Last week the Campaign to Leave the EU picked up considerable momentum with the coup of a couple of high profile politicians with significant followings. The first, and most highly lauded, was the recruitment of a certain mayor of a certain capital city – Boris Johnson. His announcement is seen as a significant victory for the Leave Campaign and a potential game-changer. And rightly so. However, there was another turn-up for the books that could prove just as important. This is the support of the divisive Respect Party Leader George Galloway.
Mr Galloway was the surprise guest at the ‘Grassroots Out’ rally on Friday. His appearance caused somewhat of a stir amongst ‘Grassroots Out’ supporters and caused some to abandon the rally. This reaction is juvenile and hugely unhelpful to the cause. I can understand the reaction, but to dismiss influential allies such as Galloway because of a difference in politics shows small-mindedness, and exactly the kind of conversation Brexit campaigners need to avoid at all costs.
You see, the reason why Galloway is such a coup for Brexit campaigners is because he is about as left-wing as it gets. Already, I have seen the patterns begin to emerge within the opposition camps, and I can see the battle-lines being drawn, as always, between ‘left’ and ‘right’. Now, I don’t have the stats to back this up, but in my humble observance of the debate so far, if one is left-wing, then it seems to me like they would be far more likely to be part of the Remain camp. If one is right-wing, then they are far more likely to be part of the Leave camp. If the conversation is dictated thus, then the Leave campaign will lose. The Remain camp will make anyone voting to leave seem like a right-wing, UKIP sympathising, nationalist. While this is might be true in some cases, and while it is not necessarily a bad thing to be any of these things, it would negatively affect the public’s opinion of the Leave campaign.
The right-wing vote is not enough for the Leave camp purely because many right-wingers will not vote Leave. Whereas, currently, you will find that most of those who consider themselves to be ‘left-wing’ will vote Stay. So, this is why someone of Galloway’s influence is so vitally important to the Leave campaign. He will be able to access parts of the population, and entice people who Farage, BoJo et al would never usually be able to find allies in. Galloway has a show on ‘Russia Today’ for goodness sake. How many RT viewers do you think would ever listen to Farage, IDS, Michael Gove or Boris Johnson? I’d put it at approximately 0%.
Galloway’s support to leave the EU shows that this is a far broader issue than petty, party politics. This is not about ‘left’ and ‘right’. One should not feel pressured to align themselves with one camp or another based on who supports what. The more difficult the Leave campaign makes it for the left-wing to disassociate themselves due to the presence of ‘right-wing’ politicians, the more likely they are to be victorious. This means the recruitment of more people like Mr Galloway, and the recruitment of people who represent the full spectrum of political philosophy and political beliefs is very important. That way, they can appeal to the full spectrum of the population, not just the disaffected, disillusioned Right.
This is the great strength of Nigel Farage. Whether or not one agrees with his politics is irrelevant and he knows it. As Raheem Kassam reported in his article for ‘Breitbart London’:
“Nigel told me, both and after Mr. Galloway’s speech, that there has to be a way to reach certain parts of the British public that no UKIPer, Tory, or even Kate Hoey-esque Labourite can reach. It might not please everyone. It might not make everyone on stage or in the audience comfortable, but it is a way to reach certain people. Especially since the long-standing anti-EU Jeremy Corbyn has been stifled by his union paymasters.”
Ordinarily, you wouldn’t see Farage and Galloway within 10 miles of each other – but the fact that they are willing to overlook each other’s politics for a greater cause should earn them both great respect. Those who cannot look past these differences are shooting themselves, and the Leave Campaign, in the foot.