Boris Johnson’s attack on David Cameron’s EU deal as achieving ‘no real change’ is part of the very high-profile campaign that the senior Tories campaigning for Brexit are waging. They have covered the media over the past week with interviews, quotes and rebuttals to every claim that the Prime Minister and his allies have offered.
What is interesting about Boris’ comments is that he is trying to take the debate back to the question of whether Cameron actually got anything in the renegotiation. The Prime Minister has rather pointedly moved on from talking about that, focusing now on the dangers posed by a ‘leap into the dark’, which requires a debate about Britain’s overall membership, rather than the changes he has secured. But Boris is keen to highlight the paucity of the deal, and to argue that it leaves Britain in a dangerous position should it stay in the European Union. He tells the Standard:
‘Unless we make a stand now we will simply wake up on June 24 with absolutely nothing changed. Leaving will galvanise this country, it will be a massive shot of oxygen into the bloodstream.’
The Mayor also warns that ‘it is getting to the stage where they are trying to construct something that is anti-democratic and unsuitable for the UK… I think this thing is moving in the wrong direction’.
Cameron wants to present this referendum campaign as a choice between the stability of continued EU membership, and the chaos of leaving the bloc. But Boris is trying to frame this as a choice between a damaging membership of the EU, and escaping to safety by leaving.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.