While the mutually agreed two-day suspension of campaigning after last Thursday’s horrific events held strong, sadly it seems the same cannot be said for the supposed consensus on a kinder and less bilious tone of campaigning.
There are some at fault on both sides, here, but it seems that the Remain campaign in particular has decided to make the most of the situation to attack the character of its opponents. The strategy was set out by Will Straw in a conference call (a recording of which was leaked to Guido), and it can be seen in action in this advert, now being touted online by the Stronger In campaign’s own Twitter account:
The implication is clear – if you’re someone who is voting Leave, you are supposedly declaring yourself to be unkind, closed, not inclusive, intolerant and in favour of division.
Not only is that entirely in conflict with the weekend’s warm words about a more reasonable and less unpleasant tone in the final days of the referendum campaign, but it is an extraordinary attack on the millions upon millions of voters who are – rightly, in this site’s view – planning to Vote Leave.
It isn’t the first time we’ve heard such dismissive criticisms of those who dare to disagree. Only yesterday, the Prime Minister declared that there is not “a single credible voice” arguing we will gain by leaving the EU, implicitly suggesting several members of his own Cabinet lack credibility. But the content of this particular advert makes it the broadest insult to voters, Party members, MPs and Ministers so far, and the timing makes a mockery of recent promises to raise the tone.
If Stronger In’s management intend to stand by this scurrilous line, will their overseers, Cameron and Osborne, continue to do so as well?