We Don’t Believe You
2 May, 2019
by Sir John Redwood, MP for Wokingham
Much of the conventional media is pro-Remain. Day after day they churn out the same stories with the same spin to try to turn people off the idea which we voted for in the summer of 2016.
Their programmes become exceptionally boring, as most days it is Groundhog day, with repetition or elaboration of the same skewed ideas.
Brexit is about taking back control
It is about recreating our own democracy here at home. It’s a wish to spend our tax money on our own priorities. It is a will to debate and pass our own laws. It is wanting to have decisions made in the UK by elected people who are accountable to voters.
Leave voters were not starry-eyed. We did not fail to grasp the essence of Leave. We recognised that there will be times when our elected governments make mistakes and anger us by their words and deeds.
The difference is that they are directly accountable to us and can be dismissed at an election. When the EU spends our money, sends us a tax bill, and makes laws we dislike, we cannot dismiss them in an election or even make them answer to the high court of UK public opinion.
It’s about democracy
Much of the media have simply ignored the fundamental issues of democracy that motivate many Brexit voters. Remain and their smart media friends decided to make it an argument about trade and business.
They just assumed that pulling out of EU arrangements would be worse for our economy, and decided to repeat a series of false stories and inaccurate forecasts to try to scare people into voting to remain. It was a thoroughly unpleasant and negative campaign.
The strange and silly statements from Remain
We were told we would be cut off from supplies of drugs and food from the continent, so they could spirit up images of the sick going without their vital medicines. Interviewers would not challenge those who made such strange statements by asking them which drug companies would refuse to supply, or ask why the UK ports would delay the arrival of imports in a damaging way to disrupt the ill and elderly.
I still do not know of any major EU drug company that intends to terminate supply contracts to the UK. I am reassured by the statements of both Calais and Dover port authorities that they have no wish to damage trade or lose business by making it impossible for drugs to get through.
The same was true of the silly arguments that said motor manufacturers in the UK would not be able to import components from the continent for just-in-time manufacturing systems if we left the EU without signing the Withdrawal Agreement. Interviewers did not ask how come those same UK factories are already importing plenty of components from non-EU sources, which get in just fine and on time for the assembly. Why did so many of the conventional media fall for this nonsense, or why did they wish to collaborate with this propaganda?
The increasing power of social media and the Internet
These heavily-skewed presentations of the debate meant the pro-Brexit forces have to rely more and more on social media where we have ready access to audiences keen to hear the other side to the story. The absurdities of the scare stories about job losses, crashed house prices, broken supply chains and physical shortages of imports have driven many listeners and viewers away from traditional media.
They are seeking better information and a more positive view elsewhere.
The Brexit battle has become a battle over ‘fake news’, a battle between old media and new media, a battle between the public and the elite. Now individuals can be their own editors and can publish much good material on social media rebutting the lies of Remain. We rely on great websites to give people sensible information about how trade currently functions.
And where are the elites in all of this?
One of the oddest features of the debate is the elites who should know how current borders work, how VAT adjustments and Excise payments are made across EU borders at the moment, how customs are paid and could be paid if we go to a tariff-based system with the EU, as we have with the rest of the world.
Why do they not seem to have this understanding or have no wish or ability to share it with others? They just assert nothing can work if you are out of the EU and everything works if you are in it, without a shred of evidence to back up these silly comments.
A dialogue of the deaf
This is why the UK has – like many other countries with populist movements – a dialogue of the deaf.
The Establishment tries to dictate a distorted view of the debate, only to be told by Brexit supporters that they see it differently. The so-called experts use lurid language of cataclysms and cliff edges to describe trade arrangements that can work fine
The Leave voters are shouting back “We don’t believe you”.
The Brexit debate is a seminal part of the populist revolution, trying to inject more democracy and honesty into a distorted and poor public conversation.