EU referendum: 5 things we learned today


Here are five things we learned in the referendum campaign today:

1. Planning has begun for a Leave win

Vote Leave campaign posters
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Given that the Government thinks Brexit could trigger World War Three it is rather worrying that they have only just woken up to the idea that they might actually need to prepare for a Leave vote coming to pass next month.

Why, only last Tuesday, despite warning of war, collapsing house prices and a rapid descent into recession if people dared turn their backs on Brussels, a spokesman for David Cameron said: "We are not doing any contingency planning for the referendum being a vote to leave."

Then, suddenly, as Chancellor George Osborne appeared before the Treasury Select Committee, he announced the Government is doing "quite a serious amount of contingency planning" into how Britain would deal with leaving the EU.

Better late than never, but it just looks like Downing Street have made a right dog's Brexit of the whole thing.

2. Boris Johnson isn't the biggest draw in Castletown

Boris Johnson
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

If the former London mayor was thinking the locals in the picturesque Cornish village might be impressed by his arrival on the Vote Leave battle bus, then he was sorely mistaken. Not only has it been the setting for the BBC's hugely popular Poldark series, but last week they had an even more exciting visitor. "We had Tom Hardy here - naked!" gushed one clearly impressed female resident.

It turns out the Mad Max star had been shooting for another BBC series entitled Taboo. Not something to be mentioned in the presence of the former mayor.

3. Asparagus spears can be a weapon of war

Boris Johnson with asparagus
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Arriving in Truro for the start of his Brexit battle bus tour, Boris Johnson emerged from a rapid round of pressing the flesh in the Lemon Quay market menacingly brandishing an impressive bunch of the vegetable spears. "They will be just as sprouting and just as delicious if we leave," he thundered. Surely not even Project Fear would go that far.

4. Gordon Brown can't keep up

Gordon Brown, once known as the Iron Chancellor before his popularity crumpled like paper as prime minister, is clearly still living in the past.

Unable to let his glory days in the late 1990s go, he clearly still keeps an eye on the five economic tests he designed back then which had to be passed before Britain could consider letting the pound join the euro.

At a question and answer session following his intervention in the referendum debate, Brown mused: "This is a conclusion I reach sadly - not a conclusion I enjoy - that we still do not meet the economic conditions that ought to be met to join the euro currency."

Oh, give it up Gordon - you only opposed joining the euro anyway because Tony Blair was gung-ho for it.

5. Speaking of Gordon Brown...

Gordon Brown
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

The gig also brought back some unhappy memories from Mr Brown's disastrous election campaign of 2010 when he lost Labour so many votes by being caught on mic branding a woman who expressed concern about immigration a "bigot".

Clearly ahead of his time as the Queen and David Cameron can't seem to pass a discreet recording device without running down some foreign power or other these days, Brown was in no mood to reminisce about his infamous encounter with Gillian Duffy after she asked him "where they all flocking from, Gordon?" in relation to immigration.

When Duffy was referenced as a journalist asked if his pro-Remain speech evaded the immigration question, Brown dodged the question on immigration again by merely stating: "Lots of politicians have problems when microphones are on. Even the Queen, I understand."