As I predicted in my first blog posting with my predictions for 2016, the Brexit camp now have major political ‘big beasts’ joining the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union (EU).
Michael Gove is a ferociously clever and intellectual figure from the heart of the Conservative modernising establishment, who has seen first hand the effect that the European dead hand has had on Britain’s ability to make its own laws. Gove joining the Leave camp is a huge coup and his modern, liberal and optimistic case for Britain outside the EU will appeal to the critical mass of floating voters in Middle England.
Boris Johnson is a popular, charismatic political figure underrated by opponents as a joker and political lightweight. On the contrary, Johnson has a first class brain and behind his ‘cheeky chappy’ persona is an ambitious, clever and very ruthless politician. What Boris brings to the Leave campaign is a charismatic front man with superb communication skills who can articulate to the British public an optimistic, centrist and liberal vision of leaving the EU. Not such much a leap into the dark, but a leap into the light.
The Leave campaign must now start mobilising those elements within the business community to speak up about why exiting the EU is in Britain’s economic self-interest, as Project Fear has started in earnest. The campaign will not be an easy one and it is quite possible that a risk-averse British public will still vote to remain. However, there is no doubt that the Gove/Johnson duo has given the Leave campaign the intellectual and political weight it so badly needed.
Looking forward to this summer, the migrant numbers in January suggest that Europe will again experience a huge number of migrants flooding into Europe once the warm weather returns. Borders are already being closed; tensions are rising within and between countries and the pressure to shut the borders grow daily. There is a real risk of violence exploding and that background of chaos will impact the Brexit referendum, scheduled for 23 June 2016.
Nobody can predict with any degree of certainty how the British public will vote, however, it would be foolhardy to assume that the voters will go with the status quo option.