One thing that can be said is that some - or even many - Remainers have been lying about what they call “Brexit lies”: those lies which are said to have occurred during and since the referendum. They've also massively over-exaggerated both the political significance and psychological power of those supposed lies.
Basically, in order for such large masses of people – over 17 million - to have succumbed to lies during the Brexit campaign (as well as after), they must have suffered from “false consciousness”. Yes, Remainers have resurrected that ancient leftwing concept. There are, of course, variations on this theme. Such as arguing that Brexiteers have been “brainwashed by the mainstream media”. Or that the Daily Mail or Sun “told them what to think” about the EU and our relationship with it.
Clearly the arrogance of these leftwing and Lib-Dem metropolitans knows no bounds. The snobbery is also blatant and obvious. It's only the self-image of Remainers which has it that they can't possibly be snobs. After all, don't snobs have a problem with blacks, ethnic minorities and the poor? No, contemporary Remainers and leftwing snobs have a problem with white working-class right-wingers (some of whom are poor) and Brexiteers instead. Many of these snobs also wear Che Guevara t-shirts, go to “gigs” and smoke cannabis – so how on earth could they possibly be snobs? I mean, the very thought!
This reminds of the public-school girl, Laurie Penny. This particular leftwing snob, Corbynite and Remainer is the daughter of a lawyer. He sent Laurie to a private school after which she ended up at - rather predictably - Oxford University. Since then she's spent most of her life in – yes, you guessed it – London.
When an audience on the BBC's Question Time reacted in shock and outrage to her elitist and arrogant snobbery about Brexiteer racism (which she hinted at, rather than explicitly stated), she then rather fatuously and pathetically said that she didn't also think that Brexiteers were “stupid”.
More fully, she said:
“I don't believe that people who voted for Brexit are stupid. I think, unfortunately, that people may have been lied to and manipulated.”
So how can over 17 million people who're so easily lied to – as well as “manipulated” - not be... well, “stupid”? Laurie Penny's comment is as close to containing a self-contradiction as it's possible to be.
Now if Laurie Penny's isn't a smug, metropolitan snob, then why wasn't she also the victim of all those Brexit lies and manipulations? If those lies were so powerful, then why were Remainers like her immune to them? Is it Remainers like her are intellectually, morally and politically superior to Brexiteers? What else can explain this Remainers' lack of susceptibility to such terrible Brexit lies?
The EU-NHS Lie?
The mass meme about Brexit lies has been utterly essential to the Remain campaign. It's mentioned in virtually every comment which Remainers make.
So let's be specific about the lies we hear so much about.
In the vast majority of cases, it's a reference to that infamous “Vote Leave” billboard/poster and bus advert. The advert on the bus was this:
"We send the EU £350 million every week. Let's fund our NHS instead."
The billboard advert was this:
“Let's give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week.”
The thing is, according to many, that figure wasn't a lie at all. And according to others, it was simply unclear.
The UK Statistics Authority watchdog, for example, said that it was “misleading”. That's because the figure wasn't false in itself. Instead its citation solely relied on the UK’s £19 billion gross annual contribution to the EU. The figure failed to take into account the UK's rebate and other monies which come back from the EU.
Thus, even if it were taken as true that the UK sends £350 million to the EU every week, and at the very same time the UK receives back £100,000,000,000 every week, then that still doesn't make this claim a lie. Yes, it's still the case that we send the EU £350 to the EU every week! See? It's complicated.
As ever with economics and statistics, the truth is complex. Indeed almost every article on this “lie” fixates on different aspects of the figures and facts. None of these articles conclusively – or even convincingly – demonstrate than the claim was a brazen or willful lie.
Despite all that, according to some accounts, the figure was actually an underestimation! That is, it's been argued that we actually send (or sent at that time) more than £350 million to the EU every week!
Thus saying that this figure was a “lie” is to take a simplistic position on a complex matter. One thing, however, that can be conceded is that the billboard promise to directly link EU payments to NHS funding was probably a mistake. However, the bus advert is a different matter entirely because it didn't promise that our EU payments would go directly to the NHS.
In any case, the idea that 17,410,752 voted for Brexit on the sole basis of a single statistic (or promise) is monumentally patronising and obviously false. But what do you expect from those metropolitan Remainers who have a severely condescending view of Brexiteers?