Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Bremoaners on top form

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?


John M said...

If that is going to be investigated on the grounds that it is allegedly a lie and an offence, then can we calso include George Osborne's confident assertions that the impact of Brexit to the UK economy would be £11bn, followed two months later by £30bn, and a few weeks later to £40bn.

They can't all be truths can they? But were *any* of them even true? I think we should be told and "fibber" Osborne locked up in Pentonville if he was lying about any of them.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Politicians tell lies during elections and referendums? Surely not. I'm shocked.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JM, excellent examples.

RM, it has never happened before, ever. For reals!

KJP said...

I seem to recall that we joined (the EEC) on the basis of no significant loss of sovereignty - a very big lie even at the time with the loss of control of our fishing grounds.

Curtis said...

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?

You are being disingenous here. Free movement means that an EU/EEA/(Swiss) citizen can settle in any other EU/EEA country provided that they are working, looking for work (for a maximum of 90 days, but not enforced in practice unless applying for permanent residence after 5 years), studying or self-sufficient. For the latter two, they must purchase comprehensive health insurance.

This has nothing to do with border controls.

Americans and Australians (even brown and black-skinned ones) can easily pass through the border from an international flight arriving in Madrid or Rome by just flashing their passport. They are rarely asked to open their passports despite Italian fears about black migrants swimming across the Mediterranean.

Yet this does not mean Americans have free movement into Italy, which in practice means having the right to obtain the local authority registration (common across all of continental Europe) that allows residents to get things done. British citizens can get this registration by just producing their passport, since it is a right of EU citizenship. Americans would need to qualify for and apply for an Italian visa first.

Of course the UK and Ireland don't care about registering their residents as long as each address pays its council tax.

Mark Wadsworth said...

KJP, true, although I would have voted to stay in the EEC.

C, OK, so "border controls" means "right to remain/work/settle" does it? Fair enough.

I think we are agreed on both:

Border controls on movement of citizens of EU member states - practically non-existent.

Right to remain/work/settle - more or less a given for such citizens in any EU country.

So you are splitting hairs.

As ever, I personally think these are Good Things - no border controls and right to remain/work/settle where you like. But I accept that others don't like them.

DBC Reed said...

I don't see why we are called moaners because we were not panicked by
oaFarage's posters of Syrian refugees (falsely represented as legitimate migrant labour) into voting to jump ship from a prosperous single market in sheer fright.Our French allies were holding up questionable cases at Calais.So much for British sang froid.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, it's called being a bad loser, it's not British.

Some Brexiteers were guilty of this when they moaned about the govt losing a court case recently but not to the same degree.

Bloody hell, the SNP lost a referendum on independence on the basis of Project Fear and didn't demand a bloody recount (although they are muttering about a second referendum, not sure if they mean it seriously); we lost the AV referendum on the basis of a massive fucking pack of lies and that was the end of that.

Bayard said...

It's only when the Establishment loses that we get the moaning: expect a near-rebellion in the US, unless Trump proves capable of being suborned. The Establishment is always a bad loser, look at the Spanish Civil War.

DBC Reed said...

So we should be "good losers" and knuckle down to some good old Daily Mailism should we with the electorate bribed by the State to run down the economy and social system via Homeownerism and low wages with some bashing foreigners to provide entertainment? This is fascism-lite.
The Liam Halligan programme and Spectator article show that the slo lerners in the Tory Party (all that money on private education so well spent) have suddenly woken up to the fact that the State bribes to the overmortgaged masses are running out of road with only a decreasing ,older proportion of the population able to access them and vote accordingly.Definite signs of panic in Tory trousers.
With an increasing proportion of people relying on ill-paid work for a living, it is likely that the electorate will take the single market more seriously and regret being panicked by the O'Farage extra parliamentary rabble.
I do not think you should use whatever influence you have to instruct people to be British and other meaningless right-wing crap.
Please explain how taking this Daily Mail line helps the advent of LVT

Bayard said...

DBC, that's all very fine, but none of that is what the Bremoaners are complaining about.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, you are going to have to elaborate on the Spanish Civil War example.

DBC, you are going off on a tangent.

Can you not understand I am talking about the process and not the outcome?

There have been loads of elections and referendums where I was very unhappy with the result (in fact most of them), but I accept that it was the result and move on to the next one.

And can you explain how being a sore loser helps LVT get implemented?

Random said...

These people are morons

There is as much money for the NHS as required. If the NHS needs resources ban private healthcare and offer custom jobs for retired doctors (that is not going to be popular here as it is 'free market' aka let ppl jump the queue!)

Mark Wadsworth said...

R, I never say a problem with allowing people to pay to jump the NHS queue and using that to part-fund the NHS. If we funded the NHS with a tax on other stuff that rich people like (Mercedes, yachts, private education, whatever) then politically that would be acceptable (economically nonsense, but there you go).

The only issue is, what is total spending on the NHS? Assuming the NHS makes a real profit from the queue jump payments, on average that leads to more spending/better service for those who can't afford the queue jump payments.