Osborne’s ‘punishment’ budget is restoking Project Fear. But it may work

时间:2019-11-16  作者:汝钦贩  来源:威尼斯人网址  浏览:49次  评论:33条

The debate on Britain and Europe’s future is being conducted with all the sophistication of a playground row. The leave campaign, or at least Nigel Farage’s branch of it, is sailing up the Thames in a flotilla that is presumably supposed to remind (much) older voters of Dunkirk and Britain standing alone. On the other side , one of the few national newspapers steadfastly loyal to remain (probably ) is calling the emergency cuts that George Osborne is a “punishment budget”, which would hole both the NHS and benefits below the waterline.

Remain campaigners deny that the repeated warnings of economic catastrophe from the chancellor and prime minister, along with a supporting cast of economists and industrialists, amount to Project Fear. It is, they insist, a genuine warning about the enormous risks of voting to leave. Clearly the economic consequences of voting leave are incalculable. But there is a danger too in this line of attack that campaigners, locked into this bitterly polarising argument, fail to realise that the passion of their argument is obscuring the impact they are having on the people they are trying to persuade.

It has become part of campaigning legend that fear tactics saved the day in the Scottish independence vote. It is a truism to observe that in the end, people naturally vote for the side they believe will be most likely to make sure they still have a job, or keep up with the mortgage, or even buy a home in the first place. Millions of voters have come to believe that membership of the EU is what is threatening their jobs and their housing prospects and the state of the health service.

Not surprising, really, when this is a narrative that the Conservatives have lovingly constructed for years. In government and in opposition, they have embellished a story of being “swamped” by migrants (and ending support for communities where there had been an influx of EU migrants), while never making the case for the contribution that foreign-born workers make to the economy.

They have raised the without ever producing supporting evidence to show that large numbers of people travel to the UK just to get treatment on the NHS. And they have talked darkly again and again about the voracious expansionism of Eurocrats, without ever making any attempt to build reformist alliances in the council of ministers or the European parliament to argue for an alternative. No wonder they struggle to sound convincing about why it is so vital to stay in.

That is why the burden falls so heavily on Labour to make a positive case. It is also why is reduced to threatening a budget that would starve the NHS and welfare system of cash. The cuts he says would be necessary if the leave camp won would also devastate the heart of Labour Britain, the very thing that many of the party’s once core support now believes only a leave vote will preserve.

Project Fear tactics are alienating wavering voters. They will leave terrible scars in Osborne’s own party. They damage the very conduct of democracy. The Conservatives are truly reaping the whirlwind.

But that doesn’t mean that the tactics won’t work. In the quiet of the polling booth, maybe, as their pencil hovers over remain or leave, voters will decide that it is safest to hang on to what they know. At least I hope they do. I am absolutely certain that it is in the interest of Britain and of . In the short term that matters more than anything.