Friday 24 November 2017

Brexit - The Ten big lies revisited

On Wednesday 15th July 2016,  a couple of weeks before the Brexit vote, I published a blog called "Top Ten #Brexit Porkies" -  in the week when the Budget finally skewered the lie that the NHS would get £360 million a week, I thought it might be worth revisiting these. Lets see whether what I said had any bearing on how things are working out. Claiming a major political campaign is telling porkies is a pretty major claim, so lets see how my list stacks up with reality.

My commentary on these is in red italics.

1. 70 Million Turks will come to Uk if we remain. The concept that the entire population of Uk will relocate to Uk is clearly dishonest.

Remember this one? This was one of the big scare stories. Has the EU moved towards allowing  Turkey to join the EU? I think you know the answer to that one. In fact the UK Conservative government was the only major power keen to see Turkey join. 

2. We will regain control of our borders. We already have control of borders. Everyone entering UK has to show a passport.

I stand by what I said. At the time of the referendum, most immigration was from outside the EU, and we had full control of this. One point I'd missed was that the new arrangements were likely to make it far more difficult for UK citizens to move between the UK and the EU. Nearly a year and a half on, it is still completely unclear what will happen at borders when we leave. Business is desperate for free movement of labour with the EU. The Tory government is paralysed by fear as tow hat this will mean for them politically. I have two predictions in this respect. Firstly I think it is clear that the new arrangements will be worse for the economy than the existing arrangements. Secondly, the Brexit fans will still not be happy with it and will scream betrayal at whatever pragmatic arrangements are put into place.

3. If we quit EU Leave will spend an extra £360 mill a week on NHS. It will be up to govt of day to set budget and £360 mill figure excludes rebate we already receive.

In the budget, this myth was completely skewered. The chancellor had to find £3 billion for planning to leave and the divorce bill is currently looking to cost £50 billion. Ever feel like you've been had. One thing is clear. There never was and never will be £360 million a week for the NHS.

4. If we leave EU #leave will scrap VAT on household energy. If this is done it will further reduce money available to put into NHS as described in point 3 and would be a matter for govt of day.

I'd actually forgotten this promise. I daresay that everyone involved in the Leave Campaign will have forgotten it as well. As the Chancellor is desperate for cash to pay for the failures of this administration and the EU divorce bill, there is absolutely zero chance of this materialising.

5. If we leave EU, the EU will automatically give us a preferential trade deal. This is pure speculation as know one knows what the final deal will be.

Do you remember the likes of Leave fundamentalist John Redwood claiming that the EU had to give us a deal as the German car builders wanted to retain our market. This is the same John Redwood that is moonlighting as a financial adviser and is advising his clients to get their money out of the UK

6. If we leave EU, migration from EU will decrease. If we achieve a deal on same terms as Norway, this is not true. No one knows what deal we will get so cannot say.

Even before we've quit the EU we have seen a slump in migration from other EU countries. In fact many people have packed up and left, causing acute Labour shortages in certain sectors. As such I have to admit I called this one wrong. I doubt too many Leave fundamentalists will be too upset that this has happened, however the damage this is doing to the UK economy is pretty clear for all to see and the worst victim appears to be the NHS which is seeing a huge flight of qualified staff.

7. If we leave EU we could deport foreign criminals. This would be subject to a new treaty and may breach European Human rights laws. These are not written by EU.

The Belfast Telegraph this morning details how there is still no proposal for a post Brexit replacement for the European Arrest Warrant. We are a country that respects the rule of law and without a replacement for this system, we are likely to see many criminals evade justice. It is alarming that the government has not recognised that this is a critical process and something must be put in place.

8. A lower pound would be good for the economy. This is only true for net exporters with a strong manufacturing base. Sadly we do not have that.

We've had a lower pound since the Brexit vote. The chancellor released appalling projections for growth at the Budget. If what the Leavers was claiming was true, we'd be top of the league in the G7 growth tables, not bottom. As we mentioned earlier, Leave fundamentalist John Redwood is advising investors to pull their cash out. If an arch Leaver such as Redwood is saying this about the Post Brexit Economy, what hope is there.

9. The EU makes all our laws at present. It doesn't.

That was and still is a lie. If it wasn't, there would have been nothing for Parliament to do since 1971. What no one really saw coming at that time was the "Henry VIII Powers" that Theresa May want's for ministers, to be able to make up laws without parliamentary scrutiny to replace EU laws. No one in the Leave camp mentioned that the Government would abolish democraticoversight as part of the process.

10. The rest of the world will be keen to sign trade agreements with UK. No country has said this is true, whereas most say they want us to stay.

Remind me. After a year and a half, how long is the queue of countries seeking free trade agreements?

So I got one out of ten of these wrong. I apologise. I wonder if anyone from the Leave Campaign will apologise for conning the British public with the other nine porkies. Of course we've seen the likes of Nigel Farage, who has never held a political post or been a minister saying it's going wrong because the Brexit negotiators are not following his "just quit and be damned policy". I have no doubt that Theresa May and her administration have been extraordinarily incompetent, however Farage is clearly a complete buffoon, who would make a disaster into a full blown catastrophy. I am very tempted to report John Redwood to the Parliamentary Standards Committee for advocating a policy which has created a situation where he is now advising people to quit the UK.

A question that has repeatedly troubled me is whether a referendum, where the winning side told so many clear porkies and the winning margin was a mere 2%  really be considered to be a valid poll? If you buy a product and it doesn't do what it said on the tin, surely you should be entitled to your money back. I don't think the public are ready yet for the concept of a second referendum, however I think that everyone who can see what a disaster this whole process is, should start building the campaign now.

The argument that it is defying the will of the people is a spurious one. The British people were conned. What is disgraceful is that Pro Brexit Papers such as the Sun, Express and Mail did not even cover the story of Redwood advising his clients to pull out of the UK. The lies go on. If you are a client of John Redwood, you can get the truth, if you read the Pro Brexit press you don't. I don't believe that the UK population like being conned. 

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