There was an item on the BBC News earlier this week about the EU referendum campaigns. They did a piece from the offices of Vote Leave and one thing stood out beyond anything else: everyone you saw, in every single shot, was a man. In fact, all the blokes seemed to fit a similar pattern as well: white and middle-aged. Then they had some talking heads from spokespeople, and you could add to that middle-class as well. What’s really odd about this is that it doesn’t have to be this way, and one wonders why the Leave campaign has managed to make itself appear so male dominated.
There are some very credible Eurosceptic women out there. Suzanne Evans and Diane James spring immediately to mind. In fact, even taking their gender away for a moment, those two are several times more credible sounding than Nigel Farage (or Peter Bone for that matter). So actually it should be a win-win situation for Leave: your best people are women, which has the added value of making Euroscepticism and the desire for Britain to leave the European Union seem less like the obsession of a bunch of middle-aged blokes. It baffles me why people such as these are languishing on the benches while some truly odious and off-putting nutters get a reasonable amount of airtime (but as a pro-European, may I say: keep it up, lads).
It looks to be getting worse too: Kate Hoey, the nominal (or actual? I never figured that out) leader of the Labour Leave campaign (there is such a thing, promise) has now said (in emails leaked to the press) that she wants no more part of it. Given this is the loss of another Eurosceptic woman to the Brexit frontbenches, and added to that Kate Hoey pretty much was Labour Leave as far as I could ever see, this is a mighty blow to the Leavers.
We heard a lot from Eurosceptics months ago about how the fight for Brexit would be waged by men and women, black, white and Asian, rich and poor, young and old. Thus far the demographic they have presented the nation has not lived up to this promise.