Brexit Part 2

29/3/20

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 future elections. Skeptics don’t tend to take a ‘party’ side in political debates, but we will happily point out the lack of evidence behind political arguments wherever they come from. The Brexit debate though has led many skeptics groups to take a position on this subject. There is no evidence-based reason to leave the EU, all the available evidence points to the UK 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 us twice now in Edinburgh, most recently earlier this month, and for other groups around the country, you can find his talk on our podcast feed.

Another issue with the Brexit vote was the lies and misinformation liberally disseminated throughout 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 which could be given it to the NHS instead. Firstly, the amount quoted was wrong and secondly, all the proponents of the lie distanced themselves from the claim the money would be sent to the NHS, the very morning after the vote! The lies and misinformation on the Leave side were further fuelled and propagated by a concerted campaign by Russian trolls who targeted the UK during this vote as an act of Asymmetrical Warfare. There is also clear evidence of overspending from the various Leave campaigns which funded several shady political analysts such as Cambridge Analytica and Aggregate IQ, to use illegally obtained 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.

A year ago today was meant to be Brexit day, but clearly that never happened. After months of intense political wrangling and a new Prime Minister, the UK officially left the EU on the 31st January this year. However, for now we are still in a ‘transition period’ where we are both in and out at the same time. We need to now redraw the entire group of political and trading agreements with the EU by December this year or we will leave with no deal at all. Given the current Pandemic crisis, who knows how this will pan out. Thanks to Chris Riddell & The Observer for today’s image.

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