"Bring me my Bow of burning gold; Bring me my Arrows of desire; Bring me my Spear; O clouds unfold! Bring me my Chariot of fire!"
|When you feel that the race is run - you have to find that little bit more|
This is likely to be my final blog post before the referendum and just possibly the last for UK Unleashed. It's been a long journey and a charged roller-coaster with all the twists and turns that you'd expect in a battle for the soul of one of the greatest nations on earth. And recently, it's become downright ugly.
We saw campaigning resume today after the tragic death of Jo Cox and regardless of the whimsical sentiment made in the aftermath by all sides, that we'd see a more respectful approach to campaigning, what rapidly emerged was an exceedingly grubby form of politics. It's not something that I'm going to dwell on because I'm sure that the Remain gang would love nothing more than to turn this in to a dirty ground fight in the final week; I will only say this.
When a tragedy happens, we condemn it - and we unite together in our protest, because it is the decent and human thing to do in the face of such horror. And if it's subsequently established that it was an assault on democracy, we agree that it's an affront to all of us. An act that served nobody but the twisted demons that inhabit the perpetrator's agonised mind. And we agree that to allow one deranged man to both drive a wedge, and be used to drive a wedge between people, does not provide fitting tribute to the person who was taken from us.
Yet, as if to instantly prove my naivety, the Remain campaign have immediately seized the opportunity of the moment. I will not sit here and count the many ways in which this tragedy has been gleefully exploited across social media or in the mainstream press, but I will bring one individual briefly under the microscope - because for someone of his stature, he really should know better.
|Simply shameless. Win or lose, he can't go soon enough.|
Let us be clear about this - this is an unconscionable act by a Prime Minister, one repugnantly ghoulish in character. If Nigel Farage's 'Breaking Point' poster demonstrated political naivety and campaign damaging hubris, David Cameron has gone so much further. Yes, Jo Cox should be honoured - but surely she deserves more respect than to be used as political collateral only days after her death. Shamelessly, that rather human concern appeared to count for little in David Cameron's eyes.
The tide comes in - it goes out
It's not entirely unbelievable to think that as things get tense over the remaining few days, we'll see new lows and be forced to inhale the sickly stench of more putrid political debauchery if we want to stay in the fight. But as Leavers, one thing has become abundantly clear - it's that we have a powerful and uplifting message that can help us rise above the sqalour. It's a tale that should be told and a song that should be sung (to loosely quote Hannan).
Right now, we're back to being the underdogs. Leave waxed in the polls last week and then waned over the weekend. That may be in part as a reaction to the sad death of Jo Cox, but Yougov polling data suggests that the contraction had already begun before Thursday and other polls support the trend*. This would indicate the expected 'status quo' effect where people recoil slightly from the prospect of change as we near the day of voting. It's not yet known though how it's going to play out because the dynamics are very different from other referenda such as Scotland and Quebec.
Because of the subtle and deceptive way in which power has transferred from from the UK to the EU over time, we've not had a hard transition where people have come to understand that the UK has changed immeasurably. The modus operandi of 'the project' is acquisition of power by stealth. In other words - it works by pretending that nothing has changed in the nation, when bit by bit it wrestles the sovereignty away in the margins. You only realise that things have taken a turn for the worse when you find out that your Chancellor has to consult 27 other nations in order to alter VAT on sanitary products.
Existential crisis - what crisis?
So for many people, this whole process may well be one whereby they wake up to find a very different existential crisis happening from the one David Cameron has been alluding to in the press today. They'll wake up during the debate to realise that their status quo - the one where Britain is a proud sovereign nation - has actually vanished. This realisation could result in a different reaction at the ballot box than has been seen elsewhere. In Scotland, there was a pronounced swing back to retention of the Union - but that was in a campaign where the threats were fundamental (currency / oil dependency) and nobody could claim to remember an independent Scotland.
The UK situation, being so very different, may result in the status quo effect being muted somewhat, yet perhaps not held in check entirely.
In the final hours of this fight, we need to focus on emphasising this point. Sovereignty is the baseline - the foundation stone on which our house is built. And of we don't have sovereignty - then we're just guests in someone else's house. Should the UK vote Remain, then we've just given the EU the biggest democratic endorsement that it's ever had - a democratic gift that it will never reciprocate.
So we must fight a fight. A clever fight not the vicious and nasty brawl that some people would like. We will use reason; we will use moderation; we will use intelligence; we will use history and we will use perspective. And win or lose, we will know that we have tried our damnedest to raise the spirit of Brexit to deliver the free and sovereign United Kingdom that future generations deserve.
Arm yourselves for the final battle.
*Footnote. I'm still trying to track the field work from Survation for the Mail on Sunday poll released over the weekend. It's become seemingly apparent that along with the question about intention for the referendum, many other questions were asked. At least one of which could be construed as a 'softener' designed to focus the interviewees mind in a particular direction. This is only possible if the dubious question precedes the all important 'Leave / Remain' one though. I'll update when I get the field work.