The Conservative Party’s election guru Sir Lynton Crosby has waded into the debate surrounding the European Union (EU) referendum campaign, specifically noting that the ‘out’ or ‘leave’ campaigns should focus more heavily on immigration.
The news will come as a shock to immigration-softies like UK Independence Party (UKIP) MP Douglas Carswell and his establishment, ‘Vote Leave’ campaign colleagues.
Mr. Carswell, as well as Vote Leave campaign chiefs Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings, have repeatedly shied away from talking about immigration – going so far as to brief against UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage, who has made it one of the core pillars of his anti-EU message.
But now the most successful political strategist in Britain has backed Mr. Farage’s actions, stating that immigration and its impact on the country’s National Health Service (NHS) should be the core thrust of the debate. Mr. Crosby’s comments also echo those of this website, which has put the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its impact on the NHS at the heart of our referendum coverage.
Sir Lynton has written in the Telegraph today:
A third (31 per cent) of voters who are undecided or likely to change their mind say their biggest hesitation in voting Remain is the potential for uncontrolled or increased immigration.
Critically, nearly a third (28 per cent) of Remain voters who are likely to change their mind are concerned about the risks of immigration.
The key framework of this campaign is risk. While much has been made of Project Fear, the reality is that voters see risk on both sides.
The risk of leaving is the damage that could be caused to the UK economy. The risk of staying is the uncontrolled immigration that could result.
This sums up the choice that voters are facing: are the economic risks of remaining in the EU bigger or smaller than the impact of uncontrolled immigration that voters believe could result?
One of the keys to winning a campaign is focusing on the strengths rather than the weaknesses that voters perceive. For the Remain campaign this means demonstrating the importance of the economy, while for the leave campaign, this means demonstrating the impact of immigration. This is largely what we have seen so far.