Yesterday, the previously mostly cerebral Gove decided to go a bit Boris Johnson on us. I figured Gove would almost certainly have to give in to the immigration beast at some point in the campaign, but I didn’t think he’d ever go in this hard:
“Boris Johnson and I will use all our influence with government to give the NHS additional support when we wake up on 24 June. But if we vote to remain, I fear the NHS will only face additional pressures. Even without the accession of any new countries, we can expect a continuing net flow of 172,000 new individuals from the EU to the UK every year. That adds up to 2.58 million new people arriving here from the EU over the next 15 years. Population growth at that rate could reasonably be expected to increase the pressure on A&E by 28%.”
One of the key ideological differences between Vote Leave and Leave.EU was that the former was going to attempt to be a wide ranging campaign that did not just focus on UKIP concerns. It would fight Stronger In on the economic argument. They reasoned that in order to win, they need to win on this front.
They have now released a video entitled the “Paving the road from Ankara” that is as unpleasant as it sounds. There was once a time when you could tell within ten seconds whether something had come from Vote Leave or whether it had come from Leave.EU. The Turkey video officially crosses the Rubicon on this. The video features footage of a brawl in the Turkish Parliament, then a map of red arrows starting in the Balkans and flying toward us. It talks about Serbia, Turkey, Albania and others in a lurid tone, as if these nations were the Ebola virus.
Having lost the economic argument, Vote Leave are putting all of their eggs in the immigrant bashing basket. So now we get to see exactly how deep these sentiments run within the current soul of this country. How badly do the British public “want their borders back”, even at the cost of economic stability? How much fear does the word “Albania”‘strike in the hearts of people in the East Midlands? We are, for better or worse, going to find out soon enough. Because for the last month of the campaign, it is clear that the Leave camp have put all of their eggs in a Nigel Farage shaped basket.