Anyone with any more corkers in their armoury should take note there’s less than a fortnight left in which to release them.
This week did see George Osborne finally challenged on why he and David Cameron keep pretending that a country they have always campaigned to bring into the EU will never in fact come into the EU. Questioned by Andrew Neil about David Cameron’s 2010 speech promising to ‘pave the road from Ankara to Brussels’ George Osborne said:
‘Well I was 16 years old when Turkey first applied to join the European Union, I’m now 45 and I don’t think it’s going to happen in my lifetime because sadly actually over recent years Turkey has gone backwards.’
While it’s always nice to be reminded of George Osborne’s age, one cannot wholly admire this spin. Other politicians in other European countries have recognised for years that if Turkey ever joined the EU then it would destroy Europe. But during the same period David Cameron and George Osborne have always argued that Britain would be – in Cameron’s own words – the ‘strongest possible advocate’ for Turkish EU membership. Now George Osborne is trying to pretend that what was said until a few months ago is no longer his – or David Cameron’s – policy. Is it possible they are just pretending Turkish entry isn’t their policy so that in a few months (perhaps after successfully scaring the British public into voting ‘Remain’) their policy can revert to their earlier pro-Turkish, pro-Erdogan one?
One of the best tumbrilisms of the debate so far slipped from the mouth of one Richard Reed earlier this week. This is the kidult deputy leader of ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ principally known as the founder of ‘Innocent drinks’ – the delicious fruit-based smoothies which can be purchased in many shops.