Why is it that Vote Leave, trying to persuade the UK to vote to leave the European Union, can get away with so many lies? And why won’t the mainstream media really pick up on this? For instance:
Vote Leave claims that if the UK leaves the EU we will:
Stop sending £350 million every week to Brussels.
Except that we don’t; the majority of the money doesn’t leave the country, and no matter how many times economists keep pointing out this is nonsense, they keep repeating it. This is the only claim that has really made the news for being wrong.
Be free to trade with the whole world
Have they not been to their local supermarkets and seen how much wine and fruit we import from California? Or South Africa? Want out-of-season asparagus (and more wine)? It comes from Chile. Green beans and flowers? Try Kenya.
We trade with all the Commonwealth countries. Part of the deal when we joined the Common Market in the 1970s was that we had to be able to continue trading with the Commonwealth. We trade with China (the sixth biggest importer of UK goods and services), India (which invests more in the UK than all the other EU countries combined), and in April this year we exported goods worth £1 billion more to the US than we imported. We trade.
Former London mayor Boris Johnson, promised that “If we vote Leave we will be able to forge bold new trade deals with growing economies around the world.” He wants us to ‘go global’. Has he not noticed we already are?
We will take back control over our laws
They claim the EU controls our laws. It doesn’t. Many ‘EU’ laws are actually part of UK law. Only 13 percent of our laws have anything to do with the EU, and that figure includes all UK laws where the text simply mentions the EU. The truth is The House of Commons Library researched this issue and Richard Corbett MEP quoted their answer in 2008 – only 9% of our laws come from the EU.
They claim the European Court of Justice has control over UK laws. No; it is ‘the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law.’ EU laws, not ours.
And the Court can and does rule in our favour – it has just ruledthat the UK does not have to pay welfare benefits to unemployed EU migrants who have been here for less than 5 years.
We will build a fairer immigration system.
They say the European Courts will be in charge of who we let in, and who we can remove. No. We control legal migrants coming to this country. Nor will leaving the EU stop the illegal migrants from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere seeking asylum and what they believe will be a better life. And international law says that we can legitimately return any illegal migrants to the last ‘safe’ country they passed through in order to reach the UK.
What they really want to get rid of is the free movement of Europeans coming here to work, while forgetting all the traffic going the other way. Free movement across Europe is a boon to our young people. Nor can we, as they claim, make a trade deal with Europe post-Exit without including free movement. Norway and Switzerland have had to accept free movement as part of their trade deals. And Norway pays per capita as much into the EU as the UK.
They say that recipients of EU funding would get the same money if the UK votes to leave.
They promise that EU funding projects for areas including farming, science, and culture would be continued until 2020. But Brexit negotiations with the EU could go on beyond 2020. Can we be sure the EU would still be willing to fund us during what could be acrimonious negotiations? Nor does Vote leave mention that any trade deals with the EU post-Brexit would take many years more. According to them, such deals would be set up in the twinkling of Boris Johnson’s eye.
And in their wild fantastical promises of what we could have if only we didn’t have to pay so much to the EU, they have theoretically spent several times over what they claim would be money going spare if we left the EU. It brings up an image of children happily smashing a piggy bank and running off to the sweet shop, dropping half the money on the way. And being sick afterwards when they realise that sweets aren’t food, don’t keep you warm or give you shelter.
But their dishonesty does not stop there.
They are now in trouble for using in their campaign material, the logos of international companies they imply support Brexit. But those companies don’t support Vote Leave, and are quite rightly considering legal action. As did the National Health Service back in March.
Vote Leave had a pop-up ad on websites and Facebook using a 23-year-old quote from Jeremy Corbyn when he was speaking against the Maastricht Treaty. It asked people to ‘stand with Corbyn’: “if you agree with Jeremy, then Vote Leave”. That has now disappeared, but it is still on their website. They are also pulling the same trick with an old quote from Lord Peter Mandelson, once Tony Blair’s right-hand man.
The only campaign that even remotely equals this dishonest, crooked rubbish is that of Remain, headed by Prime Minister David Cameron. And the sad and terrifying thing is that far too many people are willing to believe what they are told. One side promises them an impossible economic nirvana if they vote to leave, while the other side terrifies them with an economic apocalypse – if they vote to leave.