The Telegraph recently published a letter from David Cameron in which the Prime Minister framed the EU referendum choice as being between “economic security with the EU” and “a leap into the dark”.
However, over the last year the Prime Minister has said a lot of things which undermine today’s warning.
In November, the Prime Minister told the British public that if he didn’t get a good enough deal, he might back Brexit. The suggestion is that Cameron felt that Britain would be better off leaving than keeping its pre-deal arrangement.
In January the Prime Minister told European leaders that they would “never hear me say that Britain cannot succeed outside the EU”.
Cameron must explain what has changed to make him so pessimistic about Britain’s chances outside the EU. He must explain how he went from flirting with Brexit to denouncing it as “economic and political self-harm”.
Cameron must also convince the public that his EU deal grants Britain a sufficiently “special status” as to justify remaining.
However, given how poorly the “thin gruel” has been received, Cameron might prefer not to return to the subject. In that case, Remain would continue to have to resort to issuing predictions of Brexit-induced disaster.
In sticking to ‘Project Fear’, Remainers leave themselves open to the accusation that they are “merchants of doom”.
Indeed one may even doubt whether such a negative message as “Britain can’t” can win against the defiant “Britain can”.