Thursday 20th June 2024

Brexiteers heaped lies upon poisonous lies…we need a People’s Vote

The moral case for putting the terms of our exit from the EU to the citizens of Britain – something that has never been done – is irresistible.

We now know Vote Leave, the official campaign backed by the high priests of torch-it-all Brexiteerism, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, cheated by breaking spending limits.

This should be reason enough to annul the 2016 vote. But the legitimacy of the result is more devastatingly undermined by the ripples of the poisonous lies leading leavers told.

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They lied about the £350m extra per week they said there would be for the NHS.

They lied about the divorce bill, which is now estimated at an eye-watering £50 billion.

They lied about trade, saying we could do tariff-free deals with individual EU nations after Brexit. And the notion we could do quick and improved free trade deals with non-EU countries was delusional. The global queue of trade genies waiting to grant us all our wishes never materialised and never will.

Lies heaped upon poisonous lies.

They lied about the sunlit uplands and rivers of milk and honey that would flow through the landscape of our economy. In June 2016, an economic tornado was reaped. We have slipped from the fastest growing of the G7 economies to the slowest since the vote. We are haemorrhaging business to the continent with some of the biggest and brightest brands relocating to the European mainland and we are blighted by a drought in inward investment, a traditional feed-pipe into the pool of British jobs. Most famously, the value of the pound has plummeted, pushing up prices. We have now had two years to hear from the experts that Michael Gove was so keen to quieten. And no wonder he preferred the guilt-free sound of silence from those uppity academics! It is obvious to anyone who is paying attention that any Brexit would be a mother lode of bad news for our economy, while a Hard Brexit or a No Deal would be ruinous.

They lied about our sovereignty, which – make no mistake – we will be forced to sell to the highest bidder, as wily overseas trade negotiators hammer our naïve and inexperienced teams on health and safety, forcing us to give up control on standards. Chlorinated chicken, anyone?

They lied about immigrants, falsely blaming EU migrants for joblessness and for turning the screw on public services. They even stoked fears that Turkey was about to join the EU, bringing with it swathes of immigrants from neighbouring Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Lies heaped upon poisonous lies.

Democracies function when citizens are given accurate information. That did not happen. And amid the lies, important truths were withheld.

The potential return to the violence of the Troubles, sparked by a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, was barely mentioned.

Nor was the possible grounding of planes. Nor the potential choking of our motorways and ports with lorries, as the dead weight of red tape is heaped on exporters and importers.

Nor the gold-plated deal that makes Britain uniquely well-positioned among the 28 nations as an EU beneficiary, with our hard-won £4.9 billion annual rebate and many opt-outs, including from the Euro currency and from the Schengen borderless zone. No-one explained how good we had it.

The simple truth is we’ve been sold dud goods. We are in the grip of national case of acute Buyer’s Remorse.

But setting aside the cheating and lies, the 2016 referendum with its binary choice, was in no way a mandate for any one of the many possible forms of Brexit, let alone a green light to allow our politicians to steer us over the cliff with no deal at all.

Add to this the apparent swing in public opinion towards Remain over the last two years, driven largely by 1.4 million young adults reaching voting age and the case becomes compelling.

We now know young adults are vehemently against leaving the EU, as are the teenagers who will become adults over the next five years. Meanwhile the generally older leavers are diminishing in number by dint of the non-negotiable fact of their mortality. So are we really okay with this act of generational theft?

Finally, there is no consensus in Government or on the green benches of the Commons for any one type of Brexit. When the ruling executive and our MPs are unable to make a decision on how we should leave, then the decision must come back to the electorate.

The simple truth is we’ve been sold dud goods. We are in the grip of national case of acute Buyer’s Remorse. The Will of the People has changed and democracy dictates that we should be allowed to change our minds at the ballot box.


Corbyn is arguably the most important individual in Britain on the issue of Brexit. Yet, as he dithers, Rome burns.

Brexiteers who are opposed to a second referendum – by no means all Brexiteers – would deny us that democratic right. Jeremy Corbyn is arguably the most important individual in Britain on the issue of Brexit. Yet, as he dithers, Rome burns.

By positioning Labour behind a Peoples Vote, Mr Corbyn could improve the prospects for our nation for generations, steering it from the calamity of isolationism, dismal economic growth and poor security towards a fairer destination, at which we embrace a global outlook and work with our friends in Europe to forge a better future.

If he fails, we become smaller, meaner and poorer.

We, the people of Britain, consented for our leaders to negotiate our withdrawal from the EU. But the facts have changed – or, rather, the lies gave way to truth.

And when that happens, we have the democratic right to withdraw that consent.

Michael Taggart

Mouthy Blogger

Ex journo turned media agency founder and now managing director of MDTea. As likely to be found ranting about trains or his misspent youth as doing anything useful.

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