Chuka Umunna’s hollow howls of betrayal regarding the absence of our post-Brexit windfall are confounding. He seems unable to grasp that the scrapping of EU funding can only be achieved once we have left the European Union, says David Sedgwick.
Barely a day goes by (or so it seems) without a bitter Remain voter taking to social media to complain about all the ‘lies’ told by the Leave side. Apparently, those duplicitous Leave folk hoodwinked almost 17.5 million voters on that unforgettable day 18 months ago – as far as mass deception goes, quite a feat.
Though as ignoble as it gets and dripping in liberal doses of arrogance as well as self-delusion – sour grapes to you and me – from a purely psychological point of view such behaviour is eminently predictable. According to Wikipedia, rationalisation is a phenomenon:
“. . . in which controversial behaviours or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable—or even admirable and superior—by plausible means.”
In other words, having been so utterly convinced of the probity of their own pro-EU opinions, and equally convinced that their side of the argument would prevail, losing the debate triggered a series of contingency behaviours in Remainers the object of which was to seek a ‘plausible’ explanation to explain their defeat.
Substantial numbers of people had in fact rejected the EU based upon some very sound reasoning. Amongst other things voters rejected the EU based upon their knowledge of its staggering incompetence; its breath-taking levels of corruption, not to mention knowledge of its wastefulness, arrogance, unaccountability, authoritarianism and perhaps most worrying of all its supranational ambitions.
There were indeed plenty of ‘true explanations’ to explain Leave’s victory. Not that prominent Remain campaigners such as Chuka Umunna would ever admit as much. Along with the philosopher A C Grayling, ex-spin doctor Alistair Campbell and any number of Guardianistas and Independent journalists, Umunna is currently fully locked into this rationalisation syndrome and has been for the past eighteen months.
Daily, this illuminati tweet about Leave’s ‘lies.’ How else could the country have so resolutely rejected their own realities if not by lying? By repeating this mantra amongst themselves, this group can indeed begin to feel ‘superior’ – that their arguments were not undone by debate or logic, but rather by skulduggery – the ‘lies’ of the treacherous Leavers, that ne’er do well bunch of rogues – Farage, Johnson and Gove – who would make Fagin and his urchins seem paragons of virtue.
Having rationalised the result thus, Umunna and friends can take to the moral high ground, lamenting those ‘lies’ without which Remain would have won a resounding victory and the UK would, by now, be well on its way to becoming a mere outpost of the United States of Europe.
In a feat of quite staggering mental gymnastics, Umunna, Grayling and Campbell have seemingly forgotten all about the many lies spun by the Remain side of the debate: punishment budgets, house-price crashes, mass unemployment, food shortages, corporate mass exodus from London etc. etc. These were real lies, lies concocted to scare the populace into maintaining the status quo. It almost worked, too.
Even now – 10 months down the line – Umunna is still regurgitating one of his side’s most persistent myths: the £350 million red bus pledge. Remember that? How could we forget? “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead,” so read the slogan on the side of that big, red bus.
Only today, the Labour politician has been tweeting about that good ole bus once more:
I have not had any constituent write demanding the return of the Blue passport – I have, however, had many asking where the promised £350m extra per week for the NHS is, which is immeasurably more important.
Leaving aside the trifling matter that this slogan was clearly a suggestion (let’s) and never was, nor has been official government policy, Umunna continues to cling to what has become a lifeline for many Remainers – an explanation that is plausible precisely because it chimes with their unshakeable belief that Leave voters are somehow intellectually inferior to their Remain counterparts, susceptible to trickery, gullible, dense, thick, northern, working class . . .
And yet for all his wisdom and intellectual dexterity, Mr Umunna has not noticed the rather large gaping hole in his own logic: If we haven’t actually left the EU yet – thanks in no small part to the dogged efforts of the likes of Umunna and friends – then as of Christmas 2017 the United Kingdom is still paying its weekly contribution to the EU – that self-same £350 million (or, as some suggest, considerably more).
If that is the case, then Mr Umunna could surely reassure his worried constituents who keep pestering him (he says) about that same £350 million. Given that we have not left the EU and if Umunna gets his way, we never shall, surely the answer to the whereabouts of that £350 million is simplicity itself:
“It’s still with Brussels.”