From Sky News:
A complaint Leave campaigners misled voters with claims made during the EU referendum is being considered by the Crown Prosecution Service.
AFAICS the Remain campaign (which includes the then UK government) pumped out far more actual deliberate lies than the Leave campaign did, most of Leave's stuff was quite emotive and neither true nor false in an objective sense. Luckily, most people have some sort of instinctive grasp of when they are being lied to, which is why a slim majority voted Leave, out of pig-headedness as much as anything.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders is investigating whether the assertions made by Vote Leave and Leave.EU amount to "undue influence" with a view to bringing a prosecution.
Woah! That is not what undue influence is. The people behind this claim to be legal experts and really ought to know better.
The complaint centres on "instances where the leave campaigns continued to make assertions of fact that were knowingly misleading". This includes the claim that the EU was costing £350m a week, a figure Michael Gove was robustly challenged on by Sky News Political Editor Faisal Islam, during a televised debate.
Shall we just remind ourselves what the slogan actually said..?
Ah, good. It didn't say "cost", did it? How much the EU "costs" means including all sorts of other things, the cash contributions minus cash rebates; the benefits of intra-EU free trade vs the cost of barriers to trade with the rest of the world; the benefit of harmonised regulations across a continent vs the deadweight costs of those regulations in the first place, etc etc. Nobody really knows what all the pluses and minuses are, and that wasn't really the point.
What it actually says is that we "send" approx. £350 million per week to the EU, which is quite true. For sure, that's the gross payments and the EU pays half of it back in various subsidies (half of which to landowners). So what? Everybody knows this, don't they?
Funnily enough, the Remain campaign never tired of reminding us of the amounts that the EU pays to various organisations in this country. So Leave emphasised the £17 bn that goes out each year and glossed over the £8 bn coming back; Remain emphasised the £8 bn that comes back and glossed over the £17 bn that goes out. So Leave's claim was closer to the truth than Remain's.
To give a non-numbers example: a divorce judge asks who did the most housework, the wife says "I did it all. I did all the shopping and cooking and cleaning" and the husband says "I did it all. I had to make my own cup of tea in the morning and I took the bins out once a week". Neither claim is 100%true, but the wife's claim is closer to the truth than the husband's.
And the infamous bus slogan didn't actually say that NHS funding would be increased by £350 m a week either, did it? Quite clever wording really.
The two other key claims being challenged in the complaint are that Turkey was joining the EU and that the UK has no border controls while in the EU.
It is quite true that the EU loves to expand and that Turkey has been on the waiting list for years. It's not going to happen this year or next, but it is a long term aim.
As to border controls, as against citizens of other EU Member States, in practice, we don't really have border controls. I've been to plenty of other EU Member States and have never endured more than a cursory glance at my passport, which is exactly what they do when I come back to the UK. I personally think this is A Good Thing, but it is still true FFS. What is the much vaunted "free movement" if it is not absence of border controls?
The complaint has been submitted by an independent group led by Professor Bob Watt, an expert in electoral law from the University of Buckingham.
"Our primary aim in seeking prosecution is to try to restore some integrity to our democratic processes," he told The Guardian. "None of us is willing to allow the UK to be dragged down to some kind of populist 'who can lie and deceive the most?' race to the bottom, such as we witnessed earlier this year."
Jolly good. So will they be putting in a complaint against Remain as well?
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
From Sky News:
My latest blogpost: Bremoaners on top formTweet this! Posted by Mark Wadsworth at 15:47