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We will soon see another outing for Project Fear. Good

Warning of catastrophe has helped swing important votes in the past and it may do so again

By Anne McElvoy   June 2021

Ahead of any second independence referendum, Project Fear will march again—with good reason. Image: iweta0077 / Alamy Stock Photo

“Project Fear” gets a bad rap for two main reasons. One is that it is the photo-negative of a phrase which, when described as the “precautionary principle” or “look before you leap,” comes across as eminently sensible.

The other reason it is routinely maligned is that in its most dramatic outing, it didn’t work. Its repeated success in campaigns round the world—from John Major’s victory in 1992 to Australia’s thumbs down to republicanism in 1999, and indeed Scotland’s “no thanks” to independence in 2014—are all forgotten, because in the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign the things people were told…

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