Boris Johnson tries to convince people to Brexit. By singing (VIDEO)

Boris Johnson
Support us and go ad-free

Singing a poem by a German playwright, set to music by a German composer may seem an odd way to try and convince people to leave the EU. But not if you’re Boris Johnson.

The former Mayor of London and Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip broke into a brief rendition of Schiller’s Ode to Joy today amid an attempt to quash accusations he was a “Little Englander”. At an event organised by Vote Leave, Johnson said:

I am a child of Europe. I am a liberal cosmopolitan and my family is a genetic UN peacekeeping force. I can read novels in French and I can sing the Ode To Joy in German – and if they keep accusing me of being a Little Englander, I will.

The predictable calls of “go on, then” sharply followed, at which point this happened:

While the assembled audience found it rather amusing, his buffoonery masks a calculated political maneuver – as is always the case with Boris. He used today’s platform to launch an attack on David Cameron and the Stay campaign more broadly, albeit with nothing really new to say.

Both camps were out in force promoting their particular arguments, with the Prime Minister kicking off proceedings with a speech and the British Museum.

In a diatribe in which he appeared to want to invoke the wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Cameron proclaimed that:

Our national flag is worn on clothing and t-shirts the world over – not only as a fashion statement, but as a symbol of hope and a beacon for liberal values all around the world. We are the product of our long history – of the decision of our forebears, of the heroism of our parents and grandparents.

He stated that voting to leave would risk “the clock being turned back to an age of competing nationalism in Europe”, and warned:

Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking? I would never be so rash as to make that assumption. Isolationism has never served this country well.The truth is this: what happens in our neighbourhood matters to Britain. That was true in 1914, in 1940 and in 1989. Or, you could add 1588, 1704 and 1815… And if things go wrong in Europe, let’s not pretend we can be immune from the consequences.

Many papers were briefed on Cameron’s speech last night and seemed to interpret his words as implying we may end up at war if we leave the EU, the Mirror being one such example:

Boris Johnson was quick to pick up on what was trending on Twitter as “Project Fear”, saying:

The second argument we might broadly call the peace-in-Europe argument – that the EU is associated with 70 years of stability, and we need to stay in to prevent German tanks crossing the French border… (is) wholly bogus. Of course there will be some in this country who are rightly troubled by a sense of neighbourly duty. They feel uneasy about pulling out of the EU in its hour of need, when our neighbours are in distress; and at this point they deploy the so-called “Peace in Europe” argument: that if Britain leaves the EU, there will be a return to slaughter on Flanders Fields.

He went on to say that it was Nato that had secured peace in Europe for the past 70 years, not the EU. This appeared to be a direct attack on Cameron and his inklings that the European Union had kept us free from war.

The Prime Minister was also facing an insurgency over the EU debate from Iain Duncan Smith, who launched his own attack today:

An uncertain future beckons if we vote to stay in: a broken border system that has allowed millions of illegal migrants to surge across Europe; British frontiers with the EU wide open; a euro area mired in crisis; Turkey and four other poorer nations set to join the EU, the continued determination to create a superstate.

All of these interventions from Conservative heavyweights appear to demonstrate the same theme. The message seems to be creeping in that the public is becoming increasingly confused and turned-off by the EU referendum – more specifically, by the constant toing-and-froing of claim and counterclaim over economic variables that no-one can safely predict.

There was marked change in language from both sides of the fence – a focus more on emotionally tangible propositions for the consequences of their respective stances, and less on the dizzying economic and fiscal implications of our membership of the EU. With the latest polling sat at 42 percent for Stay, 40 percent for Leave and 18 percent undecided, there is still a lot to play for.

But even so, today’s events prove something else beyond a shadow of a doubt.

That the Conservative battle lines are well and truly drawn over the EU referendum with heavy artillery being fired from both sides. And with just over six weeks to go until the country votes, things will probably only get more bloody and cantankerous.

While the media have been happily focussing on internal warfare within the Labour party, its allegedly ‘disastrous’ showing at the local elections last week and the furore over claims of antisemitism, the Tories continue to implode with little coverage from a forgetful press.

Perhaps the small matter of some alleged irregularities pertaining to election expenses may help jog the media’s memory?

Time will tell.

 

Get involved!

Apply to be in the audience on BBC’s Question Time.

Support one of the referendum campaigns.

Featured image via screengrab.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed