22 Apr 2016

Farage says Project Fear is working

Prince Philip (95 in June)  is probably the oldest person ever to have been entrusted with driving  a US President.

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The Duke of Edinburgh drove the Obamas and the Queen from the lawn where the President’s helicopter had landed a few hundred yards up to Windsor Castle.

As they pulled up at Windsor Castle, The Queen said to President Obama: “You cannot get in and out. ”

Was it an echo of the Queen’s intervention in the Scottish referendum on independence when she said in a carefully managed aside that she hoped people would “think hard” before voting?

Not quite. The Queen, the day after her 90th birthday, was referring to the difficulty of getting in and out a Range Rover.

This Presidential visit ends a two-week barrage of Remain artillery which has left the Leave campaign winded and divided.

This was a two-week bombardment that has long sat in the Remain campaign grid. It started with the government document to every home, followed by contributions from the IMF, from Labour figures, a Treasury doom-laden assessment of Brexit, culminating with the arrival of the US President.

It might seem a bit far out from a vote that’s still nine weeks away. But the Remain strategy is to frame the debate on its terms: fear, the economy and big name endorsements.

Vote Leave sources admit that this propaganda onslaught, especially the government document and the Presidential intervention, have had an impact.

One source said there was a real concern that Remain had stolen a march but that Vote Leave, after a lull in hostilities around the elections in England, Scotland and Wales in two weeks’ time, would be pushing back with its own attacks on how the ¬£350m it claims the UK pays to the EU (for statistical health warnings, see various FactChecks) could go to the NHS and all we get back from the EU is a net inflow of 250,000 people putting pressure on the NHS.

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Nigel Farage, whose preferred campaign team didn’t get the designation last week as official Leave campaign, said the Remain barrage “has had an impact and people are a bit scared”.

He said the Leave campaign “problem” is that “there aren’t enough voices” from outside the Tory Party. He said Vote Leave “have been defending their goal” not “getting into (the other side’s) half of the pitch” and haven’t been pushing immigration hard enough.

Nigel Farage also spelt out something Boris Johnson opened up his Sun newspaper article today, a sense some critics here detect that President Obama isn’t as attached to the UK as previous presidents.

Mr Farage described President Obama as “the most anti-British American President there has ever been.” He said President Obama’s “grandfather grew up in Kenya in the old days of the colonies and I do think he bears a bit of a grudge”.

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