I was intrigued this morning to read a former academic colleague argue it was impossible to imagine the Leave campaign without Boris Johnson. This is part of a wider narrative by angry Remainers which paints leading Leave activists as having somehow destroyed the country for their own political gain, then deciding, in the words of The Jam's 'Eton Rifles' to "run off home for your tea."
This is a view that can only be obtained by ignoring Leave voters, and writing them out of your analysis. In Kettering we set a target to get 60% of the town to vote Leave. We began campaigning months before Boris had made up his mind on which side to campaign. On street stalls he was barely mentioned - the biggest boost we had was probably President Obama's cack handed 'back of the queue' intervention - and Boris was not pictured or quoted on a single Grassroots Go or Vote Leave leaflet distributed in the town.
At the elite level, in Westminster and on the national news, Boris mattered. In a small town in the east Midlands people talked about the issues - sovereignty, the economy, justice, immigration - not the personalities. Time after time on our street stall we explained that if we have sovereignty, the people have the brains to deal with the other issues - from the economy and immigration down - themselves. And the people voted, by 60.9% in Kettering, to leave.