COMEDIAN turned EU Referendum campaigner, Eddie Izzard, says Warwickshire’s most famous son would have been the first to vote remain.
He gave his view on how William Shakespeare would have voted when he stopped off at the University of Warwick on his ‘Stand up for Europe’ tour to urge people to vote to remain in the EU when they go to the polls on June 23.
Speaking exclusively to The Observer’s Lauren Clarke, Mr Izzard said: “I have studied history and both Churchill and Shakespeare would be with the Remain campaign.
“Boris Johnson says Shakespeare would be someone to run and hide and would vote to leave the EU, but I don’t believe that at all.
“All his plays were written about and based on stories from all over the world, so he would be hands-outstretched, Remain voter – I am sure of it.”
The tireless Mr Izzard, who also performed his Force Majeure 3:3:3. in English, French and German at Leamington’s Spa Centre the same day, argued Remain voters had a harder job articulating their views against the often ‘vociferous and angry’ Leave campaign.
“I don’t think the arguments to leave the EU are the correct ones, but I think if you’re campaigning to remain in you’re talking about something bigger than patriotism – it’s much harder to articulate,” he explained.
“The arguments for coming together have always been more complex – as you have to be both patriotic and outward looking.
“I am proud to be British and I am proud to be European – I support the English football team when it’s playing in the Euros, Team GB in the Olympic Games or the European team in the Ryder Cup.
“But it is far easier for the other side as they can be patriotic and inward looking and can say they would not trust people from other countries because they speak different languages, for example.
“And this mistrust can ramp up very easily into xenophobia.”
Mr Izzard also spoke about the importance of running a positive campaign – away from the ‘scaremongering’ both the Remain and Vote Leave campaign groups have been accused of.
And with the deadline for voter registration having closed, Mr Izzard said the final days to the vote were not only vital in engaging in discussions with both sides of the argument, but reaching out to those yet to decide on Britain’s future course..
“From my perspective in these last few weeks it’s about staying positive by getting out there – by meeting people and via social media – and encouraging people to vote to remain in the European Union.
“We have to remain positive as we fight for every vote we can get, because after all, despair is the fuel of terrorism while hope is the fuel of civilisation.”