The Late United Kingdom
Many people woke up on Friday morning to discover their country was tearing itself apart, literally and metaphorically. I didn’t; I’d been awake for a conference call at 2am, and couldn’t tear myself away at 3am when I saw what was happening.
People voted, in droves, for any of a vague set of overlapping and contradictory positions — and outright lies — instead of the concrete option of staying in the EU, warts and all. The Scottish Nationalists, and Sinn Fein, have both suggested this is the trigger to leave the United Kingdom, undoing centuries of Union.
And now? I’m simply aghast at the leave campaigners, who have backtracked on literally every position and reason they’ve stated for leaving. I think people were deluded, but they voted for £350M per week on the NHS, low immigration, and “more democracy”. Here’s what they get:
£350M/week on the NHS
Nope. Nigel Farage had pissed on that fire by 8:00 that morning, saying that he’d never said this, it was the Vote Leave campaign. This is true enough, the Vote Leave campaign made this a central pillar of their early campaign — although they were told that it was an incorrect figure from the outset. Some 39% of people realised the figure was a lie, some 14% weren’t sure — leaving almost half the electorate convinced that voting leave would add £350M per week to the NHS budget.
Nearly half of the British public believe Vote Leave's claim that the UK pays £350 million a week to the European Union…www.independent.co.uk
The Vote Leave campaign, along with Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign, argued that Cameron’s “tens of thousands” promise was unattainable inside the EU. They’re right, it’s a stupid promise.
Daniel Hannan also thinks so — on Friday he was telling people that free trade with the EU would mean freedom of movement. The immigrants coming here and paying our taxes and living under our laws just wouldn’t have the same rights as citizens, in his warped vision.
Actual immigration figures won’t change.
And of course people worked themselves into a froth about interfering Brussels. Except that in order to trade with Europe, we’ll still need to satisfy their product and service regulations, we just won’t have any representation in the EU Parliament.
The UK’s EU Commissioner (by which I mean the UK-nominated one, he doesn’t represent us) has resigned, giving us a well-publicised view of how he gets replaced — the UK Government nominates his replacement and the EU President accepts that nomination as a matter of course, somewhat like the Queen picking the Prime Minister (did the Leave folks forget we’re a monarchy?).
So if you voted leave expecting any of this, congratulations, you’ve been lied to and taken for a fool.