Since my last blog, Brexit, The Breakfast Cereal For You, we’ve had the two so-called ‘debates’ and I have to admit whilst I was seriously sceptical whether there would be any debate at all, the sterling work, and in my personal view the only winner from these two exercises, was Sky’s political editor Faisal Islam, who tenaciously took on both Cameron and Gove singlehandedly for around half an hour each and showed he was every bit the man for the job. Not just by asking the difficult questions, but getting involved in a mini debate. Well done Faisal.
If we turn now to Cameron and Gove, if I had to choose a winner then it would be Gove, even though he gave very few solid answers to many of the questions and annoyingly resorted far too many times with a politician’s patronising statement to every person who asked a question before answering it. He did play a blinder in coming across as believable and credible. As for the Prime Minister, I think he got a serious dose of reality as this was the first time he appeared in front of normal people who hadn’t been selected by his campaign management to cheer every time he broke wind.
So what did we learn? Well, the Remain campaign certainly learnt that they’ve got a fight on their hands and they need to step up their game, but as for Joe Public like me we learnt absolutely nothing! The theme song for the whole of both debate evenings, should have been Abba’s ‘One of us is Lying’. But who is it? Tough call. And I pray to God we’re not in the same position on the morning of the 23rd of June, as there is every chance that the decision to stay in or to leave will lay very firmly in the lap of the Gods. Oh what a mess. To put in context how serious this situation now is, we are starting to hear from other EU leaders who are beginning to break ranks from the official line that this is a UK domestic matter and they wouldn’t be commenting, with the two most notable being Frau Merkel who, paraphrasing her statement said, ‘basically if you leave I’m gonna make it my business to give you a shit trading deal going forward’. So? What’s new, many would ask. And also Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission who used appalling, First World War rhetoric by stating that the British public would be considered as “deserters” and not shown any mercy. Frightening indeed and I can see why some people may come to the conclusion it’s safer to remain. This type of rhetoric, I’m sorry to say, has the opposite effect on me.
On Tuesday, the eve of his so-called debate with Nigel Farage, the Prime Minister gave us the Monty Python moment with a hastily organised press conference, beautifully orchestrated with the Houses of Parliament in the background, slating his ministerial colleagues one of whom holds the office of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, one of the highest legal authorities in the land, accusing them of telling ‘untruths’ at least 5 times. To quote, “A Leave campaign resorting to total untruths to con people into taking a leap in the dark; it’s irresponsible and it’s wrong and it’s time that the Leave campaign was called out on the nonsense they are peddling.” An amazing attack and how can anybody now see a way where the ministers involved can possibly play any future part in his government if we vote to remain. Because quite frankly, if we translate his comments into street talk, they are either liars or incompetent con men and women. Either of which will disqualify them from holding any form of public office. This cannot possibly end well for the Tories.
On Wednesday, I took part in a BBC News Referendum debate with Remain board member June Sarpong and Michael Dobbs (yes, he who wrote the brilliant House of Cards and has seen Machiavellian political machinations first hand). I was shocked to hear June tell the British public that the reason the Prime Minister will not debate head to head was because he feels there was no one on the other side who was at his level. Conceited or just plain arrogant? I will let you decide.
It was music to my ears when at last the Leave campaign finally broke Tory ranks, offered out the Prime Minister and challenged him to what I’ve been calling for, for weeks now. A face to face debate and I quote, “We think that the public deserve a chance to hear these issues debated face to face between the Prime Minister and a spokesman for Vote Leave, so they can judge for themselves which is a safe choice, on the 23rd June. The Prime Minister was absolutely right to hold this vote and allow ministers to disagree with him. We hope that in the same spirit he will accept this invitation.” Hallelujah! So maybe all my tweets and last week’s blog did not fall on deaf ears. Now this is exactly what the British people want and deserve. Anything short of this and I’m afraid the Prime Minister and the Remain campaign are in danger of becoming toast. So no more ‘Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!’ Enough of this phoney war, let the real battle commence.
9th June 2016