Referendum Reaction: An Awful Lot of Promises, An Awful Lot of Lies

we are unlikely to see the magic wand of ‘all the benefits and none of the problems’

The Leave Campaign made an awful lot of promises. An end to mass immigration, control of our laws, no money being paid to the EU and a 100% preferential trade deal in Britain’s favour. This was a very seductive message and the voters who quite convincingly voted Leave last night will expect quick and decisive results.

The most likely scenario is that Britain will opt to remain a member of the European Economic Area which will therefore mean very little real change to the current relationship. Apart from a loss of sovereignty when it comes to making the rules that will now govern us we are unlikely to see the magic wand of ‘all the benefits and none of the problems’ that Leave convincingly sold. It will be interesting to see how those who voted Leave will react when they become aware of this likely scenario.

The Remain campaign continually patronised the British Public with more and more outlandish claims and relying on ‘experts’ to convince people to vote their way. This was unlikely ever to work, it reminds me of the AV referendum, which overly relied on luvvies and metropolitan elites to try and sell a fairly abstract concept to the man in the street. Like AV the EU is a very difficult product to sell. Eventually when all the furore dies down, it is likely we will end up with just a slightly worse deal than we have before, which isn’t the apocalypse than Cameron claimed but nor will it be the sunny uplifts and quick fix of Leave. We live in interesting times, although it is likely that it is the political drama that will take over from now on and dominate the headlines.

Stewart Tolley

forty years of hoping that the end could justify the means have just backfired

The lies have been baked in from the beginning.

Edward Heath knew he wasn’t telling the truth.

Back in 1975 the British people were deliberately left with the impression that entry to “the Common Market” meant just that. A common market. Trade and prosperity. “There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty,” as Sailor Ted put it at the time.

He’d been told warned of his mendacity by his own Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir.  “I must emphasise that in my view the surrender of sovereignty involved are serious ones,” Kilmuir said.

Serious ones.

And all the way to New Labour in 1997 and on into the Cameron years this desperate strategy was the norm.

From Maastricht, through to the Lisbon treaty which Gordon Brown arrived late to try and avoid being pictured signing, and on to Cameron’s “renegotiation” which every other EU leader denied was any such thing. Prime Ministers have given away powers to an extent far beyond their mandate, returned home to deny doing any such thing and found a plethora of other issues to talk about come election time.

Anything but Europe.

It was Peter Shore, a former Labour Cabinet Minister, who noted ‘The words…are chosen to deceive simply because the authors know that the electors, to whom the manifesto is addressed, do not want to be integrated into a European Union – do not want to lose their birthright of democracy and self-government.’

Only one thing could ever have covered up if not excused this record of deception- an economic boom so enduring and overwhelming as to silence all critics. An unanswerable case.

But it didn’t happen and so forty years of hoping that the end could justify the means have just backfired quite spectacularly.

The British people have just reclaimed that birthright.

What a glorious prospect.

David Cottle

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