Monday, September 25, 2023

EU Election: Brexit Lies

No other topic in the history of mankind has created quite so many lies as Brexit, with the possible exceptions of religion and alternative medicine.

It is very important not to make decisions based on lies, so here are a few (from an uncountable pool of hundreds) of the biggest, most influental lies.  Hopefully, with less than 24 hours before the vote, knowing some of what is not true will stick in mind and help people to discount the lies and the liars.

noun. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

The Lie List

LIE: Brexit poses no risk of a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

QUOTE: “Nor is there any prospect of security checks returning to the border. The common travel area between the UK and Ireland pre-dates our EU membership and will outlast it. The unique status Irish citizens are accorded in the UK predates EU membership and will outlast it. There is no reason why the UK’s only land border should be any less open after Brexit than it is today.” Theresa Villiers, Vote Leave press release, 14 April 2016

LIARS: Vote Leave – Conservative, Labour and UKIP MPs and figures including Boris Johnson (Con), Michael Gove(Con), Douglas Carswell (UKIP),  Gisela Stuart (Lab), Lord Lawson (Con) , and led by unscrupulous strategist Dominic Cummings, whose links to Cambridge Analytica are still being investigated, due to them employing Aggregate IQ to target voters through social media, with…lies.

REALITY: The border between the two nations would be the ONLY significant border between the EU and UK. A hard border would jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement. If the UK leaves the EU, there has to be some form of border.  The two parts of Ireland will be in different regulatory and customs regimes.  If the UK is not part of the customs union, and is not part of the single market, there will, by law, have to be customs checks. The Northern Ireland Backstop (temporarily keeping Northern Ireland and possibly the whole UK in the single market until another solution is found) is part of a deal with the EU.  It isn’t assured without one.

LIE: We can avoid paying the £39billion divorce bill by leaving with No Deal

LIARS: In January David Davis, former Brexit Secretary told Channel 4 that it is a “false assertion” that we have to pay and that we might be able to avoid the cost by leaving with no deal.  In September Dominic Raab went full Empire and said we could simply refuse to pay it in the case of no deal.  Both are Conservative.

REALITY: Britain signed a regulation in 2013 that set the Medium-Term Budgetary Framework for contributions.  It’s a legally binding international agreement.  The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties defines international law, to which the UK is bound, which says that we bear those liabilities, commitments and obligations (financial in this case) regardless of whether we leave or not.  Our government could easily end up being taken to International Court in The Hague when the EU sues us for breach of international agreements.  This is likely due to the amount.

Beyond the reality of law, it would be very hard for us to make new trade agreements when the world sees us being legally and morally in the wrong.  We become a bad risk, and our international reputation is further damaged.

LIE: Almost everything ever published in a newspaper about EU laws and regulations.

Deep breath.  Ready?

The “acre” measurement to be outlawed,  replacing A-levels, banning the sale of acorns, banning advertising for same-sex flat shares, banning sweet and toy adverts, telling British farmers what they can grow, ending St. John’s Ambulance service, prioritising EU farming over British, banning playgrounds, demanding extra money from the UK, straight bananas, banning the name “light ale”, banning church bells, EU migrant benefits, extra beer tax, recycling tax, standardising book prices, banning bingo callers from saying “two fat ladies”,  limiting broadband speeds, disposing of the double decker bus,  seat belts in buses, UK businesses “strangled by red tape”, denying access to new cancer treatments, banning car boot sales, banning unpasteurised British cheeses, standardised Christmas trees, EU threatens British film industry, banning darts in pubs, making giving dogs bones illegal, domain names to be replaced with .eu, English Channel to be renamed, and hundreds, possibly thousands, of other deceitful stories, including “massive increase to UK contribution”, health tourism, and EU is launching its own army.

All EU migrant stories were also false.  These included stories about Romanians and Bulgarians arriving by the busload, eating swans, Polish people “stealing” jobs, migrants coming here for benefits (truth: they can’t claim benefits) and “how immigrants milk the system”.

Lying about the EU seems to be the favourite hobby of the British Press, so the European Commission had to set up a website dedicated to debunking all the absolute balderdash sleazed out by our newspapers.  You can check the many racist entries and trapeze artist obsessions HERE.

LIARS: You might be thinking you were safe from the lies by your stalwart choice of big media news source.   Left and Right wing papers, respectable and gutter rag, they all committed the sin of convincing the British Public that the EU are our enemy.  Drumroll please …

Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Press Association, Evening Standard, The Sun, Daily Star, News of the World, The Guardian, Sunday Express, Sun on Sunday.  I didn’t have time to check the source of every story in one afternoon, because there are hundreds, but these are the repeat offenders which I could identify.

The Daily Mail bears the greatest weight. Paul Dacre, the editor, specifically is responsible by directing and approving content of this sort. This historically fascist newspaper ran so many anti-EU, anti-migrant, anti-refugee stories that David Yelland, former editor of The Sun, who ran their own EU and racist flapdoodle, said, “Without Dacre there would be no Brexit.” The Daily Express comes a close second, with the Sun coming in third. The Daily Mail and Daily Express have had the most press complaints made against them to their regulator Ipso, on this issue alone.

REALITY: These are all simply lies. They did not occur only during the referendum campaigns.  These lies have been prevalent in British newspapers for about 20 years, with a lesser quantity occuring even earlier. For deeper analysis, Jon Danzig is an award winning journalist who has been investigating journalism.  I did not use his work for this piece, as his focus is mainly on media incitement of racial hatred and investigating the fabrication of stories in detail. His work is too detailed to include.  Some of his talks and investigations can be found on his YouTube channel.  He keeps a blog called EU Rope.  His investigative journalism on journalism led him to become a Remainer, but the work stands for itself by merit of vast evidence.  He has evidence of how the Daily Mail fabricated people, quotes, interviews, sources and stories.

LIE: That making trade agreements will be easy for us

QUOTE: “The free trade agreement we will have to do should be one of the easiest in human history.” Liam Fox

“There will continue to be free trade and access to the single market” Boris Johnson

LIARS: Conservative Party, UKIP, The Brexit Party

Brexit has tarnished our international reputation, and our desperation coupled with the fact that we are an island with limited resources and do not produce what we need to survive without external co-operation, means that we are prey.  Potential trading partners are seeking to get more out of any deal than we get, and we do not have the power or bargaining chips to win many of these negotiations without appalling sacrifices.

America – A trade agreement with America is likely to include our concession to relax our food and farming standards to allow for abhorrent practices which we have long outlawed. Chlorinated chicken – chicken that is off being bleached so that it can be passed off as edible – is the most talked about example. Another big one is the use of ecologically destructive pesticides like Roundup.  Yesterday, 21st May 2019, Monsanto (who created chemical warfare herbicide Agent Orange) were ordered to pay $2billion for damage caused by Roundup.  Monsanto already want to own British farming, and this is not a healthy future for Britain as the pesticides they use are killing the bees and decimating ecosystems, and they are now genetically engineering pesticides into the crops themselves.
On top of that risk, is the fact that HCA, the US health insurance giant, is already embedded in our NHS, and wants more.  A trade deal with America risks the existence of our NHS as free at the point of use.

EU States –  There are rules about EU states making trade deals with other nations.  The EU as a whole and individually is legally forbidden from giving any nation a better deal than its members have.  All trade deals which we hold through EU membership have to be negotiated individually.  It is illegal to enter those negotiations whilst still a member of the EU.  Any deal made will be worse than what we have now.  EU nations are physically close. It’s cheaper, less ecologically harmful, and easier to get goods from Europe than from Morocco or China.  They produce things we want and are used to.  British people aren’t going to want to do without, or replace foods they expect with the unfamiliar.  British people cannot afford for prices to increase with greater tariffs on importing.

World Trade Organisation rules: these rules are not as good as the ones we have now.  The rules also inhibit a trade deal with the EU because we will have to hike up tariffs we charge them.  UK and EU will need to establish a way to make both sets of rules work with each other, which can only happen effectively and quickly in a deal situation.  The day after Brexit, all new rules would have to be applied.  This is where the fear of food shortages comes from, as without a procedure to deal with conflicting rules, and to pay increased tariffs, nothing can move in or out of the UK, even if the EU is not its eventual destination.   Also, it’s not that simple.  America uses WTO rules with the EU, but they aren’t just there, floating around.  Agreements still have to be made, and each one is different.  America has over 20 different agreements with the EU to regulate different areas of trade.  Each one had to be negotiated.

These only describe a handful of the problems.

It’s not easy.  It’s difficult.  It’s uncertain.  It’s frightening.  People are stockpiling food.  Our most useful, desired and long running trade is with Europe.  Europe is the route for most trade to get to us and from us, and 44% of all our products go to EU countries, tariff free.

LIE: We are the British Empire.  We have power.  The world is our oyster.

QUOTE: “The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.” Michael Gove

REALITY:  35 months later …  No we don’t.  No we can’t.

LIE: We have no control over immigration.  The EU prohibits, or has no, immigration control.

REALITY: Beyond the xenophobia stoked up by the press, which creates a hostility for any immigration, there are some fair criticisms of our immigration policies, but IT’S JUST US. We have always had control.

Both the Labour and Conservative governments CHOSE to remove checks which can be put back.  The EU has nothing to do with it.  It is all down to who we vote for, what their manifestos say, and the character of the people we elect.

Tony Blair removed border exit checks in 1998 – these are used in almost every other EU state. That meant we lost some of the control and knowledge of who was still in the UK and who had left.  The EU however, states that EU member states can send EU nationals home after three months if they haven’t found a job or cannot support themselves. We could use the EU rules. Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary, chose not to.

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE: NIGEL FARAGE, formerly UKIP, currently founder of policy-devoid Brexit Party.  Architect of Brexit.

It’s difficult to label every cog of Farage’s Deceit Engine, but a good place to start is his habit of reducing complicated problems to dismissive empty catchphrases such as spitting out “Metropolitan Elites” to pigeon hole the people who think immigration has a benefit.  The reality is that the people who think that immigration has a benefit are those with an understanding of how much they contribute to taxes, labour, the NHS, and roles British people refuse to do (food rotting in fields due to lack of migrant labour and refusal of British unemployed to take those jobs).  There is nothing metropolitan or elite about these people.  They are farmers, nurses, recruitment experts, economics experts, civil servants (Jobcentre staff), and journalists. They aren’t privileged or out of touch.

He has repeated the lies told by the press about the EU.  All of those fabrications were known to be nonsense when he repeated them.

He offers a false clarity and a false simplicity, which those who are made anxious by the obfuscation and dithering of “the establishment” lap up. He lies about easy choices with easy fulfillment.

He has said that the EU is responsible for the problems of “working class people” and that Brexit will “take back control” and that people who have been shafted by power can use their votes to fix what Westminster has broken.  The lie here is refuted by the fact that all of the problems which non-rich British people suffer are caused ONLY by Westminster, not the EU.   No jobs will be created by Brexit, no industries saved, no community will be improved by scapegoating immigrants for our problems, nobody will be financially better off.  It was never the EU who caused the problems of ordinary people.  It was long-standing focus on London, the South and the wealthy by government.  Now people are losing their jobs, as industries collapse as a direct result of Brexit, and Farage is doubling down.  Having creating a new, even lazier party, with only one promise “No Deal”, this rich, privately educated politician is still managing to convince huge swathes of people that the wrong people are responsible for their misery.   Critics are always met with some kind of Othering dismissal designed to portray him as a champion of normal people.  His critics are invariably normal people.

Nigel Farage creates demands which cannot be met by the actions suggested. He is fuelling a rise in his own power by creating permanent discontent.

Then there’s the image of refugees on the Croatia-Slovenia border, which in Europe was used to promote understanding and welcome for those fleeing ISIS.  Farage pretended it was immigrants coming to Britain, and did this racist thing:

Again, the EU has nothing to do with our control of our borders, and these are refugees not EU migrants. We took in a tiny proportion of the 5.6 million fleeing conflict in the Middle East.  Verified figures show that we’d met half of the quota we agreed (20,000) last year.  This poster was not about refugees.  They were misrepresented (lied about) as immigrants being allowed through without checks by the EU.

LIE: The Brexit bus – “We send £350million a week to the EU, let’s spend it on the NHS.”  Everyone has tried to disavow the lie on the bus.  Most people associated with the Vote Leave campaign have disavowed it, or confessed that it was a lie.  They still used it.

PAID LIAR:  Dominic Cummings.  Dominic Cummings crafted the campaign and lies which dominated Brexit.  They were used by Conservatives and UKIP in the main, and the Leave faction of Labour to a lesser degree.  Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage all used this lie.  Dominic Cummings has been investigated for deceitful practices in the Leave campaign, as detailed in a previous section.  He was the focus of scandal-busting drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, where he was played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

LIE: Democracy has been betrayed by not instantly delivering an easy Brexit. A second referendum/cancelling Article 50/a deal with the EU is undemocratic.

LIARS: Every member of UKIP and The Brexit Party.  The sentiment is also used in different ways by the Conservative Party and the Labour Party who say they have to respect democracy.

Let’s have a look:

Democracy is an ongoing system within which all eligible members of society (within certain parameters eg. age, nationality) have a say.  No definition or understanding includes insisting that a non-binding referendum be delivered without question, debate, reassessing the best interests of the nation, and without detail.

The concept of democracy, and the structure of our parliamentary democracy, includes the ability, the right, and the duty to go back to the people when new information becomes known, or to unilaterally act in the best interests of the nation by way of the fact that they were democratically elected to represent our interests.

LIE: We need to reclaim our sovereignty

LIARS: All of the Leave campaign, and most of their supporters

REALITY: This is simple – we have always had sovereignty.  We never gave it away.  It wasn’t asked for. We do not have to accept laws which we don’t want.  Many of the major EU laws are lifted directly from British legislation.  We have been involved, through democratically elected representatives, in creating the rest.  Our experts have been heavily involved in drafting most of what we have adopted.  We have always been allowed to say no.  Our problems now are due to the fact that we are breaking agreements we CHOSE to make.


Clare Washbrook

Current Editor-in-Chief News and magazine editor since 1995 Post-grads: Literature; Theatre; Journalism, Ethics & Law Community Affiliations: Belper Goes Green, Belper's WW1 Poppies, Amber Valley Solidarity No political party memberships/affiliations.

One thought on “EU Election: Brexit Lies

  • Michael Hepworth

    An excellent article Clare!
    Now, to make matters even worse, the Leavers, who claim to be champions of democracy, are considering either proroguing Parliament or calling a general election in order to facilitate leaving the EU without a deal, which is contrary to the will of Parliament, and to the majority view of the people of this country. I hope that our MPs are committed to protecting and preserving the supreme authority of Parliament, rather than conniving at this betrayal of democracy.

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