There’s a lot of spinning by the mainstream media right now who are desperate to continue the anti-‘Leave’ narrative that has intensified in recent weeks, manifesting today in the “defection” of “senior” (actually a backbench) Tory from Leave to Remain.
One might argue that ‘Vote Leave’ – the official, establishment Tory campaign to leave – handed Number 10 and the Remain campaign an easy win with its £350m for the NHS narrative. But journalists are scrambling to undermine the idea that defector Dr. Sarah Wollaston has – specifically on the EU question – typically been in Mr. Cameron’s pocket.
It’s probably because she doesn’t particularly care either way about the issue. That seems implied from her defection in general. But her history of tweets, where she tends towards the Prime Minister’s line, betrays her so-called “independence”.
This “independence” is what the media keep talking about.
Because Dr. Wollaston has had a couple of run-ins with the PM before, she is apparently beyond inducement or dirty tricks on this issue too. Just read Mark Wallace at ConHome. Or Michael Deacon at the Telegraph. Or Adam Bienkov at Politics.co.uk. (These are the Westminster shoulder-rubbers who all desperately scramble for consensus on every issue, so that “no one is wrong”. Except me. Apparently I’m always wrong. Despite always being proved right).
But have a look at Dr. Wollaston’s comments from 2014 onwards. They reveal someone who is totally in hock to the Prime Minister’s “renegotiation”. My contention, as I first stated last night, is that she was NEVER a Leaver.
As the Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Health, the idea that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could lead to the privatisation of the NHS should have loomed large too. But as far back as 2014 Dr. Woolaston was claiming to have all the answers on this, and she was placated by a letter from the EU itself.
So how much of a Leaver can she be, if her favourite issue (health) is not affected by the European Union, and she believes, without question, a letter from the EU?
And how much of a Leaver could she have ever been if she wanted to expand the voting franchise to a group that has been subjected to massive EU propaganda (in schools), and that would almost certainly, massively, vote in favour to Remain?
Sure, critics of my theory that she was always in the ‘Leave’ camp to create mischief will point to some of her comments (mostly from very recently) which were critical of the EU. And indeed, she was elected on a notionally Eurosceptic ticket.
But when you read what she actually wrote, it was circumlocutory and shrouded in clauses. For instance, her blog from before the election:
“Far better in my view to back David Cameron in his renegotiation; he has a strong record to date having already vetoed a rise in the EU budget and removed Britain from the obligation to bail out the Euro. Far from Britain being isolated there are other nations which now see the need for reform.
“I would prefer Britain to remain in the EU but not at any price or on the current terms. If these cannot be renegotiated, I will be campaigning to leave. To those who demand to know in advance the red lines, there should be none other than the clear, unequivocal promise of an in-out referendum on the outcome. The choice will then be yours.”
It’s not exactly the clarion call of a Eurosceptic, is it?
Let’s face it: Number 10 and Mr. Cameron have again played an absolute blinder with Dr. Wollaston. Vote Leave and the Brexiteers were caught with their pants down.
And Dr. Wollaston has a very cold stethoscope…