There will have been gales of laughter in Downing Street and the In campaign this morning as they read Sam Coates’s account of the attempted coup in the No campaign. This Eurosceptic infighting is a huge gift to David Cameron for three reasons.
1). It will deter serious people from politics and business getting involved with the NO campaign. Few will want to sign up with a campaign that is already riven by infighting. Ministers and Tory MPs who were on the fence about what to do come the referendum, will be that much closer to sticking with the Prime Minister this morning.
2). Campaigns that win aren’t arguing about internal structures and who gets to do media with only 140 odd days to go to polling day. The time and energy that is being spent on these internal rows, is time that isn’t being devoted to building the organisation that the Out campaign so desperately needs.
3). It means that the Eurosceptic betrayal narrative post referendum won’t be directed at anyone in the government, but at various Eurosceptics. This will make it that much easier for Cameron to put the Tory party back together again after the referendum.
The troubles in the Out campaign are the product of a power vacuum. With no political big beast yet backing Out—and questions about whether one ever will, there is no one to command the campaign and to tell everyone to get in line.
The irony of the current situation is that MPs such as Bernard Jenkin, Bill Cash and John Redwood who have dedicated their political careers to Euroscepticism, are now obstacles to a successful campaign for Britain to leave the EU. Given that the board rejected yesterday’s attempted coup, those behind it should either take a vow of silence or leave the campaign. If they continue with their machinations, they will do nothing but undermine the cause that, they say, they so care about.