EU Referendum: Turn it up to 11

So with six days left before one of the most important votes for a generation, what should the rival campaigns do? How about have a mini-armada on the River Thames? This is precisely what happened yesterday in what has to be the most surreal events of EU referendum so far. A flotilla of boats for the Leave campaign sailed up the Thames, only to be greeted by boats full of Remain activists. A water fight ensued and little bit of nautical shunting.

Despite their frivolous nature, yesterday’s events belie a more serious point. As we enter the final stages of the campaign, all that can be said has been said. What we are starting to see is the reheating of arguments that have been made several weeks ago, merely turned up to 11. For instance, the Leave campaign continues to try and discredit institutions that have made the case for Remain.  Several weeks back, members of the Out camp criticised the Bank of England’s involvement in the debate. Today, former Conservative Cabinet members have renewed their assault on Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s motivations. Meanwhile in The Times, David Cameron claims Brexiteers are playing fast and loose with the economy. He accuses them of being “hell bent on rolling the dice”.

So over the last few days we are not likely to hear anything radically new. It is now a matter of who can shout the loudest and speak to those who are either still undecided or just tuning in for the first time. Today another poll shows ‘Leave’ winning by a 6 point margin. Residual scepticism still persists due to the General Election and Scottish Referendum, but there is now definite trend in polling indicating a swing to Leave. This can of course swing back to Remain. But if the ‘Remain’ side are planning to pull a bunny out of the hat, it needs to be a very big bunny.

Douglas McIlroy

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search