Three Brexiteers[who want to leave EU] who have a gift for fictio

Posted By: June 01, 2016

Brian Feeney. Irish News (Belfast). Wednesday, June 1, 2016
The only good thing about David Cameron’s ill-advised EU referendum is watching the Conservative party tearing itself apart.

Why Cameron ever thought that unleashing the demons of racism and xenophobia in his own party was a way of resolving the decades-long conflict in British Conservatism is a mystery only he can explain.

It’s clear now that, win or lose, there’s going to be blood on the floor and walls. Great to see at least two of the most prolific fiction mongers in the party, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, have burnt their boats with their joint letter to the Sunday Times restating their crazy assertions about immigration. Gove made a laughing stock of himself a couple of weeks ago proclaiming most of the population of Albania and Serbia were soon to head for Britain.

Even more ridiculous, Johnson promised the arrival of millions of Turks. He must know most Turks don’t have passports. Secondly there’s more chance of Burkino Faso joining the EU than Turkey. France is committed to a referendum the result of which is a foregone conclusion. Austria would veto Turkey’s accession and Germany opposes it.

Strange Boris Johnson should make Turkish immigrants an issue given that his grandfather was born Osman Kemal the son of Ali Kemal a Turkish journalist and politician who was lynched in the 1920s. Osman’s English grandmother changed his name to Johnson. Obviously some Turkish immigrants are preferable to others. As for Boris, well, he has a troubled relationship with the truth having twice been sacked for being unable to distinguish it from fiction. No wonder former prime minister John Major castigated the Leave campaign for peddling ‘untruths’.

Far down the pecking order in the campaign comes our own clueless proconsul. Did you see her at a racecourse in Cumbria on Monday spouting nonsense about immigration driving wages down? Go to any fact checker and you’ll see it’s not true: that at most immigration might lower wages by a few pence an hour but has less effect than her own government’s tax changes. Besides, studies can’t distinguish between the effect on wages of EU and non-EU immigrants. Leaving the EU tomorrow would still keep net immigration at over 100,000.

Why would anyone think our proconsul knows better than all the official bodies like the IMF, OECD, IFS, hundreds of economists etc, etc? Ah, sez she, that’s because ‘the establishment is lining up against us.’ What a pathetic remark. Boris Johnson was at that too. Listen folks, they ARE the establishment. Born with silver spoons in their mouths, privately educated, representing rich constituencies, and in our proconsul’s case pretensions to aristocracy going back to the seventeenth century. It’s nonsense.

Yet that nonsense is the best the Brexiteers can do. When people haven’t a case, when they haven’t a single credible statistic or recognised national or international body to support any assertion they fall back on conspiracy. As Kenneth Williams wailed many years ago in Carry On Cleo, voted the funniest one liner in film, ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me.’ Our proconsul doesn’t get it.

No doubt the fact that British and Irish officials are examining whether to enforce border checks at Liverpool, Stranraer and Holyhead in the event of a leave vote, as opposed to trying to seal the border with the Republic, is also a conspiracy. The fact is that our proconsul is the only person in the British and Irish governments who believes ‘goodwill’ as she said will resolve the problem of an EU-UK border. That means she hasn’t got a single official to support her daft position that voting leave wouldn’t be a problem for customs and immigration in Ireland.

It’s obviously not possible for her to admit that official opinion in Whitehall and Dublin thinks  she’s talking through her hat but is it not scandalous that the person supposedly representing the north in cabinet can blithely assert for her own political purposes that leaving the EU will be without political and economic consequences here?

Final point. She says the referendum is ‘a close race’. William Hill is giving 1/5 Remain for the UK and 2/9 for England.

Brexiteers stand to lose money. Let’s hope our proconsul loses her job.