Sunday, April 24, 2016
Big Bad Bozza - just the tip of the Leave iceberg
It's difficult for the Leave campaign. Faced with using high profile spokesmen to get their message across they often end up having to choose between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. The campaign hasn't really been kind to either man, although this might of course be the consequence of their well-embedded political personas which have now been unfairly exposed to harsh public glare. Boris' once-cheery schtick of being a bumbling but well-meaning chap is increasingly seen as the incompetent antics of a jobbing journalist looking for headlines but uninterested in the grunt work of analysing detail. Farage, meanwhile, is fulminating at what seems to be his increasing irrelevance in the very campaign he fought so hard to have, and spent much of his time today and yesterday excitedly pointing out that President Obama used the word "queue" and not "line" - clear evidence that his statement was written up by the Englishmen in Downing Street.
It's good to see the Leave campaign focus on the important issues. The word "queue" for Farage, and the right of the US President to have a bust of an American civil rights icon rather than a British PM in his office for Johnson.
The Leave campaign's intellectual heft is meanwhile provided by Michael Gove, an undeniably intelligent (and apparently, in person, thoroughly nice) man but whose public persona suffered badly from his rather bombastic performance as Education Secretary. Meanwhile, the chief bureacrat of the Leave movement is Dominic Cummings, arguably Gove's most wacky adviser at Education and now a man so steeped in his own importance that he begun his Commons select committee appearance with the announcement that he really couldn't give them much time as he had to be elsewhere. By the end he had come off distinctly worse from committee chairman Andrew Tyrie's methodical and relentless grilling.
It seems like only a few weeks ago that Boris Johnson was being heralded as the likely next Tory leader, as George Osborne imploded and the British right-wing press went to war for Brexit. Alas, poor Boris. Even his champions are publishing articles suggesting his PM ambitions are simply the end-point of an extended political car crash. Let's just hope the EU referendum doesn't go the same way, even as Leave do their level best to hand victory to the Remainers.