Tomorrow the United Kingdom will vote on whether to remain a member of the European Union. Obviously, this is an awfully important decision which is bound to have tremendous ramifications for the future of our country. It certainly goes without saying that this decision should be an informed one. A decision backed up by facts as opposed to raw emotion, and unfortunately for the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign, facts are decisively not something they have on their side.
On the subject of the economy, the overwhelming majority of experts predict that Brexit would have a negative impact on the UK. This is backed up by The Bank of England, the IMF and dozens of other independent bodies. So what does the Leave Campaign do? What do they do when the facts clearly do not align with the post-Brexit fantasy land that the likes of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove insist on selling to voters?
Step One: Completely dismiss the experts and claim that the public has “had enough” of them.
Step Two: Completely dismiss the facts and claim that every single prediction of a negative economic result to Brexit is all part of a giant establishment conspiracy commonly known as “Project Fear”.
“Project Fear”, a term originally coined during the Scotish independence referendum, has become the Leave Campaign’s favourite method of ignoring questions and legitimate concerns. It’s a shameful fallacy, an obvious deflection tactic, and a clear indication of the fact that their side has completely lost the argument when it comes to the economy. Last week, when polls shifted for the first time in favour of leaving the European Union, the pound began to lose value. When remain took back the lead this week, our currency immediately began to recover. That alone, regardless of what hundreds of business leaders and economists have to say, should be a clear indication that we are financially better off within the European Union.
But facts and logic do not seem to matter to the Brexit campaigners, because every time a new study is brought out and every time yet another organisation or research centre voices opposition to their cause, all Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have to do is shout “Project Fear!” and claim once again that Britain will somehow benefit by detaching itself from our single largest trading partner.
Whenever you point out that the pound will be in trouble, that is simply “Project Fear”. Whenever you point out that our National Health Service will almost certainly lose funding as a result of a declining economy, that is simply “Project Fear”. Whenever you point out that 3 million British jobs are directly linked to our trade with the European Union, that is simply “Project Fear”. Whenever you point out the dangers in giving a radically right-wing Conservative government free reign to rewrite the British legal system, that is simply “Project Fear”.
Well, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we don’t live in a magic fantasy land where wishful thinking and fairy dust are the universal cure to all of Britain’s problems. I’m sorry but shouting “Project Fear!” is about as much of an argument against the economic fallout to Brexit as shouting “Racist!” is an argument against those wanting to discuss uncontrolled immigration. And it is indeed with the immigration argument where the tremendous hypocrisy of the Brexit campaigners becomes clear for everyone to see.
Because while they have no qualms in denouncing economic forecasts as pathetic fear mongering, when the argument moves on to immigration, any and all hints of optimism seem to quickly disappear. It is frankly amazing that it is indeed the side which claims not to be using scare tactics that wheels out a giant intimidating poster showing a long que of migrants under the words “breaking point”.
I hope that tomorrow the people of this country vote to remain in the European Union. I hope that facts and logic prevail over fiction and hypocrisy.