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Myths and reality

Posted by Richard Monday, June 21, 2004

If prime minister Blair wants to fight the EU referendum on the basis of separating "myths from reality", then he has a personal problem. That problem is quite simple – he, himself does not seem to know the difference between the two. Given this overwhelming handicap, allocating two years for the referendum campaign will not help him.

However, his bigger problem is going to be even more insurmountable. After seven years as prime minister, he has acquired that patina of arrogance that so often infects the holders of this office. He is beginning to treat his electors as if they were stupid.

If I know my fellow man at all well, there is one thing which I believe they will not tolerate. The will accept being kept in the dark – on occasions – they do not particularly object to be neglected, and don’t even mind being insulted, pace "the weakest link".

But what they will not put with is being patronised. That knowing, sneering demeanour that says "I know best" and "You're too stupid to understand so I can feed you any old crap and you'll believe it".

As The Times pointed out today, people can read. A very large number of people are going to read the constitution – or attempt to. There, they are going to find the reality and thus identify the myth-maker that is Tony Blair. Then there will indeed be a "fascinating political battle", as Blair puts it. But he ain't going to win it.

And that is the reality.