Brextremists’ fake news is a reflection of the fake reality they inhabit

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson would happily wash their hands of their involvement in Brexit – if only they could work out how the soap dispenser works [Image: Getty].

Now that the EU referendum is long past, the truth can come out: The UK was never likely to be overwhelmed by millions of Turkish immigrants; the NHS will never receive a £350 million-a-week bonus from the Tories; and leaving the Single Market will do long-term damage to the UK economy. But ‘Leave’ supporters won’t accept it.

Why should they? Reality is what you say it is these days – at least until the hard economic facts muscle in on the Brexiteers’ fantasy world.

But that won’t happen for at least another two years – possibly longer if Theresa Mayfly gets the phased transition she wants.

Meanwhile, those of us who know what’s coming get tarred with the ‘Remoaner’ brush – even those who voted ‘Leave’ because it’s easier for these people – these ‘Brextremists’ – to insult us than it is for them to think for themselves.

They really don’t have any idea what they’re doing – but they don’t care.

For them, point-scoring is far more important than safeguarding the future of the country they pretend to love so much.

Vote Leave was certainly on the border between false and fake news. One of its posters claimed: “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU.” Penny Mordaunt, a Defence Minister, claimed the Government would not be able to stop Turkish criminals entering the UK or to veto Turkey’s EU accession (the latter a downright lie). Gove warned that up to five million more EU migrants could come to Britain by 2030 because 88 million people would be granted the right to live and work here under EU plans to allow Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey to join it.

The ultimate piece of fake news was the claim that leaving would provide a £350m-a-week bonus for the NHS from the UK’s contribution to EU coffers. This was emblazoned on the side of the “Boris Battlebus”, cynically painted red to appeal to Labour voters. Fortunately, it cannot be airbrushed out of history and I am sure the image will re-emerge when the voters try to cash in their “NHS Brexit dividend.”  How the health service and social care could do with £350m a week now. It’s never going to happen.

Why does this matter now? Brexiteers claim that Theresa May has a mandate to take Britain out of the single European market, as she confirmed on Tuesday. Although some Outers said in media interviews during the campaign that quitting the EU would mean leaving the single market, it barely featured. As Dominic Cummings, who was Vote Leave’s campaign director and a long-standing Gove adviser, admitted last week: “Would we have won without immigration? No. Would we have won without…the NHS? All our research and the close result strongly suggests no. Would we have won by spending our time talking about trade and the single market? No way.”

It may yet prove a costly game for the British people. But you wouldn’t know that by reading the Brexit press; as if they still can’t believe they have won, Europhobic newspapers and hardline Brexiteers re-run the campaign. Those who call for a soft Brexit are denounced as “Bitter Remoaners” who want to obstruct the “will of the people” expressed in the referendum. May joined in by attacking people who want to “subvert democracy.” At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, she made clear that Parliamentary scrutiny of her Brexit strategy will be strictly limited. There will be no White Paper, and clarity will provided “at appropriate times” – in other words, whenever she chooses to. So much for Brexit restoring the sovereignty of the UK Parliament.

It is true that the warnings of an immediate hit to the economy have not materialised. Reading the Brexit press, you would think this is because the Remain camp’s Project Fear was based on a lie. It accuses Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, of “eating humble pie” by admitting that the economy is doing better than expected. It never mentions his statements that this might have something to do with the Bank’s emergency measures after the referendum.

Many economists have not changed their view that Brexit will inflict long-term damage, a view that will harden now that we are heading out of the single market.

Source: Fake news handed Brexiteers the referendum – and now they have no idea what they’re doing

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22 thoughts on “Brextremists’ fake news is a reflection of the fake reality they inhabit

  1. NMac

    I will always maintain that the farcical referendum was the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on a whole nation – by a political party which itself gained power fraudulently (election expenses fraud).

  2. Emma

    It is fake news that is was ever claimed that leaving the EU ”would provide a £350m-a-week bonus for the NHS”
    It was an example given as to what could be done with the money that is wasted to the EU, that is all.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      This was not a suggestion. It was a lie.
      Don’t try to tell us this wasn’t a claim that the money would be given to the NHS.

      1. Barry Davies

        So if this is the claim we must accept that the minority who voted remain don’t give a damn about the NHS despite their regular whines about where is the money which as we all know is still disappearing into the economic black hole in brussels.

      2. John

        I didn’t vote for Brexit Emma, but that isn’t an ‘example’ of what could be done at all. That is directly inferring that either part or all of that money would be used on the NHS.

    2. Melanie Wilson

      Exactly. At no point was a firm promise made, they weren’t in a position to make promises after all. It was, as you say, a suggestion of how it COULD be spent.

  3. Dave Rowlands

    All I see is name calling, school playground tactics used by those that can’t agree about anything. We need to get a grip, you know, act like adults, discuss, plan, figure out how we can benefit from the lies told by both sides that created the mess we are in now. It’s much easier to blame the “other side” rather than discuss what we can do together. The whole thing in my opinion is childish, it’s our future generation that is going to suffer because we behave like spoilt little children.

  4. Melanie Wilson

    Mike you complain that Leavers insult Remainers rather than accept the reality; Then YOU go on to do the same in reverse! You call Leavers blind and incapable of thinking for themselves. The truth is, no-one KNOWS exactly what is going to happen, we don’t have a crystal ball. Sure you can make predictions, quote one expert after another, but you don’t KNOW. The fact is, UK did vote out, from my point of view it appears to be Remainers (not all, many accept ref result), who daily seek to rerun the campaign, we hear all the same tired arguments everyday, on one channel or another. Disappointment I can understand, concern I can respect, but not dogma that states categorically that 17.4m were all blind, stupid, didn’t know what they were voting for, and are plain wrong. We voted as a country to Leave, we all have to respect that decision, and depending on your standpoint, either embrace the future with optimism and hope, or worry until the end results materialise and hope your earlier reservations are proved wrong. Dismissing a democratic process because it’s not what you wanted is not the answer.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Did I dismiss the democratic process? No.
      Did I reflect the concerns that have been expressed about what is happening as a result? Yes.
      Did I reflect the concerns about what has been said about what is happening as a result? Yes.
      Did I call all ‘Leavers’ “blind and incapable of thinking for themselves”? No. Please don’t falsely attribute words to me.
      Do I disagree that no-one knows exactly what is going to happen? Yes, actually I do. We know the UK was never likely to be invaded by Turkish immigrants because there were plenty of ways of stopping it, including refusing to let Turkey into the EU, if need be. We know that £350 million a week will never be pumped into the NHS as a result of leaving the EU. It was a false figure from the start, and consideration will have to be taken about what to do about all the EU funding streams that will close when the UK leaves; by rights, this money should go towards them. And in our heart of hearts, we know the economy will tank when we leave – that’s why the value of the Pound drops every time Theresa May mentions it.
      So, yes, we know.
      I’m not saying everyone who voted ‘Leave’ did so blindly. Many knew exactly what they were about. You want to be worried about them. Many, though – the “Brextremists” I mention – voted ‘Leave’ because they have latched onto one or more of the fake claims made about conditions afterwards and absolutely will not accept any argument. They don’t have any information to validate themselves, which is why they are reduced to belittling anyone with a different point of view as “Remoaners”, and trying to argue that any concerns are groundless, despite having no information, themselves, to demonstrate it.
      And there are plenty of people in between, ranging from those who are hopeful – as you suggest – to those who are extremely trepidatious, having seen which way the wind has been blowing and realised they may have put themselves in the path of a storm.
      So, regarding your comment: Nice story, but that’s all it is.

      1. Barry Davies

        You can’t say for certain that the UK would not have had an influx of Turkish migrant because eTurkey has not as yet joined the eu, and as such has no freedom of movement rights. The money we send to the eu is far greater than what you describe as eu funding streams, which is simply a small proportion of the money we put into it coming home. We will therefore have more money to spend on the UK than presently. We have already seen the economy improve, and nations wanting to trade with us once we leave are increasing by the day, admittedly if anyone listens to the very small minority of unelected commissioners mep’s and presidents of mighty trading nations like Malta, they will think the eu will break all international law and “punish us” for having the temerity to leave their corruption ridden democratically deficient club. Yh idea of it being extremists who were the majority voting leave is just another bitter example of remain supporters pretending they knew exactly what remaining in the eu would have lead to, which is of course ridiculous.

      2. Melanie Wilson

        You do yourself a disservice being so pedantic. Of course you didn’t use the exact wording I refer to, but the inference in your article is clearly the same.
        And no, you DON’T know what is going to happen to the economy, all you can do is predict, and as has been demonstrated with other seismic decisions around the globe, those predictions are proving difficult to be accurate.
        The pound drops at the slightest little prospective change, it’s to be expected and has followed those expectations. Therefore it is disingenuous to try attributing these recent dips as a rare occurrence; it is perfectly normal. Once the initial ‘shock’ has sunk in, the pound rallies.
        In so far as accepting arguments made, this comment also works in reverse; there are plenty on both sides of the debate to whom this can be attributed.
        Whether you intended it to or not, your article infers Remainers are all reasonable, sound thinkers, and Leavers are somehow dim and didn’t know what they were voting for. In so far as the EU goes and what it actually encompasses, it could be said Remainers don’t actually know what it is that they are desperate to cling on to.
        With the assumption Leavers were wrong, misled, didn’t know what they were voting for, you seem to be suggesting that the referendum shouldn’t have even been run; to do so is to dismiss the democratic process, one of giving the people the choice. That’s the thing with referenda, they can return results that many don’t want, but that many do, this is no reason not to hold one in the first place.
        I’m not in the habit of telling stories, I was giving an appraisal of your article, and to be honest, I’m quite shocked at the tone you use in responding to me. I’m not, however, surprised; it has become the stock in attitude from your side of the debate.
        We should all learn to respect each others’ decisions and choices, by all means have a debate, but the insults and childish name-calling, as someone else has already mentioned, belong in the playground.

  5. Christine Cullen

    I wear my remoaner label with pride. After all, it could be worse. I could be living in the US!

  6. Emma

    The only claim made there is that 350 million goes to the EU. That is true. It does not say that 350 million will instead go to the NHS. It’s ridiculous to try to claim it does. That is a false claim and fake news! I usually like vox political but this puts me off

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It is not true that £350 million (a week) goes to the EU – it does not take account of the rebates received by the UK.
      As for that non-existent money going to the NHS:
      Brexit bus
      Are you trying to tell us this is not implying that the alleged £350 million should go to the NHS instead?
      If so, you’re on your own.

  7. chriskitcher

    What we need to do with greater emphasis is to hold the Brexiters to account for all the lies that they told in the referendum campaign and to let them know that we will not pull together to make Brexit a success but rather to see it fail as soon as possible.

  8. John

    Well, of what I caught of the actual campaign, if we forget about the nhs for a second, all I ever recall, is that it seemed to be heavily focused around one thing really….. immigration, immigration, immigration, immigration, and erm, oh yes, did I forget to say, immigration!
    Haven’t seen the stats, but I reckon that a very large proportion of the Brexiteers are just a bunch of racist sc*****s, who can’t stand the sight of anyone else, who has a different skin colour to them!

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