Boris Johnson’s closing speech was the defining moment of the campaign, by James Bartholomew.
I was in the audience of 6,000 or so at the Wembley Arena listening to the final major debate …
Sadiq Khan had obviously been told not to jab his finger at people when trying to make them agree with him but he was struggling to abide by the rule, jabbing a slightly curled finger at us instead. He called people liars and looked angry and sour. He still got applause though. The audience was split 50:50 between Leavers and Remainers. …
Meanwhile, Boris sounded as though he was winging it. He talked as if he were making it up as he went along, relying on his cleverness to get through the night. It made him appealing but not terribly effective. …
Overall, though, the Remain side was angry and scornful. Not a good look.
Then came the summing up.
Then Boris strode towards the lectern at the front of the stage with an unusual look of determination:
This short speech marked a complete change of atmosphere. That is why it was so potent. It was hopeful, ambitious. The Leave side of the audience was thrilled. For the first time in the evening, people spontaneously started standing up as they clapped. The BBC coverage which I saw later showed just a few people standing, but I can tell you more and more people stood up all around the hall and up at the sides. It was an extraordinary moment because finally we were released from the self-doubt, niggling fears and negative claims. It was a moment of ‘Omigod! Of course we can do this!’
At last Boris came good. It was one of the best moments in politics I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately it appears that journalists in the ‘spin room’ missed it as the sound had been turned off. It should have been on the front page of every newspaper and led every television news report.
Oh don’t be naive. The media missed it and the sound was turned off, and it wasn’t on front pages, precisely because it was potentially and in fact very effective. That’s the media lying by omission.
hat-tip Stephen Neil