what is the EU?

These are two things that it’s not.

And two things that won’t happen.

Sadly, there’s little enlightenment in that statement and I’m further perplexed.

Communicate a clear understanding of Brexit

communicate brexit effectively answer these questions Glasgow British flag.

To me, what is lacking through the whole EU debate is any clear vision on the future of the UK.

These questions need to be answered to effectively communicate Brexit to the British public.

I believe this would give us all a clear understanding.

What is the goal of Brexit?

What will future trade be like?

Where will our borders be?

How freely will we move between countries?

Will our farmers or fishermen be better off?

Will we be better off?

Will life be more expensive?

I call on any politician to please step forward to answer these questions.

communicate effectively politicians Glasgow theresa may.

Paint a clear picture in words I can understand, speaking positively.

We may all then learn the answer to the biggest question:

“What is Brexit?”.

Summed up nicely by Nish Kumar on The Mash Report (contains strong language).

What to do next?

We all have an opinion on Brexit.

Have your say, add to our list of unanswered questions.

Comment on this post with your own unanswered Brexit questions.

Or share the post on social media with your questions.

Remember to use the hashtag #BrexitReality.

Bill McFarlan is Executive Chairman of  Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.

You can view his full profile here.

Photo credit// Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash // // Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

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