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The Man Who Will Win It for Remain

15/04/2016 11:43

'Cometh the hour, cometh the man' is the saying and various political and business leaders have been tipped to play the decisive role in the UK's EU referendum. Farage, Rose, Gove, Johnson & Johnson., but above all Cameron. But today a new man has cometh.

I thought I would never say it but the man elected against the odds to lead Labour could be the man to keep Britain in Europe. Jeremy Corbyn has not just been written off as a credible leader of the opposition but it has been assumed his role in the referendum would be at best irrelevant and at worst would aid and abet the leave camp, if for no other reason than disillusioned Labour voters would stay at home.

And up until quite recently it looked like David Cameron would be the man who won or lost the referendum and in large measure that would depend on how many Conservatives he could win over to his cause, because the turn out would be dominated by Tory voters. That always looked like a high risk strategy.

How things have changed in the past fortnight. David Cameron who had a reputation for being a Teflon politician, whose luck never ran out, is now damaged goods as a result of Panamagate.

According to YouGov, for the first time David Cameron now has a lower approval rating than Jeremy Corbyn, and the Labour Party is now neck and neck with the Tories.

Not enough to win a general election, but us Blairites have to concede it's looking increasingly likely that he may be the man to win the referendum.

And the two simple reasons behind that assumption is, firstly, Labour voters are more inclined to vote Remain by a margin of two to one, according to ICM So as Labour's popularity rises so will the remain vote. But more importantly, the second factor is that Labour voters will actually vote. For the first time since Brown bottled it by not calling a general election in 2007 Labour is resurgent and Labour voters feel emboldened.

So the Labour Leader who voted to leave in the 1975 referendum, and as recently as the summer of last year would not rule out a no vote, is now the cheerleader for the Remain campaign . Indeed that's what makes his intervention even more remarkable and powerful because despite his Euroscepticism, he believes Britain's still better off in, and reform can best achieved from the inside.

Like a Bernie Sanders of British politics he is seen as genuine to many. Maybe unelectable to high office, but in this mid-term referendum, where he seems to be gaining as much luck as fast as Cameron is losing it, he has decided to cast himself in role as leader of the Remain campaign.

So if Britain votes to remain in the EU it will be largely due to Labour voters turning out to follow their leader. An extraordinary turn of events in an extraordinary political year.

But despite that he still can't win the General Election. Or can he?

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