Don’t Legitimise Lies and Law Breaking

Leavers often accuse Remainers of being undemocratic as we have started to campaign for Rejoining the EU. One of the counter arguments to that accusation and perhaps the one that I most often hear is that democracy is an ongoing process and we have every right to campaign to Rejoin.

Whilst I agree with this argument, there is a serious flaw in using that argument, which is why I rarely, if ever, use it myself – It gives democratic legitimacy to the 2016 result.

The 2016 referendum was anything but democratic, indeed a few weeks ago I wrote a substantial response to the Governments rejection of our petition for a public inquiry into the referendum detailing exactly why Brexit has no legitimacy, but why was the vote in 2016 itself not democratic?

The story starts with Cambridge Analytica who stole data from Facebook which resulted in the Information Commissioner’s Office fining Facebook half a million pounds – the maximum amount allowed in pre GDPR days.

This data was then used by the Leave Campaign to psychologically manipulate voters and target them with misleading and false advertisements. The deceit and dishonesty of the Leave Campaign is perhaps best summarised by Professor Michael Dougan who described the Leave Campaign as “dishonesty on an industrial scale” and “one of the most dishonest campaigns this country has ever seen”.

In addition to this dishonesty and the illegal actions of Cambridge Analytica, the Leave Campaign itself broke the law. The Leave Campaign was fined £50,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for sending millions of text messages without consent and £120,000 for other offences relating to unlawful use of data. The Leave Campaign was also fined £61,000 by the Electoral Commission for breaching electoral law.

Democracy does not include wholescale deceit and dishonesty designed to mislead people into voting in a particular way or driving a coach and horses through both electoral law and data protection laws as the Leave Campaign has done.

We need to stop the use of any argument that legitimises the 2016 result.

It was not legitimate. It was not democratic.

Brexit is not legitimate. Brexit is not democratic.

Something Fishy

Did you know that in 2017 the UK fishing fleet made around 20% of its total catch from non-UK waters?

According to official figures, out of the seven other EU Member States’ waters that the UK landed fish from the most valuable for the UK fleet were (avg. 2012 – 2016):

Ireland (65,000 tonnes, £66 million)
France (14,000 tonnes, £17 million)
Denmark (7,000 tonnes, £10 million)
The most valuable fish caught by UK vessels in other EU member state waters were: mackerel, plaice and monks/anglers.

Sourced from Marine Developments Government Blog courtesy of Phil Dunn and Clifford Capel

EU Standards

Lord Andrew Adonis – European Movement
Tell Michael Gove that downgrading on EU standards is unacceptable

The clock is ticking, and the question on everyone’s mind is will there be a Deal or No Deal?

Boris Johnson’s Government claimed that this deal was “oven-ready” but with little over a month left before we crash out of the EU the worst-case scenario of a No Deal is still not off the table. We are continuing to stand up to No Deal, because we know that it is the worst possible outcome for this country.

But we don’t just want any deal. We are demanding a good deal. We are preparing to respond to the possibility that Boris Johnson’s government achieves the hard Brexit deal they are aiming for. Such a deal would:

  • Damage our NHS and cost lives by restricting access to vital medical supplies.
  • Damage our economy by adding huge costs to businesses and costing jobs across the UK.
  • Damage our environment by firing the starting gun on a race to the bottom.
  • Damage proud British food standards and threaten our farmers’ livelihoods.

We will not know the true costs of any Brexit deal until it is reached and published. But we will stand up to any deal that threatens the rights, standards, and prosperity we have enjoyed in the EU. Anything less than what we had as part of the EU will be unacceptable.

In March 2019, Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove said that “we didn’t vote to leave without a deal.” Today, we want to remind government ministers that nobody voted for a worse deal than we had in the EU. And how better to do that than by reminding Michael Gove of what he said just last year?

Remain turned up to a Knife Fight with a Spoon

For many people my age I suspect that one of the most defining events of our early adult lives was the Miner’s Strike which still colours the political views of many of those involved over three decades later, and caused a significant divide in the country in much the same way that the 2016 EU membership referendum has done.

Looking behind the dramatic TV pictures and stripping away the rhetoric and spin that surrounded the strike, what we essentially witnessed in 1984 and 1985 was a battle between two opposing political views on how an industry, specifically the coal industry, should be run.

On one side you had Scargill and the Labour movement arguing in favour of nationalised industries to provide employment before profit, and on the other side, Thatcher and the Tories arguing in favour of privately industry driven by profit.

Whatever your position on that argument, it was essentially an opinion on what was best, either nationalised industry providing jobs or private industry providing profits, and with a little thought, the opposing point of view could be easily recognised and understood, even if you did not agree with it.

Contrast that with the situation in 2016 and you immediately see the difference.

In the words of Professor Michael Dougan, the Leave Campaign of 2016 was “dishonesty on an industrial scale”. In other words, it wasn’t about a difference in opinion as in the Miner’s Strike, it was about what was right and what was wrong, what was true and what was a lie.

The Leave Campaign very deliberately set out to deceive the British electorate.

The Remain Campaign struggled to cope with countering those lies and as a consequence largely failed in its attempts to get its own message across. The leaders of Remain had no answer to the disingenuous conduct of the Leave Campaign. Indeed, not only did the Leave Campaign lie on an industrial scale, we subsequently found out that they drove the proverbial coach and horses through both electoral law and data protection laws in pursuit of their goals. It was this failure by the Remain leadership to adequately respond to the tactics of the Leave Campaign that led to Peter Mandelson coining the phrase “Remain took a spoon to a knife fight.’

Sadly, many in the Remain movement, or Rejoin as it has now become, even now often fail to recognise that the Leave Campaign does not care about rules or even democracy itself, and that they will go to any lengths to achieve their goals.

This is why it is so important to tackle misleading or groundless statements about the EU made by politicians such as Justin Tomlinson MP back in September when he claimed that the EU were trying to stop the supply of food to Northern Ireland and to break up the UK.

I do not believe there is any substance to those claims which is why I challenged Mr Tomlinson to produce evidence. He has not done so and that failure can only point to one conclusion.

If we are to prevail, we need to recognise that leavers do not care about rules, laws, or even democracy, and that they will and continue to go to any lengths to achieve their goals. Above all we need to stand up to people who make false claims about the EU and call them out for what they are.

We need to call them out as liars!

Why we need to push Labour on Rejoin now

There has been a lot of debate in recent months about why Starmer does not come out in favour of rejoin with perhaps the most common arguments being that he needs to bide his time or he is playing a clever game.

Thats not an argument that has any evidence to support it and this article highlights the dangers of those arguments – Labour Leavers are still active and are trying to either remove the issue of Rejoin from the agenda of the Labour Party or move Labour policy into opposition to EU membership.

That is something that we must counter if we are ever to Rejoin.

Articles such as this confirm that we are correct in setting one of our strategic goals as attempting to place Rejoin onto the agenda of the Labour Party.

This article also confirms that we need to be doing so now.

Populism is a cancer that must be cut out from a democracy

Given that Trumps dishonest and often inflammatory and racist form of populist politics has caused a deep division within American society, I am certain many British people will be pleased to see the back of him.

Unfortunately, however many British politicians such as Johnson and Farage are cut from the same cloth as Trump. This is perhaps best demonstrated by their deceit and dishonesty during the EU membership referendum campaign which was often also inflammatory and racist in nature and caused a deep schism in our country which is yet to heal.

Sadly, we have also seen this malign form of politics more recently, with one example being the totally unwarranted claims about the EU made by Justin Tomlinson MP that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Tomlinson claimed that EU was trying to split up the UK and prevent food being sent to Northern Ireland from the mainland. Not only do those claims lack any basis in reality, they were inflammatory and headed towards racism.

Despite being publicly challenged to provide evidence to support his claims, Tomlinson has not done so. In fact, all he has done is hit the block button on his social media accounts.
Populism, with its falsehood and often inflammatory and racist narrative has no place in democracy and needs to be cut out like the Cancer that it is.