In history there are a number of speeches that have become universally famous months or years after they’ve been delivered. Martin Luther King jr’s I have a dream speech could easily be recited by 100,000s across the globe because it represents the height of the civil rights campaign. Winston Churchill’s ‘Fight them on the beaches’ speech will be remembered for centuries to come as it galvanised the people of Great Britain and gave them the motivation and strength to fight Nazi Germany against overwhelming odds. Last night at the BBC great debate Boris Johnson gave a speech that will be remembered for generations to come.
The Brexit campaign has lasted nearly 6 months now and all through that time the Leave side have had the odds stacked against them. For example, the UK Government sent a leaflet around to every house in the country as to why we should Remain in the EU, costing the British taxpayer £10m in the process and breaching electoral commission guidelines. The Prime minister has also had the unfair advantage of getting preferential treatment simply because he’s the Prime Minister. Not to mention he’s refused to debate anyone face to face. This is not a man who’s proud of his record, this is a man who can’t defend it! Despite all this, the Leave side have somehow managed to keep their momentum. However, the moment has been sporadic, there have been times when we’ve led in the polls and times when we’ve been considerably behind in the polls. A lack of consistency is now a good thing to have when fighting a referendum.
This momentum was best shown last night when, after nearly two hours of back and forth debating with the Leave side looking marginally ahead, Ruth Davidson MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) stood up to deliver her closing speech. Personally I thought it a strong speech and as a ‘Brexiteer’ I was worried. Although I thoroughly detested everything she said, I could recognise that it could be seen to be a powerful speech. At first I wasn’t sure if Boris Johnson would be able to match it. I knew he was a good politician but did he have what it takes to deliver a speech that could prove to be strong enough to shift opinion back to the Leave side. I was wrong.
Johnson started by saying “I think there’s a clear choice in this campaign between those on their side (Remain) who only talk of the fear about the consequences of leaving the EU and we on our side who offer hope”, “Between those who have been endlessly rubbishing our country and those of us who believe in Britain”, “they say we can’t do it, we say we can”. It’s been long said that patriotism is dead in Britain and it only shows its face around the Queen’s Birthdays or a Royal weddings etc. But you should have felt what it was like to have a Brit finally stand up for Britain on a platform like that! I won’t spoil too much of the speech because I strongly advise you to watch it yourself but there’s one last point to make. It take a lot to get Brits off their feet!
Johnson’s closing line was “Let’s make June the 23rd independence day”. This was met by a roar from the audience and a standing ovation. My heart melted, it was then I realised that tomorrow Britain could become an independent nation once again, who trades in all four corners of the world and stands on its own two feet. Something that we can all be proud off.