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  • One week to go before Britain's referendum on membership of the European Union.

  • The polls suggest that the race is tightening, and there's a few jitters in the Remain camp, not least in Downing Street.

  • Here with me is Philip Stephens, Chief Political Commentator of the Financial Times.

  • Philip, how do you see it? Is it that tight?

  • Well, all polls have to come with a very big health warning,

  • we saw last year with the General Election here how they can all get it wrong.

  • That said, if you talked to people in the Prime Minister's Remain camp, "Let's stay in Europe" camp,

  • two weeks ago, cheery "we're gonna do it", if not close there, comfortable.

  • Last night, talking to a bunch of the people at the heart of the campaign, we're nervous, really nervous.

  • Not quite panicked, but very, very nervous.

  • So what may have gone wrong?

  • Well, wherever the polls were two weeks ago, the feeling is they have shifted to the Leave campaign over the past ten days.

  • The view is that immigration, which the Leave campaign has pretty ruthlessly exploited with some mendacious claims

  • about the numbers of Turkish immigrants that might come to Britain in the next several years,

  • the feeling is that that has caught the, if you like the emotions of those groups, the people that Trump is appealing to in the U.S.,

  • who feel that they've been left on the sidelines by globalization.

  • And drowned out the message that the Remain camp felt really would resonate, which is the economic costs of withdrawal.

  • Yes, and I think it still is a battle between economics and if you like, emotion, identity, and these other aspects of policy the Remain campaign is gonna have to sit on.

  • Look, you may feel bad, you may not like Brussels, you may not like the immigration,

  • but do you really want to jeopardize the country's prosperity and your own incomes.

  • And the Leave campaign is gonna push harder and harder I think, on the immigration question

  • and say look, you're going to be swamped by immigrants if this goes on.

  • Of course what's extraordinary is that David Cameron, the Conservative Prime Minister,

  • is sharing the platform with key Labour figures, not least Sadiq Khan, recently elected, the first Muslim mayor of London.

  • Yeah I think there are two big political trends at work here.

  • The first is the sort of fragmentation of politics, which we've seen over the past several years,

  • the two big parties no longer have the iron grip on politics that they used to have.

  • And the second is really a battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers.

  • Who's the Roundheads?

  • The Roundheads are the Leave campaign in the sense in the Tory Party, the people who want to overturn.

  • They're attacking the elites, the sort of public school educated people around David Cameron.

  • And of course you see the same in the Labour Party, where Jeremy Corbyn, the leader who mounted effectively a sort of coup led by the activists last year,

  • They're trying to do the (same), they're pushing back against the Labour establishment.

  • So what you're seeing is the two establishments, the old Labour establishment and the Tory establishment, pulling together in favor of Remain,

  • while the, if you like the Roundheads in both parties who've joined together in favor of Leave.

  • Philip, I'm not going to ask you, even with all your experience, what do you think is gonna happen next week in the referendum,

  • but I will ask you this: Did David Cameron make a big mistake in calling for a referendum?

  • He made a terrible mistake. And if it's a Leave vote, he will go down in history as the Prime Minister who made the biggest peace time,if you like, mistake in post-war history.

  • As for the result, I think one can say one thing: if the normal rules of politics still apply, we will vote to remain.

  • If the rules of politics have been completely overturned, we will vote Leave and America should start thinking about a Donald Trump presidency.

  • Philip Stephens, thank you very much.

One week to go before Britain's referendum on membership of the European Union.

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