Farage the recruiter

As the finishing line starts to come into view for the EU referendum, the politically obsessed are now pouring over every poll to decipher what they could mean. An interesting discrepancy that is appearing is the difference between telephone and online polling. The online polling tends to give the Leave campaign the occasional slender lead. But when it comes to telephone polling, Leave has not won a single poll, with Remain winning by margins of around 7-10 percentage points, and sometimes even more.

It is with this in mind, Nigel Farage has been attempting to manage expectations if the Leave campaign loses. The UKIP leader is of course defiant claiming the Leave campaign will win but adds if they were too lose by a narrow margin, there would be “resentment” within the Conservative Party that could lead to calls for another referendum. We know Cameron is looking to win by a margin of 10 percentage points that will hopefully put this issue to bed for several generations. But No.10 can also take solace that the last thing the public will want to do is go through all of this again. Lessons can be learnt from Scotland, as the SNP wrestles with the struggle of respecting the electorate while keeping the independence fires burning.  

Farage’s comments are as much about UKIP’s self-preservation and recruiting disgruntled Conservative backbenchers as they are about continuing the crusade against Brussels. Farage is hoping that the referendum has awoken the EU-Kracken within the Tories and that despite Cameron’s victory, his position will be untenable as he faces rebellion after rebellion with a majority of only 12. If the Conservatives are to tear themselves apart, Farage is hoping that Boris Johnson is not the only who will gain.

Douglas McIlroy

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search