In presenting the EU renegotiation deal to the British Parliament and the public at large, Prime Minister David Cameron has fired the starting gun on the greatest political race since last year’s general election. On the 23rd June the voting public of Great Britain will be asked to choose whether or not they want to remain in the European Union or whether they want to leave. It is a decision that will shape the future of this country for generations to come, affecting Britain’s future in the 21st century world.
No sooner had the deal been announced than the battle lines were drawn. A conservative cabinet which was forced to stay silent during the deal making was now split asunder, with prominent party figures in both camps. Provisional campaigns in both the Brexit and Bremain opinions now thrust into prominence. While the Bremain campaign has remained a single entity, the two Brexit campaigns are divided in their membership and their political standpoints. The required appointment of a lead campaign in both camps will force these groups to reconcile their differences in view of their shared message.
The chosen campaigns on both sides will receive up to £600,000 in funding together with many political benefits as distributed by the Electoral Commission.
The securing by the Brexit groups of Boris Johnson’s support represents an early coup in the referendum race. Johnson, a somewhat comical figure in some quarters carries a lot of political weight as Mayor of London and indeed many see him as the natural successor to David Cameron. To not take him seriously as a political heavyweight is suicide, just ask Ken Livingstone.
The influx of Johnson and his Conservative colleagues into the campaign should push out the more extreme individuals like Nigel Farage & George Galloway bringing some much needed respectability to the campaign.
The momentum of the referendum is in serious danger of shifting so far to the Brexit campaign that the Bremain campaign will struggle to keep up. Cameron and his colleagues must secure the support of similar political heavyweight to lead the opposition, but in an already polarised party the field of potentials is small.
One name who could potentially come in from the cold would be William Hague. A seasoned campaigner with experience of electioneering and political slugfests, Hague would be able to garner support from a lot of middle way Conservative MP’s. However, having only recently retired from electoral politics, Mr Hague would be hard to convince. Whoever the Bremain campaign choose is a choice which will potentially make or break them, so great care must be taken in their choice.
Political manoeuvring aside, the ultimate arbiters of this contest will be the British public. Both campaigns will try to win support using whatever methods they can, be it via the media or the persuasiveness of their respective arguments. Over the coming four months, the campaign will unfold and the choice will be made and whatever the outcome Britain will never be the same.
© R Simmons. All Rights Reserved.