LIKE Cristiano Ronaldo after his fluffed penalty, Baroness Warsi has been scorned and ridiculed following her announcement that she was defecting from the Leave campaign just days before the referendum.
The Conservative peer and former party chair accused the Brexit campaign of ‘hate and xenophobia’ after the unveiling of a heavily criticised propaganda poster from UKIP that depicted queues of Muslim refugees streaming across the Slovenian border with a flatulent and toad-faced Nigel Farage superimposed across the page.
“Why is it people like me, instinctively Eurosceptic who feel the EU needs reform … feel they now have to leave Leave?” she rhetorically asked a BBC Radio 4 presenter. “Because day after day what are we hearing? The refugees are coming, the rapists are coming, the Turks are coming.”
“This kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink xenophobic racist campaign may be politically savvy or useful in the short term but it causes long-term damage to communities.”
Her moment of clarity was roundly sneered at by leading Leave activists who denied she was ever part of their movement, hinting that her ‘defection’ was a false story concocted by Downing Street to suggest division in the ranks.
“When I invited Sayeeda Warsi to join the leave campaign, she declined. Fair enough obviously. But how is this a “defection”?” said Daniel Hannan, a leading Eurosceptic member of the European Parliament who knows what it really means to be a Trojan Horse.
UKIP leader Farage, who has been on the defensive over his poster after the Remain camp evened the polls over the weekend, had one of his staff write on Twitter “Baroness Warsi ‘defection’ is a typical Number 10 put-up job. She never wanted to leave the EU.”
Warsi previously resigned from her ministerial position over the government’s undiluted support of the Israeli regime during its attack on Gaza in 2014, and appears to have struggled to reconcile her ethnic background and support for community inclusion with a Tory party beholden to nepotism and finance.
Meanwhile Number 10’s very own dead man walking David Cameron appeared on a special BBC Question Time episode on Sunday June 19 to face prepared questions from the studio audience.
In one heated moment Cameron was unfavourably compared to the last man any sitting prime minister wants mentioned in his presence.
“Mr Cameron, you say that your policy that you’ve negotiated with Europe cannot be overruled – it can.” said a man with furrowed eyebrows.
“So are you really the twenty-first century Neville Chamberlain, waving a piece of paper in the air, saying to the public ‘This is what I have, I have this promise’ where a dictatorship in Europe can overrule it? Simple question, yes or no.”
Cameron dismissed the comparison and launched into one of his well rehearsed riffs about how the EU isn’t actually a separate entity from Britain trying to impose rule over us, but is rather an organisation of which the UK is a part.
Sensing a lukewarm atmosphere, as though people accepted that his points were solid and well articulated but just not hitting the right note, the prime minister rhetorically asked whether the British were really quitters, trying to steal inane patriotic zeal from the Leavers.
It was a strong performance that would receive top marks in any debating chamber but, with just three days of campaigning left, it is likely that Cameron has exhausted his argumentative reservoir.