20 Oct 2016

Brexit vote: Number 10 aide’s view on why Remain lost

A brief memoir of the referendum by no 10 aide Daniel Korski Why we lost the Brexit vote – POLITICO is well worth a read. He may exaggerate the importance of Spitzenkandidaten and the European elections, but his analysis of the late start by the In campaign and the fundamental lack of EU enthusiasm seems spot on.

He praises the Leave side for early preparation and better knowledge of the arguments and for rebuttal speed. He sheds more light on the renegotiation and the frustrations no 10 had with countries like Portugal, Sweden and with Chancellor Merkel, seen as having Stepped back from proceedings in the final phases of talks. Some Sherpas from countries like the Netherlands seem to irk him but you can’t help suspecting the feeling was mutual.

He acknowledges that Tories didn’t have good links with the sister parties because David Cameron had withdrawn them from the EPP. The old adage that they (the 27) read our papers but we don’t read theirs seems to echo, perhaps today as much as ever.

Mr Korski says the first draft plan for a renegotiation didn’t even include immigration as a topic and echoes Sir Craig Oliver’s pain that the Remain side had nothing to say on immigration and simply tried (unsuccessfully) to change the subject when it came up.

He praises David Cameron’s hard work ethic but then let’s slip that it was only after working on his papers on the way back from an EU summit that the then PM would slip on his Dr Dre headphones and relax. Mr Cameron usually took the plane back from Brussels and the flying time is about 1 hour.

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