City Road Communications

The Brilliant and The Downright Bizarre – A Roundup of the EU Referendum

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We love good PR, especially when we’re involved. But you can’t beat watching it from afar when it goes wrong, and for many reasons that we’re about to show you, the on-set of Brexit saw it go wrong – a lot.

Cue Nigel Farage. It was all going so well for the characteristically brazen UKIP spokesman, with the Leave campaign coming up trumps, causing the “A-team” of BoJo and Farage to look dad-dancing animated in a lot of awkward stills. So all good, until Farage was interviewed on Good Morning Britain. Perhaps it was because it was really early in the morning and the whole nation was watching; perhaps he was confused under the lights; or maybe it’s because he’d (admittedly) already had two pints (it was 7am), we won’t know. We’re referring to the moment Susanna Reid(-inator) asked whether Farage could guarantee the £350 million that currently goes to the EU every week was actually going to go into the NHS as advertised by the Leave campaign. Farage duly responded with – and we’ve broken the responses into chronological order for ease – the following:

  1. No, I can’t
  2. And I would never have made that claim
  3. It was one of the mistakes that the Leave campaign made
  4. Well, it wasn’t one of my adverts
  5. I was ostracised by the official Leave campaign

What ensued was a furiously back-peddling Farage, a Reidinator that didn’t miss a trick on behalf of millions of voters, and a Piers Morgan that for once sat back and watched it all unfold without having to do any unfolding. Beyond the surface level blunder – cue monkey hiding face emoji – Farage’s outstanding comments echoed deeper sentiments of utter fear. Had one of the most pivotal decisions made by 17 million people been influenced by propaganda fuelled lies? We sincerely hope not. Farage’s comments were made all the more poignant given they followed a victory speech that hailed the Leave campaign’s win as one built on “honesty and decency”. Ooh, so close Nige!

But that’s not all. Further brilliant blunders and quite frankly bizarre campaigns from both sides in the lead up and the days that followed the referendum have made for compelling viewing. In a campaign that is spearheaded by some of the more colourful characters in British politics, PR boos boos were guaranteed. Here are some of our favourites – you’re in for a treat!

Brexit the Movie

This crowdfunded film, backed by over 1,800 people, was designed to inspire the UK public to vote Leave on 23 June. In a bid to “lay bare the nature of the European Union”, the film explained exactly what the EU is and highlighted the points we should consider before voting in the referendum – the number of EU regulations applied to a pillow for example. There’s a 109 in case you were wondering.

#VOTIN

The Remain campaign aimed to target the youth of today by persuading them to vote in. See what they did there. Set to an electronic soundtrack, the campaign aimed to get down with the kids by showing ‘yoof’ Britain doing what it does best; ‘chattin’, ‘shoppin’, ‘ravin’ and ‘jumpin’ out of planes. However Remain’s apparent lack of ‘spellin’ abilities saw the campaign widely mocked on social media. Maybe they would have had more luck if they opted for ‘Vote INnit’. Just a suggestion.

Farage’s Flotilla

In a move to highlight the plight of Britain’s fishing community under EU legislation, Farage took to the Thames with a flotilla of fishing boats in his wake. Not only did this see Nigel go ‘full on Alan Partridge’, as stated by The Metro, but Boomtown Rats frontman Sir Bob Geldof, accompanied by a fleet of Remainers, greeted the pro-Leave convoy. What ensued was a low-budget, Pirates of the Caribbean-type clash between the two parties, as v-signs and insults were traded, in what proved to be one of the most bizarre campaigns of the referendum.

Farage Flotilla Alan Partridge

Great British Gaffes

We love on-air slip-ups, one of which was a fairly significant one from the Remain camp. In a pre-referendum debate on ITV, the now-former Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle seemed to have a premonition and stated “We are not in the European Union”. (She had actually meant to say, we’re not in the Eurozone and quickly corrected herself). While the previous face of Remain, Stuart Rose, had stumbled on the campaign’s name four times in one interview, and said on one occasion that “The benefits of being in the EU are outweighed by the costs!” Ouch.

However, while we’re on the subject of debates, the lack of an on-screen head-to-head from David Cameron was cited as one of Remain’s biggest failures. Cameron opted out of a TV discussion with Boris Johnson, instead allowing BoJo to face Alex Salmond. Conversely on the Labour side of Remain, Jeremy Corbyn was also criticised for having little to say in favour of staying.

Then finally, following the Leave campaign’s big red bus ‘mistake’, the back peddling continued in a series of interviews. Nigel Farage was barely a quarter of the way through his victory pint, when MEP Daniel Hannan performed a u-turn on Vote Leave’s immigration pledges in an interview with Evan Davis, stating that levels may remain unchanged if we want to have access to the single market.

Whether they’ve been tight-lipped, lost for words or just said way too much, both sides of the campaign have been thoroughly entertaining. We’re looking forward to what else emerges in the next few days of Brexit Britain, and there’s no doubt we’ll be keeping an eye out for more slipups and sidestepping in the coming weeks.