This is a topic that might indeed cause many eyes to glaze over, and so perhaps that especially applies to those that do not live in the UK. Since I do, then it is time for me to chip in with my 2c worth on #Brexit, and I guess my title gives a subtle clue regarding my position.
Much has been said by many. A great deal of that rhetoric simply panders to fears on immigration or economic security, and so has very little basis in fact. It is quite distinctly possible that the UK will indeed make a wholly irrational decision to leave the EU for reasons that are entirely fictitious, and so even that possibility is deeply troubling.
…millions of Britons believe Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove when they say that all the national and international bodies warning of spending cuts, tax rises, job losses and inflation are not just wrongheaded, but full of corrupt liars bought off with EU gold. Think about what the invective says about those who would determine our future. Even right-wing journalists were alarmed when they heard Vote Leave smear the Institute of Fiscal Studies as a ‘paid-up propaganda arm’ of the EU …
… Our common sense also ought to tell us that ‘there is no magic money tree’. Sensible conservatives have told us so often enough in the past. Yet now, all of a sudden, one of the greatest miracles in natural history has occurred: a magic money tree has appeared from nowhere. If we only vote to leave, its beneficence will ensure that we have tens of billions of pounds to spend on the health service, school buildings, school places …
The EU may indeed be desperately in need of real reform. There is also perhaps a valid debate about staying in and trying to see that through or simply going it alone, but you should be under no illusions about those carrying the #BREXIT banner. They are not having that debate, and are instead simply a bunch of opportunistic political hucksters who are deploying outright falsehoods to stoke up fears for political leverage.
As has been well called out by Mr Cohen, if they succeed, then there will be consequences …
If Brexit triumphs and — contrary to its proponents’ assurances — jobs go, workers’ rights disappear and living standards fall, if our enemies everywhere make their delight clear that Britain has turned its back on the world, if all the promises of a magic money tree turn out to be as fraudulent now as they ever were, right-wing populists will learn what true populist anger looks like. Brexit voters won’t blame themselves. Voters never do. They will blame the politicians and pundits who made them look like fools. Common sense will turn into communal rage as those who have accused everyone else of lying will be revealed as the greatest liars of all.
How Can I fact Check?
I’m only highlighting a couple of sources below that strive to spell out just the facts and leave it up to you to decide. There are of course plenty of others. Generally I find that many are driven by a motive to persuade you that either “leave” or “remain” is best. If I put them to one side, then below is what I ended up with.
Here is a site funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and based at King’s College London. They are a group that has an impressive list of “explainers” who provide unbiased insights and analysis about UK-EU relations.
They have a poll you can take that asks you a series of 20 questions on various issues. The answers you give will result in a recommendation of how you should vote.
In addition to the above we also have Full Fact. This is another unbiased site that strives to present just the verified facts. If you are not sure about something, and can’t work out what the real facts are, then you can ask. They will look into it for you.
The above is perhaps incomplete, and so here is another list of fact checking sites here. It includes the above, but also has a few others.
So what do outsiders looking at it all from afar think?
Countries usually don’t knowingly commit economic suicide, but in Britain, millions seem ready to give it a try. On June 23, the United Kingdom will vote to decide whether to quit the European Union, the 28-nation economic bloc with a population of 508 million and a gross domestic product of almost $17 trillion. Let’s not be coy: Leaving the E.U. would be an act of national insanity.
I think perhaps Samuel Johnston nailed all such debates such at #BREXIT with this observation …
“Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” – Johnson: Idler #30 (November 11, 1758) Link