Author: Luke Lythgoe
Ps have published a bumper document of all Vote Leave’s Facebook ads during the referendum campaign. From claims about Turkish migrants to NHS spending, their lies haven’t aged well over two years of Brexit reality.
Some of the worst Vote Leave scaremongering focused on Turkish immigration. The claim was that Turkey was on the brink of joining the EU. Emphasis was repeatedly put on Turkey’s 76 million population, suggesting a huge wave of migration. But Ankara has been trying to join the EU for decades – at the current rate its projected accession date was around the year 3000. Since 2016 we’ve seen its president crackdown on opposition and the media, with EU talks now in the deep freeze.
Vote Leave got a second bite of the Turkey cherry when the EU granted visa-free travel to the border-free Schengen area for Turkish tourists and other short-term visitors in return for cooperation on the migration crisis. The campaign was quick to flag Turkey’s border with Iraq and Syria, heavily implying Syrians and Iraqis would be able to travel unchecked to the UK.
But the UK isn’t even a member of Schengen. Nevertheless Vote Leave’s graphics, in this case accompanied by a “save our NHS” banner, played up fabricated immigration concerns.
The quintessential Vote Leave lie. The EU does not “take” £350 million every week, as InFacts explained repeatedly during the referendum. We have a rebate, lots of money is spent on UK projects and regional development, while the EU funds private enterprises, research institutions and our farmers.
Since the referendum it has become clear that Brexit will hit our economy, meaning less money for the NHS, not more. There is a “Brexit deficit” not a “Brexit dividend”, although Theresa May has drunk the Vote Leave kool aid.
4. EU immigration is crippling the NHS!
Ignoring the speculative projection of “5.23 million more EU immigrants” by 2030, the link between EU citizens arriving and the strains on the NHS couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re more likely to be treated by an EU national rather than find yourself in the queue behind one – 7% of NHS nurses and 10% of doctors were born in other EU countries. Since the referendum vote we’ve seen a sharp decrease in EU healthcare professionals applying and an uptick in those leaving, aggravating the ongoing staffing crisis. Brexit is bad for our NHS.
5. We’re not making our laws!
The Leave campaign liked to make out that “unelected bureaucrats” in Brussels were telling the UK what to do – as in this ad from BeLeave, a smaller campaign working with Vote Leave. But that’s not how the EU works. The big decisions are made by all 28 EU governments reaching agreement. Commissioners appointed by these same governments thrash out the details, and then have to get the approval of MEPs directly elected by citizens.
But the way Brexit is shaping up, we could well end up follow EU laws without a say on anything. May’s Chequers plan has us doing just that, and we might yet see further concessions to the EU. As EU members, the UK is a loud voice at the table, helping shape important issues facing the continent as a whole.