Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Owen Jones is right. Vote Leave is reprehensible

Don't get me wrong, I think Owen Jones is a political and intellectual lightweight with a very shallow command of the issues, but he is absolutely right to say that the Vote Leave "list of EU criminals" is reprehensible.

It is barely removed from the sort of trash Breitbart and white supremacist sites would happily publish. This sort of campaigning is precisely why nobody who wants to win the referendum wanted Farage at the head of the Leave campaign. Had we known Vote Leave would be just as repellent we might as well have just let him do his thing.

Jones says "Park the fact that Vote Leave’s argument makes no sense: Britain does have control of its borders, is not part of the Schengen area, can prevent suspects from entering the country, and has used the European arrest warrant to deport thousands of suspects. This is grim scaremongering that debases British political debate. What is Vote Leave seriously arguing? That membership of the EU opens the door to raping and murdering foreigners? Here is an unapologetic attempt to tap into some of the basest prejudices imaginable. This is ugly stuff that other Brexit supporters should denounce."

I quite agree. And it's pointless too. In every measured analysis, Brexit sees us maintaining our membership of the single market for the foreseeable future, and consequently freedom of movement and so there is no value in talking up these issues even if they were true. This is not a referendum on immigration.

More to the point, as much as freedom of movement is not open borders, ending freedom of movement does not address the core immigration concerns, and if it does succeed in reducing immigration then it will only go back to the levels they were at when Ukip first started moaning about foreigners.

Not forgetting that these criminals are, well, criminals - and if they don't respect the basic law of "don't rape people", they're not going to let a little thing like immigration laws stand in their way. It's entirely this sort of quasi-racist crap that has soured the debate and made this battle an uphill climb from the beginning. You can thank Farage for that.

Jones says "I agree with those Eurosceptics above who have warned against the use of fear in the EU referendum. I await – with bated breath – their own condemnation of this tawdry attempt by Vote Leave to spread fear".

Well my little commie muttonchops, hold your breath no longer. I am described by senior figures within Stronger In as a "leading Brexit blogger" - and so for what that is worth, I utterly condemn Vote Leave, their entire message - and the people who run it. They are contemptible.

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