The public were not lied to or hoaxed regarding the £350 million, says Isaac Ross.
So here we are again: squabbling about that £350 million we allegedly send weekly to Brussels with reports claiming we sent the EU a ‘mere’ £156 million per week last year, under half of Vote Leave’s infamous bus-side slogan. If we are indeed replaying the referendum campaign, can someone please get the political pantomime double act of Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof back out on the Thames to reenact that surreal afternoon.
This issue needs to finally be put to bed. It usually ranks quite prominently on Remainer’s list of Vote Leave ‘lies’ during the campaign and is used frequently to claim the public were duped thus rendering the result somewhat, if not entirely illegitimate.
This is simply wrong for the following reasons. Firstly, and most rudimentarily, this is the gross sum of our weekly contributions to Brussels which is a common model to state figures such as ones salary. The argument should really have ended here but the remain camp decided to confront the figure at every viable opportunity; a manoeuvre that served to their eventual detriment.
This was a colossal mistake on the part of the remain camp’s campaign strategy as by incessantly bringing up the £350 million number, they attracted attention to the concept behind the mathematics, something Vote Leave understood well.
It initiated a debate about Britains’s financial contributions to the EU, whether we were getting value for money from our outlay and if these funds could be better spent on national priorities.
Here, the remain camp made their second fatal error. They failed to comprehend the overall dynamics of euroscepticism and how it would react to this debate. For most, if not all sceptics, the exact figure was a logistical irrelevance. Any sum of money payed to Brussels was intolerable as these were funds transferred to a body that was hijacking national sovereignty rendering our courts unable to be the final arbiters of our destiny and had assured our borders would remain helplessly open to unrestrained immigration.
Who would disapprove of a weekly fee of £350 million to the EU yet would find £150 million reasonable? I’m yet to find anyone. If the referendum debate was about reclaiming national sovereignty and how mass immigration had altered the British cultural landscape and affected the economy, what intrusion on the scrupled case for leaving does the meticulous data make? The principle is unalterable by exact numerics.
To many, even a figure in the tens of millions would evoke the same gritted-teeth frustration with a transnational political project intent on destroying the nation state and domestic patriotism.
The public were not lied to or hoaxed regarding the £350 million. The nation voted to leave the EU intent on revitalising our judiciary and to leave a fundamentally anti-democratic federalist body over-zealous in its vision to expand and dominate.