A referendum is a question put to the electorate of a nation. They answer the question. They do not vote to support any politician who just happens to be around at the time.
I know lots of propagandists are out there right now trying to tell you that a ‘Remain’ vote is a vote for David Cameron, but it isn’t. It’s a vote for – or against – the UK to stay in Europe. No more, no less.
David Cameron wants you to think a ‘Remain’ vote is a vote for him because his career depends on it – as we heard on the BBC’s This Week, from the lips of Michael Portillo, of all people. He said the Conservative Government has nothing to say about anything else.
In fact I’m told that, according to most commentators who don’t have a vested interest, Labour voters will decide the future of the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe.
And they will take extreme offence at any claim that they have supported David Cameron with their pragmatic vote to stay in the EU.
So the headline of the Independent article quoted below – “If David Cameron wins the referendum, will he be a vengeful conqueror or one-nation healer?” – is nonsense.
Ironically, Eurosceptic Jeremy Corbyn is more likely to win the referendum for ‘Remain’, but you don’t see any articles proclaiming that to the populace because the mainstream media have been told to attack him.
John Rentoul is therefore either an idiot or a Tory shill. Your choice.
Perhaps he’d care to come here and explain himself?
Politics being what it is, and despite public protestations of “no complacency”, part of David Cameron’s mind is moving on to what happens after a vote to stay in. Will he be a vengeful conqueror or a one-nation healer? The Prime Minister wouldn’t be human if he didn’t dream of a revenge reshuffle in which he casts his Brexit enemies to the outer darkness. But he wouldn’t be Prime Minister if he weren’t also acutely aware of what a bad idea this would be.
So he will be less like Harold Macmillan, who sacked seven cabinet ministers in 1962 in an attempt to revive his tired government, and more like Harold Wilson, always balancing the factions in his divided party. The whole referendum thing is the Wilson model, although Cameron doesn’t like this being pointed out. The only change Wilson made to his Cabinet after the 1975 referendum was to swap two Outers, Tony Benn and Eric Varley, demoting the more prominent Benn from Industry to Energy.
This time the post-referendum reshuffle is bound to be more extensive, if only because it is likely to bring Boris Johnson into the Cabinet.
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