It started as the people versus the politicians and it is ending that way. The brutal murder of Labour MP Jo Cox has been ruthlessly exploited by the Remain side and today the ruling faction, which encompasses all so-called parties, will gather in the Commons to pay tribute to their “martyr”, and repeat their mantra that the nation must unite against hatred – thinly disguised code for a plea for the rejection of the Leave call for Britain to reassert its birthright and reclaim its independence.
We are all shocked by Mrs Cox’s death, but we should not be surprised by the way it has been used for political ends. As Adam Boulton pointed out in The Sunday Times yesterday, the House of Commons is heavily in favour of our membership of the EU. At the last count, of the 650 MPs, 463 are backing Remain against 150 for Leave and 37 undeclared. So 71 per cent of our elected representatives support the status quo – a far higher proportion than that shown by any opinion poll in the referendum campaign.
The politicians – with some notable exceptions – stand on one side of the divide; the people on the other. Which side will prevail on Thursday?
There is no doubt that the killing has taken the wind out of the sails of the Leave campaign. At the end of last week, it was clearly winning the battle, surging in the polls and succeeding in focusing on its core message that it was time that Britain took back control of its destiny. More and more people were becoming aware that immigration was out of control and that David Cameron’s pledge to reduce it to tens of thousands was transparently worthless. Meanwhile, Cameron’s message, that leaving the EU would be suicidal, inflicting a range of terrors on the land, was being seen as it is – increasingly desperate scaremongering.
Now, after the Yorkshire killing, Leave campaigners such as Michael Gove are being forced onto the back foot, distancing themselves from Nigel Farage’s graphic poster highlighting Europe’s impotence in the face of mass migration and – by extension – warning that once the million plus refugees/economic migrants from the Middle East and North Africa attain EU citizenship, they will be free to settle in Britain – which is, after all, the destination of choice for those fleeing unhappier lands.
Farage, of course, has continued to campaign with admirable fortitude, pointing out to ITV that he personally knew more about being the target of vile abuse than just about any politician in the land.
Then he added: ‘When you challenge the establishment in this country, they come after you, they call you all sorts of things.”
Quite right. The establishment has thrown the kitchen sink at Leave in the past few days. A vote for Brexit is now a vote for hatred and division when, of course, the alternative is a vote for the order, harmony and peace of the EU – just don’t mention the riots and suicides in Greece, the barbed wire on Eastern European borders, the imminent new crisis in the Eurozone, the swift decline of the European economies, the violence and crime spawned by mass migration.
Yet are the people cowed by this orchestrated bullying by the elites? Perhaps not. Anecdotally, one hears that outside London and the big cities, there is overwhelming support for Brexit.
And if BBC’s Sunday night Question Time is anything to go by, the people are still not getting the sanctimonious message that to insist on your right to self-governance makes you some kind of Nazi. This is Mail Online’s summary of the exchanges:
‘You’re a 21st Century Neville Chamberlain!’
Cameron mocked for appeasing EU leaders as he is hammered AGAIN by voters over his failure to tackle immigration
- Repeatedly mauled by the audience over failure to tackle immigration
- One woman told him public services at risk of being ‘flooded’
- Another accused him of behaving like Chamberlain over EU renegotiation
- Refused three times to say he would veto Turkey joining the EU
- Mr Cameron hit out at Nigel Farage for promoting ‘intolerance’
- Urged politicians to respect the memory and ‘values’ of Jo Cox
The people of Britain stand in one corner, their elders and betters in another. We will soon see if Project Fear and Project Grief have done their worst. Or if we have the courage to take back control.