Skeptics tend to stay out of politics as a general rule. Though we at Edinburgh have hosted a hustings before and intend to again at the next election. Skeptics don’t tend to take a side in political debates, but we will happily point out the lack of evidence behind a political argument. The Brexit debate though has led many skeptics groups to take a position. There is no evidence based reason to leave the EU, all the evidence points to the country being better off as part of the larger EU network than striking it out on our own. Michael Dougan, an EU Law professor who went viral for debunking pro-Leave arguments with facts and evidence, has spoken for Edinburgh and other groups around the country, you can find his talk for us on our podcast feed.
Another issue with the Brexit vote was the lies and misinformation that was the campaign. The biggest of these being the lie on the side of the bus about the amount of money we give to the EU each week and giving it to the NHS instead. Firstly the amount quoted as the amount we give the EU was wrong and then all politicians associated with the bus have distanced themselves from the claim it would be sent to the NHS instead the very morning after the vote. The lies and misinformation on the Leave side was further fuelled and propagated by Russian trolls who targeted the UK during this vote as an act of Asymmetrical Warfare.There is also evidence of overspending from the Leave campaign. Along with Cambridge Analytica and Aggregate IQ using facebook data to target voters with very directed and personalised advertising. Though it is impossible to know what an impact these things had on the turnout of the vote. The people perpetrating these actions thought they were worthwhile trying to increase their chances.
Today is meant to be Brexit day but it’s still unclear what is going to happen or when. It is clear that from an evidential and rational standpoint, the UK would be much better off staying in the EU than leaving.