David Cameron is now damaged goods. He will still present a confident face every week at PMQs, there will be no move in the Tory Party against him for now, and the Government will carry on as normal. But on one issue, the revelations over his shares in offshore fund Blairmore have shredded his credibility, and that issue is Britain’s continuing membership of the EU, on which he is campaigning at present.
On top of that, the EU Referendum does not just affect Tories. So where is the Labour response? Come to think of it, where are the Lib Dems? I make no secret of having voted Yes in 1975, for the straightforward reason that I considered membership of the then EEC was, overall, a beneficial proposition for Britain. I still hold that view on the EU as it is today. And I now see a Labour campaign that must get its act together.
Cameron may remain as PM, but his credibility has been damaged by evasion over his tax affairs. Others prepared to speak up for Britain’s membership of the EU must, therefore, not just step up to the plate, but be seen to do so. And that means everyone in the Labour Party who backs the Remain campaign playing their part, whether they wanted Jeremy Corbyn as leader or not. So who might I mean?
The back-benchers who whine about Corbyn and John McDonnell are one group who, if they back Remain, should put their carping away until after the Referendum - whatever happens in May’s local elections. And those who declined to serve in a Corbyn shadow cabinet - hello Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall - should also step up.
Who outside the Parliamentary party might lend some weight to proceedings? A seasoned and influential spinner with links all the way back to the Blair era would be very useful in getting all those senior figures out there and putting the case for the EU - I’m looking at you, Alastair Campbell. You’re not a Corbyn fan? Fine. You’re for Remain. That is the name of this game. You want to stay in, help organise it.
Why ask Big Al? Look at the Leave crowd: Matthew Elliott of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, known for dealing off the bottom of the deck, Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, who is passionate and persuasive, but flagrantly dishonest, Nigel “Thirsty” Farage (ditto, but with more falling-over water), Liam Fox (no, don’t laugh), Bozza (ditto), Michael “Oiky” Gove (ditto), and the rest. Campbell made his name partly by being able to rebut bullshit, and that lot generate it in lorry loads. Plus he’s got the press figured out.
The Lib Dems don’t appear to want to turn up yet, Dave’s damaged his credibility, and that leaves Labour to pull together for Britain remaining in the EU. No pressure, then.