The EU Referendum Campaign has turned nasty.
Essentially it was always going to be HEAD (Remain) versus HEART (Leave), ECONOMICS (Remain) versus EMOTION (Leave). And lets be honest the Brexiteers do themselves few favours by coming across as a very odd mix of Wierdos….the Mad and the Bad……Michael Gove, George Galloway, Nigel Farage, Ian Duncan Smith, Kate Hoey, Boris Johnson, Theresa Villiers. And lets be even more honest and say that MIGRATION has never been far from the surface. And while it is clearly a legitimate issue …there is an element of “Dog Whistle” politics here….MIGRATION (a legitimate issue) is too often a respectable cover for RACE (nrever a legitimate issue).
While it is ironic for the Leavers to portray themselves as fighting unelected European “elites” and not seeming to notice the English Monarchy, the House of Lords and the Bullingdon Club..I have a certain amount of sympathy for self-styled mavericks taking on the BIg Batallions….the European institutions, big business, the City of London…the Establishment.
And I always worry when the Establishment tries to deny that it exists and yet it amuses me when assorted lefties, who normally complain about the power of the Establishment become part of it.
The “Elitist” argument is increasingly mirrored by a “Sophisticated” argument. All Logic…certainly Economic Logic….seems to be on the Remain side. Yet the closeness of the opinion pols suggests that the Remain side is not getting thru to the voters in the way that they feel they deserve.
I still think Remain will win on 23rd June…in the privacy of the polling booth, people will vote with their wallet. No doubt the Remain side would have preferred to win the European Debate based on the logic of it all. But Plan A is not working and Plan B is about FEAR….Project Fear worked in Scotland less than two years ago and now being rolled out too easily for the voters in England, Wales and Norn Iron. The closeness of the opinion polls, the prospect of a low turn-out and a Labour Party clearly unenthusiastic about bailing out the Cameron-Osborne wing of the Tory Party….not to mention some discredited New Labour figures like Mandelson, Darling and Tony B Liar himself, rising from the Dead…..has caused a nerves to fray.
The Remain side increasingly portray themselves as “sophisticated” and portray Leavers as “unsophisticated”. No doubt it is frustrating to believe that the Remain case should be winning more easily but it is difficult to dismiss the leaders of the Leave campaign as wierdos, without effectively saying the same about a large proprtion of the Electorate.
Here in Norn Iron, we have the amusing spectacle of Eddie Izzard, comedian….wearing a pink beret, eye make-up and lipstick debating Europe on TV with Sammy Wilson of DUP. You couldnt make it up. But lets be clear that it was really little to do with Economics, Migration and Sovreignty and everything to do with Sophistication versus UnSophistication.
Likewise New Labour phoney “Lord” Peter Mandelson took time off from counting his pension (former Norn Iron Secretary of State and a European Commissioner) showed up in Belfast yesterday to rally the Remain troops. And they all looked suitably impressed because Mandelson might well be a phoney but he is a sophisticated phoney.
Likewise the decision of local public service trade union NIPSA to support the Leave Campaign has been roundly condemned by local Remain campaigners. The Remainers wonder aloud how this decision could possibly have been taken….they tell us that it cant be in the interests of the union members. This is the Arrogance at the heart of the Remain Campaign. The Remain folks know the interests of trade union members better than the officials elected by the membership.
The campaigns waged by both the Remain and Leave sides are pathetic. Neither deserves to win….and there IS a way to ensure that neither wins.