These People Will Not Pay

None of the public figures involved in Brexit will truly be held accountable for the damage done.

“During the the referendum I said I wanted my country back … now I want my life back,” — Nigel Farage, 4 July 2016

In spite of his pro-EU position, David Cameron called for an opinion poll on the UK leaving the EU. The citizens of the UK voted to leave. David Cameron resigned.

Shortly after Cameron’s resignation, Boris Johnson, one of the Leave campaign’s main promoters, announced he would not be pursuing the party nomination as Cameron’s successor.

The originator of the Leave campaign Nigel Farage has also announced he is stepping down as leader of the UKIP. He wants his life back, he says, after he effectively stole the life and future of millions of UK and European citizens.

These people will not pay.

The Leave campaign, as Hugh Hancock found by fact-checking it in its entirety, was based on lies. Farage, Johnson, Gove and the other Leavers lied to the British electorate and successfully leveraged their anger and fear, fed into their xenophobia and promised them that they would be better off by leaving the EU. Voters believed them, based on the assumption that politicians are paid to gather facts, make plans and present them to the general public in a coherent form that can be voted on. The Leave campaign acted with total disregard for the people they represented.

These people will not pay.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party let the Tories and the UKIP set the tone of the conversation around the Brexit poll and allowed Johnson to belittle informed opinions on the effects of the UK leaving the EU. Like the very promoters of the Leave campaign, they never thought that Leave would win.

These people will not pay.

Cameron, Farage and Johnson have all stepped down now, leaving the rest of the Tories to sort out the mess. Their political careers may be effectively over— although it must be noted that Farage remains a paid employee of the European Parliament, the very institution he wanted the UK to leave — but they will never go hungry. They may lose a job, but they will find another. The kind of money they’ve made will allow them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives, while the people they cheated out of EU funding and the freedom to move and work abroad might not.

These people will not pay.

As of today, it appears that what remains of the UK government is willing to use the lives of non-UK residents as pawns in the stalled chess game that are its relations with the EU, and if that means that families might be torn apart, so be it. Brexit was never meant to be anything but a long con aimed at pulling Cameron’s chair out from under him. It turned into an international economic and social débacle that no one, least of all Leave campaigners, was prepared for.

The people who made this mess will never truly be held accountable for their actions, the way you and I would if something you did resulted in an economic crisis, massive job loss and quite possibly the dissolution of an international organisation. Theirs was not an honest mistake, it was a gigantic scam that backfired spectacularly, the way scams sometimes do.

They will not pay. But you will.

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