So after a week of dark clouds emerging from the Number 10 press office regarding Cameron’s ability to get the renegotiation deal he wants fully signed off at the summit to be held on February 18 and 19th, in order to facilitate a June referendum, suddenly this morning we got some good news on that front. Or as the horse’s mouth put it, “The mood music has changed”.
Although we are still getting the usual song and dance about nothing being final until the Luxembourgian man signs, the sudden positive tone would be highly unlikely if Cameron wasn’t genuinely very optimistic about getting a result in February.
So if this does come together as it looks it will, it doesn’t really matter what Stuart Rose thinks the name of the Remain campaign actually is or is not, nor any perceived idea that the campaign as a whole hasn’t been up to scratch, this point usually pushed by the right of centre press (there is an article on the Spectator website this morning entitled “The ‘in’ side’s shockingly bad start in the EU referendum campaign”). Because really, Cameron saying we should stay in and why is all that really matters in the end.
Think about it: Cameron and Osborne saying we need to stay in emphatically, the prime minister having just got a deal from Brussels. The Redwoods of the world will do all they can to declare the deal insufficient, a scam even. But it won’t work because no one who is not obsessed about Europe really cares about the details of the renegotiation. All they’ll see is the prime minister showing he got what he needed out of the EU and asking for the public’s backing on that. That will shift a lot of floating Tory voters.
It creates a steep mountain for Leave to climb. They have to come to a consensus amongst themselves about what a post-Brexit Britain looks like. Given the EFTA or not to EFTA split at present, this looks unlikely. And even they could somehow pull this, off, who would communicate it to the public? Any formidable Tory possibilities seemed to have vanished.
The pro-European camp cannot take anything for granted, as I have said many times before. But as Number 10 told us, the mood music is changing.