Richard North, 02/05/2005  

Tony Blair's trouble in keeping up with current events seems to extend to the EU referendum situation, where the indications are that he is not abreast with the polls showing the French "nons" are losing ground.

Asked what would happen if the French voted "no", yesterday he said: "I honestly don't know… My belief is that people will try to find a way round it. Whether it is possible to find a way round it I don't know."

This was on the Breakfast with Frost programme and his "lukewarm remarks"are seen as suggesting that, if Labour wins a third term, Blair will do little to try to save it during the British presidency. However, given the latest French results, Blair may find that that he is still faced with a battle which is getting increasingly rough.

According to The Independent today, one of the reasons why the French "yes" campaign has been able to reverse the tide is an inspired poster campaign showing sinister-looking pictures of five "non" supporters on the far right and far left, the caption proclaiming: "Quand je vois ça je vote 'oui'" ("When I see this lot I vote 'yes'").

This, as we have pointed out before, was a tactic employed by the "yes" campaign in the British 1975 referendum, when maximum exposure was given to the two public figures who, at the time, evoked the most negative responses: Wedgewood Benn and Enoch Powell.

Should the French "no" vote collapse, and Blair is forced to go ahead with a British referendum, we can certainly see prominence given to a number of obscure figures, not least Graham Copp, head of research for the Centre for a Social Europe, a left-wing front organisation set up by the otherwise invisible "Vote-no" campaign.

One might also expect such luminaries as UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom (he of 'fridge fame) to be in great demand, especially by BBC news services. Against him, even Blair and his assorted Euro-luvvies will look sane.

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