|How many policy conflicts can a voter hold in his head?|
Since nobody has the slightest interest in debating Dave's Deal, and both sides instantly claim all 'events' confirm the rightness of their own cause, it all comes down to the mood of the moment. Project Fear will get ever more shrill; ministers' statements will get increasingly implausible; Nicola Sturgeon's convoluted contributions will leave the Scotties in all manner of amusing dilemmas; and Camerosborne will be wallowing in their first really serious popularity trough.
And then London will go to the vote: Mayoralty and GLA. Somewhat paradoxically, Khan is for Remain and Goldsmith for Leave: but Khan needs incohate anti-government sentiment above all else - he's got no use for complex, nuanced messages. Somehow it's hard to imagine the Labour Party thinking, hmm, it would be nice to win London - but we should probably let the Tories keep it, so Cameron can have an easy ride in the referendum.
No, I think they'll be piling into the government wherever and whenever, to the best of their (admittedly rather feeble) ability. More significantly perhaps, so will 'events' - particularly those over which dark forces have strong influence. (Do we seriously think the Turks will come to the aid of Turkey-supporting Cameron by putting a stop to the 2016 summer migration surge?)
Now someone in the Labour hierarchy who is genuinely pro-EU (which doesn't include Corbyn, of course) will be piously rehearsing a different logic. First, we take London, then it's all hands on deck for the referendum - and it'll be Us Wot Won It! Trips off the tongue easily enough: but it sounds to me a bit like Harold Godwinson in 1066: first, it's off to Stamford Bridge to tough up Harald and the Norwegians, then it's all down to Sussex and bring on the Normans! Like many of Osborne's schemes, it sounds like a plan - but it ain't.
Cameron can lose London (and believe me I don't want that) by being deeply unpopular in May. That's a fairly serious loss of prestige which significantly compounds his credibility problem. And then Labour parlays its famous victory into propping him back up and turning it around in June? Alan Johnson announces that Labour has now taken charge of public policy, and we're all to vote the way he tells us? I suspect the cyclical, tidal forces of anti-government sentiment don't subside quite as quickly as that.