Wednesday 9 January 2019

Dominic Cummings explains why Leave won the Brexit referendum

Dominic Cummings, organiser of the Vote Leave campaign, is said to be the hero (or villain, if you prefer) who won the Brexit referendum for Leave. I think the British people are the heroes (or villains, if you prefer) but he certainly played a large part in the result, as did Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. 

In this speech in 2017 Mr. Cummings identifies three reasons why feeling in the UK had swung against the EU in the fifteen years since he organised a campaign against the UK adopting the euro.
“Essentially I found that people didn’t know more about the EU in 2016 than they did 15 years earlier. However, three things had changed in the world during that time: the first was immigration – the scale of immigration and the fact that the EU was now blamed for immigration problems.

"The other big thing was the financial crisis in 2008. It undermined confidence in government, in Whitehall, in big business, in the banks and also in the European Union.

“The third big factor was the euro.”

One third of voters hated the EU and wanted to leave, one third liked it and one fifth thought the EU was awful but leaving would cause a lot of problems. Much like Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Labour’s 2017 election campaign, 
Vote Leave targeted voters effectively using data analysis and social media. They got out the hardcore Leave vote and carried enough of the ones who were Leave but worried about the consequences of leaving. 

Mr. Cummings says that without immigration Leave would have lost, without enlisting the NHS on Leave's side Leave would have lost, and had it not been for the failure of David Cameron to come back with a renegotiation of EU membership Leave would probably have lost. 

Remainer attitudes towards Leavers were counter-productive, as was a bad Remain campaign. 

Mr. Cummings makes a mistake in his speech in thinking the referendum will drain the bitterness of the divide between Leave and Remain. In fact, especially if a version of Mrs. May's deal happens, the divide will last and dominate politics for the foreseeable future and well beyond. Perhaps for decades. 

The advert on the bus that said leaving the EU would mean £350 million a week to spend on the NHS? Mr. Cummings had assumed victory for Leave would mean Boris Johnson would be a shoo-in for Tory party leader and Prime Minister and he would have implemented the 'promise' - instead Michael Gove prevented Boris becoming Prime Minister.

Mr. Cummings believes the break up of the EU is the best means of preventing a rerun of the 1930s and fascism. He is pleased that the result led to the disappearance of Nigel Farage from British politics, which seems ungrateful. Without Nigel Farage there would have been no referendum. 


  1. The major reason that Remain lost the referendum campaign in England
    and Wales is that the Remain campaign was fronted by the most detested
    and discredited politicians in the UK: Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg,
    Mandelson, Osborne, and Kinnock and Straw jr. There is nothing these
    people could propose which would not be rejected out of hand by huge
    numbers, just at the sight of them.
    Craig Murray

  2. Messrs. Cameron, Juncker, Wolfgang Schäuble and Obama all won votes for Leave by their interventions, polls showed.

  3. Gordon Brown is respected in Scotland - what an indictment of that country.