|Notes On A Referendum Battle
||[Feb. 25th, 2016|12:34 pm]
Will the Tory party survive its ripping in two over the EU referendum? Probably, but one can dream.|
These differences of opinion have a way of becoming personal. "Of course we'll still be friends," says your opponent and maybe he means it at the time, but that degree of detachment is very hard to sustain. I'm thinking particularly of Gove and Cameron- who were good mates until all this happened.
The party hacks want us to stay in, the one-man bands want us to leave. How weird is that line-up of Johnson, Farage and Galloway- the three most colourful personalities in British politics! It's like a 70s supergroup.
Cameron didn't want this referendum but he made a promise and now he's stuck with it. He came back from Brussels with a lousy deal and has to pretend he's thrilled. He knows half the parliamentary party and most of the party in the country are against him.
Pressure brings out the worst in Cameron. He gets snappy and the arrogance shows through- as it did yesterday when he told Corbyn to do up his top button and sing "God Save the Queen. Every so often the mask drops and he makes it clear that he thinks the rest of us are the most frightful little oiks.
Corbyn wants to stay in the Union but would rather be talking about the NHS and Trident. His glory- and his problem- is his inability to fake an enthusiasm he doesn't feel. This makes him a wonderful human being but a lousy leader of her majesty's opposition. His strategy- if you can call it that- is to step back and let the Tories fight it out among themselves.
What does Murdoch think? He hasn't declared himself yet. Perhaps he's ceased caring. After all, he is 84 and has a new wife to keep happy. One thing everyone forgets when talking about Murdoch is that he has the grim reaper at his shoulder.
Boris Johnson is a Churchill who has yet to deliver his "Fight them on the beaches" speech. Like Churchill he is brilliant, charismatic, madly ambitious, slapdash, irresponsible. He sees the referendum as a chance to seize the helm. Such men are a liability in every situation except a life or death crisis. Pity the nation that has need of them.
The public mainly couldn't care less. Abstentions are likely to be very high. The question boils down to this- who do you want to have bossing you about- a bunch of crooks in Brussels or a bunch of crooks in London- both of them fronting for the corporations and the banks? If I lean towards Brexit it's because we have more leverage over the local crooks and can sack them more easily.
And, anyway, how much more longer is the EU going to last? It's an empire no-one loves, governed by people only political geeks can name. Its structures are undemocratic, its finances are in a God-awful mess and the refugee crisis is putting terrible pressure on the fraternal love that is supposed to exist between member states. Will it still exist in ten years time? I have my doubts.