Sunday, 20 January 2019

Brexit: Another dishonest Guardian campaign

A few months ago the Guardian ran a one-a-day drip-feed campaign to convince people that transphobic academics were being "silenced". This campaign which culminated in a widely criticised and factually incorrect transphobic editorial, an editorial that was so bad that the Guardian US, in an unprecedented move, actually ran a counter-editorial criticising it. The guardian drip-feed campaign was actually so dishonest that, despite telling us that transphobic academics are being "silenced" every day for five days, it did not actually produce a single example of a transphobic academic being unable to produce transphobic material. Yet at the same time Nic Shall, a trans PhD student is still being prevented from speaking and calling out transphobia. Needless to say this was not mentioned in the drip-feed. 

Being able to scream "I am being silenced!" in the national press is, ultimately, proof that you are not being silenced at all.

Now the Guardian appears to be starting a drip-feed campaign against a people's vote second referendum on the final deal for Brexit, and, yes you guessed it, it is just as dishonest as their transphobic "free speech" campaign.

It claims that a third of Labour voters would be "less likely" to back Labour if it adopted a 'Stop Brexit' policy. The fact that this "third" actually turns out to be 9% when you read the text, certainly does not surprise me;

"11% of current Labour voters said it would make them less likely to vote for the party."

This follows material produced by the normally reliable Owen Jones arguing that "Norway+" would be a great deal for the country. So losing influence in Europe and in effect becoming a colony of the EU is preferable to full membership. Now it turns out that the study to which the article refers also includes the following figures if Labour decides to back a people's vote;

9% of Tories more likely to vote Labour
39% of Lib Dems more likely to vote Labour
40% of Greens more likely to vote Labour

I'll take that lot rather than a share of the 9% TBH.

Of course supporting a people's vote on the final deal is not "stopping Brexit", it is giving the population an opportunity to vote on the final deal, something not available in 2016. However we also need to consider the meaning of "less likely" in this context. If this group is "less likely" to vote Labour that does not mean that they will not vote Labour, and one of the considerations would therefore be who would they vote for...?

If another receptacle for their votes is available then this likelihood increases, if there isn't it decreases. Given that the only possible destinations for their votes if they are that concerned to support the wanton destruction of Britain that they want to vote for a Leave-supporting party are the Tories and Ukip, there is not much choice. Ukip is a busted flush and will probably only be able to field a handful of candidates in a general election. Which leaves only the Tories. In fact very few voters ever switch from Labour to the Tories, and, in the 2017 election very few did so even in seats where there was a Leave-supporting Tory and a Remain-supporting Labour candidate. Indeed Remain-supporting Labour candidates won in large number of Leave-voting seats.

Contrast this with the possibilities for Remain voters. Remain voters have a number of alternatives; The SNP in Scotland  (who are likely to take 10 seats off the Tories at the next election) and Plaid Cymru in Wales as well as the Greens and Lib Dems countrywide. Indeed it seems that the Lib Dems are already quietly picking up a small but potentially significant number of Labour Remain votes as their polling has increased from bumbling along at 7-8% since the 2015 referendum, to between 10 and 12% now. So while Leave voters only really have the option of not voting (given that supporting the Tories will be anathema to most of them), while Remainers have a number of different possibilities, and are starting to take advantage of these possibilities.

It is also worth remembering that the current polls that show a 12% majority for Remain but that this is misleading. It is asking the question that was asked two and a half years ago, and not the question that would be asked in a People's Vote. 

A People's Vote on the final "deal" whatever that is, whether a catastrophic "no deal", the May Deal, Norway Plus or whatever, is just that. A vote on the specifics of whatever deal du jour happens to be on the table when they finally get round to accepting the only truly democratic way out of this mess. 

The contrast between a specific deal (and, for the sake of argument the May Deal is the only one currently on the table, the only one having been accepted by the EU) and the general notion of  "leaving the EU" is crucial. When all those leavers voted leave in 2016 they all had different ideas of what Brexit would be like.

Some voted for 'sovereignty'
Some voted for '£350m a week extra for the NHS'
Some voted to be wealthier
Some voted to have their cake and eat it.
Some voted to be like Norway or Switzerland
Some voted for a hard brexit (believing that there would not be any resulting economic collapse)

The difference with a Final Say referendum is that it is about voting on a very specific proposal, on the reality of brexit rather than the unicorns sold last time. So the variety of reasons people voted leave will be replaced with a cold, hard reality that is devoid of unicorns, with less money for the NHS not more, with no cake either to eat if have and in which everyone becomes significantly poorer.

In this scenario Remain vs Whatever Deal, Remain wins by a margin of around 35-40% rather than the 12% in the current opinion polls. This looks like a much better way to start the process of bringing the country back together and healing the divisions than persisting with an increasingly unpopular Brexit, the majority for which consists entirely of dead people, and which will make everyone poorer. 

How the Guardian got itself into this mess of publishing such blatantly dishonest propaganda of the Daily Mail kind is anyone's guess. Sort it out Viner.

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