EU referendum – PM plays the patriot card

waterloo08:48 Monday 9th May 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: David Cameron is warning that peace in Europe could be put at risk if Britain votes to leave the EU in next month’s referendum. He’s going to be making a speech this morning. He’ll be warning that whenever the UK turns its back on its allies it always regrets it. Paul Rowley Political Correspondent is with me. How important is this speech Paul?
PAUL ROWLEY: It’s pretty stark Dotty. It’s not far short of saying pull out of Europe and it could mean World War III. The Prime Minister will argue the advent of what we called the Common Market when it first started has helped reconcile countries who frankly were at each other’s throats for decades, citing the First World War in 1914, the Battle of Britain in 1940, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, even going back as far as the invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Blenheim in 1704 and Waterloo in 1815, although I alway thought Waterloo was 1974 when Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest. But David Cameron has already played the card to say look, we’re going to lose out on business, on jobs and investment. He’s also talked about the risk to national security. Now he’s stepping up the rhetoric big style Dotty with as he would see it almost Churchillian language.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Well he certainly is stepping it up. Hasn’t gone down well though with the other side of the argument, who say it makes him look desperate.
PAUL ROWLEY: Well they think it’s over the top. They’re accusing the Prime Minister of scaremongering. They reckon it smacks of panic, because they think they’re losing the argument, those in favour, by playing what they call the patriotic card. Their view is look, we can still be patriotic outside the European Union. We’d still be in Europe. And the strength of our military they say is down to NATO rather than any bureaucrat in Brussels. And so to that extent Dotty, Boris Johnson who arguably is the most prominent opponent of Britain’s membership of the European Union is going to make another speech this lunchtime. It’s his first since he stood down as Mayor of London. And then he’ll follow this up with a battlebus tour of virtually all parts of the country over the course of the next few days. Boris on a bus. What could possibly go wrong? But I think having .. you know, our politicians have had a kind of European mini-break in recent times, because all they’ve been talking about is the elections. So both sides have now put their collective finger on the reset button as it were, on the final leg of this never-endum as I call it, because we’ve only got, what is it now, forty five days to go before polling.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So I heard. So I heard. Yes. And talking about the local elections that we just had last week, Jeremy Corbyn has got a speech today as well.
PAUL ROWLEY: He has. He’s addressing his MPs, where I think he’ll have a mixed reception, because some of his opponents are saying look, we should have done better at the local elections. This was the worst set of local results in terms of seats for an opposition party for more than thirty years. But Labour are back in power in London for the first time in eight years, Sadiq Khan becoming the new Mayor, which means that he’s now going to stand down as the MP. There will be a by-election in his constituency of Tooting, and I was thinking Dotty, what are the odds of somebody standing with the handle of arguably the most famous political party from that part of South London? I am talking about the Tooting Popular Front. If you remember that wonderful comedy series from the early ’80s, before Neighbours really, with Robert Lindsay starring as the group’s leader Wolfie Smith. And he signed off every episode Dotty with an immortal slogan, power to the people.
DOTTY MCLEOD: It’s got to be one to watch. Thank you very much Paul Rowley.