Michael Gove: It turns out he was economical with the truth about why his father sold the family's fishery business [Image: Mark Thomas/Rex/Shutterstock].

Michael Gove: It turns out he was economical with the truth about why his father sold the family’s fishery business [Image: Mark Thomas/Rex/Shutterstock].

As the song goes, it was all about the bass in the EU referendum debate on Wednesday – along with the cod, haddock and any other fish that we catch and eat.

Firstly, Nigel Farage took it into his head to lead a small flotilla up the Thames in protest at what he describes as restrictive fishing policies adopted by the European Union.

However, it turns out that Mr Farage’s previous activities in aid of British fishermen have been less effective than those of TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who actually ended the policy of discarding perfectly good fish back into the sea because of EU quotas.

Farage, a member of the EU fisheries committee, had the ability to change the ‘discard’ practice himself – but never did anything about it and only attended one meeting out of a possible 42.
160616 Farage on fishermen
Farage’s armada was seen off by a rival flotilla headed by, among others, Boomtown Rats and Band Aid mastermind Bob Geldof – who told all those there assembled that Farage was “no fisherman’s friend”.

Addressing Farage over a PA system as his boat, the Sarpedon, pulled alongside the boat carrying the UKIP leader, Geldof called him a “fraud”.

“Here are the facts about fishing. One, Britain makes more money than any other country in Europe from fishing. Two, Britain has the second largest quota for fish in Europe after Denmark. Three, Britain has the third largest landings. Four, you are no fisherman’s friend.

“You were on the European Parliament Fishing Committee and you attended one out of 43 meetings.”

I’d say Bob reeled in the victory on that one – hook, line and sinker.

So when fellow Kipper Paul Nuttall posted the following image, we can only guess that he was being ironic.
160616 Remain boat
Alternatively, Mr Nuttall may be really stupid. We can leave that for you to decide.

Worse was to follow for the ‘Leave’ campaigners:

Michael Gove’s father has contradicted claims made by his son that the family’s fish processing firm in Aberdeen was destroyed by the European Union’s fisheries policies.

Ernest Gove told the Guardian that he sold the business voluntarily because the fishing industry in Aberdeen was being hit by a range of different factors. These included competition for space in the port from North Sea oil vessels, the Icelandic cod wars, dockworkers’ strikes and new 200-mile limits to control over-fishing.

Michael Gove has said in speeches and television interviews that his father’s firm “went to the wall” because of the EU’s fisheries policies, and that the common fisheries policy “destroyed” it.

Ernest Gove told the Guardian that he did believe the industry in Scotland “more or less collapsed down” after the EU became involved in fisheries policy, but he said he sold his firm voluntarily, as a going concern. “It wasn’t any hardship or things like that. I just decided to call it a day and sold up my business and went on to work with someone else,” he said.

“[I] couldn’t see any future in it, that type of thing, the business that I had, so I wasn’t going to go into all the trouble of having hardship. I just decided to sell up and get a job with someone else. That was all.”

Gove has only been telling us this fib since April.

He is reportedly outraged that the Guardian has dared to fact-check him, telling Politics Home: “My dad was rung up by a reporter from the Guardian who tried to put words into his mouth, but my dad has been clear – he was clear to the BBC on Sunday night, he was clear to me when I was a boy – that the business that he invested so much care and time in had to close as a result of the Common Fisheries Policy.”

But Severin Carrell, who wrote the Guardian piece, tweeted firmly: “Michael Gove has accused me of gulling his dad to serve “ agenda”: multiple sources support the analysis. Gove Snr spoke freely.”

His comment has attracted vicious attack from Gove supporters but the Guardian has published the interview transcript to support Mr Carrell’s claim so, again, we can leave it for you to decide.

Although, honestly, if anyone decide to ‘Leave’ based on the evidence of Michael Gove or Nigel Farage after this, perhaps decision-making isn’t their strong suit.


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