Almost six months on from the EU referendum, we present a mini-series on five people who helped to shape the result.
“Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.” Or to put the point another way: history is not decided by inexorable forces, as Marx believed and other determinists still do.
More often than not, what tilts events one way or the other is chance – for example, the right person being in the room at the right time. Which bring us to Victoria Woodcock, whose name will probably mean nothing to you.
Woodcock was Vote Leave’s operations director. The day before the deadline for the receipt of applications to run the Leave campaign, she asked about a crucial section of the form: “Wouldn’t it be worth working out what the actual criteria are?”
It was discovered that no-one had done so, and that none of them had been addressed. Vote Leave’s application was rewritten against the clock. The revised version was sent to the Electoral Commission with 20 minutes to spare.
If the original had been submitted instead, Leave EU would have amassed more points – and got the gig. Do you think they could have won the referendum for Leave? No, me neither.
Claim the Goves and Johnsons did it, if you will. Or, as I have, laud Hannan, Farage, Stuart and Baker. Or even the one and only Dominic Cummings. It is all by the by. If Woodcock’s nose had been shorter…