It’s been 23 months since the Great British Public turned out in record-breaking numbers to vote to Leave the European Union. Project Fear, however, is still in campaign mode. The not-so-merry band of Remoaners include former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Add to this the self-aggrandising House of Lords and you get the idea of the type of people still peddling Remoaner nonsense.
Backed by controversial Hungarian billionaire George Soros, Remain groups like Best for Britain are seeking to sway public opinion away from Brexit two years after 52% of us voted to Leave. A year later, 80% of people cast votes in a General Election for parties pledging to uphold the Referendum result and extricate the UK from the Single Market and Customs Union. Without any self-awareness or sense of irony Soros says: ‘Ultimately, it’s up to the British people to decide what they want to do’, as he continues to funnel millions of pounds into a ‘people’s vote’ movement. The vote was two years ago, guys.
Soros and co. would be seen to be wasting their time and money in any normal circumstances, but in post-Referendum Britain we find ourselves stuck in a malaise where the Government’s policy begins and ends with the ambiguous ‘Brexit means Brexit’. It is, frankly, a disgrace that with less than a year to go until we officially leave the EU, Theresa May’s Cabinet are still bickering over customs arrangements the EU has already rejected and are not channelling their energies into ensuring a ‘Clean Brexit’.
In this climate, Project Fear 2.0 has flourished, as newspapers splash across their pages every stray Remain Civil Service or Downing Street source, exacerbating the sense of chaos surrounding the negotiations. Whether it be Nick Clegg, Nicky Morgan, or David Miliband (remember him?) advocating to stay in the Single Market in a rice factory, or Kenneth Clarke’s public denunciations of the Foreign Secretary, Fleet Street just can’t get enough of the Remainers.
The beating heart of Project Fear 2.0 - as in its first iteration - is the constant stream of negative economic claims that depict Britain after 2019 as a dystopian horror of mass inflation and impotent Stirling, devoid of investment and economic activity. Now the House of Lords has given its prodigious stamp of approval to the Remoaner line, tales of economic woe are coming thick and fast. Except, they’re all bogus.
Take the recent declaration from Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, in which households are supposedly £900 a year worse off because of Brexit. Aside from the fact the Bank of England failed in its predictions the first time round, this rerun of Project Fear was immediately discredited step by step, and the financial trickery laid bare. This is demonstrative of the Remainer’s modus operandi: start with a narrative (Brexit is bad) and then fiddle the numbers so that the facts appear to line up with said narrative.
We see the same tit-for-tat over trade and future customs arrangements. The Mail on Sunday - staunchly Remain - ran a profoundly one-sided piece (it was called ‘Carmageddon’) by the CEO of an automotive parts company. The author attempted to eviscerate any scenario where Britain was outside the Customs Union, despite admitting that most of the trade he was concerned with was actually from non-EU states.
Concern over customs arrangements and border controls have been greatly inflated. They haven’t received the same amount of attention, but multiple experts have debunked assertions of cargo trucks grinding to a halt at ports, and HMRC’s suggestion that ‘maximum-facilitation’ would cost up to £20 billion was summarily debunked by other economists.
If those peddling Project Fear 2.0 actually cared about democracy, they’d put the EU itself in the crosshairs. Leaving the EU isn’t scary but remaining in certainly is. How can one look at the chaos in Rome and not want to hasten our exit? The majority of Italians voted for two Eurosceptic parties suspicious of the Brussels elites and the loss of sovereignty – especially monetary sovereignty – their country has suffered as multiple governments ceded more powers to a supranational institution. Voters were threatened and patronised as coalition talks collapsed because President Mattarella was more concerned with what the cronies in Brussels and the financial markets thought than his own electorate. A fragile agreement has now been reached, but the whole episodes speaks volumes.
The Brexit negotiations are undoubtedly a complex issue, concerning legal and economic specificities which can’t be resolved overnight. The Government has an immense job to do as they undertake the largest democratic mandate in our history, but they must be far more concise and enthusiastic about Brexit than currently. Their lack of confidence in their own programme, coupled with the in-fighting and endless U-turns, have allowed the same people who promulgated Project Fear in 2016 to return to the forefront of the scene, despite being fantastically wrong about almost everything. This is an unsustainable way of composing oneself during monumental trade and constitutional negotiations, and only fans the flames of the Remoaner crew.
17.4 million of us voted to Get Britain Out of the EU. No amount of scaremongering, abject lies and angry press conferences can overturn such a definitive mandate, and Theresa May does every one of us an immense disservice not standing up to those still bitter they lost.